You cannot make it as a wandering
generality. You must be a meaningful specific.
This is a well-known quote from
author/motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.
While open to multiple interpretations, for me, it resonates as a call-to-action
- a call to make our unique accomplishments known so we can stand out in the
be a challenging call. As an initial hurdle, many people find it hard to self
promote because they are shy or think it is too egotistical. We need to get
over this hurdle quickly because, in our tough business climate, knowing and
touting the brand called you is more important than ever.
This is especially true for those of us who - by choice or otherwise - work
away from our managers and co-workers most of the time.
some tips for gaining that much-needed visibility for you and your professional
Whether by email, IM, phone, video conference or Twitter, reach out to your
boss and teammates on a regular basis to update them about projects you are
collaborating on. Send links to articles and other online resources that can
help them accomplish tasks or solve problems. Of course, you should keep
informal check-ins in check so that the team stays on course and people know
that you value their time and attention.
face-to-face meetings. To the extent possible, request to meet with your manager and team
members in person at least once a year at the company's headquarters or in another
your schedule. Using online
collaboration platforms like Basecamp, OfficeMedium or CubeTree,
you can easily let others know where you are, when you are working and what you
are working on. If you want a more pared-down - yet still versatile -
collaboration tool, try an online calendar from Google
up! Do not
shy away from sharing your achievements and expertise. Write a blog or guest
blog post, contribute articles to trade publications and participate in
conversations taking place in your field on Twitter,
Facebook and LinkedIn.
If your company hosts forums or discussion groups, become an active
By taking affirmative
steps to stay visible, you can nurture and safeguard your career. If you have
any tips for keeping yourself and your work accomplishments on the radar
screen, please share them with us.
by Candie Harris
With all the messages competing
for the attention and time of our customers, prospects and coworkers, we need
to think about ways to make our emails stand out as important, useful and
relevant to the recipients.
One key way is to write great
email subject lines.
According to the experts at the
email marketing service provider Mail Chimp, the best email subject
lines are short, descriptive and give the reader a reason to further explore
your message. The entire subject line should be 50 words or less and, unless
you want to trigger the spam filter or chill open rates, those words should not
To give you some context for these
rules, you can refer to this study of subject lines
with the best and worst open rates.
According to this post from the getting attention! blog, readers also respond well
to subject lines that:
Similarly, a post from copyblogger
shares that readers respond to subject lines containing emotional triggers
"because they speak to underlying desires and fears that nearly all of us
For a quick tutorial on two Google
tools that can help you create and pick the best subject lines for your next
email campaign, check out this post from the blue sky
Do you have any tips on writing
great email subject lines? Share them in the comments area here or at our Facebook and Twitter
by Bradley Eggers
hear the birds singing as you walk to your car for your morning commute? Can you
look out your office window and catch a glimpse of colorful trees and flowers
in full bloom?
spring is here. That time of renewal and reawakening when some inner or - more
likely - outer force compels us to take a good look around and clean sweep our
lives into order.
I am in
the business of helping people work and live more efficiently. So, naturally, I
consume lots of information on how we can all be more productive. To honor the
new season and create room for new insights, I thought I would clean sweep my
virtual library and share some of my favorite productivity articles with you. I
hope you enjoy them. And if they inspire you to get into the sweep of things,
feel free to share your spring productivity tips with us here or at the Beyond
Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.
things off, the Productivity 501 blog shares some funny anecdotes about that major productivity buster, the messy desk.
Here is my favorite quote: "Your mind doesn't organize everything in neat
little boxes. However, this might be even more of a reason to try to keep your
work environment in some semblance of order."
are on the subject of quotes, here is a great compilation of personal productivity quotes you can mine for self-motivation
or to inspire others at your next team meeting. You might also want to share Peter Bregman's
pair of Harvard Business Review posts on optimizing productivity by
curbing time wasters at work:
like handy tips and tools for greater productivity, take a look at:
not least, if you would like to create your own productivity resource library,
you can start with this list of The 20 Best
Productivity and Personal Development Blogs.
by Carly Fadako
As we discussed in a prior post,
four very different generations of workers occupy the typical workplace.
According to studies, it is not a particularly easy co-existence.
Last year, Pew Research Center
reported that almost
eight in 10 people polled perceived a major divide between the point of view of younger people
and older people today. The Pew Center's study echoes Randstad USA's 2008 World of Work survey finding that the four
generations at work rarely interact with one another. Given these hurdles, facilitating productive
workplace communication can be a big challenge for managers and team leaders.
But, the challenge can be met.
As a recent Psychology Today
article on the generational divide
suggests, it is important to recognize that, unlike their more traditional older
coworkers, young workers of Generation Y shun authoritarian communication.
Raised on a steady diet of positive feedback and recognition, they also need regular input from their
bosses. Expanding on this point, a New York Times piece
on inter-generational communication
sets out that, to better connect with Gen Y workers, managers and leaders
Another key step is to encourage and empower all
employees to use a full range of communication tools. Through workplace
learning opportunities, even workers with technophobia can engage with others
blogging, text messaging, instant messaging and social networks like Facebook
and Twitter. Similarly, simulated interactions and role-playing can help
workers who find it hard to converse face-to-face or in a written communication
of more than 140 characters.
cross-generational communication also flows when managers and team leaders take
steps to bring the generations onto common ground. If blended into functional work teams, for example, older and younger workers can
share knowledge and collaborate on devising business strategies, developing new
products and handling service issues. This kind of close collaboration
cultivates understanding, trust and respect.
you experienced cross-generational communication failures and successes at
work? If so, please share your experiences with us here and on the Beyond
Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.
If you have any lingering doubts
that today's workforce is on the go, take a look at recent statistics presented
in this report on strategies for managing
mobile workers (pdf):
the report also points out, we have become mobile in a number of ways:
gets - and keeps - you moving during your workday, you can benefit from
practicable tips on setting up a mobile office.
to this post from A Nomad's Lot, an important first
step is to make a list of attributes you desire in a workspace. Be very
specific and consider aspects like:
some advance detective work via the Web and local contacts also helps if you
are setting up shop in an unfamiliar community. Upon your arrival, walk around
the neighborhood and note
the locations and business hours of cafes, libraries and bookshops. Be sure to
head inside and get the staff's perspective on using the space for remote work.
With this groundwork, you are
ready to focus on setting up your workspace. If you need a basic walk through, sitepoint offers these 7 Essential Steps to Creating an Efficient
these steps with confidence, check out 20 Crucial Tools
for Working On-the-Go
and (especially for mobile Mac users) The Ultimate Mobile Office Set Up For The Location Independent
We would love
to hear from you and invite you to share your mobile office setup tips and
photos with the Beyond Folder Community here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
understand. My life is on this computer!"
despair-driven exclamation is one that data recovery experts hear all the time.
It is also one that most of us can relate to (with a wince) because we store a
tremendous amount of data on our computers - from contacts, calendars and documents
to photos, videos and music. When that data is lost or corrupted due to defective
components, theft, virus intrusion, exposure to the elements or the shock of a
drop, we feel lost, too.
many arenas, the best defense against data loss is a good offense. We need to
get into the good habit of backing up our digital life. Here is a collection of
data backup resources to ease your way:
place to start is this post from PCWorld answering the question What's the Best
Way to Back Up What I Need to Back Up? It cites these candidates
for daily Windows XP backup:
And these for Vista:
It also goes on to state the
general rule that your backup should be physically separate from your computer,
since any backup that can be stolen or "destroyed along with the rest of the
computer is not a secure backup."
To heed this rule, you can choose
from these popular options:
For guidance on choosing an
external hard drive, you can tap these resources:
You can gain insight into your
online data storage options via:
The latest on USB flash drives
computer backup plan is no longer optional. We would like to hear from you.
Leave a comment here or on our Facebook or Twitter pages sharing how you back up your digital
a time, not too long ago, when the loss of a paper planner spelled a personal
organization and time management disaster of epic proportions. In fact, one Saturday a few months ago, I was panicked
by the thought that I lost my paper planner. After driving into the office, I
was relieved to see it, in plain view right on my desk.
evolution of web-based applications has liberated many of us from
total paper dependency by providing a range of online options for planning and
tracking our daily tasks and activities, I had resisted letting go of my
planner. During my trip back to the office on that Saturday, I decided the time
had come to take advantage of the benefits of going digital.
actually was easier than I anticipated. I entered all my contact information
into my blackberry, and began to use Lotus Calendar (which is synced from our
email system) for all my appointments.
I used my paper planner as well, keeping both for about two months. After realizing
that I hadn't needed to look at the paper planner during the entire two month
period, I gave it up and went totally digital.
you make sense of the online personal productivity tools available today, here
is a round up of recent articles and reviews. As always, we consider this a
two-way conversation and invite you to share your favorite online personal
organization and time management solutions with us here.
you are a location independent professional
or office worker, you can benefit from this post on 8
Simple online Time Management Tools for Freelancers. Included in the review are
the following flexible solutions:
task manager Remember the Milk is
the subject of this in-depth review. Among the notable
deeper look into popular online calendars, you can watch this helpful video tutorial
produced by butterscotch.com.
go of my paper planner has made it so much easier to organize my life (both
business and personal), and with the added security of back up, it's negated the need for a Saturday trip to the office! Let us know how you have transitioned from
paper to digital!
business owners and leaders would give anything to know what motivates
employees to do their best work.
article on the science and psychology of motivation
sets out, there are numerous
theories of motivation. Most focus on two principal categories of motivators. Extrinsic motivators come from outside
forces like people, situations, events and environments. They include:
there are intrinsic motivators deriving
from internal forces like:
studying motivation have long questioned the value of external motivators in
the workplace - the carrots and sticks offered workers in the form of rewards
the science and questioning behind bestselling author Dan
latest book, Drive:
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
previously written about the rise of right-brain
and the growing importance of traits like empathy and creativity. As he
explains in this interview, his latest research on
motivation confirms that "[c]arrots and sticks work, but only in a surprisingly
narrow band of circumstances. For enduring motivation and high performance,"
workplace leaders should offer incentives that foster workers' drive for:
a very motivating talk on the science of motivation at TEDGlobal
You can watch it in its entirety here.
like to know what motivates you to do your best work. Please share your
thoughts with us in the comments area here or at our Facebook
and Twitter pages.
It was a year
marked by political and social unrest here and abroad.
also the birth year of that symbol of modern workplace dysfunction chronicled
in Scott Adams' wildly popular Dilbert comic strip- the office cubicle.
highlighted in this Fortune retrospective entitled Cubicles:
The Great Mistake,
even the cubicle's inventor - the late Robert Propst - came to rue the
economical office system he thought would increase the productivity of "a
growing breed of white-collar workers, whose job titles fell between secretary
and boss." With a nod to the Dilbertvilles he inspired, he openly admitted his
"contribution to 'monolithic insanity.'"
this admission, Propst might have foreseen the current shift in workplace
culture away from worker isolation and towards flexible teamwork, open communication
and ongoing collaboration. Perhaps he also knew what recent studies have
confirmed: A well-designed office boosts employee morale, engagement and
Let's face it, we all secretly, or
not so secretly cheered during the movie Office Space when the lead character "takes
it to the man" by knocking down his cubicle wall with the help of a power
drill. The look of accomplishment on his
face spoke volumes, to office workers and managers alike.
looking into the benefits of redesigning their physical space can start with a
practical tutorial on How to Build a Better Office that walks you through
these key steps:
inspiration, you can virtually tour office spaces designed
to optimize collaboration, including Microsoft's cool
research facility, Building 99. Among the featured redesign
also gain some insight from this Fast Company slideshow of 10 Workspaces That Inspire Creativity and this image gallery of
the Best and Worst Workplace Design.
Here is a
fact you might not know: On average, adults spends over 90% of our waking hours
sitting down. It is a natural progression from breakfast table to car/train/bus
to workstation to lunch table to workstation to car/train/bus to dinner table
to couch. You get the picture. Most of us lead a very
why ergonomics matters so much.
is the science (and art) of designing the workplace to suit the worker, rather
than the other way around. Proper ergonomic design helps prevent repetitive
stress injury (RSI), like carpal tunnel syndrome,
and back problems that can develop over time and lead to long-term disability.
are brand new to this concept, or want to learn more about ergonomics, here are
recent post, HR World presents The Ultimate Guide to
that includes tips, websites, consulting firms and manufacturers in the field.
Among the tips offered are:
learn more about ergonomics from the product design mistakes showcased in this
Popular Mechanics piece on 5 Design Flaws that Ruined Otherwise
Smart Gadgets. For
inspiration on the flipside, this blog post profiles an award-winning ergonomic
all heard that time is a precious resource that we should not squander. But, in
Salary.com's latest Wasting Time at Work Survey, 64% of the full-time workers
responding reported wasting one hour or less each day; 22% said they wasted approximately two hours daily;
and 14% admitted
to wasting three
hours or more each workday. The main
time-wasters reported were:
primary reasons cited for all this wastefulness were:
these stark statistics, the Cyclope-Series Team Blog suggests that employers
can curb waste by providing "opportunities for employees to grow personally and
professionally." Likewise, employers would do well to recognize the motivating
force of "regular praise, respect in the office place, a sense of having a real
voice in the business and some level of job security."
additional guidance, this Wall Street Journal post on Ways
to Stop Wasting Time Online
compares four online services designed to help distracted computer users stay
focused. You can find similar tips in this review of 15
Free Online Time Management Tools.
Offering less concrete, but equally valuable, insight is a recent New York
Times article - titled Talk Deeply, Be Happy? - that explores the
importance of engaging in meaningful conversations.
Where do you hear the sounds of fountain pens
scratching on paper while smartphones buzz with incoming text messages?
In the average workplace.
There are currently four
generations at work today:
I have found that engaging workers and facilitating
productivity with this vibrant generational mix can be a challenge. Here is a primer of links to articles and
posts on working across the generation gaps that I have found helpful.
We will revisit this important topic in future
posts. In the meantime, as always, feel free to point us to any resources that
you find relevant and helpful.
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.