Google the phrase "disorganization and stress" and 384,000 results pop
up. In .25 seconds flat. Whoa. But Googling isn't the only way of knowing
disorganization is linked to stress, just feel your own blood pressure rise as
you search messy desk piles for a crucial missing document. Stressed out? Heck
Being disorganized means more than just being messy, forgetful or chronically
late; being disorganized creates stress which can have an adverse affect on
According to WebMD, people experiencing symptoms of
Combating stress is vital for maintaining good health. Heart disease,
cancers, high blood pressure and mental illnesses are all linked to stress to
Ready to combat stress and improve your health? Tackle that to-do list
and organize those files. Just as an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so too
does being organized. Give it a whirl.
You may wish to review some of our past posts for help getting
And finally, we are big believers that organizing can be fun. We like
the blog The Happiness Project for tips and techniques for
combating disorganization, managing your time effectively and best of all, for
its guidance on how to get happy. Start small, read The
Happiness Project: Six Tips for Forcing Yourself to Tackle a Dreaded Task. You'll be happy you did!
How do you combat
stress? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
by Carly Fadako
Eliminate the unnecessary. This could be a bumper sticker for the "stress less" ethos we advocate
in the Beyond Folders Blog. From purging unused paperwork, computer files or jettisoning
low-priority, time wasting tasks, the Beyond Folders bloggers advocate
organizing your work and home life to achieve balance, efficiency and maximum
Regular readers of the Beyond Folders blog know that I am an enthusiastic advocate of the 5
Whys, a problem
solving method used by proponents of LEAN manufacturing,
practice focused on reducing waste and improving quality. The 5 Whys is a
question-and-answer process that reveals the root cause of a problem and in
turn, a solution. Try applying the 5 Whys to what is causing you stress. As you
work through the 5 Whys, does an opportunity to ameliorate the situation
I would also direct readers to an eye-opening article by Peter Bregman
for the Harvard Business Review. A Practical Plan for
When You Feel Overwhelmed brings a certain
rigor to the task of eliminating stress. The article suggests incremental,
measurable ways to tackle tasks that appear insurmountable. Bregman
demonstrates that all assignments, all situations, can be tamed a task at a
Finally, you may have heard the buzz about Google's new Priority Inbox;
it's worth a look to see if it can help tame e-mail overload. Check out Google Priority Inbox Soothes Email-Overload Stress.
Do you have a
method for handling stress? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders
Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.
by Bradley Eggers
Modern life is a juggling act. Women in particular
have many balls in the air: mother, wife, worker, caretaker, and my least
favorite carpooler. When you consider that 70 percent
of women with children under the age of eighteen are in the work force it's clear that the day-to-day routines of numerous women involve
managing multiple demands.
While women often make the juggling act look
effortless, being "on" in so many important roles can be exhausting at best and
overwhelming at worst. When a woman's demands exceed her capacity for managing
them, imbalance sets in, often with far more serious repercussions than a few dropped
Negative consequences of too much stress, too little
balance can include:
In past posts such as Stress Less: Keeping
Work Worries in Check we offer tips
for coping with the demands of work ranging from better time-management
practices to delegating. For out-of-the-box ideas on managing work stress spend
time with Zen Habits useful tips in 11 Creative Ways to Avoid Becoming a Workaholic. Finally, the Business and
Professional Women's Foundation
pursuing policy remedies to address the problem of work-life balance for
working women. Visit their web site for initiatives and resources to
help working women balance their many competing needs.
How do you
balance work and family obligations? What would make balancing your competing
obligations easier? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders
Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.
by Candie Harris
An up-to-date resume is a must-have for job hunter and job holder alike. Given today's uncertain
economy, the smart employee is continually working to improve their personal brand, enhance their
skills and have a marketable, well-written resume in their job hunting toolbox.
Make the Most of
Compelling resumes are more than just well-written and carefully
proofed; a persuasive resume clearly articulates a candidate's strengths. Don't
fall into the common resume trap of putting down a laundry list of jobs, rather
carefully asses what information best highlights your strengths and sells you
for the role you wish to fill.
What to Put in?
What to Leave out?
When assessing your work history and successes, carefully examine each
piece of information you are considering for your resume. If it sells you, keep
it in; if its extraneous information, detracting from your overall message and
branding, get rid of it. I like to think of this as "5-Whying" your resume.
The 5 Whys, which I've posted about in the past in Problem Solving with the 5 Whys is a useful business practice
focused on reducing waste and improving quality. What better way to streamline
and polish your resume?
So let's get started. Look at each bullet point or job description on
your resume. Does it reflect well on you? Does it enhance your marketability?
Distinguish you from the competition? Does each sentence "sell" you? Is it
relevant to the position to which you are applying? If the answers to any of
these questions is "no," the information either needs to be re-written or
Consider 5-Whying your resume with a friend or a colleague. It's often
difficult to assess ourselves or our work with dispassion and detachment. Ask
your reader to apply the 5 Why's to your resume; this will help you gauge how
another set of eyes perceive your resume and its persuasiveness.
For more information on how to decide what information should (and
should not) be on your resume, I've collected the following useful resources:
What do you look for in an applicant's resume?
Do you have tips for resume do's and don'ts? Share your thoughts here and on
the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.
School is in full swing and your teens are doubtlessly juggling
academics and after-school activities. Consider adding another important
activity to your teen's to-do list: job hunting. A first job is an important rite
of passage, teaching responsibility and money management skills. Even the act
of looking for a job is a teachable moment, so don't let the down job market
deter you and your teen from embarking on a fall job hunt, or for getting a
head start in thinking about summer jobs.
Parents can and should help their children navigate their first job
hunt but should take pains to avoid falling into the trap of "owning" the job
search. Try not to do all the leg work,
or steer your teen to your preferred work, doing so will rob your teen of the
chance to make their own decisions and mistakes. The act of looking is an
education in its own right; let your teen dive in and take control.
Parents wishing to encourage and support their teens can help with
resume proofreading and with big-picture thinking; for example, encourage your
teens to think about what type of work they are well suited for and would
enjoy. Shy teens might prefer a job shelving library books or working in a
store stockroom rather than a role that requires people skills such as manning
the library front desk or working the sales floor. A teen who enjoys animals might work as a
dog-walker and a sports enthusiast might work at a sports camp or gym.
Parents can also help set realistic expectations. Many teen jobs pay
minimum wage and often involve less than glamorous work. A teen may be
surprised to learn how many hours it takes at a minimum-wage job to earn a
coveted pair of designer jeans. Parents can help teens understand that all work
has merit and that a job well done leads to increased opportunities down the
Encourage your teens to think outside-the-box. Jobs are harder to come
by than ever and historically teen-friendly jobs such as retail and restaurant
work are seeing adults vie for positions. Get creative: babysitting,
dog-walking and other services such as digitizing photos or music are all jobs
teens can look for in their own neighborhood. Many local libraries or civic
groups sponsor teen jobs fairs or training. If a teen cannot find paid work,
encourage them to volunteer to gain necessary experience for their go round.
Finally, take time to read through these resources we culled from
across the web. Read these articles with your teen and discuss what tips seem
most helpful and why.
Does your teen
have a job? Do you have job hunting tips to share with teen job seekers? Share
your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
Do you need a spread sheet to keep track of your children's
extracurricular activities? Are your weekends spent coming and going, and
going, and going to various sports matches? If you're wondering how much is too
much, you aren't alone.
In examining the overscheduled child (and carpool-weary parents) for
the article How Much Is Too Much? the San Francisco Chronicle stated:
"A study by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research
found that from 1981 through 1997, children's time spent playing structured
sports increased by 25 percent, and time spent in unstructured play fell by
about the same amount. The study also found that kids have 12 fewer hours of
free time a week, eat fewer family dinners, have fewer family conversations per
week and take fewer family vacations."
Parents need to walk the line between providing children with
enrichment activities and socialization opportunities and unwittingly pushing
their children to burnout. Sometimes a soccer match is fun; sometimes it's the
last straw. Read on for signs that your child may be too busy for their own
While every child is different, parents should be concerned if their
If burnout is an issue, it's time to scale back. Parents wishing to
provide a healthy balance for their children may find the following tips
How does your
family balance after-school actives with family time and downtime? Is your
child over-scheduled? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders
Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.
increasingly global world and workforce can put cultural differences in high
relief. A recent Harvard Business Review post Cultural
Intelligence captured the challenges posed
when individuals see the world through vastly different perspectives. The
article opened by quoting an international advertising campaign for global bank
HSBC that shows a grasshopper and the message: "USA-Pest.
China-Pet. Northern Thailand-Appetizer."
One insect, three vastly different
images. Culture powerfully shapes not only how we perceive the world but every human
interaction: gestures, speech and comprehension. In business, where teamwork
and mutual understanding are necessary to forge consensus and operate
productively, cultural barriers must be surmounted.
At our company globalization is more
than an abstraction: we
have subsidiaries in 31 countries, distribution in more than 120 and our global
management and sales forces work from a myriad of locations. In
past posts, we've blogged about the logistical challenges of managing remote teams.
Here, we've assembled some resources to
help employees navigate cultural differences.
your workplace deal with cultural differences? Do you have tips and techniques
by Candie Harris
Be honest. How often do you hit the snooze button? We've all had days
where the only time for quiet contemplation are the moments between the alarm's
brrrring and when our feet hit the floor.
Stop moving on autopilot. This fall carve out time to assess your
daily routine. Do a soup-to-nuts overview of where you are in your life and how
Take Time to Make
This assessment is going to look different for different people. Some
of you want to squeeze fifteen more minutes of productivity into your day,
others hope to create that much
efficiency in an otherwise disorganized day. Regular readers of our posts may
have time-management and organizing firmly in hand, but might be
looking to add another dimension to their days, be it extra energy, sense of
purpose or even greater happiness. Yes, happiness.
Writer Maria Robinson has observed "Nobody can go back and start a new
beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." So take a look at
your day and work towards your new ending.
Create Extra Time
Are you a juggling, multitasker who has most bases covered but needs
an extra 15 minutes? Tips for squeezing more productivity out of an otherwise
organized day include:
For more tips, read 15 Ways to Find Extra Time and 5 Time-Management Tricks.
Do you move through your day haphazardly? Hoping to make it through
your to-do list, running late and constantly in search of a missing item? Taking the time to organize your time and
belongings will make your days more productive and less stressful.
Find a personal organizing solution that works for you and stick with
it. At a loss for where to begin? Consider hiring a
professional organizer or try a popular
system such as David Allen's Getting Things Done.
For more tips, read our past post Tackle Your
To-Do List with Time-Blocking and Time Management Training: How to Manage Time and Maximize
Add Meaning to Your
Effective time management adds productivity to your days and decreases
stress but it can also do more. Spend time to add value to your days: organize
your calendar to find time for exercise, meditation or that wholly American
These innovative resources suggest ways to add what you value to your
What does your
daily routine look like? Do you have any
tips for assessing your routine and making the most of your days? Share your
thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook
and Twitter pages.
Labor Day is in the review mirror; a day off from work for many, for
others a reminder there's not work to be had. We've all seen the headlines: the
jobs picture in the U.S. remains far from robust. Unemployment
hovers around ten percent and the
uncertain economy is keeping consumer confidence low and workplace anxiety high.
While the job hunting climate may not be ideal, for the unemployed,
underemployed or for those wanting a better or different job, the search cannot
wait. So the Beyond Folders bloggers are pooling our experience as both hiring
managers and former job hunters (and of course ongoing networkers!) to provide
posts with job hunting tips and techniques.
The demise of the one-company-career and the rise of social media mean
today's world, and today's job hunt, bear little resemblance to job searches of
the past. When I entered the work world, hand-written thank you notes were de
rigueur after an interview; now an email thank-you is considered acceptable.
Still, some things remain eternal: the importance of stellar
references. A recent post-Labor Day article Singing
your Praises: How to Manage Work References makes the point that not only are
rock solid references key to winning a job, lukewarm or poor references can
sabotage your chances.
References matter so be sure to line up good ones early in your job
hunt. Ideally your references will have
the following qualities:
For more tips on making the most of your references, read The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References and Do References Really Matter? And be sure to check back for
more posts on job hunting over the coming weeks.
What do you look
for in a reference? Do you have any tips for making the most of your
references? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
September is the
time when America's workers put away the beach gear and renew their focus on
work. Summer tans may be fading but smart employees can keep a glow by
re-engaging at work.
Author and employee
retention expert Leigh Branham has made a career out of teaching
employers how to engage and retain employees. But any successful relationship
is a two-way street and employees owe it to themselves to self-engage on the
commit yourself to focusing on Branham's five principles of employee
self-engagement that he posits in Re-Engage: How
America's Best Places to Work Inspire Extra Effort in Extraordinary Times.
Branham argues that employees should take
responsibility for engagement by:
Assess your job
using Branham's five principles and see how you measure up. Use September to
sync up your situation with these principles; you may find that commitment to
self-engagement renews your vigor at work.
What steps do you take to self-engage at work?
Do you have any tips for getting back to business after the lazy days of
summer? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
School budget cuts
are headline news as at least 46 states slash funds to
address budget shortfalls. With federal
stimulus money set to end this school year, teachers and
students will have to do more with less. This isn't news to anyone who found
basics such as paper towels, baby wipes and Clorox on back-to-school-shopping
lists. When schools can't afford to buy their own
parents may well wonder how their children's education will be affected.
Worried About School Budget Cuts?
If your school
district has seen budgets slashed, you may be looking for ways to offset the
impact on your child's education. Consider enrolling your student in
after-school programs that support education through homework assistance or
state by state; the following resources may be helpful in locating after-school
programs in your area:
Do you have any tips for offsetting school
budget cuts? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
Summer is a time of
togetherness for many families. With the back-to-school season now in full
swing keeping up communications becomes more of a juggle.
But as multi-tasking
moms and dads know, juggling is just one of the many skills in the parenting
arsenal. So take time to make time: schedule one-on-one time with each child in
the family and set up regular family meetings.
don't need to be formal; they can take place once a week at a family dinner or
first thing Saturday mornings. Use this time to reconnect about important
happenings during the week and for announcements that affect the whole family
such as weekend plans or changes in chore schedules.
Once you've carved
out time, use these tools to help make communication more effective:
Young children: Communicating positively with young children helps them
develop confidence, self-worth, and good relationships. Try to get down on
their level if you can. When giving commands or disciplining, avoid angry
voices; try to use a neutral voice. For more tips on communicating with
children, visit the Mr. Rogers' Family Communications
resource guide for a wealth of tips.
Teens: Don't believe the hype; teens want to talk to their
parents about sex, drugs and rock and roll as well as a host of other topics. Studies show that teens want to discuss these sensitive
topics but don't know how so it's your
job as a parent to get the communication going. For tips, check out Communicating with Teens by FamilyEducation.com.
Kitchen Command Center: Keep family members in the communication loop by
setting up an effective kitchen command center. Color code calendars to keep
track of various sports and social commitments for each family member and use a
white board or chalkboard for messages. For more tips on setting up a command
center, visit our past post "Is Your
Kitchen Your Home Office?"
Finally, keep in
mind that September is hurricane
season in many parts of the country. The time to prepare for an emergency is
before it happens; use this government guide to put in place a Family
Communications plan for emergencies and review it with all family members: Ready.gov: Make a Family Communications Plan.
Do you have any tips for back-to-school
communications? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter
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.