brings more than cupids and Valentines; the month also ushers in heart-health
awareness with the American Heart Month.
yourself a favor and spend as much time this month learning about a heart-healthy
lifestyle as you do shopping for Valentine's treats for your loved ones. Taking
care of your heart is the best gift you could give the people you love.
Can You Do?
Go Red For Women, an education
campaign sponsored by the American Heart Association. Provides heart-healthy
information by age category, a heart healthy tool box and PSAs from a host of
celebrities including beloved (and spirited!) octogenarian Betty White.
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.
A clearinghouse of information on living with heart
disease. Provides advice on recognizing symptoms of heart attacks, how to
monitor cholesterol, advice on finding support groups and more.
How do you take care of your heart? What
motivates you to stay heart-healthy? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
by Candie Harris
the corner office passé? For many, the hottest trend in office space is the moveable
you a digital nomad?Can you frequently
be found working at the best coffeehouse in town? Are you often on the road,
working in airports or hotel lobbies?
you're part of the growing tribe of digital nomads, turn your flash drive into
a secret weapon with portable software and a host of efficiency apps.
crash-course in on-the-go-offices read Create Your
Portable Office with a Flash Drive and 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick.
articles provide insight into browsers, email programs, and even operating
systems that can store your data and settings on a thumbnail drive, allowing
you to work from anywhere.
upside: once unplugged, your personal data leaves with you, rather than being left behind.
you work from home, your office may be the kitchen or dining room. Home office
workers can benefit from a portable office that allows room-to-room moves to take
advantage of optimal working conditions.
design site Remodelista.com culls through design sources to offer an edited
selection of portable office solutions. Check out Office
Furniture Carts on Wheels for the
"have-files-will-travel" workers amongst us.
Do you have a portable office? What tools
or resources allow you to work as a digital nomad? Share your thoughts here and
at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
The lengthening days are adding extra hours of
sunshine, but are the longer days adding up to productive time? If you
regularly underestimate how long it takes to get tasks done, and find yourself
in stressful time crunches, it may be time to re-set your internal clock.
Assigning accurate time-estimates to tasks is the
building block of time-management. And effective time-management produces
greater efficiencies and relieves stress. So what are you waiting for? Time to
Your Internal Clock
Productivity web site Lifehacker offers
useful suggestions for fine-tuning time management skills in How
to Hone the Accuracy of Your Internal Clock and Better Understand Your Time
Practice time keeping. If you
estimate your morning commute to be 20-minutes but it really clocks in at 35,
you need to set off 15 minutes earlier each day to avoid running late. Keep
time logs of tasks for a week or so for a more accurate gauge of how much time
is truly needed to get things done.
Learn to use small chunks of time. A project
may require ten hours of work, but that doesn't mean you need to sit down for a
10-hour time-block. Break the project into discrete tasks and assign time
estimates. Have 30 minutes but no more? Knock of a 30-minute component such as
phone calls or e-mails. Bit by bit, you'll move the yardstick on the project.
interruptions. The phone rings, urgent emails arrive; the
boss may call you in. Interruptions are an unavoidable part of work. Schedule disruptions
into your time-estimations so you aren't caught short on time.
your prime time. We all have times of the day when our motor
hums a little faster. Try to create an interruption-free zone during this time
and drill down, perhaps on the toughest, most complex challenge.
Keep in mind that one's internal clock can run off the
rails for a variety of reasons. Jet lag, insomnia and even daylight savings
time can disrupt your routine. We've collected a few resources that address
these specific challenges:
Do you have any tips on keeping your inner
time-clock in tip top shape? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex
by Bradley Eggers
Teamwork makes companies hum. Enhancing productivity
and collaboration through team building events can be as elaborate as an
offsite retreat, with presentations, challenges, and social events, or as
simple as an after-hours bowling and dinner outing.
building events can be more than just opportunities for promoting
collaboration, team events can help manage change
in your company, reduce stress, introduce new initiatives to your sales force,
or say thank-you to your team for a job well done.
Any successful event requires organization.
Consider these points when planning:
Theme: Telegraph your message with a specific theme
for your event. "Collaboration & Culture" or "Innovation & Enterprise"
speak louder than "Annual Team Building Workshop #3."
Communicate: Consider surveying your staff prior to the
event for input. Be sure to communicate the goals and event details well in
advance. Transparency and communication will help ensure that all participants hit
the ground running.
Take it Off-Site: Conducting
the event or workshops off-site minimizes disruptions and allows for greater
Mix it Up: Pace the day
with a mix of work and entertainment. Workshops and presentations should be
interspersed with "play" and physical activities to keep interest and
involvement at peak form. Consider capping the day with a social event and
Downtime: Build in
downtime for reflection. Allow enough time between each activity
for discussion, learning and application. A day with two team building games
and discussion/reflection time beats a jam-packed day with little time for
Personalize: Help link group team building with individual growth. Have employees
complete a commitment card, action planning list, personal promise statement or
some other vehicle to help integrate new behaviors and collaborative tools into
Rewards: Thank participants with gift cards or company tee-shirts for
their participation. And be sure to give recognition to the event organizers
with a public shout-out and special gift.
you have any team building games or challenges to share? What is best team
building event you've attended? The worst? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
outstanding year at work? If you've met
or beat sales expectations, landed a major client, or shepherded a complicated
project to successful conclusion, it may be time to ask for a promotion. Before
approaching your boss, do yourself a favor and read our list of what-not-to-do when
gunning for a bump up in dollars or a new title.
Don't approach your boss at the
wrong time. Work
events, the hallway, and the water cooler are not the places to broach the
subject of promotions. Schedule one-on-one time with your boss to make your
case. Pick a time when your boss is most likely to be attentive and receptive.
Don't talk about why you need money. Your boss isn't beholden to help
you pay for a mortgage, a third child or any other financial commitments.
Bosses give raises for stellar work products. Make your case contingent on past
results and future capacity. Define your value to the company.
Don't be annoying. There is a fine line between
persistently making your case and hounding your boss. State your case and be
sure to give your boss ample time to consider it. While it is fine to follow up
and pursue your goal, don't bug your boss daily or each time you interact.
Don't threaten your boss. Making your case should not be
confused with making threats. Threatening to quit if you don't get a raise or
promotion is one of the quickest ways to get shown the door.
Don't get discouraged. Bosses can't always say yes to a
promotion for a variety of reasons. There may not be room in the budget for
extra money and some organizations have rigid protocols for advancement. If
your boss can't say yes at first, ask for a time-frame that spells out when
your request might be granted. Schedule a time to revisit the issue with your
boss at a future date.
remember the truism, "if you don't ask, you don't get" and be sure to go for a
promotion or raise that you believe you deserve. For tips on securing a
promotion, check out How to Ask for a Promotion in a
you have any promotion "don'ts" to share? What is the worse pitch for a raise
or promotion that you've encountered? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
spend the weekends pining for Monday? For most people the answer is a
resounding no, but for many, the answer may be a surprising yes.
inextricably linked to identify and self-esteem. We feel good when we're
productive and on top-of-our game. But the 24/7 connectivity that technology
offers, provides the opportunity to "produce" or work virtually non-stop.
Technology alone isn't to blame. Workers have been burning the midnight oil,
since, well, since oil, not fluorescent bulbs, illuminated workspaces.
person has so much of their identity tied up in work, putting down the
Blackberry can feel like withdrawal. We like three pieces that examine the
"married to your job" phenomenon.
For a Q &
A format that examines topics such as the differences between hard work and
workaholism and the different personality types that are prone to workaholism,
check out The New York Times "Job Market" When Hard Work
Many die-hard-workers clock long hours not
because they don't have another life, but because work is their passion. But
what happens when a job becomes the third partner in a marriage? The effects of
work on marriages receives thoughtful examination in Are
You Married to Your Work or to Your Spouse?
NPR assembles a wonderful panel
including a clinical psychologist and the author of the wryly named book, "The
Man Who Mistook his Job for a Life: A Chronic Overachiever Finds the Way Home."
for a spirited discussion.
you or your spouse married to your job? How do you prioritize work and your personal
life? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
Seasonal employees, sub-contractors, freelancers,
job-share workers: a growing sector of employment in the U.S. is part-time.
Adding part-time workers allows companies to meet demand without sending
payroll costs ballooning, but also creates management challenges. We like
Inc.com's take on how to do it right: 7 Tips for
Managing Part-Time Workers.
a proper job description. When an employee is part-time, it's
even more critical to have clear expectations. Spell out responsibilities
part-timers with projects rather than open-ended assignments.
Not all work is suited to part-time attention. Discrete, straightforward tasks
are best suited to part-timers; save ongoing or service assignments for staff
that is on the clock for the entire workweek.
treat part-time employees as second-class citizens.
Include all employees in important announcements and office functions and take
pains to demonstrate that all employees are valued contributors, no matter
is key. Be clear that if emergencies pop-up, part-timers may
need to be contacted during off hours. Be sure to have contact numbers and
e-mails for such an occasion. Also, schedule regular office meetings during
employees "on" days so lines of communication can remain open.
be open-minded about what part-time employees can offer.
Managerial, as well as more junior roles, can often be handled part-time if a
company and employee are willing to think creatively about how to structure a
How do you fold part-time workers into your
staff? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
Virtually anyone who has ever collected a paycheck has struggled
at one time or another with demands that seem unreasonable. There's the boss
who habitually calls you in at 5:30pm for tasks knowing your
must-depart-at-6pm-to-relieve-the-babysitter-deadline. Or a higher up who
thinks nothing of calling and emailing requests 24/7.
It's unlikely that many people are asked to field calls
from scorned wives while their bosses dally with subordinates as in this U.S. Today article. But
plenty of employees have had their back-up-against-the-wall moments of feeling
pushed to the limit.
Tired of trying to tackle the excessive, the extreme, and
the awkward? The comprehensive article Coping with
Unreasonable Demands lays
out (in a flowchart!) great advice for addressing demands that seem
In a nut shell,
the article describes working through the following steps when faced with a demand that
How do you manage unreasonable demands from a
boss? What is the most unreasonable demand you've encountered at work? Share
your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
We know, we know, death and taxes. Sure as day follows
night, April 15th rolls around every year so what are you waiting for? Time to
get your tax paperwork in order.
The tax code may be complicated but getting ready to
file your taxes needn't be. We like the simple, three folder solution outlined
by leading investment site the Motley Fool. Grab three folders, label them
"income", "expenses and deductions" and "investments" and dive into the
user-friendly advice in Get Organized for the IRS.
Once you have your paperwork in order, be sure to pay
attention to your deductions. Read 10 Often Overlooked
Tax Deductions to identify savings that too many people neglect such as "green" renovations to
your home and the cost of professional tax preparation.
Are you in line for a tax refund? Read 10 Tips for Getting the Biggest Tax Refund for
helpful hints including deducting child-care costs and professional
development. Also, the IRS is now app-friendly: check
the status of your return on your phone or iPad.
Not to Do
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but an IRS
return is not the place to do so. Common mistakes include math errors and
missing or incorrect information. Read MSN.com's 10 Tax
Goofs Many of Us Keep Making for
tips on error-free filing.
How do you get
organized for tax season? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
people are organized by nature. You know them by their alphabetized spice racks,
perfectly antiseptic medicine cabinets and tabula rasa workspaces. Others are
not. But we believe that a little nurture can overcome nature so if organization
isn't in your DNA, we're here to help.
we covered Filing 101, offering a
primer on the anatomy of a filing cabinet and
a handy cheat sheet on what paperwork to save or toss. If you spent time with
those posts, and implemented any of our recommendations, you're off to a great
start for an organized 2011.
Now it's time for some tricks of the trade,
those little "I-never-would-have-thought-of-that" tips that will help move you
along the path from filing newbie to seasoned pro.
Making the Most of
Manila Folders: What home isn't inundated with bills,
receipts, kids' art work, and disparate to-lists? Consider using a few clearly labeled
manila folders on a bulletin board or the inside of a kitchen cabinet to triage
and sort paperwork before it disappears into the dreaded stack (aka unwieldy
blog the Unclutterer has a helpful post on putting
manila folders to work: Creating a Home Paper
Portable File Totes: Digital nomads, freelancers visiting clients, or
on-the-go parents may want to avail themselves of a portable filing tote.
Portable totes double as a "briefcase" and make organizing while on the move a
breeze. Organizing blog Ready, Aim, Organize has a helpful post on the pros of portable totes (note: while they
recommend a specific brand there are numerous totes on the market which can
easily be found with a Google search).
Crack the Color Code: LA lifestyle blog Cupcakes & Cashmere trains its aesthetic sensibility on home office files.
Read the post Office Etiquette for
details on synching an attractive streamlined desktop holder with a more
comprehensive system in your filing cabinet. As a bonus: the system is color-coordinated, providing a
vibrant example of form meeting function.
Get to Know Your Label Maker: Filing newbies may
believe that label makers are the province of the professional organizer. Not
so! Anyone can, and should, add a label maker to their organizational arsenal.
For inspiration, read 10 Great Uses for Label Makers for more on making
this handy tool.
Be Boy Scout Ready: Steal a playbook from the Boy
Scouts and "be prepared." When a health or weather disaster strikes, it's no
time to be scrambling for insurance documents, etc. Prepare a file of emergency
documents before adversity strikes. For more on getting ready for an emergency,
read Preparing for the Unexpected.
Do you have any filing tips or tricks? What
little step or tool makes your filing easier? Share your thoughts here and at
the Pendaflex Facebook page.
by Carly Fadako
doesn't usually rank high on the list of fun family activities but if you want
to get your family on-board with family filing, we have a few strategies.
The Family That Files Together
educate your family members. Explain that the volume of paperwork coming into
the house (bills, receipts, permission slips, class trip notifications, sports
schedules, art work, etc.) is too much for one person to handle. If everyone
pitches in, the job will go faster leaving free time for enjoyable family
activities such as movies or game night.
up a basic system to triage paperwork that is easy enough for the whole family
to follow. Consider using manila envelopes in the kitchen labeled with each
family member's name for offloading documents. Or label the envelopes with
categories such as to-do, to-sign, to-file, etc. and have everyone stash their
paper in the corresponding file. For more on making the most of manila
envelopes for organizing, read Creating a Home Paper Management System.
family members involved by rotating tasks. Consider having an older child pitch
in on the weekly or monthly filing. Having an older teen file bills and medical
paperwork is a great way of teaching budgeting fundamentals. If one spouse
typically handles the bill paying or filing, consider switching off every other
month so the division of labor is fairer. This also allows both partners to be
fully up to speed in the family's financials.
you family for pitching in. The child who unloads all their school and sports
papers into their correct manila folder for a week gets a special treat. Did a
teen tackle a particularly onerous stack of filing or bring order to an unruly
pile? Let them pick the next movie for a family outing.
family filing ideas include creating a customizable
family notebook where paperwork is divided into
categories (i.e. sports/religion/menus) when family members can always find
schedules and important contact numbers. Store this in the kitchen. Families
should also have a go-to file for emergencies in the event of a weather of
health disaster. For tips, read Life Hacker's
Organizing Family Papers for Emergencies.
How do you tackle family filing? Share your
thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
winter! All across the country it's been snow cold! with 49 of the 50 states receiving blankets of the white
stuff. Only the sunshine state, Florida, has been spared. When the work day begins
with a snow shovel in hand, it can be hard to feel motivated.
can't do much about the white stuff, we can offer the right stuff for beating
the winter blahs. Use these tips, at work and home, and see if you can rekindle
your can-do mojo.
Exercise: Reboot your energy and productivity with winter
workouts. Getting the blood pumping is vital for energy as are adequate doses
of vitamin D from the sun. Fitness.com offers cold-weather workout tips
in Warm Up to Winter Workouts including the importance of
careful stretching, sun screen and appropriate layering.
If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em: Winter will fade into spring
eventually so grab those, skates, sleds and skis and hit the slopes and ice for
some invigorating fun! Hot chocolate and marshmallows to follow will have you
feeling like a kid again.
Take a Trip: Plan a trip to a sunny locale. A Caribbean vacation
would surely do the trick but if a tropical get-away isn't in the financial
cards, consider a day-trip to a spa, indoor water park or even a botanic
garden. A few hours of warm fun can recharge the batteries and remind you that
winter will eventually end.
Think Spring: Take a tip from a gardener and begin thinking about spring
now. Start cultivating your garden indoors with seeds; watching slender seedlings
sprout is a cheerful reminder that spring is around the corner.
read Real Simple's How Do You Beat the Winter Blahs? with pick-me up suggestions ranging from visiting your local duck pond to
How do you beat the winter blahs? Share your
thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.
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.