April 2011 - Posts

Spring Cleaning: Not Just for Home
Friday, April 29, 2011 2:37 PM

Think spring cleaning is just for the home? Look around your work space. Is it shipshape or in sorry shape? After a long winter, many of us need to refresh our offices with a good spring cleaning.

Ready, Set, Spring

Toss: Spring time is a period of renewal, so get ready for "out with the old, in with the new." It's time to toss: good-bye old newspapers, magazines, coffee cups, unused office accessories and clutter. Take out the shredder and give your desktop pile and cabinet files a thorough onceover. Shred what's not needed.

Clean Slate:  Give your desk a spring make-over. Take everything off, creating a clean, blank slate. Move personal items such as framed photos or children's arts and crafts to your shelves. Consider adding new pencil holders or attractive desk accessories. Little changes can transform your office ambiance.

Purge Drawers: Organize your desk drawers, tossing unnecessary items and grouping like supplies (i.e. post-it-notes, pens, staples) together. Go drawer, by drawer, until your desk is in tip top shape.

One and Only: Keep office supplies in one drawer only. Buy a dozen of your favorite, inexpensive pens and keep them in a tray in the drawer. Store back-up supplies in a clear storage box. And say no to junk; free cups and pens and other free giveaways are distracting clutter.

Purge Post-Its: Use post-its sparingly, so they catch your eye, not obscure your monitor. For a running to-do list, keep a notebook by the phone. Jot down phone messages or notes here.

Weed Piles & Files: If you're a piler, try to move them off the desktop and onto a side table. Desks should have no more than a three tier in-box: one slot holds items not yet reviewed, one for items "on hold" that you have reviewed and need to act upon soon and a third for items needed on a daily basis over the short term. Documents not falling into one of these categories should be filed permanently or tossed.

Keep At It: Once your desk and office are squeaky clean, keep things shipshape with a nightly ten minute spruce up. Make a clean sweep each night, tossing trash, sorting paperwork and readying must-have-documents for the next day.

Do you give your office space a spring cleaning? Do you have any tips or strategies for keeping your workspace in top shape? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Carly Fadako

 

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When It’s Time to Move Jobs
Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:33 PM

Gone are the days when employees spent their entire work life at one job, retiring with a gold pocket watch. In today's work world, it's not uncommon to change jobs, or even careers, repeatedly.

People move jobs for all types of reasons: money, desire for new challenges, boredom, and bad bosses. Knowing when it's time for a change is tricky. In today's uncertain economy, a job in hand is not to be taken lightly. So how do you know when it's time to go?

We've assembled some resources that can help determine if it's time to pound the pavement, resume in hand. Take these Q & A's and see if you're ready to move on:

Before You Go

Once a move is in the works, set yourself up for a seamless transition by following the advice in these resources:

Finally, take pains to leave your current job on a good note. We like the advice in USA Today's How to Leave a Job Properly. 

How do you know when it's time to switch jobs? Do you have any tips or strategies for leaving on a good note? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris

 

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Spring Fever: Time to Renew Those Resolutions
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:37 PM

If you are like most Americans, you went into the New Year armed with well-intentioned resolutions only to have your motivation fizzle out during the winter doldrums. Now, it's time to renew those resolutions. After all, spring is the perfect season for succeeding at many of the most popular resolutions.

Lose Weight: Whether it's dropping a few pounds or dropping several dress sizes, losing weight consistently ranks among the top New Year's resolutions. Take advantage of fresh spring produce to whittle your waistline. Healthy eats such as asparagus and beets are front and center this time of year along with delicious treats such as tangerines and strawberries. For more low cal, high nutrient dishes visit Fitness.com. 

Exercise: Take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather to walk, run, swim or bike your way to better health. The user-friendly advice from Prevention.com, arms you with everything from tips on stretching to gear to workouts; you'll be out and about and fitter in no time.

Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle: Whether it's the desire to kick cigarettes or alcohol or merely to adopt healthier habits such as an "early to bed, early to rise" lifestyle, spring is a time of rejuvenation. Reboot your circadian rhythms to promote energy and decrease stress and replace unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption with healthy alternatives. Think about reaching for a picnic basket for al fresco dining after a tough day of work, rather than a cigarette. Replace unhealthy habits with healthy stress busters. Read on for healthy, fun spring activities that can help give bad habits the boot. C'mon, you can do it!

Save Money: Who doesn't want to squeeze value out of every dollar?  Spring is the perfect time to get more bang for your buck. Vacation getaways are more wallet-friendly as the end of Easter marks the start of discounted vacation packages in warm weather getaways like the Caribbean. And think long-term: refinance your mortgage before rates head up this summer and if you received a tax refund, adjust tax withholding to ensure that more money is in your paycheck each month, rather than going to Uncle Sam.

Get Organized: At Pendaflex, we are advocates of year-round spring cleaning but spring is a great time to double your efforts. Swap out winter clothes and gear for warm weather goods and be sure to donate or recycle items no longer in use. Purge your paperwork and piles while you're at it. A lighter load around the house translates to a freer mind. Declutter to destress!

How are your New Year's resolutions holding up? Will spring's season of renewal restore your resolution motivation? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris

 

 

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Tech Talk: New Tools to Get You Organized
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 9:56 PM

 Still just using your iPad for Angry Birds? Take a break from that most addictive of pastimes for a quick productivity update.

Bigger, Faster

The latest iPad 2 boasts a larger screen and faster processor, making switching from apps zippier than ever. Put that processor to good use with productivity apps such as 2DO and Reeder which streamlines RSS feeds for the iPad. For more ideas read The iPad 2: Ten Best Productivity Uses. 

iPhone Fabulous

Did you know women prefer iPhones to any other brand of smartphone? When we read Top8 iPhone Apps for Busy Women we can see why. Productivity apps ranging from Snapp!,  a rolodex-like app to Dropbox,  an app which lets users store 2GB of data, free are major productivity enhancers. And then there is the iPeriod, an app that tracks menstrual cycles.

 

Cloudy With A Chance of Productivity

Cloud computing is getting more air time, with Amazon.com's recent announcement  that it is rolling out Amazon Cloud Drive an online media locker that allows users to store and stream media from any computer, anywhere. Take advantage of Cloud technology with the free storage apps featured in Top 5 Free Cloud Storage Options. 

 

What's your favorite tech tool? What app can't you live without? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 by Carly Fadako

 

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Knowing When It’s Time for a Change
Monday, April 25, 2011 9:53 PM

Turn on CNN and the news is full of world leaders who didn't get the message: change is afoot. From Hosni Mubarak to Muammar el-Qaddaffi, world leaders are waking up to their people in the streets, demanding change.

What lesson can business leaders derive from current world events other than autocrats never win; they eventually lose their stranglehold on power? According to Washington Post columnist and leadership consultant John Baldoni, strong leaders, unlike autocrats, know when it's time to change.

Baldoni defines strong leaders as individuals that are "open to alternate points of view and are willing to act on those points of view if they believe change is necessary."

The Times They Are a Changin'

So when to say when to the status quo and yes to change? Change management gurus use an acronym-ADKAR- to define the various stages of change: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. ADKAR promotes successful and lasting transformation.

  • Awareness - This is recognizing the need for change.
  • Desire - Who needs to participate in the change?
  • Knowledge - Who has the knowledge to guide the change?
  • Ability - Who will implement skill sets and change behaviors?
  • Reinforcement - Who will lay the foundation for change initially and for the future?

Awareness, the first stage, is critical. Without awareness, change never gets off the starting blocks. To help nurture awareness, experts recommend listing the reasons why change is necessary. Next, leaders need to communicate this awareness throughout the organization. Awareness must be shared to be successful. Nobody works with mind-readers so get ready to transmit your vision for change with your staff and organization through one-on-one meetings, department meetings, interviews, surveys, brainstorming sessions, meeting agendas, etc. 

When building awareness of the need for change, the communicator is as important as the message. Studies show employees prefer two communicators:

  • CEO or business executive
  • Direct supervisor

Communication is a two-way street so use these sessions to solicit feedback by asking pointed questions. For example, rather than asking "what needs to be changed?" ask "how can we increase sales by spending X dollars?"  Targeted questions will produce answers that illustrate the need for change in the organization.

Finally, remember in all things be patient. Change won't happen overnight. Creating and spreading awareness takes time; allow awareness to firmly take hold before tackling the next phase of ADKAR.

Have you helped lead your organization through change? Do you have any tips or strategies for effecting long-lasting change? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers

 

 

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Celebrate Administrative Professionals Week
Monday, April 25, 2011 2:42 PM

Administrative professionals keep the business world humming. So this April 24-30, take time to celebrate Administrative Professionals Week with gestures as simple as a "thank you" card and as meaningful as offering tuition reimbursement for professional development coursework.

Did you know that there are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles? These numbers from the Department of Labor underscore the fact that office professionals represent a significant bloc of workers in the economy. This April take time to recognize their vital contributions to the work world.

According to industry group IAAP (International Association of Industry Professionals), administrative support personnel prefer recognition coupled with opportunities for learning and growth. Ideas include:

  • Tuition reimbursement for college and graduate classes
  • Membership and participation in professional organizations
  • Reimbursement for online training programs
  • Registration for conferences, seminars, and continuing education workshops
  • Attainment of professional certification such as IAAP's Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) programs
  • Gift of business-related items, such as personalized business cards, desktop name-plate, gift certificate, ergonomically correct accessories, computer hardware/software upgrade
  • Monetary bonuses are always welcome!

Does your office do anything special to celebrate Administrative Professionals Week? What is the most meaningful recognition you've received for your contributions as an office professional? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

 

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Eye on Sustainability: Going Green, Saving Green
Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:42 PM
Who doesn't want a little extra green in their wallet at the end of the month? This April, celebrate Earth Day, by going green to save some green. Follow these simple tips for doing well by doing good. Think Reusable: Stop spending money on items...
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Eye on Sustainability: Greening Your Home
Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:40 PM
Earth Day is April 22 but going green year round makes environmental sense. Worried that being earth-friendly means growing your own food or going solar? Put aside that all-or-nothing way of thinking and read on for easy tips on going green, right in...
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Eye on Sustainability: Creating Wellness Programs
Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:39 PM
Want more productive employees and less absenteeism? How about greater workplace efficiencies and reduced long-term health care costs? Invest in a wellness program now and reap the benefits of a happier, healthier workforce. Programs Needn't be Costly...
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Eye on Sustainability: Greening Your Workspace
Thursday, April 14, 2011 5:37 PM
Sustainability might well be the watchword of 2011. Wal-Mart is going organic, the White House is lit with CFL bulbs and even the 2011 Super Bowl was "carbon neutral" thanks to NFL offsets of renewable energy purchases. The "greening"...
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Making Better Use of Longer Days
Thursday, April 14, 2011 3:55 PM

Halleluiah, winter is at long last giving way to spring. The days are getting longer; are you putting the extra hours to good use?

For most of us, time-management is a constant juggle. No matter how clever, no matter how industrious, one cannot actually create more time. One can only try to make more effective use of the 24/7 we are all allotted.

High Tech Help

Happily technology can help us make better use of time. We recently stumbled across a wonderful round up of time-management tools, ranging from the who-would-have-thunk-it? to the have-to-have. Check out 15 Time Management Gadgets You Never Knew Existed  or tools including a time-is-money clock that calculates the cost of the time you spend on certain activities, to a color-coded time-tracker and clock geared towards kids. The list also includes useful apps for iPads and iPhones as well as Google gadgets for use on Android operating systems.

Best Practices

Not all time-management tricks require high tech tools. In fact one standard bit of advice from the experts is to schedule a "tech free" hour of your day. This email/text/cell phone free block can be used to power through work requiring concentration and attention to detail, which are often derailed by the ping of an incoming email or the buzz of a text.

For more simple solutions for making the best use of your time, read Three Tips for Managing Your Time at Work. 

Making the Most of Minutes

Squeezing extra hours out of a jam-packed day isn't always feasible. If minutes are all you've got, you can still spend them wisely. Read 20 Productive Ways To Use Your Free Time for ideas for optimizing time blocks as short as five minutes including quick bursts of sit-ups or networking emails.

The Art of Me Time

Finally, remember that effective time-management is not just about creating extra hours to fill with to-do lists and work, but rather carving out time for family and friends, relaxation and self-expression. Read 10 Ways to Take Time Out for Yourself  for tips on adding "me time" to your longer days.

How do you make effective use of spring's longer days? Do you have any tips for maximizing me time? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris

 

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Part-Time Employee, Full-Time Boundaries
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 3:53 PM

Nearly 20 million workers in the U.S. punch the clock part-time. A large portion of this part-time workforce is composed of women. For moms of young children or women acting as care-givers for elderly parents, part-time work holds the allure of a paycheck and time to tend the fire on the home-front.

But when happens when work fires need to be out? Or when your boss puts you on their speed dial 24/7? Successful part-time employees make use of five strategies for setting boundaries:

Communication & Clarity: Communication is key. Employees need to clearly communicate their life-work priorities and schedules. Likewise, companies need to be clear upfront about the requirements of a specific role. When both parties are unambiguous and in sync, there is less likelihood that either party will feel taken advantage of.

Make the Case: Employees need to make the case for part-time work, helping companies see the bottom-line return of part-time roles. Employers will be more fully committed to making part-time roles work when they understand their value.

Master Time-Management: By definition, part-time employees have fewer hours to get the job done. Prioritization and productivity need to be your twin watch-words. If you drill down and get the job done at work, there is less chance of it bleeding over into your downtime at home.

Develop Allies: Smart part-time employees recognize the value of mentors and allies who can advocate for their work, especially in their absence. Be sure to continually educate your advocates about your role and your contributions.

Evangelize: Keep your work colleagues abreast of your work and contributions as well. If your peers understand your contributions, they will know you're pulling your weight. Take pains to cultivate harmonious work relationships, going the extra mile on your days on will pay dividends in good will for your days off.

How do you keep work from encroaching on your days off? Do you have any tips for establishing boundaries as a part-time employee? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Carly Fadako

 

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Carrots or Sticks. What Really Motivates You? Updated 2011.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:47 PM

When a deadline looms what gets your nose to the grindstone? Is it: A) the treat you promised yourself for a job well done, B) fear of the missed deadline's consequences, C) innate desire to master the task or D) all of the above?

Will it surprise you to learn there is no right answer? Experts agree that they cannot agree on what truly motivates an individual to achieve success or goals, be it weight loss or career advancement. Different tools and motivations work for different people at different times. We've gathered some interesting new reading on the matter of motivation. Read on and see which method clicks for you.

Carrots & Sticks

If you're in the carrots and sticks camp, you're a believer in incentives and rewards-carrots-balanced with punishments-sticks-for failure. Yale professor Ian Ayres, author of Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done, posits that "commitment contracts" can steer individuals to success by offering reward or punishments. Ayres crafts his academic outlook into an actionable, free web site that let's others in on the action. Visit www.stickk.com to get started on successful goal-setting.

Drive

Author and speaker Dan Pink has made motivation his business. In his best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink argues that carrots and sticks are "so last century." Pink argues that while carrots and sticks can produce change, that in today's complex world they aren't enough to inspire creativity and transformation. Tapping into our drive-our innate desire to direct our own lives, experience autonomy and to connect to something that matters and inspires-produces the most meaningful change.

For more on Dan Pink, view his lively, engaging remarks at TED Talks here. 

 

How do you motivate yourself? Do you have any tips or strategies for long-lasting change or short-term motivation? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers

 

 

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Optimizing Facebook: What-Not-To-Do
Thursday, April 07, 2011 3:44 PM

Facebook recently overhauled its brand, or business, pages, adding increased functionality and an updated design. Now, more than ever brands and businesses should be staking their claim on the social media platform. In a three-part series of posts about optimizing Facebook for business, we've looked at how to get a business page up and running and steps to drive traffic and engage your user base. Today's post takes a look at what-not-not-to-do as a brand.

Don't Let This Be You

Page, Not Profile: Experts agree that a classic mistake many businesses, particularly small businesses, make is to launch a Facebook profile rather than a business page. Doing so limits the ability to attract users (profiles are capped at 5,000 friends, pages are unlimited), offers limited functionality and analytics and prevents your Facebook identity from benefiting from search engine optimization. Facebook has designed individual user profiles to offer a modicum of privacy, in contrast, brands and businesses want to be found on Facebook during online searches so should opt for a "page" identity which can be found through search.

Engage Users, Don't Spam Them: Too many businesses fail to establish a plan for consistent, compelling communication or neglect to be responsive to their users. Facebook is a social media platform, anyone on it, including businesses, should be prepared to interact regularly and be responsive to posts from users. Establishing a consistent communication schedule helps prevent a page from withering from inattention. Likewise, be sensitive to spamming your users with a barrage of marketing materials or a hard sell. Do you enjoy cocktail party interactions where people entertain you with interesting or funny stories and offer wonderful advice and unsolicited treats? Or do you prefer interactions where people spend the entire party yammering about their interests, failing to ask you questions and trying to persuade you to buy their used car? Enough said.

Boring? Argumentative? No Thanks: Facebook is a conversation and smart communicators know that boring or arguing with people generally reaps negative outcomes. Keep your Facebook page fresh with engaging, relevant content, contests and giveaways. Posting the same-old, same-old will turn users off. The more people stop interacting with your page, the lower you will sink in Facebook measurement metrics, thus your own postings will rank lower on your users feeds. And take a lesson from mega brand Nestle, which got into a postings spat with some Facebook users.  Remember, Facebook is about making friends, not enemies.

For more ideas of errors worth avoiding, read 6 Things NOT to Do On Facebook As a Brand. And to close, we leave you with more inspiration of businesses doing it right: 20 Awesome Facebook Fan Pages. 

Have you had any bumps along the road with your Facebook efforts? Have any what-not-to-do advice to share? Post your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris

 

 

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Optimizing Facebook: Getting “Liked” Online
Wednesday, April 06, 2011 3:39 PM

Remember Sally Fields famous "You like me, you really like me!" Oscar acceptance speech?  The speech lives on as one of Oscar's most endearing because we all could relate: who doesn't want to be liked? In today's global economy being "likeable" is now a crucial business proposition.

In our most recent post, we provided resources to get a Facebook business page up and running. Now we've assembled a list of resources to drive fans and traffic to your Facebook page again and again.

5 Tips for Optimizing Your Brand's Facebook Presence.  Includes information on creating the perfect profile picture and why establishing a publication schedule for Facebook content keeps users engaged and coming back for more.

Optimizing Facebook's News Feed to Get More "Likes."  Tips from a social media marketing expert including posting early in the morning for increased views and stragetgies for capitalizing on Facebook's new product launches which are more likely to crop up in user news feeds.

Optimizing Facebook Status Updates for Local Marketing.  Terrific post about "tagging" status updates with links to related Facebook content to increase traffic exponentially.

How we Got to 40,301 Fans in 4 Days.  Who wouldn't want to go from zero to more than 40,000 in less than a week? Great piece on strategies such as why running ads asking fans to "like you" pays huge dividends and why creating an incentivized "like" page is an absolute must.

Finally, don't overlook easy steps such as adding a Facebook icon to your web site and any emails you send. Keep in mind, it's possible to connect your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts so posts are shared across the three platforms simultaneously. Of course, this only makes sense if you have a separation of church and state between your personal and business accounts. You won't want to be sharing personal posts across business platforms.

Before signing off, we leave you with an article on Facebook fan pages doing it right, assembled by well-regarded social media and marketing consultant Chris Brogan.  Check out the post for ideas of what works. 

Have you helped your business create a Facebook page? Do you have any tips for driving Facebook traffic? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Candie Harris

 

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About Beyond Folders™

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.

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