October 2011 - Posts

First Class Coaching
Monday, October 24, 2011 9:22 PM
Coaching, a segment of the personal development and training industry, has exploded in popularity over the last decade. Once the province of the CEO-set, coaching has gone mainstream and is now widely in use by all segments of the professional workforce...
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Stress Less: Seven Simple Steps to Cut Stress
Monday, October 24, 2011 8:35 PM
Visit the self-help section of any bookstore and shelves and shelves of weighty books offer tips on stress busting. Does eliminating stress really require reading a book that could double as a door stop? We don't think so. In the interest of doing...
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Organizing Your Kitchen for Wellness
Monday, October 24, 2011 8:17 PM
Think adopting a healthier diet or lifestyle is just about willpower? Think again. A well organized kitchen can play an enormous role in wellness and crafting a healthy diet. Ready to commit to a kitchen reorg that will pay dividends both in organization...
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Say Good Bye to Digital Clutter
Thursday, October 20, 2011 4:11 PM

Clutter, even digital clutter, causes stress and decreases productivity. Take a good long look at your computer desktop. Is it clogged with icons? Are e-files haphazardly stored? Is your computer sluggish? If so, it's time to declutter your desktop.

Purge Please

Tossing what isn't needed is Organization 101. So get ready to delete unused short cuts, icons and files. Ditto for those RSS feeds and e-mail newsletters that once seemed like must-reads and now serve as in-box dead-weight. Not sure if something should be consigned to the trash? Create a folder to store those items for a later review.

Streamline

Once you've taken time to unsubscribe from unneeded e-mails and delete unnecessary files, it's time to streamline what remains. Be creative in tailoring a solution for your needs. You can opt to go icon free altogether (yes! it's possible!) or move to a system that uses folders delineating status to store and organize desktop functions.

  • Microsoft offers useful tutorials on organizing your computer files, backing up important files and cleaning out your email. Click here  for more.
  • Free icon organizing programs such as Stardock's Fences  can arrange your desktop icons into containers so you can move your mess into useful groups of shortcuts-or hide them altogether.
  • Consider creating master folders that house your documents using whatever organizing principle best suits your needs. Read How to Organize Your Cluttered Desktop and Regain Your Sanity to learn about an organizing method based on principles espoused in the book Getting Things Done by productivity-guru David Allen. Even if these principles don't jell with you, the article provides a useful framework for thinking about how to use organizing principles to tame your files

 

Aim for Zen

 Virtual clutter can be easier to deal with than physical piles (no need to worry about recycling or shredding) but taming clutter, virtual or otherwise, requires discipline.

Once you've established a system to conquer clutter, set aside time to maintain it. Looking for inspiration to get started? Read the Zen of Tech: 12 Powerful Ways to Keep Your Online Life Simple and Peaceful for a reminder that hi-tech can be managed simply.

Declutter your desktop and unleash your inner Zen.

How do you keep your desktop a clutter-free zone?  Share your thoughts here!

 

 

 

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The Best Way to Spend 20 Extra Minutes
Friday, October 14, 2011 2:54 PM

When was the last time you heard someone complain about having too much time on their hands? Between juggling work, family and other important commitments (sleep anyone?), every minute of the day is generally booked solid.

But every now and again, an extra 15 or 20 minutes pops up. Skeptical about how much can be accomplished in a mere quarter of an hour? Read on for some tips about maximizing even small chunks of time.

Get Fit: Exercise is the perfect activity to squeeze into short chunks of time.  Numerous exercises can be done in just a few short minutes.  We like The 20-Minute Workout options from Real Simple and the inspiration provided by WebMD's article, 15 Minutes of Exercise Every Day Reduces Risk of Death. 

Get Food: Fresh, healthy delicious meals can easily be whipped up in less than 20 minutes. True, you need to prep with shopping ahead of time, but a big Sunday shop and 20 minutes each night will have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night of the week. Rachel Ray makes it easy with a selection of 15-Minute Meals  and for those who want fast and foodie, check out what gourmet food site Epicurious.com  has to say in Dinner in 5-Minutes: Fact or Fiction? 

Get a Good Book: No time to read? Portable technology like the iPad and Kindle make downloading a book a snap whenever you have a minute. Make the most of your commute or the wait at the doctor's office or DMV. Go ahead, feed your brain. Visit eBooks best-seller list for ideas.

Get Happy: Instantly improve your mood with Real Simple's list of 9 Things You Can Do to Be Happy in the Next 30 Minutes. Many of these are common sense-take a walk outside, stretch-but others are a bit out of the box such as doing a good deed for others by becoming an organ donor.

Get Busy: Productivity blogger PicktheBrain.com  doesn't like to waste a minute: check out 20 Useful Things You Can Accomplish in 15 Minutes for productive uses of short periods of time. Ideas include: networking, blogging, talking to a friend, researching and taking the time to eat slowly and savor a snack.

Think you're too busy to find even an extra 20 minutes in your day? Time to study some of our past posts on time-management  and organization. You'll be happy you did!

What would you do with an extra 20 minutes? Share your thoughts here!

 

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Transition Your Look from Dorm Room Chic to Desk Job Polished
Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:51 PM

Think you know how to dress for work? You may be surprised to learn that your attire could be sending the wrong signal.

The rise of the casual Friday culture has made dressing for work more prone to missteps. Dress down days not only ushered in khakis and collared shirts in lieu of suits; the trend towards casual also unleashed a host of fashion mishaps.

The biggest faux pas? Flip flops, sloppy tee shirts, hoodies and tight clothes better suited to a night on the town than to a day at a desk. Need help transitioning your look from dorm room chic to desk job polished? Read on for dos and don'ts that will help you be taken seriously by higher ups and clients.

Polished, Not Provocative

Let's begin with what's easy. To be taken seriously, you need to dress seriously. A polished, professional look is a must when advancing up the career ladder.

Different workplaces have different dress codes so there is no one-size fits all solution. Take a look around you at work and emulate the dress style of those at the top. A jacket and tie isn't always required but take care to be pressed and wrinkle free.

Hair should be well-groomed, make-up understated. Not sure how to duplicate the look you see in the corner office? Many department stores have personal shoppers who can provide advice. While you can't judge a book by its cover, the reality is that appearance matters in the workplace. Take care to look the part.

For a clearer picture of what works (and what doesn't) visit these links:

How do you walk the line between casual and professional? What are fashion dos and don'ts in your industry or work place? Share your thoughts here!

 

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Making the Most of Mondays
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 2:48 PM

Tired of dreading Monday? We hear you. Stop singing the Monday Blues and instead embrace the week's fresh start with our simple steps for making the most of your Monday.

Aim for Progress, Not Perfection: Begin each week by adopting a very simple formula: aim for progress, not perfection. Don't look at the entire scope of work for the week and think, "ugh, I'm overwhelmed." Look at what you need to do that day, or even that morning, and go task by task. Once you set the wheels in motion, momentum will carry you through the rest.

Self-Awareness Scheduling: Gretchen Rubin, the New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explores different ways of using scheduling tricks to combat the Monday Blahs in 5 Tips for Improving Monday Mornings. Rubin suggests that if hectic Monday mornings always create stress, try to opt for a Monday morning zone free of email, phone calls and meetings. Or schedule enticing Monday lunch dates or evening plans to make the day more appealing. Manage your schedule to make the most of your Monday.

Monday, Monday, So Good to Me: Make Monday a designated day for enjoyable activities. We like the feel good advice from web site Growing Happiness. In 20 Ways to Beat the Monday Blahs tips for combating the Monday Blues include scheduling calls with friends, treating yourself to a small gift (new pen, cool magnet, etc.) and making Monday, not Sunday, your day for a delicious breakfast treat such as pancakes.

How do you make the most of your Mondays? Share your thoughts here.

 

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Be an Energy Star: Tips for Operating at Peak Capacity
Thursday, October 06, 2011 8:56 PM

Want to hit the ground running each morning? How about enjoying enhanced productivity, greater energy levels and less stress? Be more energy efficient with these simple steps:

Sleep Smart: Get a full night of shut-eye. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Having trouble catching 40-winks? Read WebMD's Sleep Tips  for the 411 on sleep including avoiding alcohol and unplugging distracting lights in your room.

Snack Happy: Don't run on empty: refuel throughout the day with small, healthy snacks such as nuts and hummus and veggies. Read our past post Healthy Office Eating Made Easy for more ideas.

Simple Stretches: Studies show that productivity slumps after 90-minutes and too much sitting leads to muscle fatigue and discomfort. Reboot your productivity by getting the blood flowing with gentle desk stretches: feeling good equals performing well.

Take Breaks: Pace yourself, allowing blocks of downtime to refresh concentration and energy. Break projects into discrete portions and take breathers throughout. A fresh eye will often catch mistakes or allow for a new perspective.

Time Off: Prevent burnout with time off from work. Add a three day weekend to your schedule when you can and be sure to take longer vacation weeks when work allows. Burning the candle at both ends decreases productivity so make time to recharge and refresh.

How do you stay energized throughout the day? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

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Need a Portable Office? Consider the Sliding Cover Expanding File
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 8:46 PM

 

Digital nomads are increasingly setting up shop at the airport, library or the nearest Starbucks. When your office is a coffee shop, you need special tricks to keep work organized and equipment handy. Consider the Sliding Cover Expanding File: its expanding bottom provides extra capacity for corralling paperwork, notepads and pens and its secure elastic closure guarantees portability and security.



Digital nomads, aka freelancers or telecommuters, can also benefit from other must-have on-the-go tools including:

  • A cable power strip
  • Laptop
  • Wireless card
  • Pens and a pad
  • Post-it notes

Savvy nomads will note all of the above items save the laptop can fit in your Sliding Cover Expanding File. See? We told you it would come in handy.

For more on digital nomadism, tips for working on the go, and for inspiration visit 10 Digital Nomad Blogs You'll Love.  Our favorite? Technosyncratic.

Are you a digital nomad? What must-have tools make your work-on-the-go lifestyle possible? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook or Twitter pages.

 

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Three Things Every Working Women Should Do
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 9:45 PM
As anyone with a mother, sister or girlfriend can tell you: women give great advice. During my career, I've made it a point to listen to women I admire and to share advice with others seeking mentoring. Advice is like heirloom silver, handled regularly...
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Organizing for the Weekend
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 8:43 PM

The days are growing shorter. Too bad your to-do list is still long. When the week evaporates at warp speed, work and chores too often encroach on the weekend. Find free time every weekend by managing your week days better. We've rounded up some smart advice that is sure to give you extra hours for weekend leisure pursuits.

25 Ways to Find Free Time: Huffington Post blogger Zen Habits offers numerous suggestions to carve out more time in the day. With 25 smart, simple solutions, one or two of them will surely stick. Ideas include: waking earlier, watching less TV, delegating, prioritizing and getting the kids to help out.

Find More Free Time This Fall: CBS Moneywatch.com contributor Sarah Lorge Butler too often finds her freelance work creeping into all her quote unquote free time, including holidays. Her solution? Practice self-discipline, manage expectations and be truthful about availability. This means no late night emails; send too many and you'll train your bosses and clients to think you are available at all hours.

Find Time for Fun:  NYT best-seller Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, finds more time for fun by being true to herself. Rubin recommends jettisoning those activities that ought to be fun such as jogging, learning French, reading the New Yorker, etc. and doing the things that are actually fun for you.

Too often people spend time on aspirational activities, things people think they are supposed to do and enjoy, rather than activities that are truly fun for them. So say goodbye to stacks of unread Sunday papers, and hello to the novel you've been dying to read. Master the fine art of saying no...to yourself. Voila! More time; less guilt.

How do you find time for leisure pursuits and downtime? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

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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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