December 2011 - Posts

Boosting Willpower: Is It Possible?
Monday, December 19, 2011 7:51 PM

The fall and winter holidays test willpower like nobody's business. No sooner has the last piece of Halloween candy been consumed than we succumb to stuffing-and-pumpkin-pie season. And it's a mere blink between that last bite of turkey and the first candy cane. Next up, eggnog, hot chocolate and New Year's champagne. Do you think it's possible to boost one's willpower before the chocolate Easter eggs and jelly beans start rolling out?

Experts are divided on whether willpower is fixed and limited, dictated by biology and our brain's hard-wiring, or if willpower is self-renewing, capable of being increased through consistent application and hard work.

We're no experts, but we like the findings of a recent New York Times article Willpower: It's in Your Head  which concludes that willpower is only limited if you believe it is so. When people believe that willpower is self-renewing, that hard work provides energy to work even harder and that resisting one temptation makes resisting the next even easier, we see that boosting willpower is possible.

Ready to get started? We like the advice in How to Boost Your Willpower. 

Tips include:

  • Think of willpower as a mental muscle, avoid physical and mental forces that weaken it and look for chances to exercise and strengthen self-control.
  • Keep glucose levels at an even keel. Low glucose levels weaken control and can lead to binges.
  • Laughter and positive thoughts are clinically proven to help increase self-control. Happy hormones build willpower so practice positive thinking.
  • Start small, with easy to master tasks that improve self-control gradually, in order to strengthen willpower for bigger challenges.

 

Do you agree that willpower can be strengthened with practice and mind over matter? What are your favorite tricks for exerting willpower? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Write a Better To-Do List
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:53 PM

Making a list, checking it twice. Santa isn't the only one with a long to-do list this time of year. Make the most of your to-do lists this holiday season, and throughout the year, with our tips for a better, more effective list making.

All You Need to Know: We love the advice in How to Write an Effective to-Do List. From advanced planning, to color-coding, to what not to include, this article has virtually everything aspiring list makers need to know. Follow the advice here and you'll be ticking off the to-do items lickety split.

Get Real, Get Bite-Sized: Get smart with the savvy advice in Work Smart: How to Write a To-Do List. First, don't clog your list with goals, stick to action items. Putting "learn French" on your to-do list doesn't work. Instead, create realistic action items by putting "sign up for French lessons" and "get French DVDS" on the checklist. Break tasks down into small blocks, so that "write 50-page report" becomes "brainstorm ideas for report" and "draft report outline." You get the idea.

Show Me The Way: Want to see an effective list? In To-Do Lists: The Key to Efficiency you can check out list templates and list-making software and apps. Who can resist an app with the name "Remember the Milk." Now that's an item on top of everyone's list!

Do you write effective to-lists and if so why do they work? What are your favorite tricks for crafting an effective list? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

 

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Creating and Handing Down Traditions
Thursday, December 08, 2011 7:49 PM

Looking to create a little family togetherness this holiday season? Nothing brings people together like celebrating beloved traditions, those special rituals that help shape your family and provide a sense of closeness. Your family may already have a rich history of traditions or you may be looking to add some treasured traditions to the mix.

Togetherness, All That's Needed

Traditions don't need to be extravagant or complicated to be special. The holidays offer the perfect opportunity to create simple, cherished memories. Consider picking a signature dish to serve annually: holiday cookies are fun to bake each December or a New Year's Eve fondue dinner is a festive annual tradition. Or choose an enjoyable outdoor activity to do year-in and year-out such as celebrating January 1st with an annual ice skate or ski run. Or enjoy a sunrise walk on the beach to watch the dawning of the New Year.

Keep in mind that family rituals are not just for the holidays. By establishing rituals that you do nightly or weekly, you begin to knit together a cohesive family identity. Rituals also transmit values to your children and provide a framework for learning, growing and establishing a set of values that can be taken into adulthood and used in their own families.

Simple family rituals can include:

  • Reading a bedtime story each night
  • Family dinner, either nightly or on set days
  • Special Sunday morning breakfasts with a signature dish
  • Family game night
  • Choosing a signature birthday cake to share for all birthdays

For more ideas, read Family Traditions: 10 Ideas To Get You Started. 

How do you nurture family traditions? What favorite holiday tradition always puts a smile on your face? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Talking Turkey: How to Work Charitable Giving into the Holidays
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 7:46 PM

Chances are your Thanksgiving table was groaning with goodies, leaving plenty of leftovers to tide you over for the weekend. For countless of Americans who rely on food banks for their meals, turkeys were in short supply this year. Donations to food banks have been drying up, even as demand for their services increases.

This holiday season, as you count your many blessings, you may wish to share your good fortune with your fellow Americans who are down on their luck. We've rounded up a selection of national organizations that match volunteers to organizations in need.

Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." This holiday season make it a "wonderful life," by extending yourself to others.

VolunteerMatch: National non-profit that connects "good people and good causes." Volunteers can search by location, interest or ability; the organization serves both volunteers, organizations and corporate participants.

HandsOn Network:  The largest volunteer network in the nation; HandsOn includes a powerful network of more than 70,000 corporate, faith and nonprofit organizations. Annually, the network delivers approximately 30 million hours of volunteer service.  

Feeding America:  Non-profit leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Helps feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks.

Do you have a favorite charity you support at the holidays? How do you work volunteering into your holiday calendar? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Best Business Gifts
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 7:43 PM

'Tis the season for holiday gifting at the office. Making a list and checking it twice just got a whole lot easier with our round-up of ideas from across the web.

Something for Everyone: Clients, colleagues, your CEO, your recipient list is long and varied. No worries, 7 Great Gifts for Everyone on Your Business Gift List  has you covered. From wine, to caramels, to customized business books, this list offers fun, festive ideas for all. Time to get wrapping.

Go Green: For your green work colleagues, personal carbon offsets:  and as a bonus, no gift wrap required, making this gift even more ecco-friendly.

Travel Sized: Know a road warrior or two? Gifts including a portable power charging mat and polycarbonate luggage will make braving the airlines, not to mention the TSA, a whole lot more palatable. For more ideas, read   The Best Gifts for Road Warriors and Practical Traveler: Gifts for the Compact Traveler. 

Tech Toys: Your officemates know a thing or two about technology. Make their year with one of these latest devices. For the latest and greatest gadgets, check out 2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Hot Tech Toys. 

'Tis a Gift to be Simple: Gifts don't need to be pricey to be thoughtful. Gift cards to Starbucks or popular lunch spots always come in handy. Or consider giving that most priceless gift: time. Giving your administrative assistant or members of your team a paid day off will garner major gratitude.

What gift item tops your giving list this year? Do you have any sure-fire gifts? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Tackling Unpleasant Tasks: Without Delay is the Easiest Way
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 7:40 PM

When faced with an unpleasant task do you 1) procrastinate, 2) secretly hope it'll go away or 3) tackle it head on?

You probably already know that tackling a tough task head on makes the most sense: procrastinating only puts off the inevitable. But you might not realize that crossing a dreaded task off your list early in the day makes moving thorough your remaining to-do list easier and faster. Studies show that confidence and enthusiasm is generated by completing difficult tasks.

Need advice for tackling those tough tasks first thing? We like the advice from New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin who says that "without delay is the easiest way" when a tough task looms. Other tips include facing unpleasant tasks first thing in the morning or using the buddy system. Read 7 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination  for more.

Other tips for dealing with tough tasks include:

  • Set aside fear of failure and just get going
  • Break the task into short chunks and tick them off one by one
  • Minimize distractions by turning off your phone, email or by closing the door
  • Motivate yourself to dive in. Small rewards-a cup of coffee, 15 minutes browsing online-can entice you to make progress

How do you tackle tough tasks? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Combating the Midday Slump by Starting Early
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 7:33 PM

Does 3pm find you yawning and in search of caffeine? Combat the midday slump before you even get to work with these tips. Your afternoons are about to get a lot more productive.

Forty Winks: Early to bed, early rise, you know the drill. Going to bed at a consistent time and getting a solid night's sleep is crucial for operating at peak capacity. Experts recommend adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

Breakfast of Champions: There's a reason we tell our kids to eat breakfast; a healthy meal to start the day fuels the body all day long so stave off the afternoon yawns by beginning with a hearty breakfast. Ideas include:

  • A bowl of cereal with skim milk and a glass of juice or piece of fresh fruit
  • Two slices of toast with peanut butter and a banana
  • An English muffin topped with a scrambled egg and a slice of low-fat cheese

For more ideas, read 9 Fast, Healthy Breakfast Ideas.

Pack a Snack: Be sure to head out the door equipped with healthy snacks for refueling throughout the day. Having healthy snacks readily on hand can prevent binges at the vending machine or the conference room pastry plate. We have healthy snack ideas for every eater to get you started: 8 Healthy Office Snacks.

How do you combat the midday slump? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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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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