August 2012 - Posts

Color Code Your World
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 7:46 PM

Saturated summer sunsets have got us thinking, is it possible to interject color elsewhere in our world? Regular readers will know we love a color-coded file. Our past post, Crack the Color Code: Tips for Better Filing shows how easy, breezy filing can be when you commit to color coding. We went in search of other ways to incorporate color coding into our daily life and we found a number of colorful ways to bring order (and zest!) to our days.

Color Coded Clothes: Want an answer to the "what to wear?" dilemma you face daily? Consider color coding your closet. Not only is it easier to find your clothing, you'll get a happy charge every time you open the door to see a Crayola Crayon box of options. Read How to Color Code Your Wardrobe  for tips and feast on this visual eye-candy  for inspiration.

Bright Bookshelves: Adios Dewy Decimal System,  we're organizing our books by color! While alphabetizing works best for libraries, at home you have more freedom, so consider expressing your inner  Mondrian  by color-blocking your bookshelves. Visual thinkers may find the color code helps them locate books more effectively and man, does it look great! 

Color Coded Kids: Have a big household? Consider color coding your kids for easier organization. By assigning each child a color, and using it for common household items such as towels, toothbrushes, and laundry baskets, busy parents can tell at a glance who is keeping up with chores and who needs a gentle reminder to return their items to their rightful spots. Read How to Color Code Life with Kids for more helpful ideas. 

Easier Studying: Make studying and schoolwork easier by incorporating color coding. We like the advice in Organize Your Homework with Color Coded Supplies and older students who need to writie reports and papers will benefit from the tips in 5 Ways to Use Color Coded Index Cards. 

Color Code Email: Optimize your email productivity with color coding. Did you know that Gmail lets you apply color filters to specific emails? You can assign a color to a specific sender (or topic) making it easy to see at a glance what type of emails need your attention. Check out the Gmail blog  for more helpful tips on color coding your emails.

Do you organize by color? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

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Organizing Eye-Candy: To-Do Lists To Die For
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 7:41 PM

There are two kinds of people. Those who love a to-do list, and those who don't. We're firmly in the to-do list camp: Nothing makes us happier than getting from to-do, to done.

If you are a fellow list lover, you won't want to miss the organizing eye-candy we've rounded up. Who doesn't love a little pizzazz with their productivity?

Mad for the Pad

Classic: Billed as a "stylish reinterpretation of a stressed-out classic," these to-do list pads from Knock Knock will have you knocking off those to-dos in no time flat. From a classic list to a packing list, there is something for everyone.

Sarcastic: Appreciate the tongue in cheek? You might enjoy the "Crap I Need to Do" pad or its sarcastic sister, "The Freakin' Never Ending To Do List." 

Renewable: This Etsy seller offers a downloadable PDF that lets you print and reprint the classic take on a to-do. And these stylish dry-erase boards let you organize your to-dos over and over again.

Digital: Not everyone loves paper. For you high-tech list lovers, check out the findings from ABC tech correspondent Joann Sterna. She examines three popular digital to-do list apps and favors Wunderlist  over Remember the Milk and Astrid.  An attractive design and useful collaborative functions puts Wunderlist at the top of her list.

Finally, we leave you with something decidedly non-digital: this awesome chalkboard  from another creative Etsy seller which reads, "Keep Calm and Keep a List." Fabulous advice, fabulous chalkboard.

Happy list making!

What is your favorite, zippiest to-do list accessory? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

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Get the Summer Project Done!
Friday, August 17, 2012 7:33 PM

We know the beach beckons and your summer reads are calling you from the hammock. But the summer slowdown is the perfect time to squeeze in one of the organization projects that never seem to get done during the busy fall and winter months.

Summer has a few more weeks left, so time to get cracking. Come September, you'll be happy you did!

Getting Started

One and Done: Pick a project that will really and truly provide a sense of accomplishment. If you feel like you ought to clean your messy garage but would prefer to spend time sorting photos, go with the photos. Devote yourself to whatever project will provide the most gratification.

Limit Chaos: Ensure summer fun still stays on track by choosing projects in spaces that won't limit your ability to function. By tackling the spare room or attic first, you can use those newly organized spaces as a staging ground for future projects in high-traffic zones such as the kitchen or home office.

Bite-Sized Pieces: Plan carefully to make the project stress-free from start to finish. Plot out all steps: If you want to empty an attic, the first step might be tossing broken and outdated items, next, giving unneeded items to family members and then finally donating the rest to charity. Defining success before you dive in also helps you determine when a project is successfully completed.

Get Equipped: Carefully consider all your needs before launching a project and then stock up on needed tools. Filing projects require files, moving projects require boxes. Running out of hangers half-way through a closet reorg is as much fun as a rainy beach day.

Enlist Helpers: Many hands make for light work so enlist family and friends. Make the project fun (filing while listening to music!, garage cleaning with Popsicle breaks!) and you better your odds of getting helpers to pitch in.

Reward Yourself: Reward yourself for getting through your project and link your reward to your project if you can. Did you tame a cluttered guest room? Treat yourself to new throw pillows or a duvet cover. Did you tackle a mountain of paperwork? Reward yourself with new desk accessories. Print and frame all those family pictures? Host a BBQ to show off your new home décor.

Making August all about one major project betters your odds of getting it done. Who knows? The glow of accomplishment may even carry you through another project or two.

Do you have a major project in mind? What is the one area of the house you never seem to get to? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

 

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Productivity Myths
Thursday, August 16, 2012 7:30 PM

Optimizing productivity, and doing more with less, fuel our days at Pendaflex. So we were intrigued when we stumbled across the eye-catching title: Debunking Three Productivity Myths.  First bit of wisdom the article discredits: "Surfing the Internet is bad for productivity."  Given that our surfing turned up an eye-opening article that inspired this blog post, we'd have to agree: sometimes aimless surfing bears fruit.

What's more, the article cites a study that says that workers who take breaks to surf the web return to their tasks with greater focus and concentration.  Hmmm.  What other productivity myths may need to be reconsidered?

"Faster is better" and "You can catch up on work by eating at your desk," also come under fire. Turns out that better decision-making is linked careful, methodical thinking, not faster turn-around. Ditto taking time for lunch: short breaks refuel energy and decrease stress. Both are necessary for true, sustained productivity.

Looking to reexamine other common productivity claims? You'll enjoy 10 Productivity Myths that Hold You Back and 10 Productivity Myths

What productivity claim to you think is the biggest myth? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

 

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Touch it Only Once: Paper Organizing Tips to Live By
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 11:52 PM

Paper may eventually go the way of papyrus, but for now, it's here to stay. Paper bills, taxes, receipts, school work, business cards, not to mention, your overstuffed mailbox: dealing with paper is a part of the day-to-day. Tired of watching papers pile up? Read on for six tips for taming that paper tiger. 

The Circular File: Open mail over the trash. Discard junk mail, catalogs and envelopes. You'll be amazed at how much paper you cut out.

Buh-bye Unread Mags: Do you have magazine or newspaper subscriptions you never get around to reading? Put an end to the wishful thinking and cancel those items. Likewise, cancel the catalogs that fill up your mailbox. Online sites like catalogchoice.com will help you fend off unwanted catalogs. Watch your recycling pile shrink.

Create a Mail Station: Keep envelopes, stamps, pens and a checkbook handy in one central location so bills can be paid quickly, without building up. Consider going digital with as many bills as you can.

Once a Day: Just as you empty your sink of dirty dishes each day, commit to a daily review of incoming paper. By spending even a few minutes a day managing the paper flow, you ward off the massive paper pile ups that cause stress and disorganization.

Get a System: You don't need to have an OCD  filing system to successfully manage paper. Sometimes a system as simple as Act Now, File for Action Later This Week, and Archive is all that's needed. Just be sure to develop a system that doesn't have you hanging on to every slip of paper than enters your home.  Which brings us to our next tip...

Let Go: Not everything needs to be saved. Work hard to distinguish what's important from what's not. If you don't reconcile your ATM slips with your bank statements, why are you holding on to those paper slips? Are you truly keeping each piece of children's art? Choose a few to hang in a rotating art gallery in your kitchen and get rid of the rest. Not sure what to keep, what to purge? Our past post File or Toss? A Handy Guide for Assessing Your Paperwork helps you decide.

Do you have any tips or tricks for managing the paper flow? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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Piles to Smiles: the Psychological Benefits of Being Organized
Tuesday, August 07, 2012 11:48 PM

For many, organization means never fruitlessly searching for a crucial document that has somehow gone missing. But did you know that the benefits of being organized extend far beyond merely retrieving a slip of paper in a snap? Being organized can lead to a happier, more productive, and even longer life.

Yup, you read that right. Being organized can extend your life, posits Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, authors of The Longevity Project.  Martin and Friedman conclude that the key factor in living longer is "conscientiousness" which they define as being organized, responsible and thinking ahead.

The landmark study of 1,500 hundred people, spanning more than 90 years, concludes that the people who live longest:

§  Work hard. Successful careers and habitual engagement in "pursuing goals" were hallmarks of people with long lives.

§  Lead active lives. Time devoted to hobbies, leisure pursuits and enjoyable activities also characterized lives of longevity.

§  Are socially connected. Happy marriages and strong friendships, which all require time to nurture, are also hallmarks of long lives. 

In our busy, 24/7 always on world, carving out time to nurture careers, lead active lives and to nourish our critical relationships, requires extraordinary time-management skills, the ability to prioritize and nuts-and-bolts organization.

Our Beyond Folders blog offers a host of resources to help hone these skills. The following posts offer a good starting point for those in search of an "organizational" overhaul.

Do you derive satisfaction from being organized? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

 

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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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