It’s the Little Things That Make a Difference

Twice today, in two very unrelated places, I read these words.

First was on a label at the Container Store where I was shopping for a client and stocking up on some travel items (see pictures below).  And the other was in an email, linking me to an article about the productivity app, Trello.

CS-travel

{Little travel items at a little price – all under $10}

I am a big believer of doing the little things – for friends, family, strangers, myself, at work, and at play – the little things make a difference in our relationships and personal development. They can also have a big impact on productivity and efficiency during the workday.

Here are some “little” ways to improve your workspace and workday:

  1. Emergent Task Planner work sheets. One sheet of paper for simplifying your daily schedule. I work with several clients throughout the day and this simple form makes it easy to track my time and stay focused on my top tasks.
  2. Speed up your mousepad.  Go to your System Preferences tab, select Mouse or Trackpad depending on what you use, and increase the Tracking Speed. Everything you do on your computer will get faster. For more tips, workspace inspiration, and favorite products, visit my Pinterest boards.
  3. Four months of peel and stick dry erase calendars. I love these! I’ve tried variations of dry erase calendars in my home office (one month and 12 months) and these work the best for me.

It’s a long weekend for a lot of folks. If you’re cooking out, here are 3 star-studded Memorial Day recipes. If you’re working in the garden, here is a recent discovery too good not to pass along – thornless roses. Who knew?!

sangria rose

{Apartment34.com Sparkling Star Spangled Sangria & Gardenista.com Climbing Roses}

Whatever you may be doing this holiday weekend – be sure to remember, honor, and celebrate our military heroes.

Happy Memorial Day From Positive Workspace!

 

Happy Spring! Let the decluttering begin…

honeyandfitz

{honeyandfitz.com}

Somebody recently asked me (with a bit of skepticism) if I really think decluttering makes a difference.

Yes, I REALLY do believe in clutter-free living – not sterile, super-tidy, or extreme minimalism – just an organized system for the things you love and use.

Clutter has a negative effect on some pretty important intangibles in the course of a day:

  • moods
  • productivity
  • energy level
  • creativity
  • focus

Clutter is anything that doesn’t serve you, but takes up space in your world.  We all know what a distraction smart phones can be while we’re using them, but did you know your phone doesn’t even have to be in your hand to decrease your cognitive abilities? According to two studies from the University of Southern Maine, “the mere presence of a cell phone can reduce the quality of your task performance.” For tasks that demand full attention – try putting your phone out of sight.

KO-course

If you want to organize your workspace but don’t know where to start, later this month I’ll have a step-by-step mini-course available – The Organized Workspace. The course is designed around simplicity: simple systems, broad filing categories, visual cues and being very selective about what items to keep.

 

Remember to Bring Inspiration to Your Office Space

officewall

Personalizing your workspace to make it more inspiring is just as important as setting up filing systems. I’m working with a client now who is an amazing gardener (a Master Gardener!) and talented sewer. After we finish getting her office in order – 2 additions will be, vases for garden clippings and a bulletin board featuring her vintage Simplicity pattern designs.

Here is a fun article written by my daughter for Business Insider - The unusual items Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey, and 10 other successful people have in their offices - that should help spark your creativity in personalizing your office. Don’t forget the fun factor when setting up your workspace.

 

5 ways to give your brain less to think about, so you can focus on what matters

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The constant flurry and availability of information at work, and life in general, makes it challenging to focus. Distractions and interruptions are something we are all learning to manage effectively in order to make the most of our time and creativity.

Daniel Levitin, bestselling author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, says:

“Highly successful people have learned to maximize their creativity and efficiency, by organizing their lives so that they spend less time on the mundane, and more time on the inspiring, comforting, and rewarding things in life.”

Here are some of Levitin’s suggestions for creating the calm that comes from simplifying your daily routine:

Give things a place.  Use bowls, trays, hooks, and baskets for your keys, wallets, and purses. Keep a tote by the door for outgoing mail, packages, and dry cleaning. Storing and retrieving becomes automatic.

Create visual cues for remembering important things.  Posting a note on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator, or placing an empty milk carton in your car, will jog your memory when you’re in the flow of your daily routine.

Focus.  Try setting a timer for 45-50 minutes and work on one task without interruption. Research says you shouldn’t intersperse little tasks (like checking email) throughout your day.  Allocate a couple blocks of time each day to take care of the smaller tasks.

Don’t over-organize. “The obvious rule of efficiency is you don’t want to spend more time organizing than it’s worth. If you’re finding things quickly enough as it is, then don’t go to all the trouble.”

Don’t dilly-dally over things that don’t matter. “Figure out what your time is worth or what you and your company stand to gain or lose, and figure out how much time is worth investing in the decision.”  Prioritize.

Conquer Clutter

design-clutter

It’s time to put a plan in place. Getting your tasks and projects in order and making an effort to stay organized is a momentum changer. For affordable solutions and creative ideas contact: diane@positiveworkspace.com or 704-236-9181

7 Solutions to Kickstart Your Year

After a weekend of excessive inaction due to a series of setbacks, reading this quote Monday morning was the turning point to clarity and a much-improved mindset.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage… get busy.” Dale Carnegie

Knowledge of what boosts your mindset can have tremendous effect on your outlook and success. Here are 7 Solutions for better results in the upcoming year.

  1. MusicCan the Right Music Make You Feel More Powerful?
  2. You Are What You Eat, It’s True
  3. Self-Care: Indulge Yourself by Adding One Splurge Item   
  4. Good Sleep, According to Science
  5. A Clean Desk
  6. Trigger WordsSimplicity is one of my Words for the year; it has a calming effect when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  A trigger word is also helpful when wanting to stop negative thoughts.
  7. Money: Make A Promise to Take Control of Your Finances Organized paperwork can create a dramatic change in how you interact with your money. Personal Finance Book List