My 2 Favorite Productivity Tips for June

It’s hard to stay focused in the summer and the cost of interruption is significant. To help, here are 2 changes I made that are working well.

TIP #1:

Bringing Back the Rolodex

Writing key information for each client on an index card instead of using an online document. (Information like: location, time zone, Skype ID, a brief bio, contact information and best method of contact – formatted the same on each card.)  The improvement in productivity was immediate, and I loved the quick, automatic retrieval of information without having to type anything, or navigate online distractions.

Other benefits:

  • A break from the computer
  • A chance to utilize the “write it down to retain it” theory
  • The intangible benefits from having a visual cue and the tactile experience of reading on paper
lovelydesign

{I was hoping to find something both functional & pretty like this discontinued product}

Staples-rolodex

{After a frustratingly long search, I dropped “pretty” from the wish list and got this}

Is there anything you’re storing electronically that would work better in written form?

Tip #2:

Getting Control of Your Email

For anyone struggling with managing their Gmail inbox and the frequency of checking emails, The Ultimate Gmail Productivity System for Business, is a fantastic resource. I find it useful for personal use too. The 3+ hour course offers strategies and tools to cut your time spent on email and increase productivity. ($49 on udemy.com)

If you’re overwhelmed by clutter and paper piles, and tired of wasting time on busy-work instead of good work, contact me for ideas of what you can do to work more efficiently – diane@positiveworkspace.com or (704) 236-9181

5 Things Happy People Do (and you should too)

In an article for the New York Times, Gabrielle Leblanc compiled a list of 5 simple actions that add up to a formula for joy according to the leading experts on what happy people have in common.

Here is Gabrielle’s list, plus my (less scientific) ideas for bringing happiness into your workspace.

1.  They Find Their Most Golden Self.  Strive towards excellence based on your unique talents and potential – Aristotle considered this the most noble goal in life.

The positive emotion accompanying thoughts that are directed toward meaningful goals is one of the most enduring components of well-being.” Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

PW says… Find gold office accessories!

{Interiors By Studio M}

2.  They Design Their Lives to Bring In Joy.  “People don’t devote enough time to thinking seriously about how they spend their life and how much of it they actually enjoy,” says David Schkade, PhD, at the University of California, San Diego. Your happiness is something you can design and have control over.

PW says… Bring joy to your workday

3.  They Avoid “If Only” Fantasies.  Happy people keep their lives full of novelty.

4.  They Put Their Friends First.  Social engagement is one of the most important contributors to happiness. According to research, you get more joy from spending longer periods of time with a close friend, then you do dashing around chatting with acquaintances.

PW says… Good people bring out the good in people. A friend is one who listens, doesn’t judge, and somehow makes everything all right.

5.  They Allow Themselves to Be Happy.  Do not feel guilty for having fun.

PW says… Happiness is the highest level of success, so -

CHOOSEHAPPY

If you need a boost of inspiration in your cluttered office contact me at diane@positiveworkspace.com.

The First Step in Success? Figuring Out What Success Means to You.

“You can reap huge rewards from a series of small smart choices.” Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine

RitaChan

{Rita Chan Interiors}

Success or failure is earned through the seemingly insignificant decisions we make every day. Once you determine what success means to you, automating certain tasks in your daily routine will put the power of compound effect in motion.

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy counters all of the “get-rich, get-thin, find success fast” gimmicks distorting our sense of what it takes to succeed, and brings us back to the core fundamentals of finding success.

Here’s a great podcast of Darren talking with Joel Boggess on the “Relaunch” show about:

  • Why so many people fail
  • His path to becoming the Publisher of Success Magazine
  • His personal success routines

The first step is the hardest – but remember, objects in motion tend to stay in motion.

 

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.