Posts Tagged With: GetConnected.com

Week 10 – Desk Management – Celebrate an Organized Workspace (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organize Your Desk Day – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 15, 2010

By Clare Kumar

In a study commissioned by Professional Organizers in Canada, 7 in 10 Canadians who work say their workplace is disorganized, and disorganized Canadians report feelings of stress, frustration, and failure.

Organize Your Desk Day, a yearly event on the third Thursday of Small Business Week, brings focus to the need for order in the workplace to indeed boost productivity, but also to improve disorganized Canadians’ peace of mind.

If you’ve been reading along over the past 10 weeks as we have journeyed the path to greater order, you’ll be celebrating an organized desk right now or be well on your way. Congratulations! Please feel free to share your story on http://www.facebook.com/organizeyourdeskday. If not, I invite you to read through the previous posts to begin to create order in your workspace.

A messy desk may be the most obvious sign of disorganization; it is, however, not the only indication. If you notice any of the following signs of disorganization, consider sharing what you have learned or passing along this series of articles to encourage others to become more organized and more productive. Disorganization not only affects the individual’s work, it affects others – both colleagues and customers.

In addition to a messy desk, the following are signs of a disorganized approach to work:

1. Losing time hunting for misplaced items
2. Being late or missing appointments
3. Missing deliverables or submitting incomplete or unprofessional work
4. Not spending time on the most important tasks
5. Suffering a work-related repetitive strain injury

The impact of a disorganized approach to work includes:

1. Lower overall productivity and/or working longer hours
2. Lack of credibility within the company and with customers
3. Job dissatisfaction and other negative feelings
4. Lack of career growth
5. Absenteeism from stress or injury

Getting organized is not about moving from procrastination to perfection. It is about being the most productive person you can be. A sense of achievement is indeed what drives many of us. There is research to suggest happy people are more productive people. I suggest the reverse is also true – productive people are more satisfied people.

Now, what will you spend all that extra time on?

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 10 – Desk Management – Maintaining an Organized Workspace (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organization – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 14, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Now that your office is set up for success, is your organizing work done? Well, if nothing changed, maybe, but our lives are always changing – we all know change is the one thing we can count on. So, here are four tips to keep things organized no matter what comes your way.

1. Review regularly

Regular practices like committing junk mail to the recycling bin as soon as it arrives will help you achieve and maintain order. Scheduling daily organizing activities such as clearing your desk at the end of every day and planning your schedule the night before is also critical to sustaining an organized space.

Still, materials accumulate and become outdated, and over time we may relax our commitment to staying organized. Approach your workspace with a fresh perspective at least once per quarter to make sure systems that were effective previously continue as a foundation for your success. If not, tweak or redesign your organizing systems and storage requirements as necessary.

Go through your files and archived information and determine if you still need to keep them. If you have marked a “keep until” date on your files, this will be an easy exercise.

Certainly, if a storage system or your calendar becomes cluttered, don’t delay in creating time in your schedule to tackle the issue. Create a strategy and tactics to make short work of the organizing dilemma and put you back on the path to maximum productivity.

2. Adapt for new work

If your work or responsibilities change, use it as a cue to review the material you keep on hand. Cull or pass on what you no longer need. It’s a good time to let go of the old to make room for the new.

To take that thought one step further, if you’re stuck in your role and seeking a change, the physical act of creating space in your office can often make room for new opportunities.

3. Modify for new people

Not everyone thinks and works in the same way, so if you find a current system is no longer effective, review it to make sure it will work for the majority of users. This is especially true if your boss changes. Figure out the most effective way to communicate with your boss and you’ll be more productive in the end.

4. Think twice before allowing incoming

One of the easiest ways to keep things in order is to be judicious about what enters your workspace. So, before signing up for a new newsletter or subscription, before picking up another brochure, or even before sending an email, consider the impact on your limited resources – time, space and energy.

Coming up next in the series: Celebrate an organized workspace

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 10 – Desk Management – 6 Strategies for a Successful Home Office (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Successful Home Office Spaces – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 13, 2010

By Clare Kumar

We’ve covered a wealth of material in this series which is applicable to any office, but working from home presents unique challenges. Numerous stats show productivity gains of 15% or more through working from home. Why is it then that some people can work successfully from home but others say they simply can’t? The foundation to work successfully from home comes with planning an effective workspace and developing appropriate work practices.

Here are six strategies you can implement to ensure productive work from home:

1. Pay as much attention to creating your home office as you would an office in a traditional work environment

Identify the tasks you need to accomplish and determine the work surfaces, storage, and tools you need to support those tasks. Invest in ergonomic equipment to keep you working safely – this includes among other things your chair, keyboard and mouse, keyboard tray, monitor stands and footrests. Be mindful that the least expensive office tools are not necessarily the best value if they don’t function the way you need them to, or you end up replacing them more often.

2. Set boundaries

It is important to create physical boundaries to preserve your ability to work in a focused manner. This may mean repurposing a room with a closed door to create a quiet environment.

If your work area is carved out from an area used by others, define times in which you cannot be disturbed. I work from a home office and if working on the weekend, I communicate to the family the period of time that I may disturb for “emergencies only”.

One hazard of working from home is the proximity of work compelling you to attend to it 24/7. Creating physical and time boundaries will help you keep your work and home commitments from encroaching upon each other.

3. Light it up

Lighting in home offices is often overlooked. Be realistic about the amount of time you will spend working in your office and your need for natural light. Take this into account when choosing where to place your workstation.

4. Create a schedule

It can be daunting to have a whole day in front of you without a clear schedule. Create a daily or weekly schedule around the different kinds of work you do –varying tasks within each day. Use a wall calendar or planner to keep your plan easy to refer to. This will help avoid distraction from at-home to-dos.

One of the benefits of working from home can be fitting in home tasks in short breaks throughout the day. If managed carefully you return to work refreshed and satisfied at getting a jump on dinner or laundry. Working from home allowed me to hang laundry outside all summer long, saving me money and better preserving my clothes!

5. Build community

One of the joys of working in an office in the sense of community that comes from working with others. To make sure you get social interaction schedule office visits (good for keeping in sight and therefore in mind) or appointments away from home at least 2-3 days every week.

6. Stay active

You’ll save commute time by working from home so invest at least part of this time in staying physically active. Find a gym nearby or an exercise companion and combine your social time with a healthy lifestyle. A quick trip to the gym at lunchtime will boost your energy and help you attack the afternoon with vigour.

Coming up next in the series: Maintaining an organized workspace

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Desk management – 5 steps on how to organize your desk (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Desk Space – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 12, 2010

By Clare Kumar

We’ve covered the theory behind getting organized, but what about the practical side? How do you go from a cluttered to calm desk space? The following 5 steps show you how:

1. Commit

Set aside 30 minutes to tackle the re-organization of your desktop. Once space has been redefined, it will take much less time to clear at the end of each workday.

2. Clear

File any papers, folders or reference material. Recycle or shred any unimportant papers.

Set aside – perhaps in a bag or box – items to be returned to others, or taken home.

Use a box – perhaps the one copy paper is delivered in – and place in it all the remaining items from your desk.

3. Cull

As you place items in the box, edit your supplies. Get rid of pens and markers that don’t work or that you simply don’t like using. Throw out dried up glue sticks. Let go of the three jammed staplers that you think might work one day and replace them with one that does.

Keep only one each of basics such as tape or glue at your desk, and place backups in a supply cabinet.

Take a closer look at all the awards and office trinkets you have accumulated. It is alright to let them go if they are taking up valuable desk space.

If you like to keep photos in your office, consider mounting them on the wall, or changing to a digital photo frame to reduce their footprint.

4. Categorize

Sort the items into two groups – those which should remain with your desk and those that can be placed elsewhere.

Store the items you use most often close at hand. The less often you use something, the more you can afford the time it takes to retrieve it. If you’re not sure what you’re using, place your supplies into a shoe box. Each time you use an item, retrieve it from the shoe box and put it back in your drawer. If after a week you haven’t used an item it may not need to be by the desk, in fact, you may not need it at all!

5. Repeat

Overhauling your desk area once in awhile is a good idea to pare down to your essential supplies. It will make it easier to clear your desk at the end of every day, enabling you to start each day with a sense of control.

If you have a clear desk policy for security reasons, it is critical to establish good habits so that files are in order when you need them rather than being stashed away quickly.

Coming up next in the series: Organizing the Home Office

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY; on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Desk management – 5 ways to control desk clutter (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Desk Management – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 11, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Even with papers tidied and files put away, desktops can appear busy because of computers and the many peripherals and accessories we use. Here are 5 ways to reduce desktop disarray:

1. Wireless Peripherals

Use wireless computer accessories such as the keyboard and mouse to eliminate cords from the desktop.

Adopt a cordless phone with a headset to reduce the phone’s footprint, increase comfort during use and reduce cord clutter. It also frees both hands to use your keyboard and input notes directly to the computer.

2. USB Hubs

If you connect a number of devices such as a printer, scanner, camera, smartphone, or hard drive to your laptop, simplify the process by using a USB hub. A hub allows you to connect several USB cables into a central connector, and from there provides one connection to the computer. It’s much faster to unhook one connection and it also permits moving multiple cords away from your main workspace.

3. Cord Management

Speaking of cords, there are a number of products designed specifically to tame the tangle of electrical cords and USB cables. A simple way to manage, however, is to

a) Label each end of the cord or cable with its function (i.e. printer). The 6mm size label works perfectly on the side of USB connections and plugs.

b) Use twist ties to gather and secure any slack in the cable. Re-use the black twist ties that come with most electronics and you won’t even notice them.

c) Attach several cables together with Velcro® fasteners.

4. Screen Supports

Use a laptop stand to raise the screen to a more comfortable viewing height and reduce the amount of space it takes on your desk. Monitor stands with built-in storage make the desktop more efficient. Monitor’s arms provide the utmost flexibility by clamping to the edge of the desk and swinging right out of the way.

5. Drawer Organizers

To maximize the storage space in your desk drawers, use drawer organizers to segment the space based on the material you need to store. Purchase organizers designed for the purpose or fashion your own dividers from greeting card or other shallow boxes.

Coming up next in the series: 5 Steps on How to Organize Your Desk

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY; on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones.Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Desk management – 5 items that really belong at your desk (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Desk Management – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 10, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Here we are, 8 weeks after beginning this series on organizing your workspace, finally talking about how to organize your desk. We have covered space planning, ergonomics, time management and information management before getting to the desk – the most used space.

Why? To have an uncluttered desk space that lets you focus on your work task by task, you need to have a place or a strategy to handle everything that might land there. Only then is it possible to clear your desk without causing chaos?

Take a look at your desk – you may see amongst the screens and wires an assortment of office supplies, papers, sticky notes, a snack or drink, files, calendars, a telephone, a lamp, and a planner for example. We have already reviewed how to store items that may accumulate on your desk while you work, but which of these really ought to be there?

The following 5 items are truly worthy of your desk real estate:

1. Task lighting and the telephone

Make space on your desk for task lighting – preferably on the opposite side of the hand you write with to avoid casting shadows across your writing. This is also the ideal place for a telephone, as it facilitates note-taking while you’re talking, and keeps the cord from interfering with your work.

2. Filing supplies

Keep the materials you use to label and file or store material close at hand – you’ll be more likely to put things away regularly and avoid a paper pile up. File folder labels and a fine marker work well to label file folders. Binders, hanging file dividers and magazine holders are best labeled with a thicker marker or a label maker for greater clarity.

3. Electronic Devices

You’ll want to keep your mobile phone accessible and likely charging while on your desk. Use stands or charging centres to keep devices close by and protected from spills. Keep cords and charging units for less often used devices in a nearby drawer or in a container within a cabinet or on a shelf.

4. Planner or notebook

Have a planner or notebook handy to jot down important numbers and phone conversations. This will prevent the loss of important information and reduce visual clutter. If you need to see notes to remember them, attach them to a board on the wall to keep desk space clear.

5. Basic office supplies

Keep handy only the writing instruments and office supplies you enjoy or are required to use at least weekly.

For other items, you’ll need to decide if the item really needs to be on the desktop based on how often you use them. If you use them frequently, find containers and desk accessories that fit both the items and space.

If desk space is limited or you need the full surface to complete your work, you’ll want to store office supplies in drawers, in containers in nearby cabinets or in a rolling drawer unit. Keep in mind a common cause of office clutter is inadequate or poorly used drawer space.

Coming up next in the series: Desk Management – 5 Ways to Control Desk Clutter

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY; on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones.Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 8 – Information Management: Tips – Time Saving Tools (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Managing Time – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 8, 2010

By Clare Kumar

New features have been designed into data storage supplies to make them easier to use and to save you time. Take a look at your data storage processes and especially for any that are repeated often, consider feature-rich quality tools for a smoother, more efficient experience.

Here are a few of my recent favourites:

Sheet Protectors

Perfect for preserving important papers, the average sheet protector opens at the top and can be somewhat fiddly to use when inserting documents. If you want fast and easy access and a clean look you’ll want to try the Wilson Jones EasySnap™ Sheet Protector for its two-sided opening and uncluttered appearance.

Easy to use Staplers and Hole Punches

If you often collate documents or prepare binders, consider the Swingline® Optima® 40 Reduced Effort Stapler and the Swingline® Optima® Low Force Punch, both designed for repeated use with less effort. The stapler requires 50% less effort than a traditional stapler and has the capacity for 40 sheets to easily accommodate a variety of projects. Comfort is increased through the thoughtful addition of a soft grip surface.

Index Tabs

Wilson Jones® View-Tab® Transparent Dividers make fast work of indexing a binder. Simply write the headings on the back cover sheet and view them through the clear tabs. There is no longer a need to create a label for each tab. Online customizable templates are also available online at http://www.wilsonjones.com.

Coming up next in the series: Desk Management

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 8 – Information Management: Afraid of Your Inbox? 5 Tips For Email Efficiency (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Email Inbox – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 6, 2010

By Clare Kumar

One of the most common frustrations in today’s work environment is the volume of email. I commonly hear reports of between 100-200 emails a day and inboxes with thousands of unread emails. Coupling email with portable devices creates the expectation of an immediate response – a pressured system.

Here are 5 tips to help you take control of your inbox and boost your email efficiency.

1. Unsubscribe

Be judicious about signing up for email newsletters. Just as with traditional magazines, if you’re not reading the articles, do you really need the subscription?

2. Use rules

To keep your inbox uncluttered, consider applying rules to direct emails to specific folders. This works well for the non-urgent material you wish to read or process later.

Paying attention to how you craft an email may take a bit more time upfront but will save you and your readers’ plenty. Do these three things every time and set an excellent email example.

3. Title meaningfully

Create a title that will quickly communicate the topic and help the reader find it again if necessary. Use a project name, for example, followed by a subtopic. When replying, append or modify the title to refer to your additional content.

4. Address purposefully

The “To:” category should include everyone you require a response from. Including them in the “Copy:” section conveys a “for your information only” feeling and your request may be missed.

5. Organize content

Communicate the purpose of the email and what you need from the reader concisely at the start. Use formatting to make it easier to read the meat of the message. Consider bolding dates and underlining actions.

The more email you send, the more you are likely to receive, so stop and think before hitting the send button. I’d love to hear how you cope with email – please share your inbox insights.

Coming up next in the series: Information Management Tips – 3 Simple Steps to Manage Your Contacts

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 7 – Information Management: Strategies – How To Deal With Incoming Information (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Information Management – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 9, 2010

By Clare Kumar

We are increasingly inundated with mail, some of it very useful to us and critical to our successful performance, but much of it extraneous and distracting. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the physical clutter of paper mail and the mental chaos of an abundance of electronic information, it is critical to systematically deal with each incoming piece. This means knowing how to process email, regular mail, faxes, information from trade shows, meeting notes and more.

The first step involves making a decision on how to treat a new piece when it comes in. I suggest there are only three real options, Do, Delete or Designate.

1. Do

This category includes incoming mail that requires an action, by you or a delegate. Set aside time each day for processing incoming mail incorporating time to address items which can be responded to quickly – in one or two minutes each.

It can be most productive to review email through a few scheduled periods throughout the day, such as mid-morning, after lunch and before the day’s end. If you start your day reviewing email try to avoid being sidetracked and derailing the plan you’ve made for your day. If you process mail as it arrives you run the risk of losing minutes of productive time as you switch between tasks.

For actions that can’t be taken immediately, add them to your to-do list and/or schedule them in your calendar. If it’s appropriate to delegate the task, do so as quickly as possible to give the assigned person more time to process the request.

For current projects, it can be helpful to have desktop file folders available to hold related materials. Desktop systems are easy to see which prevent you from forgetting about the action.

2. Delete

Be sure to follow privacy laws and corporate guidance to comply with information management and retention requirements what information to delete.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information you own and to ensure efficient use of storage space, it is important to delete items that you have completed and no longer need or that can easily be sourced again when needed.

Open paper mail near a recycling bin or shredder so you can discard or destroy unneeded pieces as you read them. Always shred anything containing sensitive or confidential information.

Unneeded electronic mail may also be discarded as it is read. If you have let emails accumulate, rather than processing them one by one which is very time to consume, considering batch deleting based on the age of the message or the sender.

3. Designate

Any item that you wish to easily find and use later must have a home. Figuring out where that home should be will depend on how you think about looking for the item. Your system for personal information management must be simple and easy to use so you can quickly put away an item the first time you review it. This will help to avoid information accumulating, having to handle the same piece several times and time lost searching for missing information.

Coming up next in the series: Information Management Strategies – 6 Tips to Turn Your Filing System into a Finding System

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 6 – Time Management: Tips – 5 Time Saving Products (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Products That Can Help You Organize – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 6, 2010

By Clare Kumar

There are numerous products on the market designed to help you use time more productively. Here are a few of my favourite time-savers:

Paper-Based Day Planners

While today’s electronic tools offer easy organization, sharing and portable storage, paper planners have several inherent advantages that make them ever-popular effective time management tools. Larger planners make it easy to keep your time management tools with meeting notes and other business materials. A week or month view in a paper-based planner can contain much more details than a similar perspective in a smartphone screen.

It is often faster to write an entry in a paper planner then enter it electronically, and some claim the physical act of writing a note or appointment can facilitate recall. With a paper planner, you also don’t have to worry about regular battery charging or carrying the related cables.

The Day-Timer® brand of paper-based planning systems has been around for decades. The concept was originally created by Morris Perkin, a lawyer who realized that he needed much more than a simple appointment calendar to be most productive, he needed a systematic way to manage his time. So he created one, combining the calendar with a reminder system, time record, diary, planner, organizer and list of contacts. Proving its effectiveness, results of a Bar Association study showed lawyers using the system earned 50% more than those who did not.

Day-Timer has evolved over the years to cater to all kinds of professions and personal styles. The system allows for terrific customization – by type of binding (loose leaf or wire-bound), by the size of the page (pocket to desktop), by format (the amount of space devoted to each day or week), and my style. Additional pages can be added in for to do lists, notes and memos, a work record, future appointments, expenses, and mileage records. Add in only what you use and keep all relevant information easy to access.

Combine support for a great cause and getting organized with the Day-Timer Pink Ribbon series. A portion of sales from each Pink Ribbon Set is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Whiteboards and Bulletin boards

Keeping track of important goals and due dates is critical to success. Whiteboards and bulletin boards provide a convenient way to refer to and update such information and facilitate easy communication, planning, and organization.

Quartet® offers a variety of quality boards to fit different workspaces and organizing needs. Choose separate dry to erase and bulletin boards, or select a combination board when space is limited. Smaller models are designed to fit on cubicle boards.

Planning and calendar boards come in one to four-month models with some incorporating space for task lists. Magnetic boards facilitate easy attachment of paper notes to the surface.

A variety of finishes including wood, metal, cork, and foam are available to complement the style you have chosen in your workspace.

Compliment your whiteboard with EnduraGlide® Dry-Erase Markers. Thoughtfully designed, they include a cap that prevents the marker rolling away on you, and a transparent barrel so you can quickly see how much ink is left. There is also a system to ensure the consistent flow of ink so you don’t compromise the quality of your message as you run low on ink. Keep a set in your office, well away from any permanent markers so you don’t make an irreversible marker mistake!

Coming up next in the series: Information Management Strategies

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 6 – Time Management: Tips – 5 Ways to Use Time More Efficiently (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Setting Priorities – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 5, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Since time management is the most common challenge to being organized, here are five more time management tips to boost your productivity:

1. Group similar tasks

Batch tasks of a similar type and you’ll accomplish more in less overall time. If moving from location to location, cluster appointments in one geographic area for the most efficient travel time.

2. Double up

Find two things to get done at once. Take a walk with a colleague or friend to marry physical activity with a work conversation or social time. Be careful not to combine tasks which compete for your focus – this could actually take you more time.

3. Protect your time

Create boundaries and communicate them to allow for undisturbed periods of work. A closed door or sign outside your office can work wonders.

4. Avoid distractions

Turn off alarms such as email notifications and position yourself in an environment which allows focus. Having specific objectives for each time period can help you stay on track. Use the internet purposefully to avoid being easily sidetracked.

5. Define your peak periods.

Most people have a particular period during the day when they feel most productive. Do your most challenging work when you feel most energized and alert. Avoid carbohydrate heavy meals at lunchtime which can induce drowsiness.

Coming up next in the series: More Time Management Tips

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 5 – Time Management: Strategies – Three Tools to Manage Your Time (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Tools to Help You Manage Your Time – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 3, 2010

By Clare Kumar

I read an article recently that suggested that the average worker uses 13 different time management tools. The most common tools fall within the following three categories:

1. To Do Lists

As discussed in the last article, I suggest creating master lists to capture personal and professional activities, most of which must be scheduled. Daily lists are helpful to keep you focused on immediate tasks. Make sure your lists can be referred to and updated with ease.

To do lists can be incorporated into paper planners work journals or notebooks. I recommend reserving several pages at the front or back of each book solely for to do lists so they are quick to find.

2. Planners and Calendars

Calendars exist in a huge variety of formats to visually portray the abstract passing of time. Traditionally, and still in use in many places, are monthly wall calendars which give a broad perspective of time and any upcoming events and deliverables. Wipe off versions make it easy to make changes.

Mobility drives the need for portable systems such as paper planners or personal digital assistants (PDA’s) and smartphones. Paper planners have been not only important time management tools but style statements in recent years.

The evolution to electronic calendars is not yet for everyone. Phone screens provide a reasonable account of a day’s activities but fall short of providing a detailed week view at a glance. Combinations of an electronic calendar and portable monthly calendars highlighting key dates can be very effective. Numerous phone-based applications are available and being developed to assist with prioritization and task management.

The number of people referring to a calendar must also be considered when choosing a time management system. Online calendars make it easy to share schedules between people. Privacy can be maintained by only making selective entries public. These solutions can work well for shared personal calendars in conjunction with the planning system you adopt for business.

3. Time Keepers

Watches and clocks are obvious timekeepers, but so are our electronic calendar systems with easy-to-program alarm systems to help us keep track of time. Alarms can be set at varying amounts of time in advance of meetings or due dates, helping not only to keep us on time but not lose track of upcoming deadlines.

Be wary, however, of potentially unnecessary alarms, such as email notifications, becoming a distraction.

Timekeepers can be such an important part of the way we live that we can even get attached to them. I rely on an old phone just for its soothing ‘Chi Gong’ alarm sound to wake me each morning.

Coming up next in the series: Time Management Tips

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 5 – Time Management: Strategies – 5 Ways to Master Your To Do List (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your To Do List – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 1, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Our goals and objectives lead to numerous actions. Writing them down can help us make sure we don’t forget them, but is there a best way to do it? Here are three strategies to keep your To Do list under control:

1. Create master lists – one professional and one personal

Write down actions in one place so you know where to find them. It can be in a planner or notebook or on your computer or smartphone. Make sure it is in a place that can be carried with you and that you find easy to update.

Even though personal and professional time often extends throughout the day, schedule focused periods for work and home tasks. Keeping two separate lists – one for work tasks and one for a home to do’s – makes it easy to find tasks appropriate for the period of time you are scheduling.

2. Keep it simple

If you create an overly complex system to track to do’s you will be less likely to use it. The list should serve as a memory jogger or menu from which to plan your time. You may wish to note critical dates for required deliverables and any high priority or urgent items. Dry-erase calendars are easy to update and help you maintain a highly visible reference for dates you just can’t afford to forget.

3. Schedule

Schedule both activities (30 minutes or more) and deadlines in your planner. What about the myriad of shorter actions – responding to emails, returning phone calls, filing papers? Also, schedule a block of time to tackle short tasks. Refer to your task lists and select a reasonable number to attend to in this period of time. Write them directly in your planner if space allows, on a whiteboard or on a small index card or sticky note which you discard at the end of the day.

Be reasonable about the number of tasks you can accomplish in a day to avoid feelings of frustration and inadequacy. If you have unexpected gaps in your day, you can easily identify additional tasks to knock off your list.

Make it a habit to use these simple strategies and you’ll be well on your way to making the most of your time.

Coming up next in the series: Time Management: Strategies-Three Tools to Manage Your Time

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Week 5 – Time Management: Strategies – Setting Priorities (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Time Management – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

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By Clare Kumar

Just like space, time is a limited resource. In fact, most of us would say this is a resource under constant pressure. With so many demands on our time, it is easy to feel pulled in several directions and be unsure of what to focus on. Here are three strategies to help you invest your time wisely.

1. Know your priorities

Goal and objectives, whether personal or professional, are often defined annually. These, in turn, must be broken down into specific implementable activities.

When a new opportunity or commitment presents itself, use your objectives as a measuring stick to help you determine what to say yes to and what to decline. Incorporate those that further your goals – these are your priorities. Defer or decline those that don’t.

If you’ve got competing priorities, sometimes you simply have to say no to something worthwhile.

Write down your priorities to create a visual reminder that you and others can refer to often. Use a whiteboard or jot them at the front of a paper planner. Remember, out of sight is out of mind.

2. Plan your time around your priorities

To ensure you achieve your goals you must devote time to working on them. Not doing so leaves you open to sabotage by daily incoming obligations which may be urgent but less important.

Since there will always be unexpected and pressing issues, plan gaps in your schedule to accommodate them.

A week is an ideal amount of time to consider and make time for each of your personal and professional goals. Colour-code your calendar – one for each type of activity for a quick visual check on how you are spending your time. You may, for example, choose one colour for lead generation, one for client meetings, one for administration and others for social or exercise time. If you see one colour dominate, you may need to make a shift.

3. Review priorities regularly

You’ve often heard “the only thing constant in life is change”. Stop and review your goals, objectives, priorities, and performance at least once per quarter to make sure you’re indeed working on the things that move you towards your personal and professional goals. If not, adjust.

Coming up next in the series: Time Management: Strategies – 5 Ways to Master Your To Do List

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 4 – Space Management: Inspiration – Personalizing Your Space (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar - October 2, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Having defined your office style through furniture, soft and lighting, you’ll want to consider the use of colour, art, and plants to further personalize your workspace.

1. Colour

Colour in a space creates powerful emotional and cognitive responses. Did you know research shows that the colour of a room can affect the performance of certain tasks? People read more slowly and understand less in a red room, and report a more positive mood when in a blue room. Certain colours, like orange and red stimulate the mind – perfect for creative work but too distracting for administrative tasks.

People infer a person’s characteristics based on the colours of their clothing and the same can be said for the colours in their office. What does your office say about you or your company? Does it convey the image you want? Take the Dewey Color System Personality Test to find out what your colour preferences say about your personality.

If you have the opportunity to choose workplace colours, think about your preferences, the type of work you do, and how you wish to be perceived prior to selecting a colour.

2. Art and Accessories

If you can’t change the colour of your walls, inject colours you enjoy in art and accessories.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Find images that speak to the attitude and energy you want in your space. Art can serve as a source of inspiration and remind us to connect with our own creativity.

Consider mounting current family photos on a wall or placing them on a bookshelf so as not to take up valuable work surfaces.

Office accessories provide great opportunities for self-expression. I have an active file folder in a fuchsia and orange paisley pattern (I know that’s not for everyone!). Even I couldn’t do all my work in a room so brightly coloured, but it is a piece I use daily and it brings me a little joy every time I see it. Choose functional and fun accessories. A little whimsy goes a long way.

3. Add Plants

The addition of potted plants not only brings vibrancy to the office, plants also help improve air quality. There are species that will even thrive in low light areas. If maintaining potted plants sounds like too much work, consider adding a vase of flowers as a natural accent.

Coming up next in the series: Space Management: Inspiration – Four Ways to Boost Your Creativity

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 3 – Space Management: Ergonomics – Best Practices (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Getting the Best Out of Yourself While Working – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 1, 2010

By Clare Kumar

The equipment you use in your office goes a long way in setting up your chances for working in a healthy way. In addition to these, you will want to establish some best practices to ensure you are doing everything necessary to take care of yourself while at work.

1. Take Regular Breaks

You know the old saying “Moderation in all things”? Well, that is also true of work. Even if you’re sitting in an ergonomically correct chair with the computer and keyboard at the correct height, if you sit there for several hours straight, your body will not be happy.

For every hour of work, budget a 5-minute physical break. Get up out of your chair and move around. Walk to a window and enjoy some long distance viewing. Your eyes will appreciate the ability to focus at a longer distance.

Place your printer further away from your desk or set an alarm on your computer to remind you to take breaks. Schedule a regular walk around the block with a colleague. It will help refresh your eyes, mind, and body and bring fresh energy to your tasks.

2. Stretch

Stretching can counter the effects of long periods in the same posture by reducing soreness, tension, and fatigue. Keep in mind that stretching should never cause pain. For maximum relief, stretch 2 or 3 times during the day. If you have health concerns, consult your healthcare professional before beginning a stretching program.

Here are just a few of the stretches you might consider. For diagrams and more stretches with detailed descriptions, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety page on Stretching – At the Workstation.

Shoulder stretches

* Shrug shoulders and hold for 10-15 seconds then release.
* Roll shoulders several times in one direction and then the other.

Neck stretches

* Keeping your back straight, look down slowly and back to neutral position. Repeat several times.
* Look slowly from side-to-side. Never rotate from one side to the other while looking up.
* Bring the right ear to the right shoulder, and then repeat on the left side.

Side stretch

* Link fingers together and lift arms overhead with palms facing the ceiling. Lean slowly to the left and back to the centre, then lean to the right and back to the centre.

Back stretches

* Upper back – Link fingers together, facepalms out and extend in front of you. Slowly round your back.
* Lower back – Keep your hips facing forward and gently twist your upper body to one side. Repeat to the other side.

3. Change position

Varying tasks throughout the day will help reduce muscle fatigue. Shift between writing, using the computer and talking on the phone for example.

Coming up next in the series: Space Management: Inspiration

Disclaimer – For information and reference purposes only and not intended as legal or professional advice. The adoption of the practices described may not meet the needs, requirements or obligations of individual workplaces.

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 2 – Space Planning: Effective Storage (Originally Published in GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Office Space – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - September 17, 2010

By Clare Kumar

After defining the key furniture pieces you need to support your work, the next step is determining appropriate storage systems. Storage is all about locating the necessary tools and information easily and retrieving them with the appropriate expenditure of energy. Rather than thinking about a storage system, it may be helpful to think of a “finding system”.

1. Identify what you need to store

For each activity involved in your work, develop a list of the sources of information, reference materials and office supplies you use. Imagine a day in your office, from entering in the morning, through work periods, breaks, lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That way you won’t forget to consider creating homes for things such as cleaning supplies and places to store clothes and food.

You will also want to think of what is incoming and outgoing for each activity and make sure there is space for each process. For dealing with paper mail, for example, you’ll want to make space for sorting incoming mail, filing active work and reference material, and both shredding and recycling.

2. Determine the most convenient place to store things

Where to store things will depend upon the frequency of use, personal preferences and ergonomics, and of course the space you have available.

Basic organizing principles tell us that the most often used items should be placed close at hand. I call this ‘prime real estate’.

After defining the key furniture pieces you need to support your work, the next step is determining appropriate storage systems. Storage is all about locating the necessary tools and information easily and retrieving them with the appropriate expenditure of energy. Rather than thinking about a storage system, it may be helpful to think of a “finding system”.

1. Identify what you need to store

For each activity involved in your work, develop a list of the sources of information, reference materials and office supplies you use. Imagine a day in your office, from entering in the morning, through work periods, breaks, lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That way you won’t forget to consider creating homes for things such as cleaning supplies and places to store clothes and food.

You will also want to think of what is incoming and outgoing for each activity and make sure there is space for each process. For dealing with paper mail, for example, you’ll want to make space for sorting incoming mail, filing active work and reference material, and both shredding and recycling.

2. Determine the most convenient place to store things

Where to store things will depend upon the frequency of use, personal preferences and ergonomics, and of course the space you have available.

Basic organizing principles tell us that the most often used items should be placed close at hand. I call this ‘prime real estate’.

Personal preferences affect storage choices. For example, you may prefer to file papers in folders while others prefer binders. You may like to use a notebook to capture ideas while others will write them down on a whiteboard. Let your preferences be your guide, for if you choose a system that doesn’t suit how you like to work you will be less likely to use it.

Considering ergonomics means that heavy items will be placed at waist height and lighter items in harder to reach places to avoid back strain and possible injury.

If office space is in short supply, consider customizing the space and using specific organizing tools to fit your needs. It will certainly make the most of the space you have.

3. Know your company policies, insurance requirements, and legal obligations

Privacy regulations, insurance policies, and often internal corporate policies provide strict guidelines regarding the storage and disposal of business information, particularly if your business involves gathering a client’s personal or business information.

It may mean having lockable cabinets in your office to restrict access to sensitive information. You may require an easily accessible shredder to destroy documents. Metal cabinets may be required to help prevent loss in a fire. Detailed information and strict guidance regarding the storage of business data can be found at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website. Investigate what applies to you.

Coming up next in the series: Space Planning – The Office Layout

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Source: http://www.getconnectedmedia.com/blog/author/Clare%20Kumar

Categories: Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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