Week 1 – Selecting Organizing Tools (Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Tools for Your Home Office – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 12, 2010

Organizing tools are critical to creating an efficient and effective workspace. Tools help us group like items together, identify and contain items for easy retrieval, and place items in the most comfortable position for use.

However, not all tools are created equal. It is important to consider how and where you will use an item to make sure you’re making the right investment. Sometimes a cheap solution can turn into an expensive one if it doesn’t solve the problem or hold up to use.

When deciding which tools, consider:

1. The purpose

Be very clear on the organizing problem you are trying to solve. For example, rather than just thinking “I need a place to store my paper documents”. Think about how you would like to refer to the information, how often and for how long. Identify how much information must be referred to at the same time. This might lead you away from traditional filing to selecting binders which keep information in sequence. You might consider adding page protectors to preserve documents.

2. How it will be used

If you’re purchasing a tool that will be used frequently, be used to invest in sturdy equipment. Everything from staplers and hole punches, to binders and drawer organizers, come in a variety of qualities and at different price points. I have seen many offices with broken stapler collections. Buy once and buy well.

3. Where it will be used

Before purchasing a tool, think of where it will ‘live’. If tools are difficult to retrieve and use they will often be ignored. It may mean taking the time to create space to store an item or a work surface for a specific activity.

One of the most common mistakes people make when organizing is shopping for organizing tools too early, before determining what will really work. Before investing in organizing tools, it is also important to understand the options available to you, your preferences, and the budget. The greater the investment, the more you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice.

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.
Filed Under: How-To
Tags: Acco, AccoOYDD, organize your desk day

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Week 3 – Space Management: Ergonomics – Using Your Computer Safely (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar About Ergonomic Best Practices While At Your Desk – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - October 2, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Just as it is critical to have a supportive chair and a work surface at the correct height, it is essential to know how to use a computer correctly to avoid serious repetitive strain injuries.

The following suggestions should be considered no matter what kind of computer you’re using.

1. The Keyboard

Make sure that when using the keyboard your wrists are flat to avoid pinching the nerves in the wrist. Often keyboards are raised at the back to produce an incline similar to typewriters. This is not helpful and can create wrist strain. Support hands while not typing with a gel wrist rest.

Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle to reduce strain.

If you use a mouse on the right-hand side, consider a keyboard with a detachable number pad to allow for closer placement of the mouse. You should never have to reach to use your mouse.

2. The Mouse

Speaking of the mouse, find one that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and requires gentle pressure to operate. The asymmetrical mouse allows you to interchange hands (a great idea) or shares use of the mouse with others.

Your forearm should be supported by an armrest or support. Wrist rests may be employed to provide a soft resting place for the hand when not mousing. The heel of the hand is best placed on the rest.

A scroll wheel helps avoid repetitive clicking when moving up or down a page.

Mousepads work! They help the mouse move more smoothly and reduce the number of movements. If you do one thing right away, get yourself a mouse pad.

Learn software shortcuts to reduce dependence on the mouse for repeated actions. Consider wireless devices to help reduce visual noise in the workspace.

3. The Monitor

Position your monitor in front of you so the top is at about eye level to reduce neck strain. Keep it at a comfortable distance for reading to avoid eye fatigue. Control light sources to avoid creating glare. Use the bright/dimmer controls when necessary to maximize comfort, and increase the font size rather than leaning forward to read.

4. What About a Laptop?

Laptops are fantastic for short periods however their compact nature has been achieved only by seriously compromising ergonomics. For periods of lengthy use, you must create the healthy ergonomic conditions outlined above.

Add a separate keyboard and mouse. If your screen is an adequate size, prop the laptop up on a desktop stand so that the monitor is at a comfortable height. If not, add a separate monitor. I use both my 15” laptop and a monitor on my desk and benefit from the ability to have two screens open at any time. A monitor arm allows me to swing the monitor out of the way when I’m not using it.

If you’re not sure of your posture while using the computer, have someone take a photo of you. Compare it to an image of correct posture such as the one found in this photo. What adjustments do you need to make?

Coming up next in the series: Space Management: Ergonomics – Best Practices

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.

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

Week 1 – Organizing Your Workspace: Three Steps to Getting Started (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)


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

Clare Kumar - September 14, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Simply tailoring your workspace to suit you and how you like to work will boost your productivity. People are different sizes and shapes and have different learning styles and responses to their environments. Some things in your office may be working well for you, but chances are your space could be further customized to suit your preferences and work style so you can work more efficiently. Worth exploring?

Here are three important steps to take to get the most out of the following weeks as we tackle organizing your workspace:

1. List what currently frustrates you about working in your space.

It could be things such as recurring neck pain when using the computer, not being able to find files, suffering too many interruptions, glare from the afternoon sun, a calendar that’s never up to date, or bills that go unpaid. You get the idea. This is your chance to think about your daily work experience and identify what’s not working. Rank this list in order or frustration. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to think positive.

2. Define the benefits you will value from being more productive.

What if you could solve the problems you’ve just identified? What would the benefit be to eliminating neck pain, for example? What will the impact be of increasing your physical comfort and reducing stress on your body? Will it affect your relationships? How about the ability to accomplish more in less time? Think through what you will actually do with the additional time.

Organizing tools are critical to creating an efficient and effective workspace. Tools help us group like items together, identify and contain items for easy retrieval, and place items in the most comfortable position for use.

However, not all tools are created equal. It is important to consider how and where you will use an item to make sure you’re making the right investment. Sometimes a cheap solution can turn into an expensive one if it doesn’t solve the problem or hold up to use.

When deciding which tools, consider:

1. The purpose.

Be very clear on the organizing problem you are trying to solve. For example, rather than just thinking “I need a place to store my paper documents”. Think about how you would like to refer to the information, how often and for how long. Identify how much information must be referred to at the same time. This might lead you away from traditional filing to selecting binders which keep information in sequence. You might consider adding page protectors to preserve documents.

2. How it will be used.

If you’re purchasing a tool that will be used frequently, be used to invest in sturdy equipment. Everything from staplers and hole punches, to binders and drawer organizers, come in a variety of qualities and at different price points. I have seen many offices with broken stapler collections. Buy once and buy well.

3. Where it will be used.

Before purchasing a tool, think of where it will ‘live’. If tools are difficult to retrieve and use they will often be ignored. It may mean taking the time to create space to store an item or a work surface for a specific activity.

One of the most common mistakes people make when organizing is shopping for organizing tools too early, before determining what will really work. Before investing in organizing tools, it is also important to understand the options available to you, your preferences, and the budget. The greater the investment, the more you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice.

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