12 Tips for an Organized Desk

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Here are twelve quick desk organization tips. These are things that have worked well for me and help me maintain an organized desk (most of the time). Most of them are probably applicable to others as well. If you have any desk organization tip suggestions of items to add please add them to the comments. (Update: If you  are interested in seeing my desk, checkout this post for photos.) Get rid of pens and pencils you don't need. - I have one type of pen I like to use, but every month or so my pencil holder gets filled up with other random writing instruments. If you aren't going to use it, don't feel bad about throwing it out. It is just clutter.  The less clutter you have, the closer … [Read more...]

8 Video Conferencing Tips

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For the past several months I've been working on a project that involves being on a video conference call pretty much 8 hours per day with people all across the US. This has been an interesting experience and I wanted to share some of my tips for making video conferencing work effectively. 1. Good lighting Typical webcams look 100 times better when they have enough light. Adding a few light bulbs can make a huge difference in improving the way you look on the screen. I purchased some large CFL daylight balanced bulbs. They keep me from looking pink or blue and make the quality of my images much better than what it looks like without the lighting. If you can get sunlight from a … [Read more...]

Creative Business – Tie Society

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Some time back I wrote an article called You Are Self-Employed. The premise was that being an employee doesn't really offer any job security and if it doesn't offer job security, you may want to consider starting your own business. I also mentioned that it is probably easier to start a business today than it ever has been. The comments were where things got interesting though. It turns out a lot of people think of starting a business as something that requires huge amounts of capital. But not every company requires millions of dollars to start--particularly if you are willing to be creative. This past week I got a call from a company that is doing just that--being very creative. They … [Read more...]

Paradox of Powerful Tools

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I once worked with an organization that was using two different word processors. They had an old mainframe system with an integrated office suite that been in use for years. The mainframe was accessible from dumb terminals as well as from the newly added PCs. As they added PC's, more and more employees began switching to Microsoft Word. Word was a much more powerful system than the mainframe word processor. The mainframe only offered basic formatting (bold, italics, and underline), a single mono-spaced font, and a few other features like tabs and the ability to center a line of text. It seemed obvious that individuals using Word would be much more productive than those who used the … [Read more...]

How to Make an Insanely Simple Paperless Filing System

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This is a guest post by Arjun Muralidharan, author of The Productive Student, a new blog about productivity for college students and all productivity buffs. Mark's paperless project has always been a favorite of mine to follow. He uses DevonThink to manage incoming documents from his Fujitsu ScanSnap. It's a good system, but for me, it lacks two things: It doesn't handle all my files, such as Word documents, Keynote presentations and other file types well. Third-party software independence. In accordance with GTD, I like to have a comprehensive system that's cross-platform and can live independently from software such as DevonThink. While a system with DevonThink will work … [Read more...]

Email is Permanent

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Matthew Tanin, a fund manager at Bear Stearns, has learned an important lesson about email: It is, for all practical purposes, permanent. It is easy to think of email as a conversation. You say something and get a reply back and both parties hit delete and it is gone. However, in reality, much of the email you send is stored permanently somewhere--especially when you are dealing with corporate mail servers. If you send a message out, it will go into your sent items and will usually be backed up on your local mail server. Even if you delete the email from your sent items, it is likely to be merely "flagged" for deletion and still backed up. When it gets to the other end, it is probably … [Read more...]

How to Memorize Verbatim Text

Memories in Your Brain

If you are visiting from StumbleUpon and like this article and tool, please consider giving it a thumbs up. Thanks! Memorizing does not have to be as hard as most people make it. The problem is that most people only know how to memorize by reading the same thing over and over again. You have to learn to memorize. In this post we are going to look at how the brain remembers and then show how to use that knowledge to come up with a method for memorizing verbatim text.  Any tip or trick that will improve your memory even slightly is well worth the effort. In this article we are going to focus on a technique that will let you easily: Memorize a speech Memorize the Bible Memorize … [Read more...]

Living Within Your Means

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When we purchased our first house we put down a large down payment. Our realtor was surprised to find out we didn't have any other debt. Getting the loan was no problem as we bought quite a bit less house than what the banks said we could afford. This all seemed normal for us--we try to live within our means if not a little below it. Several years later the realtor stopped by to say hi. He said, "You and your wife were really an inspiration to me. We've started paying off our debt and trying to get our living expenses under control." Evidently his normal customers weren't people who lived beneath their means. When you spend less than you make, you are buying flexibility and freedom. … [Read more...]

Reader Question – How to Wake Up

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What is the best way to wake up if you haven't slept? If you feel drained because you haven't had enough rest, the best thing you can do is go ahead and get some sleep. This is a little like asking "How can I stop from feeling thirsty when I haven't had anything to drink?" Your body is trying to tell you something and you should listen to it. There are somethings you can to to help stay awake, but you can only trick your body so long. Here are a few things might help if you are having trouble focusing because you are tired: Take a short walk - The exercise will help wake you up. Lower the temperature - If you feel overly warm your body may start trying to go to sleep. Work standing … [Read more...]

You Are Self Employed

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I was recently talking with a friend who said he'd be scared to try to start his own business because it seemed so insecure. I asked, "How is that any different than what you do working for someone else?" After a moment's pause, he admitted that it really wasn't. When it comes down to it, you work for yourself, regardless of who is the owner of the company that cuts your check. It is your responsibility to market yourself, develop your skills, identify trends and position yourself to profit. Abdicating these responsibilities doesn't somehow put you into an "employee" category where you have more job security. Most successful people see their jobs like this. They are in a business … [Read more...]