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...]

Desk Organization Tips

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A few months ago we put out a request for tips on keeping a desk organized. Here are the tips that were submitted. Simplify instead of organize. Have as few things as possible, and you don't need to organize. Leo - Zen Habits Try to keep the desk clean, leaving only the essentials on its top. The rest goes into the drawer, boxes, the archive, or the bin. Your computer, the phone, and the paper you are currently work on is enough. Eric Böhnisch-Volkmann - DEVONtechnologies LLC Buy the smallest desk you can possibly find - then you're forced to be organized! Joe Bennett - Tweddle Group Clean desk is key. Have the following folders available on one of those accordion style … [Read more...]

Being Organized Saves More Than Time

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Everyone knows that being more organized can save time.  But it can also save you a lot of money.  How many times have you had to go out and buy something just because you couldn't locate it in your house? Some time ago we were having someone  come over to house sit for a few weeks.  I felt bad because we didn't have a television in the house, so I set about hooking up an old DVD player to my computer monitor so they could at least watch some movies while we were gone. The video worked fine, but I needed a connector to hook up the audio.  I looked through a box of audio cables, but finally gave up and went to Radio Shack.  25 minutes and $7 later (which seems ridiculous for 6 … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Reduce Clutter

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Clutter comes at a cost.  A room with a lot of clutter takes longer to clean.  A cluttered closet can make it nearly impossible to find what you are looking for. If you are looking for the clear tape in a few very cluttered drawers, it might even be faster to drive to the store and buy a new roll instead of trying to find the one you own. In this post we are going to look at 10 ways you can help keep clutter to a minimum.  These aren't hard and fast rules--take what is useful to you personally and ignore what isn't.  A few brief decisions acting as a de-cluttering superhero can reap long term rewards--particularly when you start fighting clutter at its source before it even makes it into … [Read more...]

The Causes of a Messy Desk

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Right now my desk is a complete mess. Now I have a pretty good excuse. I am in the middle of switching over to a new laptop. I'm also in the middle of trying to switch from AT&T to Sprint for cell phone service. An order of sample  gifts for clients just came in yesterday. I have rebates from sales that are partially filled out and waiting for additional documentation that is on the way. I'm working with a graphic designer on a new logo, so I have samples stuck to my walls. I don't want to throw away any of the boxes for my new equipment so they are all stuffed under the desk or on a bookshelf. Etc. etc. I'd like to say that the picture above is just something I found on Flickr. … [Read more...]

Messy Organization

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Not all organization effort is equal. Just because you organize something, doesn't mean it is going to make you any more productive. If you pay attention to the cost benefit of organization, you can keep from wasting time and focus on efforts that are actually beneficial. Lets talk about silverware as an example. Assume that after you run your silverware through the dishwasher you randomly place each piece somewhere in your house. You put some in the drawers in the bathrooms, others on top of books on the bookshelf, some above the fireplace, some in the refrigerator, etc. In other words your silverware storage is totally disorganized. Is that efficient? No of course not.  Whenever you … [Read more...]

TIP: Where Do I Look For It?

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When it comes to organizing your stuff, most people deal with every item and ask "Where do I put this"? This is not the question to ask.  When you go to look for the item you may or may not be able to remember the answer to the question "Where do I put this?"       The real question to ask yourself is "Where will I look for this when I need it?"  There seems to be a big separation between the way the brain makes connections when you are trying to store something and when you are trying to retrieve it. This makes sense because when you ask yourself "Where do I put this?" your brain is going to start thinking in terms of size, available storage space, danger to surrounding objects, etc. … [Read more...]

Paperless Office Stories

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We recently interviewed a group of businesspeople about their experiences with going "paperless." For some people, things went very well. For others...interesting mishaps ensued. However, each response would be helpful information to anyone that is looking into setting up a paperless office. We have been working toward a paperless office for some time, we try to do all contract exchanges and paperwork electronically, and generally this works very well. However, one requirement in our business space is that we have to have a copy of an ID document for each guests who rents accommodation from us (Europe wide law, applies too to hotels). We used to take a copy of an ID document at time … [Read more...]

Home Office – Effective Design

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I work from my home office. My commute is a 30-second walk down the hall, down the stairs and into the portion of our house dedicated to my business. As we've moved around, I've built 7 or 8 different home offices. My home offices have ranged from a small corner in a bedroom in downtown Durango, Mexico where the chair would collapse several times each day and we had to be wary of scorpions, to my current, spacious 1000 sq foot office with its own bathroom, fireplace and outside entrance. I've found a lot of things that work well and a lot of things that didn't work out so well. In this post, we are going to discuss some of the issues and planning that should go into setting up an effective … [Read more...]

5 Questions To Help Organize Your Desk

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Look at your desk right now. Is it messy? If so, don't feel too bad. It isn't uncommon. This post is a series of questions to ask about the stuff that is currently on your desk. Asking these questions will  help you find the cause of a messy desk and give you some ideas for stopping the disorganization at its root. This is vastly more beneficial than simply taking the time to clean your desk right now, because if you don't change your process and organization, you'll be back in the same position in a week or so. 1. Do you have reading materials on your desk? One common source of desktop disorganization is reading materials. Magazines, newspapers, etc. that come to you that you feel … [Read more...]

9 Tips for Effective Meetings

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Meetings can be one of the biggest time drains for you as an individual and for a business. A meeting with 7 people all making $20 per hour costs a business $140 per hour. If it is a once-per-week meeting and there are 15 minutes wasted at each meeting, the total yearly waste comes to over $1,800. I don't know about you, but a one hour meeting with only 15 minutes wasted is actually a pretty good meeting, in my experience. Half of a meeting being wasted is more par for the course, and entire meetings that are unproductive is fairly common. Here are some ways you can facilitate more effective meetings and hopefully get more done in less time. 1. Make people show up on time If people … [Read more...]

TIP: Receipts Folder

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If you spend any time buying stuff from the web, you are familiar with all the pages that say, "print this out for your records".  So, how many people actually print out those pages?  I know I don't (unless I'm buying something very expensive).  Usually I'll try to keep the email receipt, but sometimes that gets blocked by spam filters. Here is how I've started saving those receipts without worrying about printing them out: I have a folder in my Documents folder called "receipts."  When I buy something, I simply save the order confirmation page to the folder.  In OS X, this is very simple because I can just print the page to a file as a PDF.  Here is a screen shot showing you … [Read more...]

TIP: Synched Address Books

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My wife and I both have cell phones and both have computers.  This means there are four places where we could potentially have a phone number or address and invariably the phone number I need is on my wife's cell phone or computer. We set up each of our cell phones to sync with our laptop, but we still had two separate address books. However, after playing around a bit with the .mac synchronization, I was able to set up our address books on the computer to sync with each other.  This has been a much bigger benefit than I had imagined because now we are both looking at the same version of the address book. As our mutual friends change numbers or addresses, the first one of us to … [Read more...]

Tuesday’s Tip: Surrounded By What?

Take a few moments to look around your work area. What have you surrounded yourself with? Does your environment help you focus on your long term goals and celebrate past achievement? Does your environment make you want to stay organized and productive? Most people put too little emphasis on their surroundings. I'm not saying that you have to spend all your time trying to create the perfect office, but you shouldn't ignore the things around you. Your productivity can be greatly influenced by your outlook, and your outlook can be greatly influenced by your surroundings. For years, I never had a picture of my wife on my desk at work. It wasn't that I didn't love my wife, but it just … [Read more...]

International Travel Tips

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I've done a lot of traveling in the past, so I wanted to share some of things I've learned (many times the hard way) that make international travel easier. You should try to get as much information as possible about the country you are visiting, but this list of tips should give you some good starting points that are relevant for most any destination. A couple great sources for safety information on foreign countries are the CIA World Factbook and the US Travel Advisory site. Take Copies - Having a copy of your drivers license and the first page of your passport are very handy in getting your visa or vehicle permits.  They also serve as backup if your wallet and passport are … [Read more...]

5 Tips for an Organized Computer

1. Use Your My Documents Folder The My Documents folder is there for a reason. If you don't have a My Document's folder, create one. The idea is to keep all of your documents in this folder. This makes it easy to backup your computer and easy to find stuff instead of looking all over your hard drive. You can take this idea step further and create folders for the types of items you produce on your computer. Here is an example of how OS X sets up your home directory by default: One of the big benefits of this type of setup is that you can go to one place to start looking for anything you've previously saved. It also gives you a single place where you can tell your backup software … [Read more...]

Tuesday’s Tip: College Records

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When I was in college, I quickly learned how important it was to keep records. You can't rely on your university to keep track of everything correctly. Maybe they will, but just in case they make a mistake, you need to be prepared. One habit I formed early on in college was to get a copy of my transcript each semester. One semester, there were an extra 15 hours of credits on the transcript for classes I had not taken. After doing some checking, it became clear that they had accidentally given me credit for someone else's work. I explained it to the university and they straightened out the records. However, I imagine it was much easier to get something taken off than it would be … [Read more...]

Moving a Home Office

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We bought a house and I've been working on getting my office moved.  Here are a few things I've learned in the process: Set up new internet before switching off the old. If you want to minimize downtime, don't turn off your old office's internet until you have everything set up and running in your new space. Vacuum, vacuum. If you have the floors cleaned before you move in, make sure you give yourself time to vacuum two or three times before you start moving your stuff in. Pack by what you need. Make sure the things you are going to need access to are easy to find.  I put all the stuff I needed for the next week or so in my laptop bag where I knew I could find it. Don't set … [Read more...]

TIP: To-Do Email Folder

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I gave up trying to keep a clean email inbox years ago.  Everything I had read said that I should sort anything I needed into folders and keep my inbox clean, but I finally just gave up. I finally decided on keeping anything that might be slightly important in my inbox where I can search for it.  It turns out that, for me, this is far more productive than trying to move things around and categorize them. It was very liberating, and I found that nothing bad happened by keeping older emails in my inbox.  In fact, I discovered it was easier to find things, because it only required a simple search instead of trying to find the folder where I had filed something. However, there is a … [Read more...]

Fall Cleaning & Organizing

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As the summer draws to an end, it is a good time to consider arranging your surroundings to maximize your productivity. 1. Purge Old Files If you still have paper files, it may be time to get rid of some of the older ones to make things easier to find.  Even with paperless digital files, there are times where it makes sense to delete or at least archive off the older files to reduce the amount you have to look through. 2. Take Stuff Home Whether your office is in a spare bedroom or in a skyscraper in downtown New York, there are always going to be items from home that migrate to work.  Taking a few minutes to identify these items and move them back to where they belong in your home … [Read more...]

Prepare for the Worst to Save Time

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It isn't uncommon for small crises to turn into a huge time drain if you haven't planned ahead. I'm not saying that you should spend an inordinate amount of time trying to plan for every possible emergency, but there are some very basic level precautions that are worth the small amount of effort they require. Here are a couple crises to consider: Your wallet gets stolen while you are traveling to another city. Your car gets a flat tire. Your cellphone gets its memory erased. These are all fairly minor issues if you are prepared. They can become catastrophic issues if you are not prepared.  For example, if your cellphone memory gets erased, as long as you have a backup of … [Read more...]

Interview: Home Office

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Despite the popular misconception that working from home is simple, creating an effective work environment in your own home can be quite a challenge. Dealing with interruptions and distractions is something that every job holder faces, but for the home worker, these distractions are often more abundant and become very detrimental to productivity. We asked experts for advice on the following topic: What is your best piece of advice for creating an effective work environment in your home office? The single most important productivity strategy is equipping the home office to facilitate the work. Today, in fact, a (used!) Steelcase desk system is being delivered here. The U-shaped work … [Read more...]

Your Desk its own Desk

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With all of our modern gadgetry, it is easy for our desks to get covered with wires, routers, cell phone charger cables, etc.  Here is a simple solution to help cut down on the amount of visual clutter you have to face when working. Get a Desk for Your Desk After all, shouldn't your desk have a work area for itself?  There is no reason it needs to share with you all the time. :) By getting a small table, shelf or box and placing it under your desk in a place you don't need for your feet, you can move all of your electronics down out of view where they can still perform their function, but not contribute to clutter on your desk. Depending on how your desk is set up, you may even be … [Read more...]

The Distribution of Inspiration — Productive Blogging

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Most successful blogs post new content every weekday.  People looking to start successful blogs look at this and think, "I guess I need to write something every day."  The problem is that inspiration isn't evenly distributed.  One day you may have ideas for 10 posts and the next two weeks--nothing. To be a productive blogger, you need to learn to use the mountain tops of inspiration to help fill in the valleys where you can't think of anything to write.  This can be as simple as keeping a word processor document of future posts.  If your blogging platform supports it, I suggest using the scheduled post feature. Write your post when inspiration strikes but set it to go live when you … [Read more...]

Shred Everything

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Even before I started my paperless office experiment, I purchased a shredder. The amount of private information on the paper I was throwing out started to concern me when I realized that I had no idea where most of it was going. The novelty of turning every random scrap of paper kept my normal waste basket empty for the first week. After this fascination wore off I started asking myself "Do I really need to shred this?" Surprisingly, most of the time I found it was better to shred pretty much anything that came in the mail. Flyers and other mail that gets sent to everyone is spared from shredding, but most of the junk mail goes into the shredder. Here is some of my reasoning for some … [Read more...]

Tips for Car Travel

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As the summer months approach, I wanted to share some simple tips for traveling by car. We do a lot of travel and these are some of the tips we've found that make our lives easier on the road. Driving into the Light When I was younger I could drive through the night without a problem. Now I find that I get very tired driving past about 10:30pm. Tired enough that it isn't safe. By leaving early in the morning I can drive into the day light. I am much more alert getting up at 2 am and driving until 5 pm than leaving at 10 am and driving until 1 am the next day. Podcasts On a long trip I can make the hours fly by listening to technology podcasts. I feel better traveling when … [Read more...]

The Have-Done List

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A to-do list is what most people see as the pinnacle of personal productivity.  You set a plan, work the plan, and the check items off the list. To-do lists can be a great.  They help you focus on what is important instead of just what happens to be on your mind. However, there are times when creating a to-do list isn't the best thing. There are times when you need to be able to freely explore and do whatever comes to mind.  Vacations are one example.  If you create a to-do list (and I know some people who do) for your vacation, it might take away from some of what you need to get out of a vacation. I also find that there are times where I need to focus on a particular area, but … [Read more...]

SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer Review

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Many times I've wondered about ways to keep a centrally located, well organized grocery and errand list. Members of my family have a tendency to "borrow" the list to add something, only to forget to put the list back. Though a pen and paper are often the best and most efficient way to keep track of a to-do list, some families might need something a bit more creative. When I was handed the Grocery List Organizer to review, I was a bit apprehensive as to how well the device would actually function. Fortunately, I have been pleasantly surprised. Appearance The Organizer is an oblong-shaped device with a small screen located at the top, a large "Record" button in the middle and a … [Read more...]

Simple Stuff Reduction Tips

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The more stuff you have, the more time you have to dedicate to managing and hunting for things. Here are several simple ways you can reduce the amount of stuff in your life to help make it easier to find things that are important. Keyring Cleanup - Get rid of any extra keys. If you are like most people, you probably have several keys that you can't even remember what they go to. Sometimes it helps to keep a separate keychain at home for those odd little keys that you don't want to lose, but don't need to carry with you. Card Shuffle - Go through your credit cards, ID cards, supermarket cards and get rid of the ones you won't use. I keep about 4 cards with me and the rest stay … [Read more...]

The Power of Paper

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Everyone has their favorite and least favorite tools.  For example, I love my computer, but tend to despise fax machines.  Today, I had a bunch of work to do that would have been much easier with a fax machine.  I managed to do everything I needed using a scanner and email, but I was finally forced to admit that there is still room for a fax machine in my tool set.  I still don't really like fax machines, but sometimes it is the perfect tool for the job.  Today, I felt like I was using a screwdriver to drive nails--sure, the nail will go in eventually, but a hammer is really what you need.  It would be silly to decide that I don't like hammers, so I'm going to use a screwdriver, but I've … [Read more...]

NomaDesk Review

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Recently at Productivity 501, we have taken a look at several different tools intended for file sharing. All of these products shared the attribute of being available for both business and personal use, although some were better suited to one than the other. One additional file sharing tool that came to our attention is NomaDesk, the flagship product of the Belgian start-up Aventiv. Thought most file sharing software is developed with the average businessperson's needs in mind, NomaDesk was created specifically for someone who is constantly "on the run." Those that work from many different locations and from laptop computers know precisely what the challenges are for mobile … [Read more...]

5 Minute Outliner 2.0 Review

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Sometimes compatibility issues between technological devices leave us scratching our heads and disheartened at the loss of productivity that results. One such frequent frustrate-or is programs for mobile devices. Few truly helpful organizational programs are available for use with a wide range of cell phones or PDA's. However, the developers at 5 Minute Downloads have created software that allows a user to effectively  visualize and organize ideas, create outlines for projects, import information from a personal computer, and to top it all off, stay compatible with other team members in the work place and with their mobile devices. The product in question is the 5 Minute Outliner, which … [Read more...]

What will Last?

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A trip to the local library resulted in me spending most of my time browsing for older books--particularly the ones that were published before 1930.  A few days later, I was listening to a lecture on Shakespeare and was struck by the fact that much of his greatness comes from the fact that we have so many of his works fully intact. In modern society, how much of what we produce will still be around 50 or 100 years after we die?  The change to magnetic media as the primary means of storing data condemns most of what we work on to a much shorter existence than the printed material of previous centuries. Websites that represent a significant amount of one's life work will disappear … [Read more...]

Going Paperless – Other Resources

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There  use to be serious technical hurdles to creating a paperless office.  That isn't the case any more.  The components of a paperless office are readily available and not particularly expensive.  Read on for some great resources that will help you "go paperless". 8 Tips for Going Paperless-Sheila Riley Now that technology offers so many different options for organizing documents and facilitating communication, using telecommunication instead of regular mail is a good option for many people. This article gives some ideas that were developed and used by the Blue Valley school district in Overland Park, KS. The Perils and Perks of Going Paperless-James Champy As technology … [Read more...]

Four Important Folders on my Computer

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Here are four folders that I have in my Documents on my hard drive that I've found save me time. Receipts - When I buy something online that I need to keep track of, I'll print a copy of the receipt page to a PDF and save it in this file. Usually I'll save it with the date as part of the file name. For example: 20071012-cell-phone-order.pdf. This makes it easy to find records of purchases. Rebates - Rebates are awful. Basically, companies are betting on the fact that you won't take the time to fill out the paperwork and send it in. I've found if I keep everything in a single location, it makes it a lot easier for me to gather up all the pieces of info I need and it is easier to … [Read more...]

Paper vs. Importance

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I have noticed the most important people have a very clear desk.  This also tends to be the case for people with much less important jobs.  To illustrate, I've created a graph. I'm sure this isn't true across the board, but it does seem to be at least partially true.  How clear are the desks of the most important three people at your organization?  Here are a few reasons that paper seems to go down as importance goes up: The top person can always give his paper to someone else, so it pushes the paper down toward people of mid level importance. The mid-level people will only push the paper down so far, themselves, because it is their neck on the line if something gets messed … [Read more...]

Dealing with Clutter

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Everyone seems to have some degree of clutter in their lives.  The paperless office is still a dream, so we still have to deal with many pieces of "stuff" all around us.  This stuff can be paper, equipment, books, printouts, electronics, or any number of things. A certian amount of clutter may be productive.  Some people just function better when things are in site.  However when clutter gets to the point that it slows you down, you need to do something about it.  If you find yourself spending time looking for things, that is a good indication that clutter is controlling you. Here are several tips for reducing clutter in your life: Open your mail over the trash can. This will help … [Read more...]

Streamlining your business

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Owners of small businesses are particularly concerned about productivity.  For a small company the difference between being highly efficient and moderately efficient can be the difference between profit and going out of business. Most efficient  practices are also applicable to personal productivity as well. However, with businesses, small productivity gains can be replicated over many people multiplying the  gains well beyond the benefits you'd get just for yourself. A focus on productivity can let you cut your costs so you can make a profit even when your competitors are losing money. Here are eight key points to consider when establishing productive practices for your … [Read more...]

Dealing with an Unorganized Boss III

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Bosses who don't communicate Many managers with no previous leadership experience are poor communicators.  This isn't surprising, because the communication skills required to be a good manager are generally only learned through experience. One common situation you'll find yourself encountering under this type of person is working on a team of people who are out of sync. For example, your boss may tell you about an important upcoming project, but no one else hears about it until the last minute.  On the other hand, you may also find yourself in a position where everyone else knows some crucial piece of information except you. The best solution is for your boss to learn how to … [Read more...]

Dealing with an Unorganized Boss II

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Bosses who contradict themselves. This can be a really annoying type of person to work for.  In mild forms, it just seems like they are slightly confused.  In really bad situations, these bosses seem totally deranged and malicious.  If you have a boss who will tell you to drop everything and work on X and then come back and ask why you aren't working on Y, you are dealing with one of these bosses. In most cases, these types of people aren't outright malicious; they just have a very short memory, no clear goals, and are very unorganized.  You can usually improve the situation by putting their statements in writing.  For example, if your boss comes in and asks you to drop everything and … [Read more...]

Dealing with an Unorganized Boss

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In the last few months, I've spoken with several people who are having a difficult time working with their boss.  In each case, the boss isn't a bad person, but they are so unorganized that it is difficult to get much done under their leadership.  Obviously, the fault lies with the boss.  However, for people who are used to being highly productive, knowing where to place the blame offers little consolation. This is the first in a series of posts listing common problems you'll face with an unorganized supervisor and some suggestions on how to best deal with them. The boss who doesn't know what needs to be done. This happens in two different forms. Some bosses know exactly what they … [Read more...]

Links for Setting Up a Filing System

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Everyone needs some type of filing system. Even if you are attempting to go paperless, chances are you will still need some type of filing system--even if it is computer based. The five articles below look at different ways to setup and improve your filing system. They deal paper based systems, but some of the principles will apply to paperless systems as well. Taking a little time to improve your setup can be a very good investment. If you can reduce the amount of time you spend hunting for things each day by even just two minutes, it will save you 12 hours per year. If you have an article that you would recommend on filing, please add it in the comments. Filing Organization … [Read more...]

$10,000 Stack of Paper

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In my computer bag, I have small stack of papers that is worth a bit over $10,000.  This is a story about the importance of keeping good records. Before my wife and I went to Mexico, we decided we needed a new car.  Our Buick had well over 200,000 miles on it.  The high mileage wasn't a problem, but the area where we were going couldn't easily get Buick parts.   It was a similar situation with our 20 year old BMW.  After some checking, we found that Volkswagens were pretty common and there was even a dealership in the area where we were planning to live. We test drove about 15 vehicles before we found one we liked.  It was an off-lease 2003 Passat with a bit over 50,000 miles on it.  … [Read more...]

Interview: Managing Wires

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We interviewed a number of bloggers about how they manage the wires in their office setup. Wireless technology was the most frequently mentioned solution, but there are a bunch of other great ideas as well. Organization interview question: What is your best tip for managing the multitude of wires in a typical computer setup? (182) Use a good computer desk or table along with zip ties to keep everything out of sight John Richardson from Success Begins Today (rss) I've also had good luck with using double sided velcro for this purpose. Another thing that seems to work well is using black electrician's tape to tape up cables that are longer than what you need. I use as many wireless … [Read more...]

Fruitfultime Task Manager 2 Review

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Many of us struggle with keeping our lives in proper order. It is nothing new, and there are many ways in which to attempt to prioritize one's tasks and manage one's time. There are a plethora of different programs available to the public that are meant to make a person's life simpler and more productive by assisting that person with the organization of their daily routine. However, this is not to say that all of these programs are equally useful and user-friendly. The developers of FruitfulTime Task Manager have put much thought and time into their latest version of the Task Manager, making it easier to use, more useful and less complex, in the very best sense of the word. Fruitfultime … [Read more...]

Setting up a Home Office

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Here are some articles with tips and ideas for getting started with setting up your home office. How to Set Up Your Home Office - Beverly Block Working from home is the latest trend. The environment has a direct or indirect relationship with the output of your work. This article helps you to set up the right backdrop for your home office. The entire process involved in setting up home office is given in 5 simple steps. Seven Rules in Setting Up Your Home Office - Jenny Fulbright This article is about giving importance to productivity and creating a balance with life. 7 important steps that covers all the aspects in setting up a home office and yet not getting interrupted by … [Read more...]

Interview: Managing Physical Media

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What is your single most important tip for keeping your books, magazines, software and other physical media organized? (549) The key to keeping your physical media organized is to have as little as possible. Only keep the absolute essentials and either trash or convert to a digital file what you want to keep. For example, I don't purchase any fiction books-- the library is perfect for that. I only keep books that I will either read again or reference in the future. CD's and DVD's are easy to convert to digital files and centralize on an external hard drive (be sure to back it up!) Basically, if you drastically reduce the amount of physical media in your life the problem of … [Read more...]

Interview: Getting Organized

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As part of our interview questions on organization we asked people what tip they would share with someone looking for a single way to better their organization skills. Then Productivity501 readers were asked to vote for their favorite answers. The results below are organized based on the results of the voting. (You can still vote on answers to other questions.) What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone looking to better organize his or her life? Start by reducing clutter and getting clear about your priorities. It's a lot easier said than done, but it's true. Disorganization starts with indecision caused by your own conflicting needs, values, … [Read more...]

Paperless Office

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These links and summaries about going paperless were compiled by my assistant in India. (In an upcoming article I'll be talking about what it is like to work with a virtual assistant.) 6 tips for a 'paperless' office - Joseph Anthony People get greater return on their hardware, software and technology investments while they partially get rid of the paper clutter. The author focuses on 6 basic things that one has to remember while moving to a paperless office. The reader gets the pointers to remember while shifting to a paperless home or business office; he is also familiarized with the benefits. Acrobat to a Paperless Office - Julie Starr This article focuses on the benefits of … [Read more...]

Interview: Filing System from Scratch

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In a recent interview we asked a number of people how they would advise creating a filing system from scratch.  Then the readers of Productivity501 voted for the best one.  Below are the answers arranged with the highest ranked answers at the top. Don't forget you can cast your vote for the remaining questions. Describe your paper filing system along with your advice for someone starting a filing system from scratch. I like a logical system.  Ask yourself, where would I expect to find this? Keep and file only what's necessary.  Tax records are, notes from a seminar are probably not.  Once read and committed to memory that information will probably not be referred to again. Use … [Read more...]