All Ways Organized Blog

September is National Preparedness Month

Are You Ready?

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month!

Prepare for what you ask? The answer is disaster.

Whether natural disaster, or personal disaster, you need  a plan for you, your family and your company.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

How will you know that disaster has occurred or is imminent? I was recently in Starbucks and suddenly everyone’s smart phones went crazy. We were in a severe weather situation, and tornado warnings were being sent to our County. By setting up the alerts with the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Management – MEMA we all received the warning to our cell phones. Scary, but reassuring at the same time.

Is Chronic Back Pain Killing Your Productivity?

Get fast relief with these 10 tips!

Is Chronic Back Pain Killing Your Productivity?

Did you wake up with back pain today? If you did you have a lot of company. According to the American Chiropractic Association low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. It is one of the most common reasons for missing work and the second most common reason for doctor’s office visits. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.
If you are an office worker who suffers from back pain, or if you have in the past, this post is for you. If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, you need to pay special attention to something called Office Ergonomics. In a nutshell, it is the science of how people and their work environment relate. We hear a lot about this topic relative to office design. Properly executed, ergonomics sets the stage with the proper furniture, technology, and tools to support healthy and pain free workspaces. You will be free from unnecessary strain during your workday. Ergonomics applies to the people, furniture, bathroom fixtures the heights of counters and displays, the height of railings on the stairs and so forth.
When I work with clients, one of the first things I like to check out whether I am working with them virtually or in person is their version of “command central.” Where do they spend most of their time working? Where do they sit, how far are the things they use every day from that position? What kind of computer set up do they have: laptop, desktop, tablet, multiple monitors, printers, scanners, file cabinets, desktop files and all the rest. What kind of desk do they have, how high is it, how wide is it, can it be adjusted? However, the biggest and most important piece of office equipment I like to see is their chair.

Honoring Barbara Hemphill's 40 Years in Business

Creating Productive Environments Worldwide

Honoring Barbara Hemphill's 40 Years in Business

If you look up trailblazer in the dictionary you will find the definitions include: a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; a pathfinder, a pioneer in any field a person who makes, does, or discovers something new and makes it acceptable or popular, an innovative leader in a field.
I think we all can agree that trail blazer is a term that describes Barbara Hemphill very well.
40 years ago, Barbara and her $7 ad in a New York City Newspaper, became a trailblazer for all of us at PEI and for thousands of Organizers and Clients all over the world.
When Barbara attempted to get a loan for her business she was told "that is not a business, no one will pay you to do that” Well, we all know how that turned out. Barbara gathered her resolve and did it anyway.
Not only did she create many tried and trusted systems, she helped entrepreneurs create successful businesses, she created a sense of community and collegiality seldom seen in the world today.
For those of you who have been with Barbara for a while, you may remember her term as President of NAPO. Her theme for the term was: "together we are better." It was then and is now a deeply held belief and philosophy. The Productive Environment Institute is the embodiment of "Together We Are Better." We learn from each other, support one another, and help each other grow in ways we never even dreamed of.

 

Have You Ever Had a Social Media Hangover?

Five things you can do today to start your recovery.

Have You Ever Had a Social Media Hangover?

Have you ever gotten up in the morning with a social media hangover? You know, the feeling you get when you stayed up way too late, pinning, posting, liking, and sharing. What did those activities do to your productivity the next day? We all know how easy it is to get pulled in deeper and deeper into our favorite social sites. What you thought would be a five-minute quick “check-in” can turn into a several hour adventure. Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland you find yourself chanting…I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!
It is easy to understand, that after a late night on your tablet, smart phone or laptop that you are going to feel sluggish, cranky and unmotivated. You might even feel guilty and somewhat angry with yourself for getting into this situation.
So, what to do?

Piles or Files, Which is Best?

Which system do you use?

Piles or Files, Which is Best?

I once shared an office with a therapist whose style of organizing was different from mine. We shared the caseload of an adult/adolescent psychiatric unit. In our work, we used lots of forms and handouts. While our organizing and paper management philosophies were different, they were both effective. She was a classic "piler." She kept her important papers in a large pile on top of the desk. She could go to the pile of paper on the desk and find the form she needed…in seconds. That paper pile was “her system.” Some of our colleagues saw these piles and felt they looked disorganized and messy. Did the pile hold her back?

Planning for Productivity

How is your planning system working?

Planning for Productivity

Have you ever heard the expression: “What gets planned, gets done?” Getting started on the path to greater and more satisfying productivity begins with three things, a goal, a planner and planning. So, let’s get started!
First, what is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? If you get the desired result, what does it look like? Is it an article, a presentation, an eBook, the Great American Novel, an event plan, or your (fill in the blank) product?
Let's use the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where and why) used by reporters as a place to start your list or to interpret the list given to you by someone else.

 

  • Who? Am I the person who will be doing these tasks or are they more appropriately completed by some other person in the organization, an assistant, or even an outside contractor?
  • What? What will be the result if you follow the steps in your process?
  • When? When do you expect to be done? What is the very next step, what are the steps for the next week, the next month. How long until you are finished?
  • Where? Is this work to be completed in house, on a business trip, during a specific event, at some other location, at a client site or some other place? Do you need to build in time for travel, or possible delays?
  • Why? What is the reason for this work? Is there something similar already in use? Is this busy work or is it adding to the bottom line? We all need to accomplish regular and routine tasks that do not necessarily add to the bottom line, and they need to be done. If, however, this is all you work on you cannot accomplish the higher value items that bring revenue into your business. Think about the “why” of your activities regularly. It may just be that something that seemed a high value, high priority item last week is now much less important, or it has timed out and is no longer important at all or does little to add to the bottom line and does not need doing at all.

Now that you have thought about your plan, you are ready to move forward with PLANNING in time. By planning in time I mean putting it on your Planner or Calendar. I see many people who have wide open calendars (except maybe for their dentist appointment next week...) They struggle with what to next, because there is no plan. I know, I know, it feels tedious to do this part, but getting it off your mind and is what will get your project moving! Wide open space on a calendar are often a sign of not much getting done. You may not believe this, but structuring when you will do things actually makes you more productive.

What I Learned About Vacation and Productivity

What I Learned About Vacation and Productivity

I have been giving a lot of thought productivity and vacation time in the past few weeks. I realized, that until last year, I’d never taken a two-week vacation. I saw so many friends struggling with chronic illnesses and aging family members and I realized, right now is all we have.  Life is not a dress rehearsal! Today is your chance to live the life of your dreams.

 

Just how much vacation does the average American worker take each year? I heard on the radio that 42% of Americans did not take a vacation in 2014. Henrik Kjellberg President of Hotwire was quoted in the Huffpost travel blog dated 2/26/16 that, "in 2015, more than 135 million Americans (that's 56 percent) said they hadn't taken a vacation in the last 12 months."

 

100K

Maintenance is the key.

100K

100K

By the photo with this post, you can see that I hit the 100K mark with my beloved 2006 Toyota Highlander. It has been a great car for my consulting business and has been the best vehicle for me and my needs. It feels like we have been together forever, but that has only been possible due to the regular maintenance it received over our time together, and because of the care the Highlander has received I feel confident that we will be together for many more happy miles.

Well, just as a car does not get to 100K without vital maintenance, neither does your business. In order for you to do the work that you were meant to do, you need to perform regular maintenance or in the language of the Productive Environment Institute, sustain your success.

Business and life can be very messy. We travel, have heavy workloads, attend conferences and collect new product information and information from new contacts. We have lots of tools that we use on a daily basis. We work from home, from our business office and from our vehicles. Your business life can get overwhelming very quickly. So what is a business owner to do?

Keeping Your Credit Information Secure

Be Prepared, Be Vigilant, and Be Safe.

Keeping Your Credit Information Secure

Part of everyone’s lives now is the necessity of keeping our information safe. We us credit cards as a matter of course, and we work hard to keep our data secure. The latest company to fall victim of loss of data has been The Home Depot. They have made an effort to assure their customers that they will offer FREE identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any customer who used a payment card at a Home Depot location from April 2014 onward.

Online Time and Productivity

Too much of a good thing?

Online Time and Productivity

Did you ever wake up with a social media hangover? You know the feeling that you get when you stayed up way too late, pinning, posting, liking, and sharing. What did those activities do to your productivity the next day? We all know how easy it is to get pulled in deeper and deeper, and what you thought would be a five minute quick “check-in” can turn into a several hour adventure and…and like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland you will find yourself chanting…I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!

Improve Your Productivity With The Right Chair

What you need to know to get the most out of your office chair.

Improve Your Productivity With The Right Chair

Is your chair causing pain in your productivity?

Think about how much of your day you spend in your office, sitting in that one chair, and working at the computer. Are you aware of pain in different parts of your body as you sit in that chair?   If you have a chair this causing you pain, what kind of day are you going to have? How productive can you be when you are distracted and uncomfortable? Being productive in your office begins with having a good foundation and that foundation begins with a proper office chair.

Plans, Planning, Planners and Productivity

Getting started on the path to greater and more satisfying productivity

Plans, Planning, Planners and Productivity

Getting started on the path to greater and more satisfying productivity begins with the three P’s Plans, Planning and Planners. So, let’s get started!

When you are trying to accomplish your work, how do you know what is required? Does your boss give you a list; do you create one for yourself, or with your team? What does the list represent? What will you see if you accomplish your work? Will you have a new product, or service? Will you be traveling to make a presentation? Will you hire a new employee, or land a new contract?

The 5 W’s used by reporters to give us the facts of a news story give us a place to start your list or to interpret the list given to you by someone else.

What is You Productivity Plan B?

How would you recover from the loss of your files?

What is You Productivity Plan B?

What would you do if, you could no longer access the files you need to do your job?

What would you do if, your power went out and you need to get work done?

What would you do if, your computer crashed and you had no back-up?

Well, I was reminded of all these questions this week when I heard from a colleague whose computer had crashed and she was unable to work on many of the tasks that she had in progress, because all the needed information and software tools were located on that computer.

Then, I received a call from a client that her access to her favorite online tool was “gone” and she could not access any of the information that she needed for her day. This was going to be a HUGE disaster.

Fortunately, both of these situations were resolved, but imagine for a moment if their data were truly lost, and no recovery of the data was possible? Imagine too, how these individuals felt before they knew if they would get their data recovered.

 

Reflections of Productivity

Getting Better Perspective About What We Tell Ourselves

Reflections of Productivity

It can be life changing to see yourself from the perspective of those who can show you your reflection from their perspective. I recently read about a challenge regarding what beauty is. A photographer had women and girls take selfies and then enlarged them, printed them, and had them mounted to hang in an art gallery. The photographs were put on public display in a show. During the show at the gallery the patrons were given post-it notes to write their impressions regarding the beauty of the subjects in these selfies. They posted these on the photos in the gallery. The photographer also interviewed the subjects of the photos about their beauty in the selfies. The subjects gave many negative impressions of themselves and their perceived flaws. The patrons on the other hand focused on so many positive things about the subjects of the photographs and what made them beautiful. The subjects of the selfies were then able to view these post-it’s with the patron’s perspectives about their beauty.

Productivity and Decision Making

Getting clear about the process is your personal journey.

Productivity and Decision Making

Have you ever been in the situation where you “know” you need to do something and it just never seems to happen despite your very best intentions? A great example is what happens when we make resolutions at the New Year.   We feel we should, we feel we ought to, other people think that we should…get more exercise, stop smoking, get a new job, lose weight and so on.

Making a Decision is the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. What is the change; where is the shift, and how do you know where you are in the process of decision making? To have decided means you are free from hesitation or wavering; resolute; determined.

How you get from deciding to decided is a very personal journey.

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