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7 Simple Ways to Reduce Paper in Your Office

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7 Simple Ways to Reduce Paper in Your Office

Less Paper: Earth Day 2021.

According to Records Nation, in the United States we use 65,395,000,000 sheets of paper per DAY. That is 815,000 pine trees every day! 4 Billion dollars every day, on paper! No wonder the average office worker spends 30-40% of their time looking for information stored in file cabinets.

Earth Day is just around the corner, so today I am sharing some ways to be more mindful of the amount of paper we use. Paper, printer ink, postage and storage are just a few of the costs of printing our electronic files. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year on average. We throw away 45% of what we print by the end of the day. Most of the forms printed by S corporations are outdated in 3 months’ time! Reducing paper consumption in your office is a great way to regain space, save money, increase peace of mind, and show kindness to our planet.

Want to get started on the road to less paper in your office? Try these 7 ways to reduce the paper you use, today!

The Secrets of Perfect Timing

If not now, when?

The Secrets of Perfect Timing

I recently revisited a book I read a couple years ago: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink. He extensively studied the science of time. I learned there are times best suited to each task in our lives. You can stop guessing when to do things, and pick the best times to work, eat, sleep, have your coffee, and even quit your job. He stressed we are all different, we all have peak times every day, and they are predictable.

Daniel puts us all in one of three categories he calls types: Larks (morning people), Owls (night owls), their best work starts at 9PM, or Third Birds–this describes most of us who are neither Larks nor Owls.

Until now, in my practice, I referred to client types as happy morning people, afternoon aficionados, or midnight mavens.

Key take-aways:

We all have times of day that we are strongest at performing certain types of work (our circadian rhythms). Add to the rhythms your emotions. Did you know, our emotions run through cycles every day, and these cycles are the same every day. Matching our rhythms to our activities can really boost productivity.  

We need regular breaks and “Nappuccinos” (a very particular type of napping that involves having caffeine before a brief nap.) When you awaken, the caffeine will be active and available to boost your productivity.

Marie Kondo, what is new in 2021.

Will it "Spark Joy" for you?

Marie Kondo, what is new in 2021.

It was two years ago today that Barbara Hemphill and I had a discussion in the Productive Environment Network™ about Marie Kondo and the KonMari method. Yesterday in the mail, I received an ad from one of my favorite stores, The Container Store. Guess who has a new line of products at the Container Store? Yes, Marie Kondo.
Here are some of my thoughts

What about Inbox Zero?

What should I do now?

What about Inbox Zero?

While writing my upcoming book about Gmail, Taming the Digital Tiger, Gmail Edition. A Step -By-Step Guide to Tame Your Gmail Account in No Time Flat, I was asked about Merlin Mann, the Founder of 43 Folders, and his concept known as Inbox Zero. Inbox Zero created a sensation in 2007, when Merlin showcased this concept at Google Tech Talk.

With the Inbox Zero philosophy, you process the email in your inbox using a few actions instead of allowing it to accumulate in the inbox. You read it, assign an action to it, and move it out of the inbox based on that action (more on this in a minute.)

In 2007, our digital communications were predominantly email based.  For most, it meant the email assigned to us at work. Now, we all have multiple email addresses. In addition, we have apps like Slack, Telegram, Messenger, Signal, and Twitter DM’s. And let’s not forget, text messages and chat tools inside other productivity apps. All this new technology since 2007. We have more choices for communicating and more inboxes than ever. Do you use voice messages or video messages? More inboxes!

 

What my hiking shoes taught me about productivity.

Ten things to remember.

What my hiking shoes taught me about productivity.

I got new hiking shoes for a trip to Colorado and Utah in 2015, we had no idea where they would take us.
Our first adventure with these shoes was to Denver, Boulder, Aspen, all five National Parks in Utah, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Escalante National Monument, Deadhorse State Park and Las Vegas. It filled us with awe, enjoying views we had never experienced here in New England.

A year later these shoes took us to OR, WA and HI. On this trip we hiked in forests and saw the pacific ocean as never before. We crossed the Kilauea Iki Crater in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, just as Kilauea was becoming more active a few miles away.

Closer to home they traveled to wonderful places in the White Mountains, Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park in Maine, for sunrise and sunset and more.

These shoes are trusted friends I fell in love with the first moment I put them on. Comfortable, sturdy, dependable and ready when adventure calls.

So why am I writing about these shoes today?

In the past few months, since Covid 19, they have supported my journey differently.

 

September is National Preparedness Month

Now is a good time to update your plan.

September is National Preparedness Month

Seems like 2020 did not want to wait for September for us to think about preparing for disaster.
Prepared or not 2020 hit like a freight train with no brakes. We careen from one disaster to another. The flu, COVID-19, floods, fires, landslides, hurricanes, tornados, volcanic eruptions, civil unrest, racism, economic distress, Midwest derecho, humanitarian crises. The disasters just keep coming.
No one needs to tell any of us this year that we need to be prepared for a whole host of things. Many of you will have already gone through your plans and updated everything, but one thing I know for sure is, right now, things change quickly. What felt like the right plan today, may need to change tomorrow.
Illness, natural disasters, accidents all happen everyday all over the world. I am reminded by Ready.gov every September to think about updating my plans. Maybe you do too. If this is you,think about what you need if you had to evacuate your home NOW. Preparing so you can collect to these things quickly and get to safety is key.

The big productivity killer in your vocabulary.

Stop shoulding and start doing.

The big productivity killer in your vocabulary.

What should I do?

This question often leads to a discussion of what is “best”, and where can I find the perfect tool?
You want to do the right thing, the best thing, the thing that will make someone else proud. How does it make you feel when you ask yourself, what should I do? When you ask what should I do, does it lead you to do something or not?

Psychologist Clayton Barbeau coined the term, “shoulding yourself” referring to the intense pressure to do something in a certain way based on what we think we “should do.” The word should causes you to do one of two things, you freeze unable to move forward or you run away and avoid the work altogether. Either way, you are not doing the work. When I work with clients, I see some big emotions attached to shoulding yourself, like fear, guilt, and shame. Fear of the consequences for not completing the task; guilt for falling behind; and shame for not asking for help in the beginning when you knew you needed help.

It is all about time

Have you checked your time lately?

It is all about time

What are YOU waiting for?
I love the Nickelback song, What Are You Waiting For. The song asks the questions: are you waiting for lightning to strike, a perfect night, or for the time to be right? It encourages us to take the wheel and steer, to learn to deal with the fear, and not wait another minute to give it your all. We need to take the leap of faith, believe in our dreams, and not be afraid to fall.
Do you have a dream that is just a dream, or do you have a dream you are working to make a reality? If it is just a dream, ask yourself why?
If I were to take a guess, you are waiting for someone else to tell you it is a great idea. In reality, the only person who can take you from dream to reality is you.
Often, I hear clients talk about time as an obstacle to realizing their dreams. So let’s get clear about what time is and is not.

Got the Monday Morning Blahs 2.0

7 Ways to Conquer the Overwhelm

Got the Monday Morning Blahs 2.0

 Today, I am sharing an update to a Blog Post from early 2019. We are facing some new challenges, and others have just changed location. The good news is, we can still take action and improve our work day.

Do you wake up every Monday feeling dread about returning to work? Well, you are not alone. Why do Mondays cause so much pain? We spend the entire weekend trying to catch our breath from the week before. In our current Covid "new normal" it can be even more challenging.

During our weekends, and maybe even weekdays in our Covid 19 world, we stay up late, sleep in, perhaps drink too much, or eat foods that are high in fat and sugar that sap our energy.

I get it. On the weekends you want to spend the “quality” time you lack Monday through Friday. You spend your work week in virtual meetings all day,and you are suffering Zoom Fatigue, back and neck pain, and eye strain. You are constantly redirecting the kids. You stay up late to work, so you can have peace and quiet, because your family needs you during the day like never before. You struggle to give them something, but you have little left.

On the weekends it is a mad sprint to fit in everything you want to do for and with your loved ones before it all starts again.
How many of you are working all weekend because you are trying to make the whole work from home, take care of the kids all day, fear of the unknown world work? How in the world can you have a great Monday when you are so out of sync with your Monday – Friday world?

Now let’s back up to last week.

How did you leave your workspace Friday afternoon?
Is your workspace piled high with things that belong elsewhere?
Are you a vagabond, moving your office on and off the dining room table every day?

Have you checked your Spam Label in Gmail Lately?

You might be surprised by what you find there!

Have you checked your Spam Label in Gmail Lately?

Have you noticed that email you want is suddenly going to the Spam Label in Gmail? Algorithms are constantly changing, and recently I noticed something you may want to check in your Gmail accounts. I found 195 messages in spam in my primary Gmail account. YIKES! When I opened the Spam Label to look at them, 194 of the 195 were NOT spam. That is a lot of emails going to the wrong label. So, what are we to do here? Here are some easy things you can do today!

The real costs of disorganization.

Have you ever thought about what your disorganization is costing you?

The real costs of disorganization.

Have you ever thought about what your disorganization is costing you? Well, here are 10 examples to get you thinking.

1. Lost Receipts: Not being able to return a purchase because you can't find the receipt means money down the drain.

2. Uncashed checks and lost gift cards: Rebates, tax returns, gifts and other uncashed checks that have expired often cannot be reclaimed. Did you hide them to keep them safe and now you can't remember where they are? I once found a check for $262,000.00 that the client lost in the process of buying and selling a home. What a nightmare! I had another client put gift certificates and money in the books above her desk. She did not realize the extent of what was there, and some of the stores were out of business. Money lost...

GPS, The Small Stuff, and Getting Back on Track

GPS, The Small Stuff, and Getting Back on Track

A short time ago, we were returning from a trip, in my car, at O’dark 30 AM, when the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree. There were warning lights that I had never seen before and there were a lot of them…Check engine was among them…YIKES! So, there we were on the highway, going along with traffic, it was raining, the road was rough, and we had no map other than the little tiny GPS screen on my phone.

Calling for help, meant we needed to know our location. Google tried to help, but there was no street address, and drilling down a location took a bit of expanding the map and trying to find helpful details. In the “olden days”, I would have a route planned on my paper map that would have revealed most of the information I needed at a glance. The big picture here was important. Calling the 24-hour roadside assist that came with the car led to a discussion with an operator in Tennessee. Her reply was; “looks like you have got a big problem there” …Ok, FINE! I thought the check engine light established that fact, but I digress.

We did eventually find our location (hey it was a stressful event; we were a little freaked out!) and a plan for tow was arranged. Time passed and no one called with details about when help might come. We decided we were ready to move to plan B, call the local dealer and see if they could help.

Next up was finding a dealer to help us with the car. OK, 7 miles away…Should we chance it and just drive there? Should we wait?  What should we do?

Ever wondered if Productivity Consultants get disorganized?

10 Ways I Might Be Just Like You

Ever wondered if Productivity Consultants get disorganized?

When I meet new people, and they find out I am a Professional Organizer/Productivity Consultant, they will often stop in their tracks and tell me how much they need me at their home or in their offices. Then, they ask about my home or my office. They want to know if my home or office is immaculate, if I have everything put away, or if I always know where everything is. I often laugh to myself wondering if I have some superhero power that I do not know about.

Always and immaculate are some strong terms. How about this - sometimes my home and office are just how I like them, other times they need work. Life happens, we travel, we get home late, something unexpected comes up, and bad things happen.

Perfection is a productivity killer. I choose to: clean up, tidy up, straighten up, put things back where they belong, or whatever terms you use to describe this task on a routine basis, but the key is an underlying system to use when things get out of control.

So, today I want to share some of the things some of the things you may have wondered about me in my life as a productivity trainer and professional organizer. Why am I sharing this with you? Because, we are all in the same boat. We all get busy, we all have last minute interruptions, we all have days we are just too tired to put everything away…Don’t worry, with the right training and systems you can decide to get your home or office back in shape when you are ready.

Time for a nice long vacation?

Why you really need to take one!

Time for a nice long vacation?

It has been a couple of years since I wrote about vacation and productivity. The first time I wrote about it , I had just come to the realization that I had never in my working life 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.
Here are the facts I reported, when I initially wrote about vacation and productivity:

The remedy to your digital distress lies in the analog life.

The remedy to your digital distress lies in the analog life.

We are all so busy with our computers, smart phones, tablets, and smart home devices with their personal assistants. It got me wondering if in the quest for digital nirvana that we might be missing something IRL. (in Real Life). You may all know about my word of the year (intention) and my desire to live more simply with less. On my journey to less, I have begun working on a template for a course on designing your digital life. (I will share my thoughts on that in another post.)

One important component of my digital life design is to be sure it includes analog time. I think of computer related things as digital and human beings as analog.

OK, so you may be shaking your heads wondering what has become of me and that surely I must be losing my mind. Well, I may be losing my mind, but this would not be the reason…

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