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Archive for December, 2009


Get Your Office Ready for 2010

 5 quick steps you can take to help get your office ready and organized for 2010.

1. Reference Files

Any reference files that you have not “referenced” in the past 6 months and are not legal documents you are required to keep, discard.

2. Post it Notes

Take all your post it notes down and any note that is outdated, you have no idea what it means, or is a duplicate of another note, discard.  Notes that contain reference information, tape them down on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and put them in clear sheet protectors in a binder for reference.  Notes that are reminders of a task that needs to be completed, tape each one down on its own 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and place it in your 1-31 file. 

3. Pen Drawer

How many pens, highlighters, staple removers and paper clips have you accumulated over the past year?  Only keep what you really need and put the rest in the office supply cabinet.

4. Food Drawer

Get rid of old ketchup packets, sugar packets, straws, plastic ware, napkins, outdated snacks, old popcorn packets, etc (sound familiar?) and make room for healthy snacks.

5. Your Horizontal World

It’s probably been awhile since the furniture polish has been out, so grab some paper towels or a cleaning rag, spray your desk, file cabinets, book shelves and freshen up your office and work area.

 Have fun and enjoy your clean, organized office!

Best wishes for an organized and productive 2010!


Focus Your Energy

Every time you focus on a task you utilize some of your limited supply of attention.  We can only stay focused for so long before it starts to drain us.  Studies show that each task you do tends to make you less effective at the next task, and this is especially true for tasks that are high-energy like making decisions and handling uncomfortable situations. 

Since most of us are more effective and have more energy in the morning than in the afternoon (ever experience the 3:00 PM heavy eyes?), my suggestion is tackle those high-energy tasks as soon as possible.  Now I know that you can’t always do them first thing in the morning due to other obligations, but if time allows, do them first. 

Sometimes, just getting started on the task is the hardest part.  Once you take action, you become energized and it makes it harder to stop.  Since it’s hard to focus to begin with, eliminating distractions is a core skill for staying focused.  Turn everything off when you have decided that it’s time to focus – shut down those email alerts, let your phone go to voicemail, and eliminate the physical clutter in your focus area.

Do your deep thinking work in the morning by being mindful of your task and save the afternoon for the mindless tasks!

Have a productive week!


Relieving Holiday Stress

Now that December is here, the holiday season is in full swing – even if the holiday decorations were out in October!  Holidays are supposed to be festive and fun-filled but sometimes can create lots of stress.

The holiday season means different things to different people, but we all have our traditions that seem to define this time of year.  Unfortunately, the holiday season seems to be defined by stress as well!

Some of the stress that people experience during this time of year is psychological but much of it is due to the fact that many do not implement effective time management strategies to accomplish all added things that need to be done during the holiday season. There is absolutely no reason to drive yourself crazy when you know that the same holiday occurs each year on the same day.  You have all year to get ready!

Here are just a few tips to help make the holidays easier and less stressful:

Make a Plan

  • Ask yourself “What is it about the holidays that create stress?”  Now come up with a plan to eliminate it.  Does shopping cause you stress?  Why?  Is it the crowds – find a time to shop when it’s less crowded.  Do you spend too much money? – establish a budget and stick to it – Don’t know what to get? – Come up with your list before heading out so you don’t waste time wondering around the store.

Just Say No

  • Cut out unnecessary activities.  That means anything that doesn’t provide an emotional payoff that far outweighs the hassle should be crossed off your schedule.  Enjoying the things that you end up doing is what makes the holiday memorable.

Stop and Smile

  • If you’re feeling stress as you read this, stop and smile.  How did that feel?

Add Humor

  • The next time you feel the frustration building, put those humor lenses on.  Just look around the room during that meeting or at the next holiday party, and it won’t be long before something strikes you as hilarious and you’ll start to be more in tune with the humor instead of the stress.

This holiday, celebrate with joy and laughter and leave the stress behind!

Happy Holidays!