Tag Archives: efficiency

Drool-worthy desk spaces

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Yes! It’s clear – I’m a sucker for visuals of organized, beautiful desk spaces. Nothing tickles me more than the sense of a cozy, comfortable throne of efficiency and productivity. A place that supports the down-and-dirty to-dos; evokes the wilder, raw creative juices; and cradles big soaring vision all at once. A room/womb with a view.

Check out these spaces I stumbled upon on Houzz, and see what you think. What excites you in the photos…what possibilities do they elicit for you?

For me, the desk spaces with expansive views promise me the day I get to spend six months in NYC and six months in a remote natural world (Boulder, Utah; Provincetown, MA; Hana, Maui come to mind) and not skip a beat in productivity.desk vie

Schedule time, not tasks: words of wisdom from Harold Taylor

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Harold Taylor, renowned time management authority, has this to say…..

I have always recommended that people schedule more time than they think a task will take to allow for unavoidable interruptions. But you could feel stressed and out of control if you still don’t get the task completed. To prevent this, change your mindset. Schedule time to work on a task rather than the task itself. The expectation then becomes to spend one hour or 90 minutes each day (or week) until the task is finished. This way you can’t fail. But it’s important to schedule these chunks of time as far as possible in advance of the deadline.” – Harold Taylor

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I think finding a “time management” system needs to be a lot more customized than any space organizing system. It’s really an inside-out job that requires the commitment of a lifestyle. Think about it, if you’re overwhelmed by the clutter in your home, you can always escape to Starbucks, or a hotel room. You carry your time management with you wherever you go. Here are some resources to peak your curiosity about how you tick (pun intended).

Daily PlanIt

Updated 6/20/11

There are many great sites dedicated to exploring ways to use time well. Here are my top favorites. For these and more, go to my del.icio.us bookmarks list.

  • Lifehack — Daily digest and pointers on productivity, getting things done and lifehacks. Keep an eye on what Chris Brogan is up to-he’s an incredibly creative guy who writes regularly at Lifehack.org among other things
  • DIYPlanner-Paper, productivity and passion
  • David Seah-the Printable CEO
  • 43Folders-about personal productivity, life hacks, and simple ways to make your life a little better
  • Matt’s Idea Blog-Original thoughts on productivity, personal information management, creativity, journaling, personal digital storage for life, and leveraging technology for citizenship.
  • LifeDev-new. interesting.
  • Make It Great!-Lifehacks from Phil Gerbyshak
  • Productivity Goal, which is “a discussion about work productivity, time management organization, tools and tips.”
  • Productivity Pro-Helping people leave the office earlier, with less…

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Five Daily Organizing Habits

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1. Have three areas in your home you’re committed to keeping clutter-free. I make my bed daily, clear all dishes from the sink, and fold and stack all used clothing. These three commitments boost my esteem, give me landing places for my eyes that feel peaceful and calm, and anchor me when I’m experiencing overwhelm or chaos.

Whatever you eyes land on when you first enter your home can set you up for feeling peaceful or chaotic. See if you can commit to keeping the area you look at when you first enter clutter-free. Fresh flowers, or a delightful splash of color can uplift, too.

2. Take 30 minutes a day to detach from activity and find calm. This could be taking a walk outside on a lunch break. Nature soothes and allows us to let go of whatever is pulling at us (worry, indecision, external or internal pressure). It could mean a hot bath, meditation, reading an inspiring book. It’s often when we’re feeling we “don’t have time to take a break” that taking a break will do us the most good. We wouldn’t go to the gym and expect to weight-lift for hours without a break. We know our bodies aren’t built for that. Our brains need the same kind of break from thinking, problem-solving and activity. A mind refreshed is much more capable than a mind distressed.

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3. Take 15 minutes in the morning to plan your day, and 15 minutes at night to re-set. Clients often say, :Doesn’t this take up a lot of time?” It SAVES a lot of time. We wouldn’t jump in the car and start driving across country without consulting a map (or setting the GPS), even if we’re leaving from NYC and know LA is “west”. We often try to jump into the day with a vague idea of where we’re going, but no clear map on getting there. By reviewing what we want to get done, it often become clear how we can do it most efficiently, and what steps we need to take in what order to get there. At night, we can see spot check what we completed and didn’t. Often, if I see clearly what I didn’t make happen, going to sleep with that awareness, allows me to wake up with clarity on what next actions I need to take. We do a lot of problem-solving in our sleep. Having a a gentle question when we go to bed, is like putting a repair order in. In the morning, we often awake to a new solution.

4. a)Write all tasks down.  Our brains are not designed hold a large number of tasks for ready access. By writing everything down, we allow the brain to function as it’s designed, and allow our smart-phones, calendars, and lists to contain everything for us. We consult our lists to pull out items as they’re needed. Studies have shown that the act of writing things down has us 90% more likely to complete what we intend. Even if we don’t consult our lists, the act of writing is a powerful tool in clarifying and solidifying our intentions. b)Every task has a “when”. While this can be flexible, it’s a helpful habit to write down “by when” you intend to accomplish each tasks. It can help you see your priorities, and if it’s reasonable to accomplish everything you intend in the time–frame you anticipate. You are better equipped to now “schedule” the tasks you’ve intended in your daily planning sessions.

yum5. Drink lots of water, sleep well, eat nutritiously, and exercise. You executive functioning brain is where we organize from. Organization is about making decisions, assessing time, and focusing. Our brains need to be functioning optimally to stay organized. Water, sleep, and nutrition will keep us well-tuned and able to walk through chaos with calm and clarity!

 

 

 

 

Innovating Style

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The fourth and last organizing style I’ll look at from Lanna Nakone’s Organizing for Your Brain Type is called the innovating style. This style correlates with the right frontal lobes which helps us envision the future and make changes.

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The  Innovating Style can usually be found in creative, artistic types. Innovators enjoy finding new and better ways of doing things. They are visual and like to have everything out where it can be seen. Filing can be tedious. Innovators tend to drop things wherever there is space, like to pile things around. Innovators can tolerate a lot more spontaneity and chaos in their environment. They will often have several projects going at once.

There was a lawyer in the corporate law office I worked who was an innovator. He was given many cases he’d work on concurrently. Stacks of files and material could be found on his desk and lining the floor of his office. When you opened his file cabinet, more stacks were plopped in, along with his jacket, and sometimes his lunch. While it looked like utter chaos to the passer by, he was extremely effective, and his boss knew he worked best when given a large load.

If you’re an innovator, it may have been easy to feel you weren’t organizing correctly. People you live with might have a lot harder time tolerating the piles and items left out and about. But as an innovator myself, it took some shame away to recognize some of the prolific trail I leave behind me is generated by my lively involvement with creative projects.

 

 

Harmonizing Style

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The third organizing style I’ll talk about from Lanna Nakone’s Organizing for Your Brain Type is called the harmonizing style. It correlates with the right posterior lobe, which helps us develop harmony and connectedness.

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The Harmonizing Style is a homier approach; often characterized by people who are nostalgic, warm, who enjoy their memorabilia, and creating a comfortable environment for connecting with others. Harmonizers are often savers, and like lots of pictures.

One of the four lawyers I worked with at the corporate law office was a harmonizer. She brought her own lamps from home to illuminate her office, which gave it a warm, welcoming light. Her desk was full of family and friend pictures. She had a dish of candy ready to welcome the many employees who would often stop in to visit her throughout the day. She drank tea from her own china, not the water cooler Styrofoam supplied by the company. She would often have to stay late to finish her work, as she was frequently side-tracked by the spontaneous visits throughout the day.

Harmonizers often organize best with some good company helping them stay on track.