“… assistant professor Elizabeth Cohen detailed the limits of the brain and how its natural sensitivity to interference leads to cognitive bottlenecks that allow it to only process a limited number of things at one time.”
Cohen said the brain has a finite pool of resources to use at any given moment to process different types of information or perform different cognitive tasks.”
Doing Two Things at Once? Stop! | LiveScience.com | 2.26.13
Get More Information
I’ve just returned from the annual conference hosted by the National Association of Professional Organizers (check out my virtual coverage over at SOHO Tech Training). It’s always great to meet up with other organizers and I always get excited about seeing what the vendors have to offer — especially since they usually debut new products. In fact, there were several new items on display this year as well as a few new vendors in attendance.
I decided to put a few folks in the hot seat and have them tell me a bit about how their products can help us stay on top of things and organized. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the interviews I did and I hope you’ll share in the comments what you think. Keep in mind that these were on-the-spot, impromptu videos and I used the camera on my iPhone. I felt like a roving NAPO field reporter!
One of my first stops was at the Ziploc® booth. Did you know that Spacebag is now a Ziploc® brand? I discovered that when I visited their booth, and while there, I met Lauren, who explained that the valve on bag has been improved (to keep air out) and, as usual, you don’t need to use the vacuum to remove the air. All you have to do is roll the bag.
Here, have a look:
I was also super excited about my next find, the Staples Better® Binder with Removable FileRings™. They are a great space saver and very cleverly designed so that you can file your papers and reuse the binder.
Check back next week for some of the other products that caught my eye!
“… people in positions of power are more likely to have uncertainty about their futures and the ability to see the big picture. People in power are therefore more likely to save money and be responsible with their finances.”
How Power Affects Decision Making | BusinessNewsDaily.com | 3.1.13
Get More Information
I started using Dropbox a couple years ago when my Mastermind group wanted to share files (like word documents and mp3 files), some of which were too big to send via email. After the initial installation and set up, we saw how much easier Dropbox was than trying to email or FTP files back and forth. Plus, a couple of our members had some challenges with keeping on top of their email, and this provided a platform where all our information was in one place. And, best of all, it was clearly named and organized in the same way.
Since then, I realized that I needed a streamlined system on the cloud so no matter where I was or which device I had with me, I could access my information. So, I began shifting my current digital filing system over to Dropbox.
It’s quite simple really – after installing the free software all you have to do it drag and drop the file(s) into the desired Dropbox folder. On a Mac, open the “Finder” window and look under “Places.”
Or, on the right side of your desktop toolbar a Dropbox icon will appear. Click on the icon and select “Open Dropbox Folder.”
Dropbox organizes the folders and files in the same way your computer files and folders are set up – as nested directories. You can sync to individual computers, phones, and tablets. Your information is also stored on the Internet. Log into your Dropbox account via the web and voilà, there are all your files!
Dropbox has made file sharing for my collaborative partners and me tremendously easier than it used to be. Here are some of the ways I use Dropbox:
- My current Mastermind group and I use Dropbox for sharing audio files, pdf files, photosn and word documents. This is extremely handy since we all live in different parts of the country.
- One of my colleagues and I share our marketing materials for our retreats and classes through Dropbox. Previously, we used Google Docs (now known as Google Drive), and perhaps because of the different operating systems we were using, files never came through true to form when we used it. We have no such problems with Dropbox – files always open as they should.
- I upload my Quickbooks or other financial files that my accountant needs to Dropbox. No more driving to the other side of town with a memory stick or having him come to my office to get the needed information.
People save 1 billion files every day to Dropbox’s online storage service says its Chief Executive, Drew Houston. To date, Dropbox has over 100 million users and has paying customers in more than 200 countries. It’s offered in eight different languages including English, Spanish, Castilian Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Italian.
Installing the Dropbox software is free and currently works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry. At the time of this writing, Dropbox has a few different pricing options:
- Free Level Storage. Store up to 2GB for free.
- Pro Level Storage. Starts at $9.99/mo for 100 GB. Upgrade your storage to 200 for $19.99/mo or 500 GB for $49.99/mo.
- Team Level Storage. Starts at $795/yr for 1 TB and up to 5 users. Includes centralized billing and administrative tools.
Dropbox also offers referral rewards. Refer your friends and get extra storage space (up to 16 GB) at no additional cost to you.
Do you use Dropbox? How has it saved you time, money and hassle with your projects?
“People who are resilient tend to be more positive and optimistic compared to less-resilient folks; they are better able to regulate their emotions; and they are able to maintain their optimism through the most trying circumstances.
Resilient people also respond to adversity by appealing to a wider range of emotions … resilient people reported the same amount of anxiety as less resilient people … [but] they also revealed more happiness, interest, and eagerness toward the problem. For resilient people, high levels of positive emotions exist side-by-side with negative emotions.”
The Benefits of Optimism are Real | TheAtlantic.com | 3.1.13
Get More Information
The day has arrived…that large project that has been lurking in the shadows moves right to the top of the to do list and must be addressed immediately. Now, it is full steam ahead as a project management team needs to be assembled and a plan devised that will ensure a successful outcome.
This was the very situation that I faced recently. I have a client who is the CEO of a start-up beauty company specializing in skincare products. She had periodically alluded to moving her NYC company from its temporary quarters into more permanent office space, but it was clear that she wanted to hold off making this move for as long as possible. The reasons for postponing the inevitable were obvious: it would be expensive, time consuming and somewhat – make that definitely – disruptive. Well, the day finally arrived, albeit much sooner than anticipated. The company was growing, needed to staff up and could only do so if there was more space. It was the perfect opportunity for me to put on my project management hat and get to work on the project plan for moving this NYC start-up into suitable mid-town Manhattan office space.
I applied general project management guidelines in creating the plan for this NYC move. Below, I have illustrated how the four phases for managing a project were applied. The objective of the project plan was to capture all of the key tasks in one place and to follow a process with a very clear beginning, middle and end.
Phase 1: Set-up
- Define the objective. The company needed to move to a more centralized mid-town Manhattan location with enough space for 20 employees, access to 2-3 meeting rooms, and an open style floor plan.
- Identify the project manager. I was assigned the role of project manager as I had both prior experience with company moves in NYC, the requisite skills (problem solver, good communicator, and decisiveness), and was very familiar with the culture of the company as well as the CEO’s expectations.
- Assemble your team. In this case, the team consisted of the interior designer, the landlord’s project manager and her construction team, the data/phone provider,and the movers.
- Establish your initial direction. My client had initially considered a short term lease in a virtual office environment. As none of the available space met her parameters, she shifted her focus to finding her own space and having it built out as needed.
Phase 2: Plan
- Develop the plan. Once my client was committed to leasing her own space, our overall game plan was to first find a real estate broker who could locate office space that met the project’s objectives, and that could be ready for occupancy within 3-4 months.
- Create the project schedule. I identified the major task categories and then started a list of the specific actions that needed to be addressed under each one.
- Include deadlines for each task. Each of the tasks that I included within each category was assigned a completion date.
- Assign the work. Responsibility for completing each task was assigned to the team member who would be overseeing the activity. For example, the interior designer was responsible for recommending furniture selections and then ensuring that the orders were placed once the choices were approved.
Phase 3: Implementation
- Project kick-off. I shared the project plan with the team so that everyone was aware of the timeline for getting the tasks completed.
- Organize the troops. In addition to sharing the plan with the team, areas of responsibility were clarified so that the expectations were clearly understood from the very beginning of the project.
- Procedures. I had to establish some project-specific procedures like requesting that the moving company who was accepting furniture deliveries notify me once a delivery was received.
- Communication. As the team members weren’t all based in the same location, communicating in an effective and timely manner was essential. The objective was to keep the communication, which was frequently done via email, very concise.
Phase 4: Wrap Up
- Loose Ends. I established both a paper and digital file for all of the relevant documents that I collected from the movers, furniture companies, and the IT vendor. I also had to be sure that all open invoices were processed for payment.
- Evaluate and assess the outcome. This project required very careful management, as my client had to be ready to move into her new space by a very specific date. The good news is that all of the tasks were addressed as needed so that the move was completed right on schedule.
- Team Meeting. The best part of this project is that my client was extremely pleased with the way the move was handled and is very happy in her new office. We have discussed various aspects of the project and have identified those tasks that would be handled differently the next time.
First, what the heck is Pinterest? Simply put, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where you pin up photos of things you like. It is fantastic for keeping track of things that are inspiring, eductional and much more!
Here are some great uses for keeping your life organized with Pinterest:
- Recipes To Try/Favorite Recipes
- Home Décor Ideas
- Fashion Inspiration
- Beauty Tips
- Organizing Guidance
- Funny Photos
- Work Portfolio
- Gift Ideas
- Inspirational Life Quotes/Photos
- Parenting Advice
Now that we know what Pinterest is, let’s organize it! There are so many uses for Pinterest, but what’s the point if your boards are in disarray? You made the effort to seek out photos of things that inspire you, so it’s important that you be able to go back and find specific pins easily.
Here’s what to do:
First, create a board that covers a general category of things with a title that makes sense to you. For example, I created a “New Uses For Old Things” board to store photos of old items being used in different ways.
Then, start pinning! With my previous example, every time I came across a picture of a new way to use something old, I pinned it on the “New Uses For Old Things” board.
Once you have 50 photos pinned to a board (or whatever number you decide is the maximum), it’s time to re-evaluate the title of the board as well as the contents of it. Look at the pins on the board, and see if you can break it down into smaller boards.
I analyzed my “New Uses For Old Things” board and discovered I had a whole bunch of photos of new ways to use a shoe organizer. So, I created a new board just for those pins and titled it “New Uses For A Shoe Organizer.”
This keeps your boards at a manageable size, prevents them from becoming too overwhelming, and makes it easier to locate specific pins.
Another good Pinterest practice is to fill out the description section when pinning. Write quick but detailed descriptions, so you can remember any related special notes and so that others will find your pins when using the keyword search box.
For the same reasons, it’s also good practice to use hash tags in the description section just like with Twitter. For example if I pin a photo of a new use for a shoe organizer, then I might use hash tags like #organizing #repurpose #reuse #newuse.
Alright you Pinterest pioneer you! Now that you know how to use Pinterest to stay organized and how to keep your boards orderly, go forth…browse the Internet and happy pinning!
“Late people tended to procrastinate more, demonstrated trouble with self-control (were more prone to habits such as overeating, drinking too much, gambling and impulse shopping), showed an affinity for thrill-seeking and displayed ADD-like symptoms-restlessness, trouble focusing and attention issues.
People who are chronically late are often wrestling with anxiety, distraction, ambivalence or other internal psychological states … there are deep-rooted personality characteristics at play, making lateness a very difficult habit to break.”
There’s a Reason You’re Always Late | Yahoo.com | 2.15.13
Get More Information
You made it through March! Now is a good time to check in with yourself. How are you doing? We often think about spring cleaning our home this time of year, but maybe it’s time to focus on spring cleaning your to do list. So, take a moment to evaluate your to do list.
Your list is probably full of things that you’ve been meaning to get to and have put off for a while. They are often important but not urgent tasks that always seem to get put on the back burner. Maybe your to do list includes working out, calling an old friend, cleaning out your storage unit, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or starting your child’s baby book. No matter what’s on your task list, this is a great time to start getting things done.
Here are ways to help you take advantage of spring – a time for renewal and fresh starts – and clean up your to do list.
1. Work in the morning. If you plan to complete a task in the afternoon, think again. By the time the afternoon arrives, it’s very easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” This cycle can repeat itself over and over and the task can often be left undone. So, get to it during the top half of your day.
2. Gather your supplies. Think of your to dos as baking a recipe. First, gather all the ingredients. You might procrastinate because you may be missing a tool to complete the task. So, eliminate this excuse by gathering your supplies upfront.
3. Work at a reasonable, steady pace. You’ve heard the old saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.” If you have a task that seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. Rather than organizing your entire kitchen, start with one cabinet or even one shelf inside one cabinet. Organizing one cabinet seems doable, doesn’t it? … while organizing the entire kitchen can be very daunting. If you organize one cabinet at a time, before you know it, the kitchen (or whatever room you’re working on) will be completely in order!
4. Set reminders. Schedule time on your calendar or set an alert to remind you to make certain priorities. Even if the task you need to work on is due four weeks from now, it’s important to remind yourself which things need to be worked on first so you can manage your time more efficiently.
And, once you begin working, consider using a timer (like the Time Timer) to help you stay on track and get the things on your list completed.
Is your home is overflowing with toys, children’s clothes, and other things that you’re not using? What about your friends, neighbors, and other family members? If yes, this is a perfect time to start thinking about a multi-family garage sale! Garage sales are on the rise partly because it’s a way to make money from things that are no longer needed.
A garage sale can be a good way to simplify and let go of clutter. Here are five simple steps you can take to help you organize a family garage sale:
- Invite several families to participate. When you have more items to sell, especially larger size toys, furniture, and tools, this can attractive to buyers and draw a crowd. If no one on your block is interested, invite other families and decide on the location with respect to street traffic.
- Set the date. Give yourself one month (or more) to get ready for the sale. Begin the uncluttering process and then select the items that will be sold. Price items the week before the sale, place signs the night before (check to to see if you need a permit), and plan on a very early start on the day of the sale. You can often advertise your sale on some of the online garage sale sites, too.
- Encourage your kids to choose 10 items each to sell. Your children will profit in many ways, including learning to declutter (deciding what to keep and what to let go of) and learning how to handle money.
- Keep your pricing simple. Not sure how to price everything? Typically items are priced at 25% of their original value, so use that as a benchmark. You can write the cost on colored dot stickers and place them directly on each item. Buy your stickers from office supply stores, Target, Walmart, or local dollar store. Also, think about having a “Free Box.” This is a box that has items you definitely want to be sure are off your hands at the end of the sale.
- Donate remaining items right after the sale. You have already let go of the items by offering them for sale. At the end, if there’s anything left, donate them. You can take them to your local charity off or schedule them to be picked up. Remember that you can itemize and list the items (for tax purposes), using the free, online program, ItsDeductible (by Intuit).
Garage sales take time and energy, but partnering with other families makes it fun and helps everyone earn an extra dollar too!
Get More Information
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com