Keep Track Of Your Connections With Newsle

On July 14, 2014, in Technology, by Nealey Stapleton
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I recently found out about a cool website called Newsle that finds and aggregates all news articles that your connections (e.g. LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends) are featured in. It’s a fantastic and super easy way to keep up with who’s doing what. Keep Track Of Your Connections With Newsle

It’s still in beta testing and I’ve only been using it for a few months, but keep reading to learn what I think so far.

Newsle’s Cool Features

  • It offers you one place to see all of your connections in the news.



  • You can have the software keep track of your LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends, public figures, journalists, and your e-mail contacts.



  • You can see who’s getting featured the most with the “Most In The News” box that appears on the top right of the feed.


  • Each article in the news feed is equipped with social share buttons, so you can immediately congratulate your connection.



  • It filters out “social noise” excluding social media updates and only showing real news.
  • You don’t have to visit the Newsle website often to get the information. You can set it up to send you email alerts daily, every three days, or weekly.

What Newsle Can Be Used For

You can use Newsle in a variety of ways to stay in the know:

  • Track accomplishments of connections and congratulate them.
  • See what your competition is doing.
  • Monitor your own online reputation and what’s being said about you.
  • Impress clients and/or potential clients with your very current knowledge of their recent news.
  • Keep up with your favorite public figures like actors, musicians, politicians, athletes and industry-specific celebrities.

Overall this new technology is useful, and I would recommend trying it out. It’s convenient, easy to use, and gives you an unnecessarily big leg up on everyone else who isn’t keeping up with their connections.

Have you used Newsle? What do you think?

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Fact Friday: Music Can Affect How You Think

On July 11, 2014, in Fact Friday, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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” … researchers brought pedestrians into a laboratory and played them a short, stripped-down piece of music consisting of a series of alternating chords. 

What the scientists found is that the simple act listening to either of these two chord sets changed how people processed information in a very basic way. For example, the researchers asked people to take a list of shopping items and organize them into groups. Think detergent and paper towels: same kind of thing, or different? Results showed that “tritone” people formed fewer categories than “perfect fifth” people, indicating that they were thinking in broader, more inclusive categories than their counterparts.


Read More:

Music Changes the Way You Think | | 6.24.2014



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The One Family Routine to Keep Every Summer

On July 7, 2014, in Wellness, by Ellen Delap
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It’s summer time!  You may want to play it “fast and loose” as a parent, and keep the fun big and the routines minimal. However, there is one  family routine to keep every summer. Everyone needs a solid bedtime routine!


summertime sleep routine

Original Image Credit: Tamaki Sono (Flickr Creative Commons)


Research proves how vital sleep is. Everyone is more irritable, more emotional, and less able to handle daily stress. Sleep helps  us learn more easily, communicate with less frustration, and spend quality time together in a meaningful way.  According to the Mayo Clinic newsletter, most children and teens need approximately 10 hours of sleep daily, while adults tend to do best with about 8 hours of sleep (learn more).

So, how can you ensure that you and your family members get enough sleep during the fun months of summer?

  • Get on the same page. Start summer off with a family meeting to discuss what everyone’s daily and weekend bedtime will be. Set reasonable expectations and post a visible note so everyone remembers what was decided. With everyone having the same standards, you will be off to a good start.
  • Get to bed on time. Have everyone in  your family wind down early in order to be in bed on time. Start at least 30 minutes earlier than you think you need to. Power off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime. Then, encourage family reading time by sharing a book you can all read together or allow older children to read just before bed each evening.
  • Get better habits. As parents, you’ll want to model healthy sleep routines,too. After long days and extra activities, you’ll be  tired, so getting in bed at the same time nightly promotes good sleep. By developing sleep-friendly habits such as discontinuing caffeine early in the day, uncluttering your bedroom, turning off electronics an hour before bed, and winding down with a bath or music, you are demonstrating an important life skill with your kids.

Adhering to this one important routine this summer will likely make every day better — or at least more manageable. A good night’s sleep gives everybody time to rest and it’s also a way to prepare for the next day. Think of it as a mini-vacation each night!

What are your sleep routines? Share your own tips and tricks for getting more shut-eye in the comments below.

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Fact Friday: Americans Not Sleeping Enough, Impacts Productivity

On July 4, 2014, in Fact Friday, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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“CDC data show that 28% of U.S. adults report sleeping six hours or less each night, and that’s just not enough for most people, experts say. It’s no wonder that the CDC calls insufficient sleep “a public health epidemic.

Sleep is so critical to good health that it should be thought of “as one of the components of a three-legged stool of wellness: nutrition, exercise and sleep … although people’s sleep needs vary, the sleep medicine group recommends that adults get about seven to nine hours a night for optimal health, productivity and daytime alertness.”


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If you don’t snooze, you lose, health experts say | | 6.22.2014



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Find Your Pain Point and Take Action

On June 26, 2014, in Motivation, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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Pain Point

Original Image Credit: Steven Depolo (Flickr Creative Commons)

Do you like thinking about and remembering painful experiences you’ve had? This is probably not a topic that you give much thought to, but maybe you should. Let me explain …

The subject of pain came up in one of my classes in college (a long, long time ago). This question (or one very close to it) was posed:

If you could choose between experiencing extreme pain for a long time that you would not remember after it occurred …


… experiencing excruciating pain for a short amount of time that you would always remember, which one would you pick?

Interesting question, don’t you think?

No matter which one you’d choose, its seems (IMHO) that thinking about pain can be helpful. It can be a step in the right direction to focus a bit on painful, frustrating times — especially if you’re stuck in a rut and need to take a step forward toward completing a goal or task.

Oftentimes, it’s not until we feel a little bit (or a lot) of pain that we actually start making changes and start gaining a little momentum.

Here are some examples of some painful experiences that may sound familiar:

  • All-nighters: The pain of pulling an all-nighter (or two) to get your project completed.
  • Chaotic mornings: The pain of rushing around frantically each morning as you get ready for work.
  • Meeting blunders: The pain of feeling stressed because you didn’t prepare for an important meeting.
  • Late fees/service interruption: The pain of paying a late fee (and/or having a needed service disconnected) because you didn’t pay that bill on time.

So, how can thinking about painful times be a productive exercise? When you reflect back on excruciating, overwhelming, and embarrassing situations, you can come up with a plan to avoid them in the future.

Afterall, you can achieve a goal with or without pain, so why not choose the most pleasant path?

Here are some solutions you might come up with to avoid the painful experiences I mentioned earlier:

  • All-nighters: Add the deadline to your calendar and also include blocks of time that you’ll work on your projects. Get help and delegate when possible.
  • Chaotic mornings: Put out your clothes, gather all your important items, and make your lunch the night before to avoid the painful morning chaos.
  • Meeting blunders: Make a list of your responsibilities for the meeting and set aside time on your calendar to work on your designated tasks.
  • Late fees/service interruption: Add a reminder to your task manager to pay bills well in advance of the due date and/or schedule bill paying days.

So, what’s your pain point?  The moment when something becomes so urgent that you have to act?  How long does it take you to get there?  What does it feel like when you do get there? Think about the answers to those questions so that you can craft a plan to avoid those painful experiences in the future.

Do you have a solution to a painful moment that helped you get past the pain? Please share in the comments.




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Fact Friday: Work in a Cubicle? You’re Probably Less Productive.

On June 20, 2014, in Fact Friday, Productivity, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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“Researchers Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear at the University of Sydney discovered that noise privacy is the number one complaint among cubicle workers and open-plan employees, with 60% and 50% respectively describing it as a major issue.

Even worse? This reduction of sound privacy could be bringing down your entire team’s productivity. Think about it: How many times have you been trying to work on a project at your desk, only to be distracted by someone’s coughing fit or a conversation two co-workers next to you are having?

Read More:

The Surprising Thing That Could Be Killing Your Productivity | | 6.3.2014



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Master ClosetWhether you have a small reach-in or a large walk-in for your master closet, and even if you have a just a small budget, you can make a big difference with how much space you have by maximizing your closet.

As a former custom closet organizer, I’ve shared some tips in today’s post that will help you figure out how to utilize every inch!

How to Maximize Your Master Closet on a Small Budget


Step 1 – Move It Out

If you haven’t done a healthy purge of your clothes, shoes, and accessories lately, then this is a great time to set pieces aside for donation or for the trash. Use a large surface for the sorting process, like your bed. Remember, that as with many organizing projects, you will probably make a mess before making it organized — so be patient with yourself!

Step 2 – Put It Back

This time, fold the items that you would like to keep folded and hang the items that you would like to be hung. Think about whether you’d prefer to hang your pants from their ends or have them folded over a hanger. Then put everything away in groupings of like items (i.e. skirts, shirts, pants).

Step 3 – Measure It

Now that you have your items in groups, grab a measuring tape, and get ready to do some math! You’ll want to take specific measurements of the height and the width of each group, in inches. For example, take note of the longest dress that you have so that you will make sure everything else in that grouping will be sure to fit.

Note on paper how many inches in length you will want to devote to short hanging items (tops and short skirts) and to long hanging items (pants, long skirts, dresses and suits). Do the same for shoes and folded clothing (sweaters and t-shirts).

Finally, take measurements of the width, depth and height of your closet.

Step 4 – Design It

With all of your measurements written down, you can now start your design plan. You’ll want just a few sheets of computer paper to draw out your plan, one for each wall. No worries … you don’t need to be an artist, just rough sketches will do!

Draw out a plan of each wall in a front elevation, as if you are looking at right in front of you. Now you can plan for your system to have enough rod space and shelving to accommodate your items.

Step 5 – Build It

If you have a small budget, you can work with what you have. For example, if you have a lot of rod space, use a hanging bag with shelves that provide spaces for foldable items.

You can also fill in dead space by adding stackable shelves at the bottom of the closet underneath your hanging clothing (you can use them for shoes) and bins at the top of the closet (you can use the bins for seasonal clothing).

Ideally, you’ll want to end up with a filled in space, but not so filled that you everything is squished together tightly.

If you are working with a smaller budget, check big box stores for closet systems that you can put together on your own (like this one from Rubbermaid). If you have a bit more flexibility with price, have a look at a system like elfa from The Container Store, or a custom closet company like Closets By Design or Closet Factory, where they can do the designing for you!

However you get there, following steps like these will encourage you to get rid of what you don’t love and keep what you do, and keep on an organized path. You can do it!

… and when you do re-design your closet, please come back here to share your before and after photos. =)


Note from Deb: Several links in this post are affiliate links. Organize to Revitalize! will receive a small commission if you make a purchase using those links. The items can still be helpful to you whether or not you use the links in the post, and you can purchase them by directly visiting those websites (but if you use the OTR links, I’d be very grateful!).

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Summer Travel Productivity TipsThat’s right, it’s time for the June 5-Minute Organizing Challenge! In every challenge you get five options to tackle five things you can do for just five minutes at a time to get more organized.

Summer travel means more people are taking off on the road and in the air. This is your lucky day if you have summer trips planned! Here are five mini-challenges that will help you maximize productivity during your summer travels.

5 Ways to Maximize Productivity During Summer Travels

1. Spend time preparing for your trip. Start out by spending five minutes drafting a list of topics you need to research. After you complete the list, devote a few minutes each day to investigate forecasts, the place your staying in, tourist attractions, etc.

If you didn’t have enough time to adequately research before you leave, no need to fret. You can use downtime while you travel there to do some of this preparation.

2. Plan healthy food and exercise choices. Eating healthy and getting exercise can be challenging if your don’t plan ahead of time. Look at your scheduled activities and spend a few minutes plotting ideas for places you can find healthier eating options and ways to get exercise in.

Some ideas to help you get started include:

  • Do stretches at the airport and in the plane
  • Locate restaurants and cafes that are en route to your destination
  • Investigate gyms or outdoor activities at the place you’re traveling to
  • Schedule time for brisk walks or jogs — you can do this according to your current eating habits and activity levels

3. Plan how to stay connected with your loved ones. Sometimes when you travel, it can be stressful to coordinate times to stay connected with your loved ones at home. Consider pre-scheduling calls and video chat sessions to avoid the hassle of constantly trying to connect with them during the trip. If you spend five minutes coordinating with the people involved, you can add those time to your your calendar and you’ll be set while you’re away.

4. Make the most of your downtime. There sometimes tends to be significant periods of downtime when you travel. Take a few minutes to record tasks you’d like to complete (digitally and in paper form) during your journey. From transportation to the airport, hours spent inside the vehicle or on the flight, and other waiting periods, you can prepare to make the most of this potentially productive time.

Don’t forget to include ways you can replenish yourself with fun activities like leisure reading or playing games on your smartphone.

5. Reflect and think ahead. When you are traveling home, use a few minutes to reflect on how prepared you were for your trip. Record things that worked well so you can replicate them in the future, and consider things you can do more efficiently on future trips (be sure to document those as well). If you set aside a chunk of time for reflection, you can boost your productivity even more in subsequent travels!


Click Here to Learn More Ways to Get Organized in Five Minutes!

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Fact Friday: Drowsy Driving is Like Drunk Driving

On June 13, 2014, in Fact Friday, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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“The more sleep deprived we are, the more our judgement is impaired. And when our judgement is impaired, the less likely we are going to be able to recognize signs that we are sleepy … drowsy driving is a serious problem … there are more than 100,000 car accidents and more than 1,500 deaths annually that are attributed to drowsy driving …

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Driving sleep deprived can have same effects as drunk driving, expert says | | 6.10.2014



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Save Money by Recycling and Repurposing

On June 11, 2014, in Recycling, by Stephanie Shalofsky
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RecycleIt seems that most of us have simply too much stuff and the fact is we keep acquiring more. Shopping has become a major pastime (did you know that the Mall of America gets more than 40 million visitors annually?) and we are continually adding to our collection of goods.

Take a minute and imagine the amount of money that you could save by shopping less frequently and recycling and repurposing what you already have.

Our closets are filled, garages are overflowing, and even the rented storage units are pretty much filled up.  And, if indeed you haven’t reached these extreme levels of mass consumption, you probably still have more than you need!

Take pocketbooks for instance. Most of them are made so well these days that they pretty much never get worn out. And shoes — how many are in your closet that have been worn just once because you realized that they were uncomfortable? Books – how many are crammed on your shelves and haven’t been looked at in 20 years?

You get the idea. We all have too much stuff.

We keep buying the new improved version of what we have (the manufacturers and stores depend upon it) and there is simply no way that we can keep it all. It’s time to take action! There are two things you can do to take care of your stuff … recycling and repurposing … and by doing so you will most probably feel a newfound sense of relief.

Recycling: Making Something New

The definition of recycling is to make something new from something that has been used before (like these suitcases, er, chairs). In recent years, recycling has become part of our vocabulary. In most households we recycle paper, plastics, and glass to reduce pollution and waste  — and it’s not unusual to see multiple waste receptacles in homes, stores, and even on the city streets.

So, what does recycling mean for you besides separating your trash?

  • Well, you might take all of those extra ties that your husband has acquired over the years and sew them together to make them into a beautiful skirt (Instructables: How to Make a Tie Skirt).
  • Or, you can take a rubber mat and cut out shapes for your toddler to learn and play with.

See what I mean? You’ve used the items before, but now you can use them in an entirely different way; by recycling them you are making something new.

Repurposing: Using Something in a New Way

The definition of repurposing is to change something so that it can be used for a different purpose (like this shoe organizer inside a pantry). So, how can you repurpose some of your common, everyday things?

  • pitcher


    You might take some of your worn out clothes, barely worn shoes, or out of style handbags and give them to your children to use for costumes when they are playing.

  • The pitcher that no longer fits the décor of your renovated kitchen can be repurposed into a vase that looks just perfect when placed on a shelf or table in your living room.
  • An extra mug you have (but you probably don’t use because you have so many) can be used to hold your favorite pens.
  • Foam bath mats parents kneel on when bathing their young children can be used as bulletin boards (hat tip to Geralin Thomas for that idea) when they are no longer needed for bath time.

We have so much stuff that it is very likely that we now possess items that can be used for something else entirely, thereby eliminating the need for us to go out and yes, buy more stuff. Why not be creative instead? Think of new uses for that bag of bargains from your latest shopping expedition or donate them to a local charity.

Of course, recycling and repurposing are great for the environment and they are great for your wallet as well (less stuff being purchased, right?!). Regardless of which path you follow, you’re sure to feel better for doing so.


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