I have clients, friends, and family members who still use paper calendars, and it got me thinking about paper versus digital. To each their own and if it works don’t fix it, but…
I LOVE my digital calendar (it’s always with me on my iPhone) and have been using it for years now. I tried to imagine going back to a paper calendar, and I simply don’t think I could do it. There are too many awesome benefits that come with having a digital calendar.
Here are five reasons I love my digital calendar:
1. Different Views: I can look at my calendar by month, week, or day. Whether I need to see the list of the day’s tasks or how busy next month will be, I’ve got the option and it’s so handy.
2. Edit Appointments: I can change, move, and delete appointments in a snap. No erasing or crossing anything out or writing teeny tiny or anything like that.
3. Set Alerts: I can set alerts if I need a reminder before or at the time of the appointment. These alarms can be visual and pop up on my phone’s screen. They can also be auditory and make some sort of noise to get my attention. Forget forgetting appointments!
4. Recurring Events: If there is an appointment or reminder that reoccurs, then I can set my calendar to remember that automatically for me. For example, I can put someone’s birthday on my calendar and set it to repeat every year on that date. Set it and forget it!
5. Share Events: I can share appointments and reminders with others (i.e., my husband) by using the “invitees” feature. It’s as simple as putting in their email address. No need to waste time trying to get everyone on the same page individually!
These are just a few of my favorite features (you should have similar capabilities on your Android, too), but they make the digital calendar my productivity tool of choice. AND, if I feel like seeing my calendar on paper, I can always print out the day, the week, or the month – another awesome feature.
Do you feel just as strongly about your paper calendar as I do my digital calendar? Do you love your digital calendar like I do? Or, do you have both paper and digital calendars?? I’d love to hear your opinions. Leave me a comment below!
Are you struggling with a looming list? Overwhelmed by all you have to accomplish? Is it especially difficult to know that to do first? There are things you can do to get more accomplished and feel less stressed. If you have Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it can be helpful to create an easy-to-follow process to help you get more done.
These three ADHD productivity tips will help you get started:
1. Pause for a Moment
There may be many thoughts and ideas swirling in your head. And, you may not be sure of the first step or where to start. So, give yourself permission to pause. A pause gives you the opportunity to do your best work. A pause can be a few minutes of time just sitting, taking a few deep breaths, or it can be a physical activity like taking a walk.
A pause can be part of your regular routine, like writing down the next day’s list the night before or a weekly meeting with a partner. Creating space for reflection can help you take stock of your present situation and give you some time to make a plan.
2. Record Your Thoughts
With many simultaneous thoughts in your head, it can be hard to focus and get clarity. Take the opportunity to record all of your ideas so that you don’t forget them.
There are lots of ways to record:
- You can write down all your thoughts, ideas, and tasks on paper.
- Write on Post-It Notes (affiliate link) and attach these to a table or wall.
- Write on a dry erase board.
- Or, you can enter them in your phone using your notes app. Or, use Evernote.
Whatever your tool, recording it all can help you clear out your brain. It will likely release you to do real work, rather than ruminate on all you have to do and feel paralyzed as a result. You may need to talk it out as you write it out too! Recording gives you a strategy to process all you are thinking.
Consider having only one spot to review and see everything, compare it all, and then be ready to decide what to act on.
3. Prioritize Your Tasks
Task lists can be overwhelming just by the sheer quantity on the list. But, the list is the place to prioritize.
You may want to choose the three Most Important Tasks (MITs) for the day to work on. How do you decide what’s a priority? A deadline may be the reason a task is a priority. You may feel instinctively what should be completed first. You might also prioritize what will give you the most return on investment of energy that day. Choosing just three MITs gives you the opportunity to finish the most important things on your list.
Try out this Pause-Record-Prioritize strategy. Let me know if it works for you!
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“As people get more anxious, they are more likely to label neutral smells as bad smells (Krusemark & Li, 2013). So, anxiety literally makes the world stink. And as people get more anxious they become better at distinguishing between different bad smells (Krusemark & Li, 2012).”
8 Fascinating Facts About Anxiety | Spring.org.uk | 10.3.13
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Junk mail can infiltrate your home and office and make it super difficult to get stuff done. And, instead of being productive, you waste your time sifting and sorting through papers that are meaningless to you.
That’s where 41Pounds.org (or Catalog Choice by Trusted ID) comes in. 41Pounds.org helps you get rid of junk mail by contacting direct mail companies and lets them know that you want to be removed from their mailing lists. The result: No more junk mail in your mailbox for every adult in your home for five years.
The service is not free, but the $35 subscription fee is minimal since you’ll reclaim your space and save some time (and trees, too!).
“Interestingly, research has shown that six-minute naps, known as ultra-short sleep episodes, can improve declarative memory (i.e. a type of long-term memory that pertains to our ability to recall facts and knowledge).“
The science behind power naps, and why they’re so damn good for you | i09.com | 9.26.13
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I love road trips! They’re fun and if you take the scenic route, the experience can also be breathtaking. To make sure things go as planned, I usually use a road trip checklist so that I remember to take all the stuff I need to have with me.
Checklists are great organizing tools and they’re not just helpful for uncluttering your home. You can also use them to keep your car clutter-free on a regular basis and also for those times that you take long distance trips. If the inside of your vehicle is organized (don’t forget about the trunk) before you leave for your road trip, you’ll likely have a better experience.
Who wants to be in a cluttered car for for several hours without the things they need? A road trip checklist will help you find what you want when you want it and keep your car from exploding with stuff everywhere.
Along with the things that you would normally pack for any trip (like this easy-to-use container for dirty laundry), consider taking along the items on the checklist (and infographic) below. And, just in case you’re wondering, these are the things I always have with me. In fact, I had them all on my road trip to the beach last week.
So, check out my 13 “must-haves” and leave a comment with your road trip essentials.
13 Things to Take on Your Next Road Trip
- Phone charger
- Sunglasses (and your regular glasses, too, if you need them for driving)
- Audio books and/or music
- Car organizer or container (to keep everything in one place)
- Cooler with ice
- Water (gotta stay hydrated)
- Bag clips (so your snacks don’t end up all over your car)
- Baby wipes (they manhandle almost any kind of stain!)
- Paper towels
- Hand sanitizer
- Garbage bin/container (empty it every time you make a pit stop)
P.S. Road-tripping with kids? Have a look at this checklist from Real Simple.
Infographic: Road Trip Checklist
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“Workers who ate healthy meals and exercised on a regular basis had better job performance and lower absenteeism, research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways shows. Employees who eat healthy all day long were 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance, the study found, while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week were 20 percent more likely to be more productive.”
What you eat at work can impact on your productivity |News.com.au | 9.17.13
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Today’s post has four simple tips to help you make more space in your home. Many thanks to freelance writer, Andraea C., for sharing this advice.
Are you tired of feeling cramped and cluttered in your own home due to a lack of space? If so, then you may be wondering what you can do to create more space in your home and cut down on clutter. Fortunately, there are some basic tips you can follow that will be sure to open up even the smallest of spaces.
4 Ways to Make More Space in Your Home
1. Hold a Yard Sale
The key to creating more space is to begin by getting rid of things you no longer need. Oftentimes, we hold onto things we do not necessarily use for sentimental reasons or with the perceived notion that we will need them at some point down the road. Start to let go of this idea and put together some boxes of things you can donate or sell. Then, hold a yard sale and you might be surprised that you can make money while eliminating clutter in your home.
2. Create Storage Space
Many space problems in the home can be solved with a little bit of creativity. Do not rely on closets and pantries alone for storage. Instead, create your own storage areas when possible. You’ll be astounded at the space you create just by installing a few shelves (you can use the money you make from your yard sale to purchase them). You may even want to consider putting the beds in your home on risers so that more things (like out of season clothing and blankets) can be stored underneath.
3. Create Multipurpose Rooms
Are you frustrated that your child does not have a play room of his own? Adding an extension to your home does not have to be the only solution. Instead, consider ways of giving existing rooms in your home multiple purposes. For example, perhaps you already have a family room in your home. Why not let that double as a children’s play room during the day? Get some totes and boxes for keeping your child’s favorite toys and stow them away when not needed. Or, consider using furniture that serves dual purposes.
4. Position Furniture Properly
The correct placement of furniture in your home can help you to maximize space as well. Rather than having your bed jutting out into the middle of the room, consider moving it so that it is flush along the wall to create more space. Placing some (or all) of your living room couches and chairs against the wall as well as using glass tables can help a small room seem much larger.
As you can see, there are a number of steps you can take to increase the amount of space in your home. Be sure to give some or all of these ideas a try today. You can also take a look at websites like Apartment Therapy and Real Simple for more inspiration.
About the Author
Andraea is a freelance writer from Kahuku, Hawaii. She writes for business, finance, women’s interests and the home niches, including Extra Space Storage. She loves surfing, being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of Hawaii.
“The mere circumstance of being poor can reduce a person’s cognitive abilities by consuming precious mental resources. ‘We’re not saying the poor are dumber,’ said study researcher Sendhil Mullainathan, an economist at Harvard University. ‘It’s as if being poor is like pulling an all-nighter, every night.’ Mullainathan compared doing mental tasks while being poor with surfing the Web while a movie is downloading in the background. ‘It’s going to be much slower.’”
Poverty Saps the Brain’s Mental Reserves | LiveScience.com | 5.29.13
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When your inbox feels like it’s out of control, it’s important to get it organized quickly. But, before applying basic e-mail organization tips that will help improve your productivity, it is a good idea to take a step back and look at the big picture. E-mail is an essential component of daily life as it is the most common means of communication in the workplace as well as at home. As a result, huge chunks of time are typically devoted to e-mail each day.
Is e-mail really a task or does it deliver tasks? While processing e-mail is a task, the real work happens as the messages are processed. In an effort to improve e-mail productivity, here are some thought provoking, bigger picture suggestions and a few e-mail organization tips for you to consider.
Assess Your E-mail Habits
Are your e-mail practices the most efficient one for you? This is a good time to assess how you are managing your e-mail. If you have adopted procedures that are not maximizing your productivity and they have become habits, it may be time to make some changes and implement the above e-mail organization tips. Try changing habits one at a time, recognizing that it will take at least three to four weeks for them to become ingrained in your daily routine.
Gather Data About Your E-mail
Do you know how many messages are sitting in your inbox? At least 50% of the people that I ask this question either don’t know or don’t want to admit to the real number. In order to improve your e-mail productivity and implement the rest of our e-mail organization tips, it is important to be able to answer this question — as well as to know how many e-mails you send and receive daily. As the average business person sends/receives 115 messages per day, you will probably find that your daily activity is somewhere in this range.
And, the last and probably most important bit of data to gather is the number of unread vs. read messages sitting in your inbox. If the number of unread e-mails is greater, you are very likely missing very important messages, requests, and time-sensitive information. In addition, this can impact your productivity since it will probably take a lot longer to process a large volume of messages.
Apply The Hawthorne Effect
If you apply the Hawthorne Effect when establishing an e-mail management strategy, increased productivity could be a reality in a much shorter time. So, how do you apply this psychological phenomenon? It is easier than you might think. You just need to start paying more attention to how you manage your e-mail by tracking the amount of time spent on all e-mail related activities each day. Consider using a journal or Evernote to record your daily e-mail actions for a short time frame (try five to seven days). You will likely begin to notice your specific habits, and as a result, you may consciously or subconsciously start to adopt more efficient e-mail habits.
Turn Off Email Alerts
As it relates to e-mail usage, productivity loss occurs in small chunks of time. However, in my work as a professional organizer in NYC, I have seen firsthand how these small bits of time can add up to significant chunks of lost productivity each day. It takes about four minutes to recover from each time the e-mail alert sounds on your computer.
It might not seem like a lot of time when you hear or see the alert, stop what you are doing, glance at your inbox to see who sent you the message, and then return to the current task at hand. But, if this happened 10 times during one day, these 10 interruptions would have used up 40 minutes of your day.
If you’re struggling with an overflowing inbox and just don’t know how to begin managing it, try out the suggestions in this post to help you turn things around. Still have lingering questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll offer more specific advice about how you can create an easy to maintain e-mail organization system to improve your e-mail habits.