Fact Friday: People Make Poor Decisions in the Afternoon

On April 25, 2014, in Decision Making, Fact Friday, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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It turns out that the tendency to make bad decisions for our health and our productivity aren’t the only risks in the afternoon—we also make poor moral choices as our energy is depleted. 

Recent research by Kouchaki and Smith shows that people are significantly more likely to lie, deceive, and act immorally in the afternoon than in the morning.

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Good People Do Bad Things in the Afternoon | PsychologyToday.com | 4.21.2014

 

 

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It’s time for this month’s 5-Minute Organizing Challenge! You’ll be able to explore five things you can do for five minutes at a time to get your life more organized. Since Earth Day is tomorrow (April 22nd), I challenge you to implement some simple eco-friendly tasks that will also help you feel more organized.

eco-friendly

Original Image Credits: Wikipedia (1, 2)

Task 1:  Each night, walk around your home and turn off all the lights in rooms you are not currently using. Saving energy is an important part of conservation, but this will save you money as well. Do this every few hours each day, and before you know it, this will become a new habit.

Task 2: If you don’t have a green power supplier, and you would like to help reduce carbon emissions, look for one. Spend a few minutes online and make a list of green power suppliers you can call to gather information from and potentially switch to their service.

Task 3: If you usually drive everywhere, use public transportation once this week. It will take you less than five minutes to look up the round trip schedule for the bus, light rail, or train. You’ll contribute to reducing air pollution every time you do this or ride your bike locally instead of driving.

Task 4: Make a list of all the electronic items in your home that you need to e-cycle. If there aren’t too many things, gather them in one container or box. Instead of throwing them away on trash day or dropping them off at a dump, find an eCycling center that will reuse parts from the items. By doing this, you will be saving natural resources and reducing electronic processing.

Task 5: One more! If you don’t already have reusable grocery bags (affiliate link), search your closets or other storage areas for a few strong bags you can designate for this purpose. Many retail businesses and companies at conventions hand out promotional bags that you may have saved. Most grocery stores are either charging for disposable bags, or they are paying small rewards to customers who bring reusable ones. Store these where you will remember to grab them, so they aren’t forgotten and you can help protect the environment when you shop.

By taking on a few or all of the challenges this month, you will be organizing your life in a more earth-conscious way. Perhaps you already implement some of these short eco-friendly tasks, and there are a few more here you’ll take on this week.

What other 5 minute challenges would you like to share with everyone to celebrate Earth Day?

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

Why Every Business Should Have An E-mail Newsletter

On April 14, 2014, in E-mail, Technology, by Nealey Stapleton
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Business eNewsletterHey small business peeps! Do you have an e-mail newsletter? Do you send it out to your subscribers regularly? If your answer to either question is no, then this article is for you. I’ll explain the importance of having an e-newsletter and how to send it out regularly without much effort. Enjoy!

What is an e-mail newsletter?
An e-mail newsletter is a digital bulletin that delivers valuable tips and the latest news to your subscribers. Sending one out is a very common business practice, so let’s talk about how it can boost sales and ways to implement it efficiently and effectively.

Why have an e-mail newsletter?
An e-mail newsletter is CRUCIAL to your business. This is one of the things I wished I had paid more attention to earlier, so listen up! Your e-mail newsletter is one of your biggest business assets!

It’s the tool that can turn cold leads into hot sales…repeating hot sales. It ensures that you stay on the mind of your potential and active clients, and by offering consistent quality content, you become a resource that your subscribers think of first. It is pure gold.

Five Steps to Set Up Your Business E-mail Newsletter

1. Come up with a system.
A lot of hesitation around sending an email newsletter regularly is the amount of time it takes to do so. One of the things that I do that is a huge time-saver is to use a template that can be copied and pasted easily.

E-Newsletter-HeaderMy newsletter has a header at the top with the name and some nice photos, an introduction section, a featured article section, and a recommendation section. The right hand column contains my social media links and sponsor advertisements.

I simply copy and paste the template when it’s time to create a new e-mail. Then, I customize the introduction with a personal note and update the featured article section with new content. Sometimes I’ll change the recommendation section and include a new product or service, but not always. That’s it! It’s so easy and convenient for me that procrastinating about sending out my newsletter is at an all time low.

2. Send out your e-mail newsletter regularly.
With everything that I’ve read regarding e-mail newsletters, it seems that the consensus is to send it out at least once a week. I sent mine out once every other week for years and found it successful. Figure out what your sweet spot  is and go with it (how often would your audience like to hear from you?). The bottom line is that you need to send out your e-mail newsletter consistently.

3. Automate specific tasks.
Use the automatic welcome e-mail to immediately and warmly introduce your new subscribers to your community. When people sign up for your newsletter, they are usually interested in something right away. That’s where the welcome e-mail comes in. You give your new subscriber a warm welcome and explain again them what to expect from your newsletter. It’s also a good idea to encourage action, so link to your website or social media profiles and encourage them to engage with you.

E-Newsletter-AutoresponderThe autoresponder feature is another e-mail automation that is invaluable. It allows you to send out follow up emails automatically. This keeps you in front of your subscribers’ minds on a regular basis without spending too much time on it. Set it up once and you’re done. I love it!

4. Offer your subscribers a free gift.
E-mail addresses are not given out willy-nilly these days. People don’t want junk in their digital inboxes, just like they don’t want it in their physical mailboxes. You must offer value up front and build a relationship of trust. You do this by offering a free gift to those who sign up for your newsletter.

This could be a report, an ebook, a tool kit, but it must be something of value to your target audience. TAKE NOTE, it has to be a quality product. If you hype up a free gift that is junky and doesn’t offer a lot of value, then your subscribers are not going to stay very long.

Instead, put good time and effort into developing your free gift. Make it something you can stand by and be proud to offer. Impress your followers again and again, and they’ll stay loyal to you and keep coming back for more regularly. THAT is what will make your e-mail newsletter pure gold.

5. Use an e-mail service provider.
It’s worth the investment to use an e-mail marketing provider, AND a lot of the services out there offer a free option. Using a platform like Constant Contact (affiliate link), Aweber (affiliate link), or Mailchimp makes it super simple to do all of the above, and I highly recommend that you find a service provider that works for you.

If you’d like to see examples of everything in this article – a free gift, a welcome email, an autoresponder and an email template – check out my newsletter, Life On Track. Sign up here and you’ll see all the goodies!

What has your experience been with e-newsletters? What is your biggest frustration when it comes to sending one out? Biggest success? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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“According to a new study from Rice University and University of California, San Diego, scientists and engineers without kids have still felt the stigma associated with “flexible” schedules within their work culture.

The study found workers can have a negative attitude towards their place of employment and were less interested in staying at their jobs when they felt their employers looked down on individuals that needed a more flexible schedule.

Read More:

Work-Life Balance Even Affects Those without Kids, Study Finds | Parents.com | 3.31.2014

 

 

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Let it Go! Start Decluttering, Clear Your Mind and Space!

On April 9, 2014, in Home Organizing, by Stephanie Shalofsky
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“If you want to grow, you gotta let it go.” This is the mantra of Gail Blanke, author of Throw out Fifty Things (affiliate link). And, a mantra that I highly recommend. Our lives are filled with so much stuff, and as I’ve learned over the course of my life much of it isn’t needed. So, why not let it go?

Declutter and Let Go

At least some of it. Clear the clutter, clear you mind, and make room for success…there’s no time like the present to start decluttering.

In my line of work, I’m always called upon to find space for client’s possessions. I’ll admit, sometimes working with a professional organizer or using a space saving storage solution isn’t enough. Sometimes the answer is to purge. Discard or donate… just let the items go.

Let It Go – the title of Disney’s latest chart-topping hit from the record-setting blockbuster, Frozen. Perhaps making this your decluttering theme song will energize you and allow you to consider additional possibilities concerning what to keep and what to let go.

If you’re ready to get in the spring clearing mode, start decluttering today! If you’re not sure how to get started, check out the tips below.

Five Ways to Start Decluttering to Clear Your Mind and Space

 
1. Chose a simple task that will only take a few minutes and tackle it.  Have you ever tried to see how much you can accomplish in just five short minutes? Make it easy and start small.

Example:

A simple task that will help you started is to remove everything from one small kitchen drawer. Quickly sort/group the items by type, discard those items that are no longer needed (like old take out menus), and assign a location in the drawer for those items that you will keep. As you gain momentum, expand the amount of time to 15-30 minutes.

2. To make the sorting process easier especially for larger projects, set up three boxes/bins and tag them:

  • KEEP
  • GIVE AWAY/DONATE
  • DISCARD

As you work your way through your home (strategically, just work on one corner of a room or piece of furniture at a time), place items in one of these three receptacles.

3. Select and use the right storage techniques and containers for your unique needs. But, before you run out to the store and buy anything new, here are some tips to ensure you’re selecting the best options for yourself and the way you live and work.

4. If paper clutter tends to be a challenge for you, remember these key paper filing tips when you start decluttering:

  • Scan and digitally file all you can
  • Set up password protected files on your computer to ensure your information is secure
  • Keep up with filing – collect papers that you believe should be kept in a to-file folder
  • Spend 15 minutes or more a week filing and shredding

5. Be sure to maintain your space once you’re finished decluttering. Consider placing a shopping bag or a super sized Ziploc bag (affiliate link) in your clothing closet so that you can easily fill it with items that just don’t look right, fit, or flatter you anymore.  As the bag fills up, make plans to drop it off at your favorite charity.

Remember, decluttering helps to create space in your home and donating those unwanted sweaters or glasses puts them to good use.

I hope after reading this, you’re ready to start letting go and seriously tackle that one really overstuffed drawer or closet. It is amazing how motivated you will become once you step back and admire your newly decluttered and organized space.

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ADHD ResourcesIf you, your spouse, or your child has just been diagnosed with ADHD, it can be a moment that can truly transform you. You may experience a sense of relief knowing that your struggles have a reason.

It can also be the time to learn more about ADHD, the symptoms, and potential solutions. Learning is key to help you reframe and gain awareness of the next steps you may need to take. So, take a minute to review the websites below to get more details. 

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. ~NIH.gov

 

Two ADHD resources that offer valuable information:

 

1. ADDitudemag.com

ADHD Resources

ADDitude first started as a magazine founded by Ellen Kingsley (you can subscribe here). This site now offers multiple resources and focuses on clear, user-friendly solutions for families.

There’s a broad range of information about all stages of ADHD, work-life balance, parenting, school, symptoms, and diagnosis. ADDitude offers blog posts, free printables, articles, discussion and support groups, and webinars, and you may join the ADDConnect community “where parents, ADD adults, professionals, and loved ones come together to ask questions, share advice, and make connections.”

My favorite feature is the weekly webinar. Leading ADHD experts share insights, ranging from family mindfulness to helping your ADHD student. It’s offered midday on Wednesdays so that during lunch hour, you can attend or you can enroll and listen when it’s more convenient for you.

2. CHADD.com

ADHD Resources

CHADD stands for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and was founded in 1987. It is a membership website that offers ADHD tips and tools as well as the Attention magazine to its members.

Their website shares ways to further understand ADHD, resources, blog posts, advocacy information and training. CHADD also hosts an annual educational conference with well known researchers and professionals in the ADHD field.

My favorite feature is the Parent to Parent program which offers parent training, provides educational information, and supports individuals and families dealing with ADHD.  It is taught by parents for parents.

The National Resource Center on AD/HD is an additional resource online affiliated with CHADD. It also offers webinars and other information to assist you with learning more about ADHD. In addition, you may reach an Information Specialist via telephone (or on their website) to have questions you might have answered.

These resources will get you started as you navigate new perspectives on ADHD.  Take advantage of their social media connections to learn more, and join local chapters in your area to engage with and learn from others.  There’s so much power in learning, sharing, and connecting!

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Fact Friday: People are More Productive on Tuesdays

On April 4, 2014, in Fact Friday, Productivity, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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“If you have a big project, or you just want to make time to get some work done, a new survey says that Tuesday is the day to clear your calendar and try to get things done—it’s the one day of the week we all buckle down and try to be most productive.

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Tuesdays are the Most Productive Day of the Week | Lifehacker.com | 2.18.2014

 

 

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Magnetic Organizing System (MOS)

Original Image Credit: Kickstarter.com

It’s amazing how many cords we have in our lives, and inevitably, the one we need is usually hiding somewhere on the floor behind our desk.

If you’re as klutzy like me, you wind up risking a head injury crawling underneath your desk to retrieve the pesky cord.

Enter the Magnetic Organization System (MOS).*

This product began life as a Kickstarter project, and it’s amazingly simple. It’s one of those ideas that when you see it, you think, “Oh, of course.” It makes me wish I had thought of it.

What I Like

The MOS is a cute, curvy triangle with a powerful magnet inside. It is available in three colors (black, white, and aluminum) and comes with three rubbery magnetic ties that you can lock around the end of your cords. The cords then stay magnetized to the MOS for easy access.

Cords will attach to the MOS without the ties, but using the ties makes it a more solid attachment.

Remove the clear sticker on the bottom of the MOS, and it will stick to your desk like a suction cup. A wall mount sticker lets you do what the name implies – mount it to your wall, but I could see some people using it in their work cubicle wall or underneath their desk to keep their cords from living on the floor.

You can use MOS as a charging station for your phone and tablet. Or, place it on your desk to keep your printer, scanner, and other cables.

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Image credits: BiteMyApple.co, Kickstarter, and MOSOrganizer.com

What I Would Change

My only complaint is that I wish it was a little bigger for a few more cords. What can I say? I love my technology.  I would need two of them – one for my iPhone, iPad, and iPad keyboard chargers.  The second would be on my desk to manage my printer, scanner, and other “accessories” for my laptop.

Cost and Where to Buy

Your purchase price for the MOS varies based on the color you want. You can expect to pay $23.99 for the black or the white unit and $39.99 for the aluminum model. Buy it online at Amazon, BiteMyApple.co, Sewell, or in Apple Stores. Btw, you can also buy the MOS Magnetic Cable Ties (3-pack) separately on Amazon for $5.95.

If you’re using the MOS, I’d love to hear what you think about it, so leave a comment below.

*Disclosure: A free MOS was sent to Deb who then passed it on to me to check out. My review was not directed in any way by Deb or the creators of the product nor was I compensated for reviewing it.

 

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Fact Friday: Walking Can Stimulate Creativity

On March 21, 2014, in Fact Friday, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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Amidst all the different types of meetings in a work day, and in order to wrestle with all the mental constraints we have to work with (e.g., perfectionism, anxiety, insecurity, etc.), a simple 10-minute walk can do wonders for the mind. Fresh air. A change in scenery.

As it turns out, even when we aren’t paying attention, we see and remember more than we think we do….Even walking around aimlessly could stimulate your creativity and help connect some weird dots.

Read More:

The Afternoon Routine That Should Replace Your Extra Cup of Coffee | HuffingtonPost.com | 1.8.2014

 

 

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Fact Friday: Smiling is Good for Your Overall Health

On March 18, 2014, in Fact Friday, Wellness, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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The power of a smile is transformative and we all have that power when we smile … there is a science behind smiling that begins in the brain. Once the smiling muscles in the face contract, there is a positive feedback loop that goes back to the brain and reinforces our feeling of joy.

Your brain keeps track of your smiles, kind of like a smile scorecard. It knows how often you’ve smiled and which overall emotional state you are in.

Studies have shown how smiling reduces stress, increases our overall health, well being and attitude.”

Read More:

Your Smile is Worth a Thousand Words | SmallBizTrends.com | 4.16.2014

 

 

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