Posts filed under Personal Productivity

"Spring" Into Action!

Formula for Getting Organized:  

Process = Progress!

Is a daily, weekly,  monthly or quarterly cleanup part of your routine? Do you spend many late nights or weekends going through a piles of paper? If you don't want to spend your valuable off-hours getting organized, here are some tips to start the process.

Begin by streamlining and simplifying. By combining the cleanup of surface clutter (instant gratification) along with the file drawers (critical long-term success) you will start to see progress.

  • Establish  criteria for throwing paper away.

    •   Do I really need this? Will I ever look at it again... Really?

    •   Can I get it from another source (Internet, library, other pack rats)?

    •   Does it really require a response?

    •   Will keeping this help me accomplish my goals or further my career? Will that help my customers/clients?

  • Schedule small blocks of time -- take one pile from your desk and go through it--then stop. Next time, clean out a portion of your file drawer.  When you're done, schedule another cleanup.

  • Commit to the process.

  • Be consistent.

If you get impatient because it's not done and it's taking longer than you wanted, remember this is a process. It took a long time for the files to bulge and paper to build up.  Remind yourself of opportunities you missed because of lost or misplaced information.  An organized office is a luxury, it's a necessity. Time lost because of clutter is costly.

Posted on March 23, 2015 and filed under Clutter, Personal Productivity.

The Best Gift of All!

January (2008) I received a beautiful email from a client who I worked with many years ago. Even in 2014, we stay in touch, speaking every few weeks.

Subj: Happy New Year 
Date: 01/09/2008 10:02:43 AM Eastern Standard Time 
From: JSawler 

Hi Miss M -

Thank you for your New Year wishes - I send the same to you.

I hope your holiday celebrations were wonderful.

Guess what I asked for as my gifts from family and friends - time ! That's right, the amazing Miss M gave me another idea this year - If anyone complained that they wanted to "BUY" me something, I would just tell them that time was money, only even more valuable.

These are some of the gifts I received: 

  •   Time alone with my grandson 
  •   A promise to have a Sunday afternoon dinner/or breakfast once a month for 2008 with our dear neighbors who we never spend enough time with 
  •   An out of state friend donated 1 hour biweekly to a local Boys and Girls Club type facility to read to the little ones. 
  •   An elderly friend is donating time on the telephone with other shut ins each month 
  •   Time with me to teach me how to improve my basket weaving techniques 
  •   Shorter but more frequent telephone calls when I am not feeling my best (from my friends mom in AZ) 
  •   A week long Springtime visit from my NY daughter and granddaughter - just for us girls.

Got to say, this is one of my best holiday gifts in many years.

Just thought I would share.

Joan E. Sawler 

Let me tell you a little bit about Joan. Joan is an wonderful wife, mother and grandmother.  She values each and every day not just in words but by her actions.

The reality is Joan has not been well for many years with Behcet's Syndrome. Most of us have never heard of it but the results are very debilitating. Through all of her pain, Joan maintains her sense of humor. She is remarkable.

I held on to this email to share it with you at just the right time and that time is now. Before you read her email, let me tell you a little bit about Behcet's Syndrome.


Behcet's syndrome is categorized as an auto-immune disease although it does not follow the usual pattern for other auto-immune diseases. It often takes years for doctors to make the diagnosis.

The immune system attacks itself which produces unwanted and highly exaggerated inflammation throughout the body. The syndrome brings on extreme exhaustion, muscle fatigue, cardio vascular and digestive problems, sharp and overwhelming pain in joints and organs, and often blindness and stroke due to vasculitis. Numerous, harsh medications somewhat lessen the painful symptoms and exhaustion but can bring along their own difficult side effects. 

Posted on December 23, 2014 and filed under The Real World, Personal Productivity.

Recess, Naps and Time Out: Not Just For Kids Part II: Naps!

Sleep researcher James B. Maas coined the phrase “power nap” for the 20-minute workday snooze that invariably leaves nappers refreshed and more productive.  Taking a power nap can restore alertness and memory and relieve stress and fatigue according to the National Sleep Foundation.

  • Bring a mat to work
  • If you have an office, turn out the lights and close the door
  • If you work in a cube, find some privacy.  If necessary, use your car.
  • Talk to an appropriate person at work to discuss the benefits of napping.
  • Only nap for 15-20 minutes – any longer will negate the purpose for the power nap by making you sluggish and groggy.
Posted on May 10, 2011 and filed under Personal Productivity.

Recess, Naps and Time Out: Not Just for Kids Part I: Recess!

As a part of their daily routine, young children take naps, have play time during the school day and are distanced from certain situations to help them settle down. Can the same benefits, a child receives by recess, naps, and time out be reaped by grownups facing the challenges of daily life in the 21st century? Yes! Our ability to stay productive, and recognize our need to retreat from certain situations will improve our focus and energy while reducing anxiety. Recess

Just because we’re a little older doesn’t mean we don’t need an outlet to reduce pressure. Play allows us to expand our imaginations. Too often we get so caught up in, “I have to get it done…I have no time…” We hold ourselves captive and in doing so lose our creative imaginations. As our obligations build, our need for an escape, even five minutes, grows.

 • Keep your recess short – between 5-15 minutes.

 • Schedule time to shoot the breeze with a friend at work you tend to talk to when you need to be working.

 • Bring a deck of cards, board games, crossword puzzles to work and find someone who will play with your or play by yourself.

 • Find an outside activity that you enjoy; put a baseball glove, putter, tennis racket and ball, kite, model sports care, etc. in your car and find a good place for your recreational activity.

• Take a walk.

Posted on May 5, 2011 and filed under Personal Productivity.

Don't Give Away "Me Time!"

“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.”  Raymond Hull When you block out time for yourself, make sure you know what you want to get done during that time.  When you have blocked time that is not specific, then it is easy to give it away.  You want to be able to see what you have to get done so that it weighs on you and you see it as important to accomplish.  Then when someone else asks you for something or wants to take your time from you, you have a frame of reference to make an informed decision as to giving up your time or keeping it. 

You can also suggest an alternative time to help them.  I suggest to clients that they create “unofficial office hours.”  This is time in a day that is unscheduled that you can suggest to people as a good time that you will get back to them to help them or they can get back to you.

Posted on May 2, 2011 and filed under Personal Productivity.

D.A.F.T. – Don’t get daft over email!

 When I was coaching a client last week, email became our topic, specifically his inbox.  His mailbox was filled to the brim and to do’s that needed to get done, established in the emails he was receiving, were getting lost in his inbox.  He also would read an email without doing anything with it, only to reread it a day or two later or a month or two later, and so on.  He was wasting lots of time scrolling through his emails! I shared an acronym with my client that has helped many clients with their paper clutter. This formula works for emails as well:   DAFT

Distribute or delegate (forward)

Act on it

  • What is the very next step? Determine what action needs to be taken when you are reading the email.
  • When will you do it? 
  • Put the action into your planner or Outlook or wherever you put your to do’s on the calendar day that you will do it. 

File it – make sure your files are set up so that it is easy to retrieve emails & their attachments

Trash it - just delete it

NOTE:  It will help you to acknowledge the receipt of an email message and let the sender know when you intend to respond in full.  You may avoid additional interruptions (phone call, voice mail, a second email, and so on).  And the sender will appreciate knowing that you did indeed receive their message.

Using DAFT will help keep your email inbox uncluttered and you won’t miss a step with emails that require action.

Posted on March 14, 2011 and filed under Personal Productivity.