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Organizing and Productivity Books

organizing and productivity books

 

 

There are lots of books on organizing and productivity. My favorite organizing and productivity books focus on topics that are more than just “how to books.”   The topics include content that provide insights into the big picture of organizing and productivity.   Some of these focus on what holds you back.  These books promote creating new perspectives and new awareness.  Here’s a list of my favorite organizing and productivity books.

The Power of Habit

A New York Times best seller, The Power of Habit shares how habits work.   The book shares the science of habits.  Develop powerful positive routines with this book.

 

Essentialism

Greg McKeown shares the value of paring down to what is essential to you.  In order to say yes to what’s most important,  you have to know what to say no to.  This book shares a new perspective on how to prioritize.

Organizing from the Inside Out

Julie Morgenstern wrote this book in the early 2000s, at the dawn of organizing. It’s a must read for all who are interested in changing their space.  This book outlines simple ways to organize.

 

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

Written to address the needs of those who have ADHD, this book shares practical strategies for organizing. Written in collaboration by an organizer and a therapist, ADD friendly strategies start with self – help and move to working with professionals.

 

More Attention, Less Deficit

Beginning with a review of ADHD symptoms, this book provides extensive suggestions for overcoming every day challenges face by those with ADHD.

 

Organizing Plain and Simple

This book is a simple reference for all sorts of organizing challenges and practical ways to make a difference in your home or office.

 

 

Maybe you are not a reader.  Many of these books are offered as audio books.  Maybe you like to read several books at a time.  Choose a book that sounds interesting and share what resounded with you here.

 

If you love books as much as I do, you want to organize them too!

 

5 Ways to Write Stuff Down

 

write it down productivity

Do you ever find a list from months ago, read it and see how much was accomplished? Even when we are not as intentional as we prefer, by simply writing stuff down we get more done.  In Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser, PhD, explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them.

 

So why not make it easy to write stuff down?  Here are 5 ways to write stuff down.

 

write stuff down

Cute spiral notebook

A cute spiral notebook that fits in your purse or work bag is an easy way to write stuff down. You can quickly add to it and use it.  The key is cute because “cute counts” and you will use it more as a result.

 

write stuff down

 

Large size post it note

A super large post it note is a lovely thing! It sticks so you don’t lose it. It’s a visual way to keep up with your tasks.  Many tasks can be listed on this one sticky.

 

 

write stuff down

Clip board

Never lose your list again! Keep a clip board with your list attached. It’s an easy way to find your list. With a nail, your list can be hung on a wall.

 

 

write stuff down

Evernote

Go electronic with your list.  Evernote helps you keep away from scraps of paper you lose. Creating Evernote notebooks keeps your list organized and accessible.

 

  write stuff down

Siri

Maybe you want to dictate your lists instead?  Use the microphone icon on your smart phone to dictate into either Evernote, Note,Wunderlist or any of your favorite list making apps.

 

 

You want to make it easier to write stuff down than you can imagine. Try one of these choices this week and see what happens.

5 Smart Organizing and Productivity Statistics

organizing statistics

 

 

There’s lots of reasons to decide to get organized.  There’s even more reasons to decide to be productive.  It can be a feeling that you need to be more in control or less stressed. It can be a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.  However, there are smart clutter and organizing statistics that may make more of a compelling reason for you to get started.  Check these out!

  • Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home? (National Soap and Detergent Association).  Wouldn’t we all like to do less housework?  It’s a compelling reason to declutter and simplify.

 

  • The average employee wastes $5251 a year in time searching for information. (ARMA International)  Being organized at work saves everyone money in your business.  It also saves frustration.  In organizing your paper, you are making it easy to focus on what’s most important.

 

  • 64% of workers feel most productive from 8 am – 12 noon (Wrike Survey.)  Clear out mornings to do your most important work. When we do the first thing first, it’s a big pay off.  Remember to set aside time for your highest priorities early in the day.

 

  • Americans who own smartphones or tablets spend, on average, 2 hours and 38 minutes “glued” to their mobile devices (Flurry Analytics.)  You may not have realized how much time you are spending with your devices. Set your technology aside to get more done.  Be sure you are charging these in a common area at night to maximize your rest.

 

  • Research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that the mind slows down when it switches back and forth between tasks.  Focus requires spending your time on a single task and creating a flow of single tasks.  Being single focus means you can check off items and feel good about completion.  Doing too much makes you dumber and slower.

 

These surprising statistics give you great reasons to get started organizing or find new ways to be more productive.  Whether it’s at home or at the office, it’s good to know there are statistics to back up your efforts.

What to Love about the Planner Pad

planner pad

 

Even in the digital electronic age we are in, there’s still a lot of love for a paper planner.  There’s especially a lot to love about the planner pad.  Here’s what’s most valuable about this paper planner.

 

Consolidate your list and your planner

It’s easy to scribble notes on random pieces of paper. The planner pad has a slot for this!  You create lists in categories at the top of the planner pad. These lists keep tasks, ideas, websites and even cat food purchases easy to find. Creating these lists makes it easier for you to write stuff down, do your work, and be productive.

Month and week at a glance features

It’s great to view both the month and week at a glance as you are recording dates.  Having these two perspectives helps you prioritize and keep accountable. Recording in both calendars insures your mindfulness of activities and actions.

Easy to carry

It’s easy to carry your phone and your planner pad. Since there are many different sizes and configurations, you can choose what works best for you.

 

Use it as a planning tool

I am a big fan of GTD and the weekly planning time.  The planner pad is perfect for this type of processing. The center section in the week at a glance section helps you consolidate your tasks, errands and projects by helping you commit to a time to do this work.

Available as an app

So you may be a digital person and love planner pad too! It’s now available as an app. I recommend using it on a tablet to view and add information easily.

 

 

Love your planner pad too? Share what you love here.

 

Learn more organizing and productivity tools here! Join my newsletter.

4 Organizing Routines for Small Business Entrepreneurs

smalll business routines

 

Being a small business owner typically means wearing many hats.  You are CEO, Marketing VP, Finance Director and worker!  It’s not surprising that organizing may be a lower priority, especially administrative tasks.  By having routines you are going to be more successful each day.  By creating organizing routines, your productivity and organizing will soar.  Here’s how small business organizing routines an help small business entrepreneurs.

 

Start the day with a mindful practice

If we start the day with a routine, we are going to get on track easier. It might be your morning spiritual moment, exercise, or eating protein,  a great morning routine makes you be on time for work, be your best when you arrive at work, be focused and put a positive spin on the day.

 

Assign a day for certain types of work

When you have a specific day of the week with a specific focus, you can get more done. Focus on your plan on the way you work best. It might be Financial Friday where you enter or download your Quickbooks.

 

Early to Work or Stay Late

Getting to work early or staying late often means uninterrupted work time.  By assigning a certain day of the week that you go in early or stay late,  you can make plans and be more productive. It may be the time you do your best thinking this way.

Closing ceremony

The end of your day sets the stage for tomorrow.  My colleague Janice Simon calls it the “closing ceremonies.”  Wrap up your day with notes to yourself for where you are leaving off or a reminder for tomorrow’s most important tasks.  Finish up with a zen like desk clearing and leave nothing on your desk. When you return, you will find clarity and motivation as you welcome the opportunity of a fresh start.

 

Your small business will thrive as you incorporate these routines.  Check out more tech tools and other here.

 

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4 Easy Ways to Organize Your ADHD Child’s Room

organize your adhd child

 

Summer is a great time for you and your child to work on an organizing project.  It’s when you have more time together, so together you can tackle their bedroom. It’s a project that can last beyond one day or a weekend to complete. There’s time for mixing in music and fun while you work.  It’s a partnership you and your child can work together on, collaborate and end with an organized room.  Together you can organize your adhd child’s room.

 

Big trash can

Start simple.  It’s typical that you can’t see the floor.  There’s more trash in our kids rooms than ever. An ample trash can helps get this contained.  Give your kids an open trash can that’s well placed for use.  When you cull out the trash, you have  a great small start to organizing.  Keeping the floor clear as a routine helps keep the room more organized in general.

 

Big categories

Often we over complicate and over think the organizing in our kids rooms.  Think of big categories for ADHD kids.  Resist the urge to have small bins sorted super specifically.   The common categories are media, toys and clothes. Media can be stored in a bin by game system and a notebook for each cd.  Clothes can all be hung and there can be a bin for pajamas and underwear.  Stuffed animals are easy to store in a large basket or toy box.  Keep the organization simple and labelled for you and your child to maintain order too.

 

Let go of lots of toys

Our kids have lots of toys in their spaces. It’s overwhelming and too much to organize or play with.  Your child may feel every toy is special.  It can be hard to decide what to let go of, but here are some steps you can work on together.   Start letting go of toys that are for younger kids. The most important of these keepsake toys can be stored in a bin.  Decide where you will store toys and use this as a limit for toys in your home.  Your child can choose 3 toys to let go of and share with others.  Let go of 1 stuffed animal a week and have a moratorium on purchasing new stuffies.  Any way you decide, it’s a good time to release some toys.  Overall, a less cluttered environment is a positive environment.

 

Daily Dash time

The most organized space needs a daily pick up time. The Daily Dash gives your children time to get items back to where they go.  Talk through the day with your child and see what is the most advantageous time to pick up.  Set an alarm on their phone, write a reminder on several post it notes, schedule a family daily dash time or write out a chart of responsibilities including daily dash time. When everyone picks up, it’s a noticeable difference in your home.

 

This summer, one of your goals may be to be more organized. It’s important to walk through organizing and partner with your kids.  For the not naturally organized, this will take reinforcement.  Be patient and kind as you work alongside your child to help them be more organized.

 

More ideas here  on my Pinterest Board ADHD

 

Easy, Organized Summer Travel

easy organized summer travel

 

It’s travel season! It starts right after the end of school and trickles down in mid- August.  There’s lot to prepare.   If you are like most families, nothing slows down before or after your trip.  So how to get ready on a moment’s notice?  Here’s 3 tips to getting organized for summer travel super easy!

 

Travel checklists

No reason to reinvent the wheel!  Keep a travel check list for you and your family.  It’s the best secret to ensure that all that you need it with you.  A list makes sure you include everything you want for your trip without having to remember it all.  Here are some of my favorite

 

Travel apps

Most destinations have their own apps now too!  It’s easy to log on and learn what’s to offer at that location.  There are offer schedules,coupons, maps and other information too. It’s like an insider’s guide to your destination.  It’s best to log on to the specific location you are headed to but there are general ones as well that make it easy to make the most of your time away.

 

When You  Return

It’s hard after vacation to get back into the groove. There’s lots competing for your time and energy.Plus you are travel weary.

  • Start with clothes. Grab all laundry and get a load started.
  • Pile up all the papers and go through it ruthlessly keeping just bills and most important papers.
  • Try to bring home as few extra papers or odds and ends from your trip as possible.  For articles you pulled during your trip or paper keepsakes,  take a picture with your smart phone or save the article to Evernote.   Leave the free stuff like toiletries, extra sundries or other goodies for another traveler to enjoy.
  • For email do a quick triage and delete as much as you can.  Categorize what remains by the date or day of the week you can work on it.

Have a travel tip that works for you? Share here!

 

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Decluttering After Life Transitions

decluttering

 

Clutter can overtake us quickly. We are busy living life, attending to our family and doing what we do.  We grieve a loss.  We transition into the next phase of life.  All of a sudden we look around and there is clutter in our home, office, and head.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless.  There’s a plan to put into place to help you declutter and get back your life.  Decluttering after life transitions helps you move forward.

Making the plan

That saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” applies to decluttering too.  It may have been 6 months or 6 years that clutter has been accumulating. It may be more than one transition that has occurred, such as a loss of a family member, a new job and an empty next.  Start by acknowledging that  your life has been focused on priorities.  Then step back and start making a plan.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself:

~ Who should make the decisions about the clutter?

~ Do I have a time line to get started and get finished?

~ How do I keep what’s most important but let go of what is not?

~ Am I ready to get started?

Once you answer these questions you can proceed

 

Taking steps forward

Start by making your work manageable. What makes it manageable can be creating your team, creating chunks of work or finding a new perspective. Creating a team can include your family or professionals. Leverage your team by knowing what do you want to accomplish and who has the best skill set to get this done.  Create chunks of work by breaking the work into units of space, such as room by room, or time increments.  Finding a new perspective can include looking for a treasure you have lost, finding money in your clutter, or taking a positive approach in that you make people your priority at the time your clutter accumulated.

 

Letting go

Your transition may include feeling of grief, shame or remorse.  Let go of “how did I let this happen” and embrace “I am creating a new life.”  As you work toward organization, embrace your new feelings of empowerment. Life transitions can open new doors for you and new options you have not thought of before.  Letting go of stuff can help you let go of emotional blocks too. Life transitions require support. Support can include a professional organizer, coach or therapist.  Decluttering after life transitions supports your new vision.

 

More decluttering strategies here.

NAPO2016 Small Changes = Big Difference

 

napo 2016

It’s just after our annual National Association of Professional Organizer’s conference, known in social media as #NAPO2016.  It’s always a high point for NAPO members as we gather to learn, share and connect in real life.  I’ve always been a fan of baby steps, and small changes = big difference.  Here’s more of what I learned at NAPO2016.

 

What struck me most this year is that Small Changes = Big Difference.

 

Small ways to connect
A small, a high five and a warm hello are all the ways we connect in small ways. These are big parts of NAPO2016.  Each session welcomed our members into the room.  Even calls of WOOT were parts of the connecting. Attendees contributed to a  star studded bulletin board of gratitude.  Creating coloring books were the sewing bee of the of conference.

 

coloring pages napo2016

Coloring pages connected members in a big way.

 

 

Small ways to change your environment
My favorite sessions at conference always include practical tips to share with clients. I learned that for families with ADHD, shifting to what is do-able is not giving a family member a pass.  It’s leveling the playing field.  Working with peace, order and calm are small ways that change the environment as I work with clients in their spaces.  Learning from statistical research of NAPO, I engaged in discussions on how adding small storage changes can create big differences in space use.

 

 

Small ways to let go of mind clutter
Scott Greenberg shared with us the challenges of mind clutter.  He called is mind set.  It’s about all the ways we talk trash to ourselves.  Our members called out as they shared their own mind clutter.  Scott suggested we remember, “I am a work in progress.”  We thrive when we are in growth mindset.

Scott also reminded us about kaizen, the Japanese concept that small changes big difference.  As we work together this year, we will keep this concept in mind during our sessions together!

 

Resources learned at NAPO2016

Impact ADHD

 

Productivityist

 

ADD Crusher

 

NAPO members shared recognition of our colleagues in a big way.

NAPO members shared recognition of our colleagues in a big way.

 

Let’s connect and start on your small change = big difference together!

Be a Leader

leadership

 

My National Association of Professional Organizer’s (NAPO) membership has provided me with education, collaboration, service opportunities and the framework for business success. I started my business in 2000 and immediately joined NAPO. In 2002, I became a charter member of NAPO Houston and have served as Chapter President, Membership Vice-President and Golden Circle Liaison.  I am currently serving NAPO at the national level as Committee Chair to the newly reinvented Membership Committee. I have also served as Conference Chair, and on the Education, Leadership Development, Statistics, and Marketing Committees. In 2013 and 2015 I was honored with the esteemed Service to NAPO Award.  Starting in May 2016, I will begin a term as President- Elect. In May 2017, I will serve for 2 years as President.

 

Serving NAPO has contributed to my business success. In surrounding myself with incredible colleagues, my business has thrived.  My colleagues are on “Team Ellen,” creating an ongoing mastermind group focused on personal and professional development.  In serving with others with a common goal, team efforts create an outcome of something more than an individual can imagine or accomplish.

 

Why share this with you?  Are you already a leader? Are you ready to make a difference?  In using our strengths and leading others, we stretch and grow. We learn different perspectives and gain clarity.  We become smarter and better.  In addition to organizing and productivity, I will be blogging about leadership here on Ellen’s blog.    The connection between leadership, organizing and productivity is clear.  The more organized you are, the more other’s look to you to lead. The more productive you are, the more time you have to serve.  Being a leader requires balance and coordination.