Tag Archive for: Productivity

How taking a vacation makes you more productive



Look around at kids in your home or neighborhood on vacation!  The joy of longer days to swim, the fun of time off, and time to do whatever they want spontaneously keeps their spirits and energy high.  We can have that too! We can be healthier, happier and more productive with a vacation and time off.  Although it seems counter intuitive, there’s lots of reasons what taking a vacation helps improve productive.


 A vacation energizes you

Working to declutter and organize requires energy.  In our day to day busy lives, we are giving a lot of energy to what is required. We seldom have energy to get done what is required of us in a day.  After a vacation, being refreshed, you are ready to take on decluttering and organizing. You are ready to make decisions and let go of what you don’t need.


Take a vacation and do your organizing

Some times we take a vacation and do the tasks we seldom get to during our typical time at home.  Some of us enjoy organizing but seldom have the time to get organized.  It may be that your vacation is a gift to yourself to get your organizing done.  It makes sense to take a vacation and get your organizing done in order to create balance and serenity.


Open ended time helps you improve productively

When you are away from work, you are more open to fresh ideas.  Your brain refreshes just like when you sleep.  Your time away is taking care of you. It’s a wellness break that is required for you to be your best. “Getting away from a familiar environment help gain clarity on life,” says Adam Galinsky, professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


This year my family will be taking a vacation that helps us all get away. Not only will it improve productivity, it will increase our connectivity.  Share where you will be heading off to on vacation this summer!


More tips on being more organized this year? Join my newsletter!







A Productive Day starts the Night before



As funny as it sounds, a productive day starts the night before. Why? Because mornings are crazy and people are cranky!  There’s no time when you accidentally get up late because you or your family hit snooze.  The key to productivity is setting yourself up for success the night before.


Make a list

What are essential tasks that need to be done for the next day?

  • Set out clothes
  • Pack drinks, snacks or lunch
  • Charge electronics

Make a check list for you and your family to be sure these are done at night.  Post the list where each person can see it, such as a bathroom mirror.  Your list can include a spot for check marks too so you are sure you completed each step.


Get ready early

Getting a great night’s rest starts by getting ready early.

  • Start your kids’ off at an earlier bath, story and bedtime and you will enjoy a few minutes of extra solitude.
  • Get in your jammies way ahead of time or no later than an hour before bed.
  • Plan on 7 – 8 hours of rest for everyone.

Set your alarm and you will be surprised at how great you feel the next day. Now is the time for you bedtime procrastinators to get great shut- eye.


Work as a team

Get buy-in from your family with a family meeting. Talk about the value of a great night’s rest and working together to have a great day.

  • Kids can help pack lunches.
  • Have a laundry party to get everyone to take their clean clothes back to their rooms.
  • Make dinner super simple so there are no dishes.
  • No team? Use technology, automation and other delegation to help.  This could be buying precut fruits and veggies, using reminders on your smart phone, or dropping your dry cleaning off each week on the same day.


Getting started the night before allows for the “oops” factor.  Some thing may go wrong in the morning. But you have it covered if you start the night before.


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Conquering a To Do List by the Wall Street Journal

Is it really this simple?  Thanks to the Wall Street Journal!

More from this article! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204296804577124742529431640.html

Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life

I am honored to be a part of an amazing group of presenters, sharing information and more.  Get ready to stop constantly riding the brake on your business and shift into OVERDRIVE!  Listen in for free from your computer, phone or skype!

  • Fire up your personal performance.
  • Unleash your profit potential™.
  • Discover new strategies to manage the demands of running your own business.
  • Get a handle on the minutia and details that prevent you from doing the ‘heavy lifting’ to move your business to the next level.
  • Quiet the ‘fear voices’ and manifest a larger vision for your company.
  • Have a profitable business and time for what’s important to you!
  • Live a richer, more fulfilling life
  • Have powerful support systems that allow you to free up time and grow your business at the same time.
  • And lots more!!  Check out the session descriptions below.

Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life was born from the 1000s of conversations that we have had with business owners just like you about what holds them back from really going where they want to go with their business.

Join us for the fun and learning!  https://war91778.infusionsoft.com/go/FireUp/EDelap

Take Back Your Life… By the Sea Galveston Weekend

Take Back Your Life Now! … by the Sea!
A Weekend of Happiness and Positivity
Empower Women to Lead Healthy, Balanced and Organized Lives
Presented by Deborah Olson, M.A., LPC, Kingwood Counseling and Ellen Delap, CPO, Professional-Organizer.com
Take Back Your Life Now! Women Empowering Women.

  • Discover your unique strengths and how these contribute to your happiness and resilience
  • Learn your organizing style
  • Enjoy sessions on wellness, photography, and fashion
  • Relax and rejuvenate at the spa, walking the beach and reflecting
  • Share and bond with engaging and energized women

Register Now:
Event: Take Back Your Life … By the Sea
Date: January 27-29, 2012
Location: San Luis Resort, 5222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston TX » SanLuis Resort, 5222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston TX.
Cost: $295.00
Includes: Fees include all workshop materials as well as breakfast and lunch Saturday, and breakfast Sunday.
Hotel Fees: $139 per night, single or double occupancy

via email or call 281-360-3928

Registration deadline January 10, 2012


At the recent National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization Conference, I learned from Dr. Wanda Bethea (www.drbethea.com) about the important of happiness. 

Happy people live longer, are more creative, generous, productive at work, in better health, and have higher income! 

 Dr. Bethea shared the value of positive psychology, including the study of people living an engaged, meaningful and pleasant life.  Dr Bethea’s introductions of several rating scales for happiness intrigued me in that adding a measurement tool for happiness made us even more aware of how important this emotion is to daily living.  Every day we face stressors, but are we generally happy?   Take the test and see.  www.positivityratio.com.

If you found your score deficient, here are some ideas shared by Dr. Bethea to elevate your score. 

Write down 3 good things each evening.  Keeping a gratitude journal makes a difference.

Write a letter of gratitude to share on the phone or in person with the recipient.

Write about your future as if all had gone the best possible way, seeing the best possible future for yourself.

Identify your character strengths and cultivate one of them in five ways during a week. 

Create a vision board for happiness, what makes you happy,  brings a smile to you face, and bring inner joy.

Some of my ideas….

Surround yourself with optimistic people.

Find a quote you love or a silly saying to post on your mirror where you dress each morning.

Do for others. Nurture optimism in those around you by celebrating a birthday, bringing a surprise, or taking a cupcake to them.

Bring out the best strengths in others with affirmations.   Celebrate the small quiet kindnesses in our world. 

So what is the happiness and organizing connection?  For me it is about being  and feeling your best, living a meaningful and productive life.  And that is what organizing adds to in everyone’s life.  Happiness is the global result of organizing.   Share with me your steps to greater happiness!

Technology and You! Calendars, Addresses and More!

It used to be we relied on paper and pencil.  Now there are many outstanding ways to stay on top of dates and details.  The best tool for this?  Here are some options!

Never forget a date again with google and the google calendar.   Input your info from your phone or from your computer.   Its with you all the time so you can consult your calendar and then make a plan.  Add dates right away while at the doctor or at school.  And you can keep track of all your family on this calendar.   Share your schedule with Dad, mom and kids.  Everyone can enter information so right away you know when your kids’ soccer games are, their test dates and more.  Enter birthdays, anniversaries and other special events and mark them as recurring events.  You will be alerted for these.  And this is all free!

Never lose track of someone’s address or phone number again.  Using Outlook makes keeping it all together so easy.  Upload information right away from email and add phone and address too!   I also suggest adding your own signature line to your email.  This is a way to share your contact information right away. (Here are some instructions for adding this.   http://email.about.com/od/outlooktips/qt/Create_Email_Signature_Outlook.htm)  If your phone synchronizes with Outlook you are totally set!

I love having lists ready to go! So why reinvent them?  A great service ListPlanIt.com has lists for every possible need.  With over 500 lists to choose from,  you will have them at your fingertips.  Check it out and see what you think at www.listplanit.com

Have technology that works for you?  Share that tool here!

Embrace your inner minimalist at the office


Are you drowning in paper at work? Is your space littered with too many empty mugs or hand cream?  Do you feel disconnected, unproductive and disorganized? Do you feel it reflects on you professionally ?  Embrace your inner minimalist! 

Create a vision of who you are and your professional performance with the décor in your space.  Define what clarity looks like in your environment. Think of colors that are a reflection of your style.  Keep minimal personal photos and knick knacks.   Think through the books, the art, and even the awards you have placed in your office.  In creating this vision you can make a list of adjectives you want to embody as you change this space. 

Many companies have an existing record retention policy stating how long to keep paper records.  But sometimes we can create rules for what you will keep and how long you will keep it if it is a rough draft, old budgets, or even a former employees previous paper.   If you do keep the paper, decide if a notebook or file is a better location for you to find the information.   How did this office client eliminate so much paper? By knowing what to keep and where to keep it! 

Take time to maintain your minimalist style.  Start and end the day with routines that reflect this.   Bring your one mug to and from work in your professional looking bag.  End the day with picking up the paper and replacing it in your project slots.   Once her office style and routines were defined, my client was able to share  that “clutter means I am too busy and moving too fast.”    Being definite about your style makes maintenance that much easier!

 What does this office say to you?

Be a Natural Delegator

A guest post by Leslie McKee, my colleague and blogger at www.getorganizedpittsburgh.com.


Everything gets better with delegation.  Some people struggle with delegation because they feel that they are imposing or asking for help.  I am a natural delegator.  I see it as a form of collaboration.  My immediate response to a new task or project is to break it into smaller, more do-able parts. When I am doing that, I’m immediately thinking about how I can incorporate other people’s skills and insights.  Bringing other people in automatically makes it more social, fun and adds accountability.  I find that people are flattered to be considered an expert or simply recognized for what they do well. 


In business, as an organizer I realized early on that I simply could not organize Pittsburgh single handedly, but I could definitely be a resource to help!  Finding resources is one way to delegate.  In that process relationships are often built.  I always just ask, even when I know it might not be a great fit, because it often leads me closer to answers and progress.  It also opens the doors for people to ask me for help as well. 


I find that the delegator has to be a giver as well.  It is not about giving everyone else jobs while they watch you do nothing.  It’s important that the delegator connect with why they should be taking on the responsibility that you are delegating.  This is especially important at home.  I get cooperation because I’m fair and it’s clear that we do things that ultimately benefit the whole family.  So here are some step to think about when delegating:


1.      Break it down and decide if this task is a good one to delegate

2.      Consider who might help you.

3.      Consider why they might want to help you.

4.      Decide what parameters you need to put in place.


Try to find areas where you are a natural delegator and where it works in your life. Then see if you can add that to more areas.  You will usually feel more supported, find yourself doing more of what you do best and create a life that comes together nicely.

Being Mindful of Multitasking




Lots of new multi-tasking statistics are bringing into focus this productivity concept. Studies have shown that each time someone makes a “task switch,” or multitasks, their productivity is actually reduced by 20 to 40 percent.   While previously thought to be a great tool, now multitasking  is glaringly not so! 

Mindfully focus on one task at a time.  Start by prioritizing to be sure this task takes highest importance.  Purposefully stay on task by creating a “power period”, a 45 minute time you work on a single project.  Successfully working on one project  makes you feel accomplishment, lowers  your stress and lessens the load of the total projects.   


Eliminate distractions by creating an effective environment.   Turn of the computer, stop texting, and turn off the tv.  Really give yourself the opportunity for undistracted work.  If a call comes, use your technology to the fullest and let it go to voice mail.  Create your optimal environment with soft music, scent in the room, and a clear desk.  A clear desk invites creativity, productivity and efficiency. 


Make phone connections and relationships count.  During a call, be sure to be “on the call” not just on the phone. We are always trying to do one more thing while talking.  Make that person and the call more important than the distractions.


Are there positive uses of multitasking?  Double time two low priority tasks and get them done!  This includes pairing folding the laundry or putting away dishes with background television or having administrative time while listening to music.  These little incentives can help you finish up a less than interesting task.      

 What are your favorite ways to get just that one thing done?