Ritalin For Your Ears: Soundtracks for Focus & Productivity

Did you know that (according to Noisli.com) the wrong sound environment makes you 66% less productive?  That’s why I’ve pulled together this list of resources for soundtracks that encourage focus and productivity.  Unless your office windows open to a mountain stream, you’re working amidst more noise pollution than you realize. 

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What chefs can teach us about organizing

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Any chef knows (and may very well live by) the French cooking term mis-en-place, meaning "to put in place."  In a bustling kitchen restaurant, mis-en-place is crucial for the chef's sanity and the timely delivery of the perfect plate.  Culinary Institute of America instructor Dwayne Lipuma told NPR, "Once [students] set up their station I should be able to blindfold them and tell them ... and they should know that their tongs are always here, their oil is always right here, their salt and pepper is always right here."

If you were blindfolded, could you find anything you need in your office?  Please listen to and read NPR's For a More Ordered Life, Organize Life a Chef.

I supported the Droplet on Kickstarter. So should you.

dropletThe nice folks over at Droplet reached out asking if I'd help support their Kickstarter campaign. I'm asked to promote products more and more, and this is the first one I think is unique enough to share.  I get no kickback - in fact, I spent $ to support them and I think you should too!

Here's why: It's so seldom that I come across a new productivity product that feels truly helpful, especially since I'm not a big believer in gadgets.  Droplet is a physical button that records habits, sets reminders, and even triggers notifications to others and automates online orders via their app.

Just place on any object (vitamin bottle, gym bag, meditation chair, supply closet, etc) and when pressed, the button tracks your habits and so much more.  You've gotta watch the video!  It's one of those "why didn't I think of that" products.

The best gadgets help us to live a better life offline, and I think Droplet will do that. Let's help get them funded before May 19th.  Click here to donate via Kickstarter.

Asian Efficiency Podcast Interview

the-productivity-showI was interviewed by Zach Sexton of productivity site Asian Efficiency. I tend to give the same answers over and over again when being interviewed, but Zach somehow managed to pull a lot fresh ideas from me.

You'll learn the one question to ask yourself about every sheet of paper, as well as the only three places paper should be.

Please listen here!  It's only 30 minutes.

 

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

Choose 3 words to shape your 2015

Khajuraho_-_Kandariya_Mahadeo_TempleThe 2015 wall calendar mentioned here has built in room to utilize Chris Brogan's ritual of choosing three words to shape your year.

Some of his words from years past have been Believe, Practice, Untangle, and (my favorite) Temple.

Read Chris' article on how to choose your 3 words for 2015 here.

I can't say I have my 3 words yet, but by the 1st I will, and I'll share them with you.

What words come to mind for your 2015?  Please share in the comments!

 

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

Don't Resolve to Organize Your Office in 2015

Resolve to organize your office in the remaining days of 2014! Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and get organized. Seeing how you’re here, chances are you have resolved or will resolve to organize that office once and for all.  Once my clients decide to pick up the phone and call me, organizing their office takes only a fraction of the time they expected.  What has been put off for years often takes just hours to accomplish.

It is not too late to completely transform the state of your office and make a new resolution in 2015!  If time is tight, surely you can schedule in a few power-hours to set yourself up for finishing in the first weeks of the New Year.  This plan is not a comprehensive one for every office, but will at least serve as an outline for those of you who just don’t know where do start.

This is how you’ll do it:

Plan A:

Today – Write down your vision for your office.  What are 10 things you’ll do once you’re organized?  Resist touching any piles until you do this!

2nd Week of December – Schedule at least 2 hours to just toss and recycle (it’s what you’d be doing with me anyway.)

3rd Week of December– Group like with like (receipts, statements, kids papers, house papers, etc.)  Piles are just fine.  Actually, a single pile of all things dated 2014 is a great start.  Don’t think “organizing,” think “mindless clumping.”

4th Week of December – Drop your new categories into folders, labeling them with respective dates, account numbers, etc.

5th Week of December– Set yourself up for the New Year by creating a mirror image of step 4’s folders, but with 2015 dates.

1st Full Week of January– You’re off the hook!  Plan a resolution such as learning Thai cooking or watching more indie films – anything other than organizing your office!

Plan B:

No time to do any of the above in December?  Well, there are no excuses for not doing step 1, write down your vision. Do it.  It only takes 5 minutes.  As for the remaining steps, the plan will still work wonders on the other side of January 1st.  Schedule each of those into your January calendar now.

Plan C:

I can show those stacks of paper who’s boss in no time.  Hire a pro.

What part or parts of the plan are you committing to in 2015?  Or, will you wait for 2016?   If you’re planning to organize your office this year or next, what is your plan of attack?  Please share in the comments!

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.  She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office.  Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess. Based in Silver Spring, MD Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speakingReach her at (202) 262-1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com.  Watch video lessons on office organizing here.  Learn about Skype consults here.  Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com.  

Q&A: Kacy, have you become overly reliant on technology?

A few weeks ago someone posted a question in response to my post on donating my cookbooks after I Evernoted my favorite recipes, wondering if I felt I was too overly reliant on technology. I sat with it for a few days and then put my reflections into words, and learned a great deal about sentimentality in the process: Best Digital Organizing 1

Q:

I'm hearing all sorts of great things about Evernote! I especially like your use for the recipes tear-outs or print outs. But, do you get the impression that you're getting perhaps overly reliant on technology? I only thoughtfully buy cookbooks that I view as an investment for my family. I write in the margins, remember the sauces spilled on them, and fully intend to pass them down to my daughter when she becomes an adult as a treasured heirloom. There's just something special about having that tangible cookbook that my husband and I used when we were just figuring out how to cook together as newlyweds in college. You can always send those books my way! Mm, World Vegetarian and Indian cooking?! Yum! :-) - Kati

A:

The first thing that came to mind when reading your question was this quote by Stevie Nicks (posted to Austin Kleon's blog):

“You want your journals written by hand in a book, because someday, if you have daughters — I don’t have daughters, but I have fairy goddaughters, thousands of them — all of these books are gonna go to them, and they’re gonna sit around just like we are now, and they’re gonna read them out loud, and they’re going to be able to know what my life was.” Then, pointedly, to Este: “And they’re not gonna find it in your phone.”

Yours and Nicks' sentimentality had me wondering if I am too quick to digitize, but after doing a bit of repatriated anthropology on my own stuff, I settled into an assuredness that I don't.  Thank you for that!  I guess only time will tell if I've become overly reliant on technology.  However, I can't recall any moments where I wish I hadn't digitized or tossed a hard-copy version of something, which I hope bodes well for my future-self.

As for donating all of my cookbooks, I cook, but I'm not a cookbook person, so it's not important that cookbooks are ever attached to memories of me.  Unlike Stevie Nicks, I'm not a journal person either, so journal entries are #2 on the list of "things that I won't pass down one day."  For the recipes that cannot be replaced, such as my grandmother's recipe scribbled in Estonian, Evernote serves as insurance that her memory won't be lost if the piece of paper ever is.  And so it sits both in my parents' kitchen and in my Evernote.  I use technology to keep safe items of sentimental value, not to replace them.  Her recipe is meaningful and my Indian cookbooks were not.

When I help clients minimize their things, I like to focus on keeping the "best of," instead letting go of the "worst of."  Looking around my house right now, I see a collection of "best of" objects that I hope are enjoyed for generations to come, much like your cookbooks.  I see leather pouches that my sister gave me from her time in Niger, the vintage Bertoia Diamond chair that I painstakingly de-rusted with my own hands, and a metal batik stamp that I picked up while studying abroad in Bali.  So, your question also had me asking myself what do I honor enough to pass down?  What physical objects - that feel like a part of me - cannot be digitized?  I discovered that there actually is a collection of things that are infused with my memories, and none of these can be Evernoted.  For everything else though, I want it out of the way and on my computer so these seeable, touchable gems can shine.

I also use technology to store memories that originated in the digital world, such as the swarm of "love texts" from my boyfriend when we first met.  Without a digital system, these would be lost forever.  Since we don't generate shoeboxes full of letters anymore, I want to ensure that memories like these are still treasured and kept safe.

I like that you point out that you only "thoughtfully" buy cookbooks that are an "investment" for your family.  My cookbooks weren't thoughtfully acquired, but my furniture, family memorabilia, and travel treasures were.  My mission is to show people the joy their space can hold when they invest in it thoughtfully, as you have done.

Where are your stories?  In cookbooks?  In journals?  In saved text messages? In furniture?  Wherever they are, care for them.  Care also requires you to eliminate the superfluities as you go, so that both you and the next generations only get the "best of."

Please share thoughts in the comments!

 

119 CircleOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter & receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com/subscribe.

Tour the four best task management apps

Task management apps seem to multiply by the day, but my favorite productivity experts Steve Dotto and Mike Vardy have selected their top four and give a simple tour of them in their webinar.

I actually watched the entire thing, which is remarkable considering I'm not at all a webinar junkie.

 

New Headshot w_posterOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

 

 

How I'm using Evernote to Learn Hindi

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For a lot of reasons, I have a bee in my bonnet to learn Hindi, so naturally I set up a "Hindi" notebook in Evernote where I'm beginning to store my lessons.

 I took photos (though I could have done screenshots) of the lessons from YouTube and saved them here.

This is far superior to any bookmark, granting me instant access for all those moments when I can't recall how to say "Meraa naam Kacy hai."

Kacy PaideOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

2 New Additions to the Filing Hall of Shame

Please help me in welcoming two new additions to the Inspired Office Filing Hall of Shame!  You can imagine my excitement when my client and I unearthed these two gems from a filing system that hadn't been purged in at least 5 years.  Consider these to be examples of how not to label a folder!  Why exactly?  They're just glorified piles, telling us nothing specific about the contents. The good news is that anything in these folders self-expires after even just a short amount of time.  We had a good chuckle and tossed their mysterious contents in a matter of minutes.  Don't know where to start purging your own files?  Hunt and peck through your office for any vaguely titled folders and envelopes.  Trust me, you can blindly toss the contents.  If they once were "important" or required "action," their ship has sailed and you're surely onto bigger and better things. Need more examples of unhelpful labels?  Check out the original Filing Hall of Shame here! Do you have folders worthy of the Inspired Office Hall of Shame?  Please share!  Email me pics and you too could be a member of the esteemed club of folks who are swiftly moving towards a filing system worthy of the Inspired Office Hall of FAME!  This is all in good fun.  My clients all know that their folders are lovingly showcased here and have graciously offered to serve as examples!

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A Clever Little Product To Organize Your To-Do's

This video is a follow up to my previous post An Odd Office Organizing Product & Proof That it Works. I've used it many times since, and shot this short video in Alabama last week  to give you a tour of my client's pockets, what they are labeled, and exactly how they are helping to zap miscellaneous stashes and undone to-do lists.  I was coming down with a cold, so forgive my quiet little voice!  Every word was a struggle, but I powered through in the name of organizing!

Purchase your pocket folder here.

What categories would you put in a pocket folder?  Would you keep yours in one place or carry it with you between work and home?  Is this a solution you could see yourself using? Please share in the comments below!