I had the chance to hang out with Smead and two of my fabulous organizing/productivity colleagues a few weeks ago. We did a video chat using Google Hangout and answered questions submitted all about organizing and productivity around the general theme of Spring Cleaning. It was a lot of fun! And we shared lots of great information to help you be more productive this spring in your home, office and life. Get the 411 here!

 

If you are local to Sacramento area, join me on Tuesday, July 9th from 6:30-9:30 at the eWomen Network dinner & meeting while I present “The Productive Entrepreneur: Boost Your Productivity to Be a More Successful Business Owner.”

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Do you have organizing and productivity challenges that you deal with on a daily basis in business and life? If so, you are not alone! In fact, many highly functioning people (and business owners!) have organizing challenges.

Come learn tips and tools of the trade as I provide solutions to real-life productivity problems. This fast-paced and entertaining presentation provides practical techniques for managing time, paper, information, projects, and yourself.

You can enhance your organizational and time management skills to become more productive, achieve your priorities, and make your business more successful.

  • Date: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
  • Time: 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Location: DoubleTree by Hilton, Sacramento, CA

See all of the details here.

I am delighted to be presenting Time to Get Organized for City of Sacramento employees on March 27th. I am looking forward to sharing valuable tips on how to effectively organize time, space, paper, and possessions by practicing good decision-making techniques, creating a system that works,
and integrating the system into your life. The goal will be to help participants shift their mindset and change their behavior. Hopefully, there will be a lot more organized and productive City employees afterward!

If your organization, corporation, or municipality is interested in offering a professional development workshop similar to this one, let’s chat! I do take my show on the road… 🙂

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Back in January, I assisted a client with organizing her home office and setting herself up for a productive new year. When she mentioned that she is an extremely visual learner and would love a large wall calendar to plan out her entire year, I knew just the thing for her! I gifted her with a complimentary NeuYear calendar, which was sent to me by the makers of NeuYear to share with a few select clients and get their feedback. Here is what my client wrote in her own words. Clearly, it was a hit! 🙂

If you are interested in purchasing a NeuYear Calendar, check out their site at http://www.neuyear.net/.

I love my NeuYear productivity calendar! I chose to mount my calendar on foam board for sturdiness and hang it horizontally to fit my space perfectly. I love having Saturday & Sunday aligned in one weekend column for easy planning. Being able to see the whole year in one glance has helped me plan further ahead then I would normally. Since the board is not eraseable, I chose to use colored sticky notes for major events that may change in the future. Sticky notes also allow me to color code my events and I don’t have to re-write if I decide to change the event. Thanks for a great product!

~ Femi

Powerful smart phones, computers, tablets, websites, software, blogs and social media. There are so many technology tools and gadgets these days that it is hard to keep up! On the other end of the spectrum are people that are glued to their devices, addicted to their “Crackberry.” Indeed, for many people, technology has become the master. However, true technology was designed to be our servant. The following tools (some are “apps,” which is short for applications for those of you that have are not as familiar with smart phone lingo) will help you harness technology to boost your productivity. You may have heard of some, while others may be new “finds.” All of them are designed to assist you in being smarter, faster, and more productive, which is why technology was created in the first place.

Google Calendar – Need a calendar that can’t be lost, can be accessed from any device, and can be shared with others when you want to? GoogleCalendar to the rescue! Google Calendar is an Internet based calendar system that you can access from your desktop computer, laptop, smart phone or tablet — basically any device with Internet service. You can share events with family members and friends, making it perfect for families to use and even small businesses. And it is absolutely free! Your content is stored “in the cloud,” which means you can never lose it, a real bonus for those of you that sometimes misplace your smart phone or forget to charge it.

YouSendIt – Ever want to send a friend or work colleague a file but it is too large to send via your regular email system? Try YouSendIt next time. YouSendIt is secure online sharing software that allows you to easily send large files and email at tachments. It is free for the basic level, and if you need to send even larger files, you can upgrade to a paid version. I use YouSendIt often to email video files, slides shows, and other types of files that are larger than usual. It is quick and easy. All you need is the recipient’s email and, voila, away the file goes.

Dropbox – This tool is my favorite. Dropbox is a free service that let’s you store information from your computer, smart phone or tablet on the Internet, and then access it from anywhere you have service. You can also share it with others. Just upload files, videos or photos into your Dropbox account, and they are stored there until you need them. The basic level gives you 2GB for free. Any more than that, and you must buy a paid version. But 2GB is a lot of free online storage if you are only storing documents. If you need video a nd photo storage, you will be at a higher level. To me, the beauty of Dropbox is it’s portability. It is like having your files with you wherever you go!

Evernote – Need a place to jot down notes, ideas and lists that can be accessed from anywhere, and tagged and archived so that the information is easily retrievable? You will love Evernote. Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note taking and archiving. It allows you to make notes and lists in a handy location (better than post-it notes scattered everywhere) using your computer, smart phone or tablet, and access them when you need them. Uses are endless — shopping lists, business ideas, snap a photo of something to remember it, clip webpages, class notes, recipes, travel itineraries, images of business cards, etc. Evernote has a bigger learning curve than the other tools list ed, but once mastered, it’s power is amazing.

Toodledo – Need a place to list all of your projects, tasks and to-do’s that is portable and allows you to access it from any device? Chuck the paper and check out Toodledo. It is an Internet based software that is a powerful task manager. You can organize tasks by category, place them into folders, track due dates and access the information from anywhere. If you need a calendar system also, Toodledo does have that option. You can tag tasks to easily search them later, add notes to them, and lots of other bells and whistles. Toodledo, like Evernote, allows you to dump your brain into an electronic format so that you don’t have to remember everything yourself!

Dragon – Dragon i s voice-to-text software that allows you to dictate to your smart phone, tablet or computer, and then converts the voice recording to text. Once in text format, you can email or text it to yourself, or anyone else for that matter. Uses for Dragon are endless — shopping lists, letters, quick emails, etc. It’s not only easy and fun to use, it’s also safer to speak into your phone than type when driving!

Coaching Challenge : Harness the power of technology! Choose at least one of the above tools and try it. Technology works best when you take the time to learn how to effectively use it and integrate it into your life. So be patient, take your time and discover what works best for you.

Free Smead SuperTab Folder

Thank you for being a part of my community! As a gift to you, I’d like to provide you with a Free Smead SuperTab Folder for organizing your paperwork. SuperTab folders have nearly double the labeling area of standard folders so you can use larger text or more lines of description. To get your free SuperTab folder, go to www.smead.com/SuperTabSample now. Hurry, these won’t last long!

Thanks again for following me and I look forward to continuing to provide you with great content!

Unfortunately, summer will soon be coming to an end. I know, don’t rush it! Enjoy the last days of summer. Perhaps you have a vacation planned, or want to just stay at home and relax. But fall will be here before you know it. So, take some time now to plan your back to work strategy for fall now. Hopefully, the following tips will help get you started.

  • Get Through That Dreaded Email Inbox. I know that many of you still have tons of emails sitting in your inbox. Summer does not mean a hiatus on email. So take the time now to get through that inbox. Delete like crazy, move important or active emails into folders, and reply to those that you have left for far too long.
  • Sort Through Your Paper Inbox. You probably have a pile of paper on your desk that you call your “inbox.” Sort through it now so you can start the fall season seeing the bottom of it! If you don’t have an effective paper management system, get some stacking paper trays and label them with categories of paper that make sense to you. For example, Inbox/Unprocessed Paper, Action, File, Shred, Scan, Read. Use a desktop label maker or a portable one. I personally like the label makers by Dymo for the way they marry technology, design and functionality.
  • Sort Through Your Files. Go through your files quickly and efficiently, pulling out anything that is obsolete, can be scanned for future reference, belongs to someone else, etc. The less paper you have in your filing system, the more likely you are to file the new stuff coming in! So get to it.
  • Create Templates and Systems. On a going forward basis, create templates, systems, work flow charts and samples that will help streamline your office and work life. The more work you do up front to delegate to yourself (or better yet, to someone else), the more you will be able to reap the rewards of these systems long term, especially in the fall when everyone is so busy.

Follow through on these tips and you will be well on your way to a productive autumn season! Meanwhile, if you have a great office (home or work) productivity tip, email it to info@getbuttonedup.com or share it on their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/GetButtonedUp for the chance to win a free Dymo label maker. The winner will be chosen randomly.

Full disclosure: This is sponsored content and I have been compensated to do this post. That being said, I do not blog about anything I do not believe in and Dymo did not edit this post or direct the content in any way.

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” ~ George Gershwin

Ah… nothing like summer. And I know you want to make lemonade, jump in the pool, go for long walks, and read some good novels. I plan to join you.

But not so fast. Summertime is also a perfect time to organize your office. Yes, I am serious! Many people experience slow times at work or in their business in the summer. Put that down time to good use. Here are some quick and easy organizing tips to organize your office this summer:

  • The Dreaded Inbox – Go through that dreaded, piled-high-with-paper-inbox once and for all. Yes, until you see the bottom of it. Sort papers into categories of Action, To Scan, To File, To Shred, Recycle, and Belongs to Someone Else. Then take action on each category as the summer progresses, so come fall, you will have dealt with all of the inbox backlog. Make sure to keep up with the incoming paper so the inbox doesn’t get piled high again this summer!
  • The Overstuffed Files – Go through all of your files quickly and efficiently to pull any papers out that are no longer necessary to keep, can be scanned instead or can be given to someone else to act on. This will make room for any papers that need to be filed from the inbox.
  • The Backlog of Phone Calls – Return all of those phone calls you have been meaning to return. Everyone will be much more relaxed over the summer anyway, and perhaps not too busy to take your call.
  • The Overstuffed Calendar – Take a look at your calendar for the coming weeks, months and rest of the year. Answer any invitations that you did not get to, plan ahead for any major events coming up, and say no to a few obligations that you now realize you jumped at too hastily.
  • Label Like You Mean It – Take the time to finally label all of your files once and for all. I highly recommend you use a label maker to label these files so they look clean and crisp, and are easy to read. The more professional your filing system looks, the more likely you are to use it! Check out some of the fantastic label makers and printers by Dymo so that you produce professional looking labels every time.

Full disclosure: This is sponsored content and I have been compensated to do this post. That being said, I do not blog about anything I do not believe in and Dymo did not edit this post or direct the content in any way.

I was recently asked by Buttoned Up to review The DYMO® LabelWriter® 450 Duo. I have reviewed several Dymo label makers now, and put them to the “professional organizer” test. The 450 will be the only one on my desktop going forward, which says a lot as my desktop is precious real estate and is not cluttered up by unnecessary gadgets. So to win a coveted spot on my desktop is a big deal!

I will start by sharing what I love most about the 450 Duo – its compact size. In organizing, we teach our clients that in most cases, going vertical is a smart space-saving idea as it uses less horizontal space in a room or on a desktop surface. Dymo seems to understand this, and created a compact product that still performs on a high level. The “Duo” stands for the fact that it prints labels and postage. It does so by having the postage print out on the top of the device from a horizontal opening, and the labels print out underneath from a vertical opening. Trust me, this is a brilliant design because it keeps the 450 Duo small enough to politely sit on your desk and spit out labels and postage when you need them, without taking up tons of space!

So, what can it do exactly? Print impressive address labels, shipping labels, file folder labels, name badges and more, at speeds up to 71 labels per minute. You use the included DYMO Stamps® software to print precise USPS-approved postage directly from your desktop – without fees, contracts or monthly commitments. I am so excited to start using it to ship out my books as the orders come in — it will save me from many trips to the post office! It also prints permanent DYMO D1 plastic labels in a variety of sizes and colors – perfect for when you need durable labels for your office or workplace. Like all LabelWriter printers, the LabelWriter Duo printer never needs ink or toner, and includes software you can use to print labels directly from text in popular software programs, verify US addresses and ZIP+4 codes, and much more.

But did I mention that my favorite feature hands-down is the 450’s compact, lightweight design (yes, I know I am repeating myself, but this is really a plus in my book!). I like my gadgets streamlined, attractive and compact, and the 450 delivers! It is perfect for any office or workspace. It can be left out on display on your desktop for you to use it when needed. And when not in use, it won’t take up much space and will be a sleek and stylish addition to your office. The Dymo LabelWriter 450 Duo will appeal to a busy professional that not only wants to stay organized, but look organized too!

Love this labeler so much that you want one for yourself? You can win one! ButttonedUp is running a contest for a free labeler. To enter, either email your best labeling tip to  info@getbuttonedup.com with the subject line: Dymo, or visit their Facebook page and post a tip on their wall www.facebook.com/getbuttonedup. The winner will be chosen randomly.

Full disclosure: This is sponsored content and I have been paid to do this post. That being said, I do not blog about anything I do not believe in and Dymo did not edit this post or direct the content in any way.

So, if you played your cards right, you filed your taxes on time this year. If so, good for you! But was it an organized and painless process? Or were you scrambling through files, drawers, shoe boxes and your briefcase or tote bag to find the papers to document and back-up those deductions? There is a better way!

Most tax advice centers around how to make the most of your deductions and ignores the problem that sabotages a large number of people each year: finding the proof to support those deductions. Most people hate the dreaded task of keeping track of receipts and other documents throughout the year. Yet, that is exactly what will decrease the stress come tax time and increase your chances of getting more deductions!

The best time to prepare for tax season is right after you file your taxes. Why? Because you are in “tax” mode. You just filed and, therefore, have a copy of your tax return handy. Or you still have the  Turbo Tax software loaded onto your computer.

You need to create a system for filing all of the tax-related paperwork throughout the year. Take a look at the list of deductions you took, as well as the ones you did not qualify for. Start a hanging file folder labeled Current Year Taxes, using the plastic file tab as the main category. Now, create several cut folders to place within the hanging file folder. These should be labeled to match the general tax deductions you take.

For example, you can create a cut folder named Income. You would keep your pay stubs, W2, 1099s, and dividend distribution statements, gain an loss statements and annual statements from financial institutions in that file. You may also have a file labeled Charitable Contributions where you keep evidence of donations made. If you qualify for a medical expenses deduction, then keep a file for all of that paperwork. If you own a business, keep a file for Business Expenses Deductions. You get the point!

I highly recommend you use a label maker to label these files so they look clean and crisp, and are easy to read. The more professional your filing system looks, the more likely you are to use it! I use the Dymo LabelManager 260 because it is light weight, easy-to-use and produces professional looking labels every time!

Even if you pay your bills online and are a very active electronic user with regard to your financial life, you will still get certain papers in hard copy form that have to be maintained in order to fully support a tax deduction. Take the time to set up a Tax Center in your home and drop papers in their categories throughout the year. Come tax time next year, you (and your accountant if you use one) will be in a much better position to get those taxes done with the least amount of stress while maximizing your financial savings!

Full disclosure: This is sponsored content and I have been compensated to do this post. That being said, I do not blog about anything I do not believe in and Dymo did not edit this post or direct the content in any way.