Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back-To-School Helps Stock Your Office

Aah... It's that wonderful time of year when newspapers & TV ads start being flooded by back-to-school specials while inserts tout "huge savings" on office supplies. Although we're still about two and a half weeks away from North Carolina's annual tax-free weekend, during this ritual of back-to-school shopping, a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils could easily replace roses, carnations or tulips, and those of us in the business of organizing workspaces start to drool over great gadgets & gizmos that'll increase your efficiency with incredible savings. It's no coincidence I just wrapped up a public presentation of "Go From 'Where'd I Put That?' to 'Here's What I Need' In No Time Flat", where I was able to utilize props to represent many of those fabulous office supplies that help to quickly locate what you need when you need it. These days, there are so many fantastic options to equip your workspace!

When addressing your need for a functional filing system, the list of necessary office supplies will often start with a DYMO LetraTAG Labelmaker, which enables a mobile solution for easily adding labels to each file folder. Speaking of file folders, I recommend 1/3-cut file folders that are a darker color on the outside and a lighter color on the inside. Color drives behavior so having a task that you don't like too much in a color that you do like a bunch will make that particular task a lot less unbearable; then, having the inside be ligher than the outside will increase the odds that the piece of paper you are attempting to file actually ends up inside the file folder you had envisioned as its destination. As you start to assign homes to each item that must be filed, start with big categories; assign one color AND one tab position to each big category, trying to keep each file folder label general enough that you don't have too many folders but specific enough to provide a home for each item to be filed. For example, all far-left-tab, green folders might be for FINANCES while those individual folders include FINANCES - Budget as well as FINANCES - Reimbursements. Likewise, all middle-tab, yellow folders might be for CLIENTS while those individual folders might be CLIENTS - John Doe as well as CLIENTS - Jane Smith. What naming convention do you use for your files?

Meanwhile, as you continue taking advantage of back-to-school savings by stocking your office supplies, please keep in mind that square or rectangular boxes, baskets and bins provide excellent options for containing related, loose items, including accessories for your tech tools, but you may also want to consider Cocoon's GRID-IT accessory organizer. In addition, clipboards provide an option for client forms or event-related checklists, and document sleeves can help organize meeting agendas, travel documents and reference items, including instructions for company-wide tools or specifics for how you are able to use your business' logo.

Above all else, though, make sure to add an Inbox on or near the entry to your workspace. Giving those individuals bringing items to you a place in which those items can be placed will empower you with control over your workspace, enabling you to address each of those items when appropriate and minimizing distractions from the important work on which you are already working.

What tools do you have in your office that assist in quickly finding what need when you need it, knowing what you should be doing at any given time and getting more done in less time? Please share in the comments below.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Options For Password Managers

If you're considering electronic storage of your passwords, here are some options that might meet your needs:

- LastPass (limited, free option or $12/year premium): With one, master password, you can log into websites via one click, auto-complete forms, securely store data & notes, synchronize across different browsers & devices and access your data from mobile devices while on the go. This solution works across all major platforms and has the added security of two-factor authentication.

- SplashID ($19.95 desktop + $9.99/mobile device): While this option provides multi-platform services similar to those of LastPass, it's a tad bit more complicated. If seeking more bells & whistles, try this one and see how comfortable you become with all that it offers.

- Roboform ($9.95 for first year; $19.95/year after): Full functionality of this option is limited to only Windows-based devices. Roboform has a relatively tricky set-up process for its installation. However, if you work primarily on a Windows-based PC, it's worth a try.

- 1Password ($49.99 for Mac OR Windows; $69.99 for both; $17.99 / iOS device): For some folks, it's a little concerning that your 1Password data is housed in Dropbox's servers; however, for most, the extreme cost of this option makes it most prohibitive. Either way, you get 1-click login for secure websites, easy online shopping checkout with credit card storage and instant syncing across your various devices. Currently, it is not available for Android devices so it's more Apple-focused.

- KeePass Password Safe (free for Windows PCs): This OSI Certified open source software offers a free alternative for those working solely on desktop PCs. While most others store your passwords in "the cloud", KeePass keeps them on your computer's hard drive, which is why they cannot be accessible remotely.

When comparing these options, what's most important is your comfort level with how well each particular tool fulfills the one-click logins and the tool's general layout. Therefore, I recommend you take advantage of each option's free trial and look closely at the online demos. Which password manager do you prefer?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Productivity and Technology Organization Workshops

Headed into 2013, I'd been told many times that "you're such a good speaker", but public speaking still put such fear in me... I resolved to overcome my fears by scheduling regular speeches, particularly as this provided the added bonus of sharing my messaging with more folks at one time as opposed to my "normal" one-on-one consulting. It seemed like a win-win opportunity, and that has proven to be the case. While you can see the entire list of upcoming workshops on this page of my website, I would be honored if you'd join me this Friday.

Click Here to Register Today for Organize for Success' next workshop...
Go From "Where'd I Put That?" to "Here's What I Need" In No Time Flat

Friday, July 12th - 10am to noon
Onsite checkin starts at 9:30am
Location = Executive Office Suites' Training Room in Lafayette Village,
8480 Honeycutt Rd, Ste 200, Raleigh

A recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report cited American workers as spending nearly 50% of their time looking for information, including paper documents. Worse yet, the average paper document is copied 19 times, thereby creating a drain on paper, ink, supplies and, of course, time… That which can never be replaced!

Just imagine… What could you be doing with all of that time if you weren't looking for misplaced, misfiled and mismanaged stuff?!?

What You Will Take Away From This Presentation:

- Learn options to store important information and tools to later locate what you need quickly and easily

- Discover collaboration tools that make sharing data, documents and information simple and effortless

- Create an office set-up to maximize efficiency for increased profitability

Learn more or register now at

While I believe that I put the "work" into "workshops" with content-rich presentations, don't take my own word for it… Attendees are raving about what they're learning in these classes. Here's a recent review:

"I am sorry it took me so long to take one of Emily's classes on technology & organizing! The class was worth every dime & more. I learned so many tools that will help me not only professionally but also personally. My wedding planning is going to be much easier now. Emily is very detailed and gives many options depending on what your needs are. She was able to troubleshoot with participants as well and came up with solutions. I can't wait to get my Pit Stop Package for even more help!" - Julie Seibert, Host of Reawaken Your Brilliance & Owner of Healing Through Organization

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Eliminate App-Related Overwhelm in Three Steps

Can't find the app you need on your smartphone quickly enough at the time you need it? Can't remember what all is on your smartphone to begin your search? Tired of digging through unused apps for those you can't live without? If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with the many options downloaded to your phone, have no fear... That smartphone can get back to being a user-friendly productivity tool with just a few steps. Start with the following three actions:

* Get rid of the lemons and clunkers... If you aren't using it, you either don't know how to use it or it is just not applicable to your needs. Find those no longer needed and delete them. This will clear up space so there's less visual clutter and leave only those you really want to use.

* Thoroughly utilize what apps remain... Learn all the services offered by those remaining apps. Determine how those services could be applicable for meeting your needs. Develop habits for using those tools. Practice, practice, practice, and ask if you're unsure about what a tool can do, whether you ask the app's help desk, search the web or shoot me an email.

* Be purposeful about what apps you add in the future... If you download an app just to give it a try, schedule on your calendar a date for its deletion should you decide it's not one to be kept. Then, don't add another app unless you can envision a need being met by it.

There are many that I love, but I want to hear from you... Which apps have a permanent home on YOUR smartphone? Why?