Could you give up email to get more done?

Email graphic

Ditching email can dramatically increase your productivity, if you’re brave enough to try it!

Email is part everyday of life, and it’s often hard to remember how we got by before this quick and easy method of communication became the norm.  However, over the years it has become more of a nuisance than a convenient method of personal and business contact. Our email accounts (and most of us have several of them) are often brimming with unwanted offers, notices, announcements, and cc’s that cause a sense of dread as soon as we open our inboxes. The time we spend processing all of these messages often eats into a good portion of our day, causing stress and reducing productivity.

Fed up with the time drain email has become, some business and individuals have taken the radical step of eliminating or drastically reducing the use email, and have seen their productivity skyrocket as a result.  Would your life be easier and could you get more done if you gave up email?  Curious to give it a try?  Check out this RealBusiness.com article, How I Stopped Using Email to Double My Productivity, and see if it could work for you.  If you’ve already given email the boot, or tried it, share your story in the comments below!

Sometimes the best plan is one step

Planning De-movitator posterWe’ve all heard the expression, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” but too often, we get hung up on planning the entire journey, which can be overwhelming and lead to procrastination. But setting a goal, focusing on one action, and making decisions based on the outcome (instead of trying to predict all the steps that lie ahead) can be a more effective way to get things done. For those of us who are “control enthusiasts,” not planning for every possible scenario may be scary, but ultimately it’s freeing–flexibility often leads to discoveries and opportunities we never would have found had we stuck to a pre-determined plan.  This recent Lifehack article explores a dynamic approach to planning–do you think it’s sound advice, or impractical? Sound off in the comments!

Pro tips for managing your digital files

Mobile Devices

Organizing your digital files doesn’t have to be a headache if you know the right tricks.

Email. Contacts. Photos. Documents. Calendars. Music. Video. These days, so much of the information we send and receive is some type of digital file, and somehow, we have to manage it all. When you often have to access various files on multiple devices in different places on diverse platforms (whew!) it can become a bit overwhelming, to say the least!

We’ve asked NAPO’s organizing and productivity professionals to weigh in on the the best ways to manage your digital files to minimize frustration and boost productivity. Check out their advice below, and if you have a trick that helps you keep your digital files under control, share it it the comments!

 

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Mastering the work-life balancing act

Feeling burned out? It’s time to restore your work-life balance.

Achieving and maintaining positive work-life balance is becoming increasingly difficult, given the 24/7 access we have to work and work has to us, via voicemail, email and texts. Gone are the days when leaving your office meant cutting off access until you returned. But how do you create and enforce the boundaries needed for you to disconnect and recharge during downtime so you can be more productive during your working hours? This Lifehack article offers six things you can do now to restore work-life equilibrium and make it a habit, rather than another item on your to-do list.

When planning for emergencies, don’t forget Fido and Fluffy!

Your pets can't prepare for emergencies themselves, so be sure to do it for them!

Your pets can’t prepare for emergencies themselves, so be sure to do it for them!

In the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, many of the heartbreaking stories involved the pets who were left behind to fend for themselves when people were evacuated. So all of your family members are prepared for emergencies, make a plan for your pets too. Since it’s National Preparedness Month, we’d like to share this checklist from the ASPCA to help you ensure your pets’ safety, should disaster strike.

If you need assistance putting together a plan for your family, visit NAPO.net to find a professional organizer in your area who can help!

You can’t argue with science–6 proven ways to boost productivity

6 Productivity Hacks Infographic thumbnail

To see the full infographic, click the image.

A recent Lifehack article featured this cool infographic that demonstrates six scientifically proven ways to boost your productivity:

  1. The Perfect Performance Ratio
  2. Stop Multitasking
  3. Take a Power Nap!
  4. Exercise at Work
  5. Crank Those Tunes
  6. Google Baby Animals

Have you found them to be true–based on your personal unscientific experience? Let us know in the comments!

 

Streamline your back-to-school routines

Kids Getting on Schoolbus

Now that the new school year has begun, it’s the perfect time to fine-tune your morning and after-school routines. Check out this great collection of tips from NAPO’s Back-to-School Pinterest board for terrific organizing ideas for your kids and your home!

Is organizing necessary if you’re a minimalist?

Although this room is minimalist, it looks pretty organized . . .

Most people would admit to having too much stuff, and that keeping all their stuff properly stored and organized can be a challenge. When people decide they need to get organized, purging is usually part of the process.  Getting rid of outdated, broken, or otherwise not useful things frees up valuable space, and lets you focus on items that you use regularly.  Once the excess is gone, creating order and efficiency is much easier. But if you’re a minimalist and you’ve whittled your possessions down to the bare minimum, is organizing even necessary?

A recent article, “Minimalism is the end of organizing,” claims that once you’re down to the absolute basics, there’s no need to organize. It’s true that managing a few essential items is much easier than accessing, storing and keeping track of what’s in overstuffed closets, cabinets, files, attics, garages, and storage units. However, there’s still a benefit to keeping your toothpaste, floss, and toothbrush in the same general area and not spread throughout your bathroom.  Or does it matter if your grooming supplies are scattered in your bathroom if there are only a dozen items in there anyway?

What’s your take on the author’s “controversial” opinion?  Speak your mind in the comments!

 

September is National Preparedness Month! Are you ready for emergencies?

Being organized is key to being prepared for emergencies--are you ready?

Being organized is key to being prepared for emergencies–are you ready?

Emergencies and disasters can strike at any time, and being prepared not only helps keep your family or business safe and secure until the crisis passes, but also helps speed recovery afterward. For the tenth year as a national coalition member, NAPO has joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s Ready campaign to help raise public awareness about emergency preparedness.

Each September, NAPO spotlights emergency preparedness, and how professional organizers can help individuals, families, groups and businesses get organized so they can be ready in case of natural or manmade disaster. Our members will be hosting local events in their communities to help people plan and prepare for emergencies, but we’re also featuring tips and advice here on our blog to help everyone be ready, keep safe, and recover if disaster strikes.

Click the smiling face below to see what our organizing pros recommend!

The 2014 Summer’s Best Organizing Tip is (drumroll, please) . . .

 

Finalist #2 – Recibir Huéspedes en Casa (Receiving Houseguests)*, from the NACHOrganiza blog!

A little planning and organization before your houseguests arrive is key to making them feel welcome and their stay comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.

Congratulations to Nacho Eguiarte for submitting the post that our blog visitors voted as their favorite advice of the summer! As the grand prize winner, Nacho will receive a gift certificate from Monkey Bars for his choice of selected garage storage rack systems.

Thanks to everyone who submitted helpful summer organizing advice through our link parties all summer long, and to everyone who voted for their favorite tips, and to EasilyDo and MonkeyBars for donating prizes!

*Post submitted in Spanish; to translate, copy the post URL and paste it into Google Translate.