Home Office Set-up for Optimal File Management and Productivity

July 23rd, 2013

Do you have a home office?  Or do you use your tablet, phone or laptop and your home office is all over your home?  The key to reducing household paper clutter and increase productivity is having a centralized home office.  A home office could be a designated area of a room or a specific room.  Your home office should have a place for papers to be dropped as they enter the home.  It should also have an area where papers that require action or follow-up are placed.  Your home office is an extension of your home and should be treated as such.  You should give it an inviting coat of paint, good lighting and hang some artwork and/or pictures of your family and friends.

Last week, I was interviewed by Robert Lerose of Bank of America’s Small Business Community.  Their site provides great resources and support for small businesses.  Check it out.  It is free to sign-up and participate. I will let you know once the article is published.

Here is a video I created a few years back on creating an ideal home office.

Do you have a dedicated home office? Do you use it?

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When do you organize your groceries?

September 28th, 2012

Over the past two weeks, I got involved in a social media conversation about organizing your groceries.  I think most would agree that organizing your groceries as you put them away makes a lot of sense but how do you feel about organizing groceries while still at the store?

I believe the conversation first started by this card Geralin Thomas posted on Facebook.  The Facebook post garnered 155 Likes, 49 Comments and 41 Shares.  It also created a multi-day dialogue on Twitter.  Comments included everything from cashier insensitivity to “my cashiers rock!” to “I go to self-checkout for this exact reason.”  There were many (including myself) that as this “card” states, place our items on the conveyor belt exactly as we would like them bagged.

In Montgomery County, MD (my home county) and in neighboring Washington, DC, we are charged a fee for not using our own bags.  Not only do I bring my own bags, I am a fan of Tote Buddy.  Tote Buddy neatly holds piles of reusable bags, helping you declutter and stay organized for every shopping trip.  My conveyor belt organization, grocery list and coupon organization along with my Tote Buddy, bag organization has caused some cashiers to stop and take pause in amazement.    To the point that, they have asked me for information on how to purchase a Tote Buddy.

Tote Buddy

Maybe it is just the cashiers at my local Harris Teeter but I find that when the cashier is observant and sees the effort you have put in to organizing your purchases, they try bag it accordingly.  My items are placed on the conveyor belt based on where they go once they are brought in to the house.  All of the cosmetics that go to the bedrooms in one bag, all of the laundry and cleaning supplies that stay in the basement in another bag, dry food stuffs in another and the normal refrigerated and freezer in another.    I kinda thought that this was normal but this conversation has told me that apparently it is not.

 

I have read comments that some go as far as freezer goods go in one color bag, dry goods in another color, produce in another.  Do you organize your groceries while still at the store?  How far do you go?  I’d love to hear your comments below.

 

 

 

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What’s New in the Organizing Industry?

March 26th, 2012

The NAPO logo

Last week, I attended the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference.  Over 850 organizers gathered at the Hilton Baltimore in Baltimore Maryland.  There was an Expo Hall with over 58 exhibitors, 3 key note speakers, 30 break out session options.  It was a very busy four days.  In addition to sharing my feelings on Twitter as @PutItAway, I also Tweeted the conference as @NAPONatl. As always, conference was an amazing experience.  I was able to learn, network, hang with old friends, make new friends, meet friends who I knew only from social media, be inspired and inspire others.

Over the next few days, I will share my experiences from the 2012 NAPO Conference.  I will share tips from the sessions I attended, reviews of products exhibited, lessons learned from others and pictures of some of the fun.


Great conference tote bag from tote bag sponsor Tote Buddy!
 

If you attended conference, I would love to hear about your experiences.  What was your one take away from conference or your favorite thing?  Please comment below.

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It's here! My eBook 50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity & Profitability is here! Don't let the name fool you. It actually contains over 80 resources. Check the special pricing for Need Another You readers.

Top 3 Trends in Past 3 Years

September 24th, 2010

Top 3 Trends in Past 3 Years (Part 1 of 3)

I believe there have been three major trends in the past three years that has changed the way we do things.  I will be sharing my insights over the next three weeks.  I’d love to hear your input and experiences.

1.    Reliance on Tech

We now live in a world where we constantly rely on technology to get us through each day.  If you are not a mobile phone user (do they still exist), you still rely on technology when you go to a restaurant, the post office, the bank.

We have all likely been to a restaurant that uses technology – a form of a pager to notify you when your table is ready.  Some restaurants take orders on a handheld device that automatically transmits the order to the bar or kitchen.  You can even place a take-out or delivery order from home without picking up the phone.

You can make calls without picking up the receiver or handset.  You can write checks, pay bills or transfer money via a mobile phone or notebook computer Skype logowithout getting in the car or spending money on a stamp.  While the security of doing any of these still has some vulnerabilities for the most part they are secure.  Some folks still fear banking online, even if you avoid it, the banks stores your information online.  Security online is one part of the equation, backing up the data is the second.

When I work with clients, sometimes they ask to go paperless and store everything on their computer.  I ask about their back-up plan.  Nine times out of 10 they have none or they can’t remember the last time they backed up, if ever.  When I ask why not, they either don’t know how or it’s too difficult or too hard to remember.  There are many options for traditional back-up.  Many folks purchase an external hard drive.  I have one.  While they are a great option, there are some downfalls.

External hard drive 1.    Your computer must be connected to the external hard drive for your back-up to be completed.
2.    You must create a schedule to back-up.
3.    They can get lost or stop working making it difficult or impossible to retrieve the data. (this happened to me, the drive stopped working and I did not know until I went to look for something on the back-up drive).

I still use an external hard drive to back up but I also use one of the the web-based options as well.  The two big ones are Carbonite and Mozy.  Both offer a free month.  Following you free month, their fees vary based on the size of the files being backed-up.  An additional option is Dropbox.  Dropbox is an online back-up and collaboration tool.  DropboxI prefer Dropbox over Carbonite or Mozy.  I like that you can access it from any online device (mobile phone, pda, iPad, iTouch, notebook or desktop computer).  There is an app for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch and Android phones.  From any of the devices you can access anything in your Dropbox as long as you have internet access.  The Dropbox folder does reside on your computer.  As you create or edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, audio, video or pictures Dropbox saves a copy on to your computer and updates your Dropbox account.  It also allows you to share files and collaborate with other users.  You can configure your computer to save all files to your Dropbox folder.  The free account includes up to 2GB file storage.  You can grow your storage for free by referring friends, family and colleagues to Dropbox.  They reward both the referrer and referee with an additional 250MB of storage.  You can continue to refer until you reach 32 accepted referrals or 8GB of addtional storage space.   You may not think that is very much space but you’d be surprised.  Take a look at the drive where you store your documents.  I am a heavy user.  My Documents folder currently uses 4.38GB of space.  It includes documents, spreadsheets, presentations and pictures.

Why do I love Dropbox?  Because it is mindless.  I don’t have to do anything.  I work on a document or download pics from my camera as long as I am connected to the web … voila after a few seconds, it is saved on my notebook and it is updated on Dropbox.  I don’t have to schedule anything.  If thinks for me.  I love that it is intuitive and costs me nothing (at this time).  If my storage needs grow faster than my free Dropbox grows, the cost of purchasing Dropbox storage space is very reasonable (All three online back-up systems mentioned do offer a discount if you pre-pay for a year vs. month to month fees).  I love that my documents folder looks identical regardless if I am looking at it on my computer, notebook, smart phone or a computer of a friend or at a hotel when I am traveling.  I don’t know how it could get any easier.  I only recommend it because I use it and find it is the best product available that meets my needs.  Feel free to check out Dropbox and get a free 250 KB of storage space.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  How do you protect and back-up your information?

Are you reliant on technology?  Share with us how technology shapes your life and has changed the way you operate on a day to day basis.

Stay tuned for #2 and #3!

Kim Oser

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2010 NAPO Conference Goes Green & High Tech

April 28th, 2010

April 22, 2010

My friend and fellow Certified Professional Organizer®, Deb Lee wrote a great post about how the 2010 National Association of Professional Organizers Conference Goes Green & High Tech.

Can you imagine a conference of all Professional Organizers? You can bet that we are studying each others organizational processes and techniques.  Looking at who brought Sharpies®, highlighters, paper clips and mini-stapler.  Who is taking notes in a binder, on a laptop/netbook, an iPod, and who grabs the hotel notepad laying on the table.  Who is using the conference bag and who brought their specialized/personalized conference tote.

If you enjoy teasing me for my anal retentiveness, you will particularly enjoy Deb’s post.  It’s ok, I enjoy laughing at myself too.

BTW- I even brought a 6 foot extension cord with three 3-prong outlets.  And yes, I have already used it twice & it took up virtually no space in my bag.

Enjoy!  Thanks Deb for including me in your post.

50 Tech Tools

It's here! My eBook 50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity & Profitability is here! Don't let the name fool you. It actually contains over 80 resources. Check the special pricing for Need Another You readers.

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