Peace of Mind Organizing

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Articles tagged with productivity

Staying comfortable and productive

22 January 2018 | Comments [0] »

I recently shared some tips with Tommy John about staying comfortable throughout the day and was included in this infographic they produced. Tommy John is known for (among other things) their boxer briefs for men, and the infographic cleverly ties together productivity and the comfort of their product.

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Postal rates going up next week

15 January 2018 | Comments [0] »

It might be time to stock up on Forever stamps! This week you can buy a one-ounce first-class Forever stamp for 49 cents. But come January 21, the same stamp will cost 50 cents.

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Worth repeating: Using my early-morning time

6 October 2017 | Comments [0] »

I’m a morning person. I know that I’m most productive in the morning. Especially first thing in the morning. My brain is turned on and I can be pretty focused when everyone else in the house is asleep. (And by everyone else, I mean my husband and dog.)

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Worth repeating: Visual task management

31 July 2017 | Comments [0] »

Last week, I took an ICD tele class on Personal Kanban for people with ADHD. I was familiar with personal kanban, having tried it out myself a few times over the last seven years. I was happy to hear Jim Benson, who gave the talk, state that while there are plenty of platforms in which to do kanban digitally, he recommends that people start out with Post-It® Notes and a whiteboard, like I’ve always done.

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Do you know your prime time?

22 June 2017 | Comments [0] »

This month, my personal theme is discipline and I’ve been working hard to keep up with the 30-day challenges I set out for myself on June 1. It’s going well. I’m particularly proud of the fact that I’ve done at least 30 minutes of genealogy research daily and that I’ve blogged four times a week (twice on this blog, twice on Organize Your Family History) every week this month.

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Five apps that have lasted five years (or more)

5 June 2017 | Comments [3] »

This morning I was thinking about the five phone that I’ve been using on daily (or almost daily) for at least five years. That’s a long time in the life of an app. Hats off to the developers who created such robust apps that have managed to stay really useful without significant changes. (They’ve all been updated, of course.)

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The hallmarks of a good task list

22 May 2017 | Comments [0] »

Do you keep a task list? I’m surprised by the number of people I meet who don’t. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I think I’d be lost without my task list. And certainly I’d be less productive.

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Find a spot for your tax-related papers

26 January 2017 | Comments [0] »

This is the time of the year in the U.S. where the mail carrier starts bringing in tax-related documents, like W-2 and 1099 forms. To avoid that frantic feeling at tax time when you can’t easily put your hands on these important documents, I encourage you to do yourself a favor today.

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Using the Reminders feature of Evernote

10 January 2017 | Comments [0] »

I’ve finally embraced Evernote and it’s become an indispensable part of my work and life. Every now and then I think about writing another blog post about how I use Evernote and I get overwhelmed at the thought of it. So my plan is to highlight one feature at a time, as the mood strikes me. Today I’m going to focus on the Reminders feature of Evernote, which I absolutely love.

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Staying on top of your email inbox

19 December 2016 | Comments [0] »

I’m struck by how similar our email inboxes are to physical clutter. Many people deal with physical clutter, but I bet even those who manage to keep a tidy home have email inbox clutter.

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Making my desk day productive

3 November 2016 | Comments [0] »

My client schedule is light this week and I had high hopes for getting a lot done. I dusted off my important tasks so they were front and center along the urgent stuff. Yet, the last couple of days got away from me. Part of the problem is my obsession with Hamilton and the distraction of the coming election.

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Keeping the important top of mind

28 October 2016 | Comments [0] »

It’s so easy to focus on urgent tasks, rather than important ones, isn’t it? Every day I create a list of tasks I want to accomplish that day. (When I’m on my game, I do it the night before.) I try to keep the list short so I have a fighting chance of actually accomplishing all of them.

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Confessions of an email hoarder

13 October 2016 | Comments [3] »

I openly admit that I have been an email hoarder. I abandoned my emails on my old Windows computer when I switched to the Mac in 2008. And since then I had a tendency to hang on to all emails that might possibly come in handy some day.

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Worth repeating: Getting and staying on task

14 July 2016 | Comments [0] »

Effective task management is a moving target for me. I’ve come to accept that I need to switch things up in order to keep myself engaged and get stuff done. So I vary my systems according to my need and mood. This post, originally published May 22, 2013, describes a sort of emergency intervention I use when I just can’t get myself to get anything done.

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Using my early-morning time

11 July 2016 | Comments [0] »

I’m a morning person. I know that I’m most productive in the morning. Especially first thing in the morning. My brain is turned on and I can be pretty focused when everyone else in the house is asleep. (And by everyone else, I mean my husband and dog.)

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Feeling busy? Take 5 minutes to create a little order

16 June 2016 | Comments [0] »

When I get busy my natural messiness kicks in. Our kitchen is being renovated so disorder reigns in our house and has for the last six weeks. But even in small spaces that have nothing to do with the kitchen, like my desk, everything felt out of control this morning. I’m feeling pulled in a bunch of directions and just wasn’t taking the time to put away the stuff I could. And the clutter started getting tome.

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Transpose + Kanban = Great task management

29 October 2015 | Comments [0] »

For the last month or so, I’ve been using a template I created on the fabulous form-making making website, Transpose, to manage my daily tasks kanban style.

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Stop thinking about it: Do it!

14 September 2015 | Comments [4] »

Do you have little organizing projects around your house that are constantly taunting you? Do you walk through a room, see a pile and say to yourself, “I need to file.” Then just keep walking?

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Transpose helps you create forms easily

10 September 2015 | Comments [0] »

I love creating forms and have been making them for years. I used to use Word, then I moved to Excel. But now I have a much easier way to create forms: Transpose.

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Worth repeating: Inbox Zero is achievable!

27 July 2015 | Comments [0] »

As I wrote two weeks ago, I’ve fallen behind on a number of things, including my Inbox Zero habit. But last Wednesday I got my inbox down to zero messages once again. It felt so great—like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It’s been a huge boon to my productivity and I’ve emptied each day since. I was going to write a new post about Inbox Zero and then realized that I’d have a hard time improving on the one I wrote this past November. So here it is.

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Worth repeating: Chipping away at a project

29 June 2015 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but I really needed it today. I’m once again a bit behind on my Quickbooks data entry and have entered a recurring daily task in my task-manager app to spend 15 minutes working on the backlog. This post is strengthening my resolve to get caught up a little at a time.

Sometimes projects, big or small, feel too overwhelming to even start. Sometimes tasks are ongoing or recurring and we have a tendency to let them build up before starting to tackle them.

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How I use Evernote

8 June 2015 | Comments [4] »

A year ago, Springpad, the online digital organizing system I’d been using, went belly up. Fortunately, all the notes and notebooks I’d created in Springpad were transferred to Evernote, a similar, less graphical product. But I was sad.

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Worth repeating: Bingo anniversary

23 March 2015 | Comments [0] »

Back in 2011, I created a Bingo board to hep me get non-urgent tasks done on a regular basis. I blogged about it four or five times and today have selected one of the most useful of those posts to repeat to spread the word about the value of building fun into your task list.

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Your memory is a terrible thing to rely on

23 February 2015 | Comments [0] »

When I was in my twenties, I had a mind like a steel trap. Oh, the things I could keep in there and recall in a nanosecond! It made me a valuable employee; my ability to keep details straight and handle logistics well allowed me to work on some great projects. (For example, I organized—and attended—small conference in Africa with participants from all over the world. I put it together from my office in Washington, D.C., and this was before the internet.)

Now that I’m in my fifties, my memory is a shadow of its former self. But I’m lucky: in the intervening three decades, technology has emerged that helps me compensate. There’s no need to store things in my brain. I can write everything down and access it instantly using the app of my choice. That frees my brain for more important things.

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Lessons learned from writing a novel in a month

1 December 2014 | Comments [0] »

Yesterday, I completed the novel I was writing for National Novel Writing Month. I had 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel. I had no doubt I would finish the novel in time—this is the 3rd one I’ve written over the last ten years, so I knew I had it in me. (I do it in five-year increments.) But it still feels really good.

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Inbox Zero is achievable!

28 November 2014 | Comments [0] »

Yesterday I had a lovely Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday and I think it’s just wonderful that we take time off as a nation to celebrate gratitude. It got me thinking about how grateful I am for a habit I developed in January of 2011. For almost four years, I’ve been clearing out my email inbox, taking it to zero (or near zero) virtually every weekday.

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Revisiting personal kanban

24 October 2014 | Comments [2] »

Back in 2010, I discovered personal kanban , a system of visual task management that I used for awhile. In a nutshell, I divided a large whiteboard into three sections, Backlog, Doing, and Done. Then I’d use Post-It® notes to write down individual tasks and move them through the process.

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Worth repeating: Getting started

15 August 2014 | Comments [1] »

I love this trick from Mark Forster about tricking your reactive mind into doing things that you have trouble starting. I shared it first in 2008 (!) and thought it was worth repeating today.

Do you ever have items on your to-do list that just loom there? You know you need to do them, you think about doing them, but you just can’t get going on them?

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Springpad launches Notebook Store

17 March 2014 | Comments [0] »

I’ve been using the free website and app Springpad for a few months now and if you’ve been reading my blog you know that I’m quite a fan. It’s helped me eliminate random notes and scraps of paper and, for the first time, I’m using an electronic task list successfully.

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Traveling light, thanks to my iPad

22 January 2014 | Comments [0] »

I bought an iPad Air on December 26. If you’ve been reading this blog a long time, you might remember that I was an early adopter of the iPad. I bought the original version in 2010 and fell head over heels in love with it.

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Worth repeating: Small irritations

18 December 2013 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this blog post in 2011 and when I re-read it today, I really liked the message, so thought I’d share it again. The bag is finished (that’s a picture of it), but I’ve experienced the same thing (inside and outside of knitting) on more than one occasion since!

Sometimes the tiniest things keep us from doing things we want to do or think we should be doing. If we can identify those things and modify them, we can get more done.

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Getting past the barrier to getting started

16 December 2013 | Comments [2] »

I’m always amazed at how powerful it can be to start on a project I’ve been putting off. Even the tiniest bit of effort is like a dam breaking; the resistance vanishes and then I can get going on it.

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More wisdom from Mark Forster

16 October 2013 | Comments [0] »

Over the years, I’ve written 47(!) blog posts that mention Mark Forster, my favorite time-management guy. Mark really enjoys thinking about things like time management and productivity. I’ve been a fan ever since I read his book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management seven years ago.

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Worth repeating: Inbox Zero - how I do it

25 September 2013 | Comments [0] »

I’ll be celebrating three years of routinely clearing out my email inbox come January. I wrote this nuts-and-bolts post about how I do it in January 2012, after I’d been practicing this habit for a year. Now, more than a year and a half later, nothing’s changed. I use the same procedures and I’m still in love with this habit, which make my life unequivocally better.

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Chipping away at a project

16 September 2013 | Comments [0] »

Sometimes projects, big or small, feel too overwhelming to even start. Sometimes tasks are ongoing or recurring and we have a tendency to let them build up before starting to tackle them.

For either of those types of projects, one solution is to do a little. Just do something. Because a little effort on a regular basis will get the job done, eventually.

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A program for getting a handle on your email

5 August 2013 | Comments [0] »

Several weeks ago, I subscribed to Revive Your Inbox a free, 21-day program to help you get a handle on your email.

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Getting and staying on task

22 May 2013 | Comments [0] »

For the last two days, I have had such a difficult staying focused and productive at my desk! My day yesterday was completely unstructured, which is sometimes a recipe for disaster for me. Without an appointment looming, it can be really hard for me to get started.

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My iPhone-versary

18 March 2013 | Comments [0] »

Okay, this anniversary might not seem noteworthy. But it’s very special to me. I’m still truly, madly, deeply in love with my iPhone 4S.

It’s been one year and four days since I bought my iPhone. How do I know? I marked it on my calendar, that’s how important it was to me.

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Coffitivity brings the ambient noise of a coffee shop to your computer

7 March 2013 | Comments [0] »

If you’re like many people, you love to work at coffee shops. It gets you out of the house and the noise and hubbub allows you to focus. But what if you could get the noise without the hubbub—and without leaving the house? Now you can.

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Rededicating myself to the clean desk

5 February 2013 | Comments [3] »

On January 5, 2008, I cleared off my desk. And I kept it cleared off, on a daily basis, for about four years. I’ve blogged about the effort and the rewards of maintaining a clean desk. I’m a huge advocate.

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Turning temptations into rewards

7 September 2012 | Comments [2] »

It’s 4:46 pm and I’m just now writing today’s blog post. I meant to do it earlier in the day, but other things (like lunch with a friend and a haircut) took precedence. I also had promised to get answer reader questions for Rubbermaid by the end of the week and all of a sudden I was staring down that deadline.

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Bingo anniversary!

27 July 2012 | Comments [1] »

A year ago today, I first blogged about To-Do List Bingo. I created a bingo board after reading a blog post about social media bingo from my friend, Jacquelyn Kittredge of e-bakery.

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Two apps to help you get things done

25 July 2012 | Comments [0] »

I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, Unclutterer and saw my colleague Deb Lee’s recent post about two new-to-me productivity apps, Wonderful Day and iDone This

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Lifehacker's list of best iPhone apps

11 July 2012 | Comments [3] »

For three years in a row, the wonderful website Lifehacker has presented its Lifehacker Pack for iPhone list of iPhone apps that help you stay productive, connected, informed and entertained.

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Going with the flow - part 2

25 June 2012 | Comments [0] »

On May 2, life through me a little loop when I fell and sprained my ankle quite badly. That day I blogged about how such experiences make you go with the flow. I was out of commission for quite a few days and was just getting back to enjoying having natural-looking feet. (The foot swelled badly and turned purple.)

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Bingo update

5 June 2012 | Comments [0] »

Last year, I created a bingo board that turned out to be a powerful motivator for me to accomplish tasks that are important to do regularly, but aren’t urgent (so weren’t getting done regularly). For me, that’s stuff like social media posts, blogging, following up with clients, past and present, tending to my website, stuff like that. You might have an entirely different set of tasks you want to accomplish regularly.

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App of the week: Siri

18 May 2012 | Comments [4] »

I love Siri, the intelligent voice-recognition software on my iPhone 4S, but I understand that not everyone does. It gets frustrating when Siri doesn’t understand you and you to repeat yourself. Luckily for me, I don’t often have that problem. Siri understands me better than most people do.

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Worth repeating: my role model in persistence

16 May 2012 | Comments [0] »

I just came across this blog post, which I originally wrote in August of 2009, and it tickled me. I think it’s as true today as it was then, so I offer it up again today for those of you who haven’t read it.

I adore my orange tabby cat, Joe, of course. But he does a great job of annoying me on a regular basis. But when I pause to reflect on it, he’s also teaching me stuff.

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Going with the flow

2 May 2012 | Comments [0] »

Today was the one day this week I had to work at my desk. Desk days are really important for me as a small-business owner. I have to spend a certain amount of time at my desk, taking care of business, working on volunteer tasks and so forth.

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I'm in love with my iPhone 4S

25 April 2012 | Comments [5] »

Seriously, what took me so long to buy an iPhone? I bought a MacBook in 2007. An iPod Touch in 2008. (It was my third iPod.) An iPad in 2010. I loved them all dearly. Why did it take me so long to buy an iPhone?

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Bingo works for me!

1 February 2012 | Comments [0] »

I wouldn’t be writing this (or any) blog post today if it weren’t for To-Do List Bingo. At the end of the day today, I took a look at my bingo board and covered the tasks that I had already done.

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Today's time saver: using email to send a text message

13 January 2012 | Comments [3] »

I’m not a big text messaging person. I don’t have kids, so I haven’t been forced to text. I finally bought a smart phone last year (a cheapish Android, the LG Optimus T) and I find texting annoying at best. But certain people (like my husband) like to receive communications via text message.

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Inbox Zero - how I do it

6 January 2012 | Comments [3] »

It’s been over a year since I started my Inbox Zero habit. On January 2, 2011 I cleared out my email inbox. And, for the most part, it’s been empty at the end of each workday since.

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Overcoming inertia

27 June 2011 | Comments [1] »

On Friday, I blogged about how I was going to work hard on Saturday so that I could relax on Sunday. That was my plan, rather than relaxing first or trying and failing to work on Saturday and then never getting to relax.

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Planning to relax

24 June 2011 | Comments [0] »

This weekend I have no client appointments. That’s pretty unusual these days, since I tend to have one client appointment each weekend. (I try not to have appointments both Saturday and Sunday.)

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Inbox zero: My email sanity saver

20 May 2011 | Comments [0] »

On January 2, I cleared my inbox down to zero email messages. And since then i’ve done it every work day except two, when I was out of town without my computer. That’s nearly five months of inbox zero at least five days a week. (I usually do it on the weekends as well.)

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Give yourself a power hour

27 April 2011 | Comments [0] »

I had a client cancellation on Monday and found myself with about six hours of desk time that I hadn’t been expecting. Bliss.

Thanks to Mark Forster’s Superfocus task-management system (of which I’m an unabashed fan), I didn’t have to try to remember all the stuff I needed to do.

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Treat yourself to a creative work session

25 April 2011 | Comments [0] »

Maybe you have a germ of an idea you want to develop. Perhaps you have a problem you haven’t figured out how to find the solution for. Maybe you’ve planned out a project but haven’t found the time to actually work on it. Perhaps you just want to figure out which way is up.

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The amazing power of the chain

4 April 2011 | Comments [0] »

I’ve written here before about Don’t Break the Chain as a tool for helping create daily habits. The concept is that once you do something a few days in a row (which can be aided by marking a calendar), you psychologically don’t want to break the chain and you’re motivated to do the activity again.

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Mark Forster does it again

16 February 2011 | Comments [0] »

Every now and then I write here that my time management guru, Mark Forster has created a new task-management system and that it’s awesome. In fact, last April I wrote a love letter to DWM, which at the time was his latest system. And then just two months ago, I wrote about a new tweak to Autofocus, which has been my favorite of his systems.

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The promise of a snow day

21 January 2011 | Comments [0] »

Like much of the country this winter, St. Louis experienced a big snow storm. Over a 24-hour period, it snowed nine inches, which is a lot for us. St. Louis sort of grinds to a halt when snow is falling, and all my obligations for were canceled.

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Nine things I love about the iPad

21 September 2010 | Comments [8] »

My three-year-old cell phone came to the end of its life recently, so I bought an iPad. I realize that doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface, since the iPad isn’t a phone. But when it came time to contemplate a new phone, I realized I wanted the productivity of smart phone (that is, I wanted to be able to access the internet when I’m out and about without relying on a wireless connection), but I didn’t want to sign a contract with AT&T and I also craved a larger screen for my middle-aged eyes.

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Visual task management

18 August 2010 | Comments [3] »

As I blogged last month, I’ve been experimenting with personal kanban for task management. It’s based on a Japanese model of project management, adapted to personal tasks.

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Playing catch up

10 August 2010 | Comments [0] »

As I mentioned last week I went on vacation last month. I was gone for eight days and though I know better, I didn’t really allow a day or two to catch up before jumping right back into work obligations.

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Small irritations

19 July 2010 | Comments [0] »

Sometimes the tiniest things keep us from doing things we want to do or think we should be doing. If we can identify those things and modify them, we can get more done.

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Fear of the unknown

12 July 2010 | Comments [2] »

I’ve had to learn a new skill set. And I didn’t make it easy on myself.

I decided to sell downloadable products of my own creation on my website. By the end of the month, I hope, I’ll have organizing guides and an e-course for sale in a new Products section of this website. (And I’ll be offering a new coaching program.)

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Personal Kanban for task management

28 June 2010 | Comments [7] »

For several years I’ve been using the various task management techniques created by Mark Forster. The most recent has been DWM. But life and work got sort of crazy and I spent a few weeks doing nothing but putting out fires. I ignored my task list in my DWM planner. These task lists are calendar based, so I needed to figure out how best to get back in the saddle.

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That stuck feeling

10 May 2010 | Comments [3] »

I’ve had a difficult time coming up with insightful blog posts lately. I think about what to write and nothing comes to me.

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DWM: My latest task-management passion

7 April 2010 | Comments [0] »

If you’ve been reading my blog awhile (or if you’ve heard me speak), you know I’m crazy about Mark Forster and his time-management principles. One thing I love about him (besides that he thinks in unorthodox ways) is that he’s always dreaming up new ways to do things. It’s not that he’s just improving upon systems he’s invented in the past (though he does do that). Sometimes he just comes up with something completely different.

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I'm digging the desktop writeboard

3 March 2010 | Comments [0] »

At the Container Store the other day, I discovered the Cocoa Desktop Writeboard a rewritable surface that sits on your desk, allowing you to jot notes. I was intrigued. I balked at the $24.99 price tag, but went ahead and purchased it. (It helped that I used the 10 percent discount I’m offered as a NAPO member.) I’ve since discovered it’s available via Amazon for $17.99.for $17.99.

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Yet another new task-management system from Mark Forster

10 February 2010 | Comments [0] »

Mark Forster is my time management guru. As I’ve blogged about before, I loved his book, Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management. I used his DIT system for managing tasks for a year or so, and then he introduced Autofocus in January 2009. I was a little reluctant to switch at first, because DIT was working for me, but I decided to try it. I was over the moon. (I’ve blogged about Autofocus many times.)

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Salvaging the day

25 January 2010 | Comments [0] »

My standard poodle, Pip, is out of sorts today. She keeps coming up to me to ask for something. I feed her and she doesn’t eat. I let her out and she doesn’t want to come in (which is unusual, since it’s a very blustery day). It appears she wants something, but doesn’t know what. And she’s having a little trouble getting comfortable.

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I wrote a novel!

30 November 2009 | Comments [5] »

I finished my novel on Friday, November 27, three days early. I wrote a few hundred words past the 50,000-word goal. And my book had an actual plot that came to a graceful conclusion.

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I've hung up the car phone

17 November 2009 | Comments [4] »

I got into a minor traffic accident on Interstate 44 at the end of September. I had passed someone on the left just as another person passed that car on the right, and we merged into the center lane, in front of the slow-moving car, at the same time. There were no injuries and my car wasn’t even damaged (though the other driver’s car was, slightly).

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Getting back on task

29 October 2009 | Comments [0] »

Over the past ten months I’ve written here about my love of the task-management system Autofocus a lot. I do love it. I’ll let you click on the links and learn about it, but, in a nutshell, it involves one long, bound to-do list upon which you dump all your tasks, in no order, and work through it in a particular fashion. There’s no prioritizing, no rewriting the list.

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Baby Steps: The Best-Kept Secret to Accomplishing Anything

24 September 2009 | Comments [0] »

The true secret to getting anything done — particularly something that can feel overwhelming like decluttering — is to break it down into small bites and to keep working on it. When I received this article from performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane in my email yesterday, I knew I had to share it with you. It comes from her newsletter, Live Creative, and I’m reprinting it with permission.

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Getting things done with Autofocus

17 September 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ve written quite a bit about Autofocus, the task-management system invented by my favorite time-management guru, Mark Forster. The original Autofocus debuted on January 5, 2009. I was an eager beta tester and became an enthusiastic user.

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The down side to international travel

15 September 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ve been home from Australia for six days now. Apart from the very first night home, when I slept long and hard after 24 consecutive hours of travel, I haven’t been sleeping properly. I’m a good sleeper (my mom’s narcoleptic…it’s in my genes) but I’ve experienced what it must be like to be an insomniac. Most nights, I’ve just not been getting sleepy at bedtime.

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My role model in persistence

18 August 2009 | Comments [4] »

I adore my orange tabby cat, Joe, of course. But he does a great job of annoying me on a regular basis. But when I pause to reflect on it, he’s also teaching me stuff.

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Great advice on having it all

10 July 2009 | Comments [0] »

This fabulous blog post from Unclutterer really resonated with me. Its writer, Unclutterer Editor-in-Chief Erin Doland, is one of those folks who really seems to have it together. It shines through in her writing. And it feels very apparent when you spend time with her in person.

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Another 30-minute miracle

16 June 2009 | Comments [4] »

Okay, “miracle” is completely overstating it. But I was amazed at my office’s transformation the other day when I set my timer and got to work for 30 minutes

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Paper or plastic?

15 May 2009 | Comments [0] »

No, this isn’t a post about green organizing (though I am doing a free talk on that topic next month…you might consider coming if you live in St. Louis). Today I’m thinking about keeping track of things using a paper planner/notebook versus an electronic device.

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It should be easy

7 May 2009 | Comments [0] »

In working with my life coach, Shannon Wilkinson, I’ve discovered that my driving force is ease. I like things to be easy. That’s why I love living in St. Louis, where the living is easy (recent highway closures notwithstanding) and didn’t like living in New York City, where the hassle factor is high. Ease trumps excitement in my book.

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The vanishing day

10 April 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’m writing this at 6 p.m. Six flippin’ p.m! I usually blog in the morning and when I mess up my routine, things tend to fall through the cracks.

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Computer back ups: Just do it

17 February 2009 | Comments [0] »

Every now and then I read a message on a forum or somewhere from someone who’s lost all their data in a computer crash. That person is kindly reminding people to back up their computers, to avoid the heartbreak of everything vanishing into thin air.

I’m happy to say this isn’t one of those messages. I haven’t suffered a computer crash. In fact, I’ve had no computer problems to speak of since I bought my MacBook in July of 2007.

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The weekend work/rest balance

16 February 2009 | Comments [0] »

On Friday I wrote that I was overwhelmed with tasks and clutter and that I really wanted to put my feet up this weekend, but had so much to do that I feared that wouldn’t be prudent. So I decided to create short task lists for each weekend day and relax only after I’d completed all the tasks on them.

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Excited about my to-do list

9 February 2009 | Comments [0] »

Last week was one of those weeks I wasn’t at my desk much and when I was I had to be focused on urgent items. I’m not sure I actually looked at my to-do list all week, except to add to it.

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9 Simple Solutions for Procrastinators

4 February 2009 | Comments [2] »

This is a guest post of sorts, from the fabulous Christine Kane, who helps people achieve their dreams. I’m reprinting it, with permission, from her newsletter. It arrived in my mailbox today and I thought it was so great I’d share it immediately. Incidentally, I wish I’d thought of the acronym CRAP for Clutter Removal Action Process!

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Little and often

15 January 2009 | Comments [0] »

We organizers like to talk about breaking big projects down into small steps in order to make them feel less overwhelming. That’s solid advice.

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10 January 2009 | Comments [2] »

As I mentioned last month, time-management guru Mark Forster has developed a brand-new task management system. It’s called Autofocus.

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Why I love my iPod Touch

10 December 2008 | Comments [3] »

I bought an iPod Touch (second generation) in October, as I’ve mentioned before. I thought today I’d share nine ways it’s enhanced my life in less than two months:

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Taking a day for myself

3 November 2008 | Comments [0] »

Yesterday I had what we call around our a home a Lazy Day. We had that extra hour, due to the end of Daylight Saving Time and, as I said I would on Friday, I used that time to knit and watch TV. It sure didn’t stop at an hour, though. I knit so much yesterday that my shoulders started hurting by the evening (so I stopped)

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Declare a backlog

27 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

One of the many strategies offered by Mark Forster in his time-management book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (link at right) is the concept of declaring a backlog. (I wrote about some of his other strategies last June in the blog posts, Getting started and Keeping going.)

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The R word

21 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I write here (or in my newsletter) about the importance of routines. It’s just that I’m reminded very frequently about how much of an impact they can have on order, productivity and overall peace of mind.

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My latest toy

20 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

I know that new technology is supposed to enhance productivity. That’s usually why I buy it. But if you’ve ever purchased a new computer, you know that setting up and getting used to the new technology can really eat up time.

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Fluent Self: Blog of the Week

1 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

This week’s blog of the week can help you get unstuck. I first learned about habits guru Havi Brooks from my friend and life coach, Shannon Wilkinson, who is taking the Self Promotion for Wimps course taught by Havi and Naomi Dunford.

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The value of the to-do list

30 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

Yesterday I blogged about how I couldn’t get anything done. The basic culprit was fatigue from attending back-to-back conferences and sleep deprivation from a needy poodle. But after a good night’s sleep and a little reflection, I identified another reason for yesterday’s lack of focus: I didn’t have a to-do list.

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All talked out

29 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

My back-to-back conference hopping in the past 10 days has plum worn me out.

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Check out these productivity tips

19 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

This morning I read this interview with Gina Trapani, the lead editor of Lifehacker on Zen Habits. It’s an interesting interview. In addition to the many posts a day Trapani writes for Lifehacker, she’s the author of a paper version. Her book, which is now in a second edition called Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better is a compendium from the best hacks from I haven’t read it yet, but I do believe I’ll be purchasing it.

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Regaining control

15 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

I wrote on Friday about how my house had become cluttered and messy over the past couple of weeks of whirlwind activity and how I had feet of lead when I thought about doing anything about it. I ended that post with “I hope to report on Monday that my life and business are back in order and that I’m feeling clutter-free and empowered!”

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Jott: Free no more

22 August 2008 | Comments [4] »

One of my favorite free services, Jott, is now out of beta and is no longer available as is free of charge. Jott allows you to dictate messages via your cell phone that are then emailed to you. I first blogged about it last January and posted a somewhat amusing cautionary note in March.

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What's stopping you?

7 August 2008 | Comments [0] »

Most of my clients have a to-do list for organizing tasks. (Some clients can’t figure out where to start, but we take care of that in the first session.) At the end of a hands-on organizing session, we talk about what they plan to do between sessions to further their goals.

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Lace knitting: Not unlike organizing

31 July 2008 | Comments [2] »

Last night, as I worked on the Estonian Garden Wrap, a seemingly complicated and sort of overwhelming (for this novice lace knitter) knitting pattern, I realized that broken down to its simplest elements, it’s really pretty easy. And that’s not unlike any overwhelming project, like getting organized. Let me explain.

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Just a few minutes

21 July 2008 | Comments [1] »

Some days I look around my home or office and say to myself, “I really need to xxxxx” and it’s a general task like, “get organized” or “reorganize my closet.” Sometimes it’s just “create some order around here” when things have gotten out of hand.

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Creating a vision

30 June 2008 | Comments [2] »

Whenever I start working with a client, we talk about the vision they have for the space. I’m not talking about specifics like furniture placement. I want to know what the client is hoping to experience in the room, the feeling that she wants to get from the space. I ask the client to close her eyes and really feel it.

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You know it's time to focus on organizing...

16 June 2008 | Comments [1] »

...when you can’t find stuff. The universe is putting me squarely in the shoes of my clients today. I’ve spend much of the day trying to find things. And so far, I’m having no luck!

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Here's quite a list of blogs

13 June 2008 | Comments [0] »

If you’re a blogophile and love reading about productivity and organizing, have I got a list for you. It’s The Top 100 Productivity and Lifehack Blogs from College which offers online college degrees.

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Lifehacker: Blog of the Week

11 June 2008 | Comments [0] »

This week I have to extoll the virtues of Lifehacker. It’s a fabulous combination of high- and low-tech tips on enhancing productivity and customizing things to make them a little more to your liking.

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Keeping going

10 June 2008 | Comments [1] »

Yesterday I blogged about overcoming the reluctance to get started on a task, citing Mark Forster’s tip on fooling your reactive mind. Today, I’d like to share some of Forster’s advice about keeping going on tasks once you’ve started.

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Getting started

9 June 2008 | Comments [10] »

Do you ever have items on your to-do list that just loom there? You know you need to do them, you think about doing them, but you just can’t get going on it?

Sometimes, you just need to get started and once you overcome the resistance and do the task, it turns out that it’s not so bad. This happens to me all the time. I build up tasks in my mind, thinking they’re going to take forever, then they take no time at all.

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A couple more free services for your cell phone

6 June 2008 | Comments [3] »

I love David Pogue, the technology columnist for the New York Times. Sometimes what he writes is over my head, but often I get great nuggets of information. I share his love of the MacBook, so I feel warm and fuzzy toward him.

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Just fifteen minutes

3 June 2008 | Comments [0] »

I’m constantly amazed at what can be accomplished in just 15 minutes. I often advise my clients (and I do this myself) to set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one task: decluttering, filing, sorting, etc. As long as they keep going until that timer dings, they’ll get a good amount done. It’s astounding what can get done in such a small amount of time. (As an aside, that’s one of the ways I use my beloved Time Timer.)

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How are those New Year's resolutions coming?

20 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

Back at the beginning of 2008, I blogged about my constant craving for order as reflected in my January 1 journal entries year after year

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Don't forget -- postage rates go up today

12 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

It’s come: The day for which I’ve been stockpiling Forever stamps. First-class postage goes up to 42 cents today. The rate for an additional ounce stays the same at 17 cents, so a two-ounce letter will cost 59 cents to mail. In addition, the rate for a postcard goes up by a penny, to 27 cent

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The Time Timer

8 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

Are you familiar with the Time Timer? It’s a tool, often recommended for people with ADD, that gives a visual representation of the passage of time.

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How do you eat an elephant?

7 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

I’m going through one of those periods again where I completely empathize with my clients. I had a very busy March and April (I was out of town half the month of April) and now that I have a little time to breathe, I look around my house and think, “I need a professional organizer!” There are no shortage of wonderful organizers here in St. Louis I could hire for help, but I’m going to try to economize and do the work myself.

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Back to reality

14 April 2008 | Comments [0] »

After a glorious time at the NAPO conference in Reno (best part: interacting with fabulous organizers, worst part: staying in a hotel and casino full of smoke!), I’m home. I arrived home about midnight on Saturday night.

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Meet Joe, the biggest challenge to my morning productivity

3 April 2008 | Comments [1] »

Each morning when I’m writing my blog post one of the biggest impediments to my actually accomplishing that task is Joe, my orange tabby cat.

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Oldies but goodies

31 March 2008 | Comments [1] »

I like sharing new websites and shortcuts for making life a little easier. But there are some older sites that you may not know about that I’d like to share. These are sites I use regularly to make my life easier and more enjoyable. I hope you will too.

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Beware Jott playing cupid!

27 March 2008 | Comments [6] »

As I’ve written here before, I’m a big fan of It’s a service that allows you to send emails from your telephone while you’re on the go. You register on the Jott site, give them your cell-phone number, input a list of people you’d want to email via Jott (including yourself). Then you program Jott’s phone number into your cell-phone autodial.

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A habit is born

26 March 2008 | Comments [2] »

As I’ve endlessly documented in this blog, I vowed this year to form the habit of clearing my desk at the end of each work day. The idea was that I would start work each morning with a clear desk, a clear mind, and major productivity. It’s something that I’ve strived for for decades and never been able to achieve.

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Have you tried Hulu yet?

25 March 2008 | Comments [3] »

The world of online entertainment took a giant step forward, in my opinion, when launched a couple of weeks ago.

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My must-read blogs

20 March 2008 | Comments [1] »

In 2008, as part of my new dedication to getting a handle on my time, I’ve been trying to read more blogs. That may sound counterintuitive…blog reading can be a huge time suck.

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Priority management

19 March 2008 | Comments [0] »

Time management isn’t about managing time. It’s about managing priorities. We all have the same amount of time in a day to deal with. How we use it is an indication of our priorities.

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Do It Tomorrow really works

22 February 2008 | Comments [3] »

As I’ve written here before, I decided on January 1 that 2008 would be the year that I take control of my time-management issues. That day, I selected probably a half dozen time management books from my shelf, each one espousing a different philosophy. I thought I’d make a commitment to a single system and really try to adhere to it for a month or so.

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A couple of time (and money) savers

17 January 2008 | Comments [1] »

This year I’m a quest to save time and be more productive. It’s going well. Thanks to the techniques found in Mark Forster book, Do It Tomorrow (link in the Links section at right) and Don’t Break the Chain I’m more productive than I’ve been in a long time.

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The amazing power of a clean desktop

13 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

The habit I’ve been trying to instill with the Don’t Break the Chain method that I wrote about in a recent post is clearing my desktop at the end of the workday.

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Clutter can be such a barrier

13 September 2007 | Comments [0] »

It’s amazing to me what a barrier to productivity, to progress, to peace of mind clutter can be. I see it in my clients all the time. And I know from personal experience.

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