productivity roundup

There have been some insightful articles on the Web about productivity recently:

How taking a break improves your productivity

Steve Jobs’ best productivity tricks

Michael Dean wants you to stop giving productivity tips

What you eat impacts your productivity

What’s your favorite?

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product review – plastic food containers

I recently wrote about storing plastic food containers and my preference for those that use the same lid for different bases.

If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, these nesting containers solve the problem of losing lids – they snap together so they aren’t floating around in a drawer or cupboard. You’ll know which lid is missing, too, because the base has a dot of the lid color on it.

The smallest one is 8 ounces and they graduate all the way to 152 ounces, so they can handle multiple uses in the kitchen. They’re BPA free and can go in the dishwasher and microwave. If you like these, check Joseph Joseph’s Web site for more innovative designs for kitchen ware.

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emergency preparedness

It’s already September, which means it’s National Preparedness Month.

This year the focus is on families, to reinforce the importance of including children in preparedness conversations. You can talk to kids about emergencies without scaring them. They’ll feel better knowing that plans are in place, whether they’re at home or at school.

Go to for a downloadable family emergency plan, emergency kit checklists and guidelines on how to make preparedness a year-round family activity.

Have a plan in place before an emergency strikes: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.
If you haven’t created a kit yet, start out with some nonperishable food, water and a flashlight. Add to it every month, using this list and change out the food twice a year. Keep a kit at home, at work and in your car. Don’t forget about pets, too.

I keep a plastic tub filled with supplies in the basement. Where do you keep your emergency kit?

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book review – The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go

This isn’t a book review, so much as a shameless plug for my own book. I haven’t finished reading this month’s book yet – real life interfered with plans – so I’m referring to The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go instead.

I’ve noticed that people are wowed by “Before and After” photos of cluttered spaces and often look at them as evidence of great work. What does the picture show, though, except that the clutter is gone? Has it been moved out of the frame or into a different space in the house?

I worked with a client yesterday on a severely congested garage and although we didn’t get rid of anything except some empty boxes, we made a huge difference in the space flow. How? By moving things into places that made sense.

It’s nowhere near ready for a magazine photo shoot. There’s still no room to park a car (they’re storing an apartment’s worth of things for a child for a short time), but the space is much more manageable and they can access what they need. That’s a great before-and-after, in my opinion – same stuff, better outcome.

Once we were able to reach the things that needed decisions made about them, the client could discard things that no one wants and remove things that didn’t belong in the garage.

Don’t look for before and after photos in The Clutter Book, because you won’t find any. The best photos are of the hard work that you do to get your spaces in order.

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productivity roundup

Productivity continues to be a popular topic on the Internet. Here are a few articles about productivity that I found interesting:

Creativity vs. Productivity from Acton Institute

10 Tools & Tips For Escalating Your Productivity from Jay White

Staying productive in the air from OAK

Open offices create sound distractions. What Does Productivity Sound Like? from Wired

Have you practiced any techniques to improve your productivity this week?

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product review – vtech telephone

When you work from home, you need to have a dedicated space to work. You also need to be able to answer the phone wherever you are.

I was missing calls because I couldn’t run down to my office in time to catch the phone.
Until I discovered the connect-to-cell phone from vtech. I bought mine on sale at Best Buy, but you can find them at Staples and amazon, too.

Now I can answer the business (cell) phone from the same handset as the home phone. I get to wear a swell headset that makes me feel like Madonna, too. I am much more productive now because I can talk and type at the same time. I can even talk on the phone in my backyard (not that I would be out there during business hours).

You can set up two cell phones and a home phone and you can buy extra handsets to expand to additional rooms. Just be sure to train your family not to answer the business line, if you have one.

The one place I don’t answer the phone is in the bathroom. Do you?

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Karen Cheng, a You Tube sensation and creator of Give It 100,has taught herself to dance, play instruments and juggle, among other skills.

She knows that to develop new skills, you have to make a habit of practicing.

She also knows that you have to be able to give up when you’ve tried and it’s just not working. Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.

“…it’s okay to quit. That will free you up to find something you really love… When you find something you’re truly passionate about, it will prioritize itself.”

What do you have a passion for? Set aside some time every day to work at it and let us know how it’s going.

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