productivity and concentration

I think there’s some misunderstanding about productivity. I’ve read several articles lately disparaging the “cult” of productivity and how there’s more to life than work.

That’s the point.

Being productive allows you to spend your time doing the things you enjoy. It’s not about spending more time at work.

I’ve seen a few articles suggesting that you build in break time to give your brain a rest between tasks. Here are two articles about increasing productivity without working nonstop:

In the NY Times, Phyllis Korkki says taking breaks  from mental tasks improves both productivity and creativity, while Susan Adams at Forbes advocates goofing off to improve productivity.

Do you take regular breaks at work or do you try to cram as much work as you can into the day?

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book review – discardia: more life, less stuff

Discardia is a holiday that Dinah Sanders created to celebrate letting go of clutter. It appears a few times a year, allowing you to continue the celebration regularly.

Sanders offers three guiding principles to conquering your clutter: Decide and Do; Quality over Quantity; and Perpetual Upgrade.

While she is heavily ironic and very entertaining, there are some good ideas in the book.

Sanders also blogs at metagrrrl and this is one of my favorite quotes from a post of hers:

One of my Discardian goals is to have nothing which I have not consciously looked at in the past two years and said “Yes. I still want this.” Every possession’s “service contract” is up for renewal or I’m canceling it. – Dinah Sanders

Have you checked the “service contract” on all the stuff you’re keeping? Do you have some things that haven’t earned renewal?

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Productivity Roundup

Here are a few recent articles that capture different aspects of working productively:

7 Productivity Tips From Jensen Karp

Improved productivity is one of the benefits of getting out of your home office every day

Professional New Year’s resolutions can be just as challenging as personal ones

Could a 4-day workweek increase your productivity?

Did one of them give you some ideas you can use?

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Product review – Cool Tools for Managing Paper

January is a great time to work on getting your papers in order. If you struggle with paper management, start the new year with a system. If you already have good systems in place, work on getting your tax-related paperwork set up so you can file taxes on time.

Hate to file? Paperwork management doesn’t require a file cabinet. Paper pilers speak highly of the Pendaflex PileSmart®. The plastic dividers allow you to separate stacks of paper without having to actually put them in a file folder. There are 10 sections for you to keep 10 projects organized.

One of my very favorite office tools is the Smead Desk File/Sorter. It acts as a “tickler” file, providing a place to set papers for specific dates. If you want to work on a project on the 21st, you put it in the slot for the 21st. Have a conference in May? Put all of your travel details in the May slot. You can keep the sorter in a file drawer or, if you have space, on your desk.

What systems do you use to keep track of paper?

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Make The Most Of Your Home Office

The beginning of the year can make you feel like making a new start. January is a good time to start going through your paperwork in preparation for income taxes, too. Whether or not you work from home, you need a place to keep paperwork and pay bills; you’ll benefit from having a space and a system for managing it all.

Your office should be a space where you feel comfortable working. If you find that you don’t like to work in the space you chose, see if there’s another place where you’ll be productive. Good lighting and a place to sit or stand are the most important features of your workspace.

If you work from home, you need a dedicated space to carry out business tasks. If you don’t have a separate room, your “office” might be a kitchen nook or bedroom corner. Wherever you work, let others know that your spot needs to be respected – no dumping stuff in your workspace. Don’t allow clothes, dishes or other unnecessary stuff to live there.

You need to access tools and materials quickly and easily. If you have a spot that’s reserved for work, choose a drawer or cabinet for storage. Otherwise, filling a bin with envelopes, stamps, pens, sticky notes, etc., will make it easier for you to find what you need and finish tasks no matter where you work.

Don’t forget: If you run a business from home, keep your business and personal paperwork separate for tax purposes. You don’t need to keep them in different rooms; separate filing systems are sufficient.

Where do you work in your home?

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taking a break

It’s been a tough few months around here and I haven’t paid enough attention to some of my 2015 goals. Something has to take a back seat, so I’m taking a blogging break.

I’ll be back in a few weeks and I hope to report that I’ve been productive when I return. Until then, keep working on your own projects. Every little bit you accomplish is a step in the right direction!

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happy anniversary!

I started blogging about The Clutter Book five years ago. Since then, I have learned so much from readers of the blog and the book, as well as people who have attended my book talks and workshops.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Organized by Marcie, the 5th anniversary of the blog and the upcoming 5th anniversary of The Clutter Book, we will be releasing (finally!) an ebook and companion workbook.

Details will be announced here, so stay tuned.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of the blog and the book. Here’s to many more years of organizing and productivity!

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