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Getting Organized in the Era of Endless

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Posts Tagged ‘time management’

What To Do When You are Overwhelmed and Overloaded: A Get It Done Guide

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 @ 05:06 AM
posted by admin

What To Do When You Are Overwhelmed & Overloaded: A Get It Done Guide | Fileheads.net

These tips originally appeared on ADDitude and were written by Judith Kolberg

You can’t hide from your to-do list forever. Use these 11 strategies for de-cluttering, managing paper, overcoming distractions, and getting things done.

Overcome the Overload

Every day we’re confronted with information, distractions, work and lots of other stuff. Is it a surprise anyone gets anything done, never mind those with attention deficit? People with ADHD are easily overwhelmed by the fast pace and interruptions, so they need some stay-focused strategies to keep them on track. Consider this your “how to get things done” guide.

Capture All That Information

Instead of going crazy trying to write down all those bits of information that come your way, try these solutions:

  • Call important information into your voicemail and leave yourself messages.
  • Convert verbal information into text, using an app like Dragon Dictation.
  • Store your text messages in one place using an app called Treasuremytext.

Finish Something, Anything, Early in the Day

Completing a chore – a small task or something larger that you worked on yesterday – gives you a sense of closure, making the rest of the day meaningful. No matter how the day goes, you can say you got something done, which gives you a sense of satisfaction that will encourage you to keep going the next day.

Get A Grip

If a phone call or a request from your spouse distracts you from a task you’re working on, hold onto a physical artifact to remind you what you were doing. An unopened envelope, for instance, will remind you that you were opening mail before the interruption, and will focus you attention more quickly.

Put It On The Calendar

It’s not enough to write down a task on your to-do list. You have to enter it into your calendar. Assigning a task to a specific day increases your chances of getting it done. With a to-do list only, you have a 40%-50% chance of doing the task. Scheduling the task increases your chances of completing it by 70% or so.

Just Do It

Don’t get overwhelmed about where or when to start a decluttering task. It doesn’t matter where you start; begin at any spot in the room. After you start, continue in some kind of logical order. If you start on the left side of the room, keep going to the left. If you start on the top shelf of a cabinet, work your way down.  There is no ideal way to tack clutter.

Manage the Mail

  • To cut off junk mail at its source, log onto catalogchoice.org and have them alert marketers to stop sending you stuff.
  • Have only one place for the day’s mail to land, maybe the dining room table. Yes, it piles up quickly, but at least you know where it will be when you decide to tackle it.
  • Don’t open junk mail. It can contain four to seven pieces of paper. Junk mail goes, unopened, right into the recycling bin.

Change the Scene

People with ADHD can optimize their focus and attention by doing different tasks in different kind of places. If you have to do your taxes, rent a room in a local hotel for a day or two. You can spread out all the papers and receipts, with fewer distractions that at home. Some people with attention deficit can’t get anything done – studying, writing, reading – in the quiet of a library. Finding a setting like a Starbucks (LINK) with some background noise, will help them be more productive.

Enlist a Support Team

Stop trying to be an ordinary person who keeps it all together in the same way that people without ADHD do. Support might mean another set of hands, someone to keep your morale up or someone to function as a body double. A body double is somebody who is physically present as you do a task but doesn’t to the task with you. Your body double anchors you to the chore at hand.

Switch Up Your Routine Every Quarter

People with ADHD get bored with their routines more quickly than those without the condition. The higher boredom factor keeps them from tackling things they once completed with ease. Routines – whether it’s opening mail, doing dishes or tackling a project at work – can be kept fresh by changing them up every three months. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul, just a tweak.

Play It Loose With Deadlines

Schedule extra time to finish a task. Rather than trying to precisely estimate how lone a task will take, just say, “Screw it. I’m going to need 30 percent more time for everything I plan, no matter what.” Just pick a number: 20% more, 50% more and allot that. The worst that can happen is that you finish it early.

Keep Calm and Carry On

As you start your day, do the first three things that worry you the most to get them off your plate. The internal distraction of worry plays more on people with ADHD than on other people and prevents them from getting things done.  If you do any small part of what is worrying you, chance are you’ll break the anxiety and move forward.


Now available – the revised 2nd edition  ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau which offers the best understanding and solutions for adults with ADD who want to get and stay organized. Readers will enjoy all new content on organizing digital information, managing distractions, organizing finances, and coping with the “black hole” of the Internet. We also offer three levels of strategies and support: self-help, non-professional assistance from family and friends, and professional support; allowing the reader to determine the appropriate level of support. Pick up your copy today.

What To Do When You Are Overwhelmed & Overloaded: A Get It Done Guide | Fileheads.net

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Triage: The New Time Management Skill©

Monday, September 28, 2015 @ 08:09 AM
posted by admin

Triage: The New Time Management Skill © by Judith Kolberg

We live in an era of endless connections, interruptions, distractions and time demands. New tasks come at us at an alarming rate from multiple sources: emails, texts, tweets, calls, friends, fans, family, pings, rings, and vibrations via all sorts of devices. Over the years we’ve developed many ways to cope, capture and conquer the onslaught including urgent and important matrixes , decision-making trees, and prioritization strategies

I would like to propose that the era of endless requires a whole different take on managing our time and tasks, something I call “triaging.”

Triage is a disaster management term. I am a Community Emergency Response Team graduate, which is a civilian disaster preparedness training program. We learn that if adequate resources are available (first responders, medical equipment, trained personnel, etc.), you try to save everyone. But if resources are scarce or limited, ‘triage’ is the process used to quickly sort injured people into groups based on their likely benefit from immediate care. In a hospital emergency room, the people who scream the loudest do not get care first, nor is it allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. A triage nurse quickly assesses who needs urgent care and who can wait because there are never enough resources to treat everyone at the same time.

In the Era of Endless, we need to act like the triage nurse. To some of us triage comes naturally. All day long we’re able to volley the bombardment of incoming messages vying for our attention and mentally shuffle our to-do deck, deciding on the run “do this now,” “this can wait,” or “ok, I was going to do that, but this new thing is more important so now that comes next and I’ll move that other thing lower on the list.” Triaging is based on emotions and intuition. First-responders to a disaster scene will tell you they don’t do a lot of analysis. They simply know how to allocate their resources for maximum effect for the greatest number of people. If you don’t have the triage instincts of a first responder, here are some triaging tips:

Go with your gut

David Allen, the productivity expert, observes, “Prioritize [or in this case, triage – JK] according to energy, mood, intuition, and emotion. Learn to listen to and trust your heart. Or your intuition, or your gut or the seat of your pants or whatever anatomy is the source of that mysteriously wonderful ‘still, small voice’ that somehow knows you better than you do, and knows what is better for you than you do. LISTEN to it…take the risk to move on your best guess, pay attention to the results and course-correct as you keep moving along.”

Verbalize your to-do list

Say what you are thinking out loud. This can be very clarifying. If a task sounds important as you say it aloud, there’s a good chance you’ve made the right call.

Alleviate worry and guilt

“I make a careful To-Do list. I prioritize it every day. I assign A, B, and C to each task and integrate new tasks as soon as I learn of them. Then, when I wake up in the morning, I totally ignore my list and do the two tasks that immediately alleviate worrying whether they’re on my list or not,” a client tells me. Dispelling worry is a great use of your limited time. It clears the head and frees you from emotional drains that will thwart all your other work. Like assuaging worry, doing tasks that free you from guilt will also allow you to focus on other work.

Stop the bleeding and open up the airways

Disaster victims in need of complex medical attention beyond available resources are tagged or located to a special area until more medical help arrives. But first their bleeding is stopped and their airways opened. In organizing terms, stopping the bleeding and opening up the airways means doing the most effective thing possible in the time available to you. You won’t be able to complete a complex project all at once, but there’s always something you can do to be effective. That might mean initiating a meeting, developing an action plan, holding a brainstorming session, or doing something as simple as sending a well-crafted email or making a concise phone call.

Triaging incoming messages, time demands and information is not a perfect analogy to the kind of triaging done in disaster management, but I think it begins to move us to another model of time management better suited for the times we live in.

 

Getting Organized in the Era of Endless by Judith KolbergIf you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Future Sense and the Rise of Time Management: Part I

Time Management and War: Part II

Post-Clock Time Management©: Part III

 

Calendar of Upcoming Organizing Events

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH.

Professional Organizers of Canada, Virtual Chapter, January, 2016

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA

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Post-Clock Time Management© – Part III

Thursday, July 30, 2015 @ 06:07 AM
posted by admin
Post-Time Clock Management©: Part III

Photo Credit: graphic stock.com

Unless the Earth changes its path around the Sun, it looks like 24 hours is going to be a pretty hardcore determinant of the partitions of time into days, hours and minutes, unless, of course, you are a zebrafish larva. Scientists say it has a gene that can be manipulated to change the larva’s circadian rhythms essentially extending the larva’s day. For the rest of us the breakthrough in time management is not that time can suddenly be recalibrated, but that the dictatorship of the clock holds less sway.

JM, a Princeton-based ADD coach, works to the beat of a non-clock drum. Without looking at the clock or using a to-do list, JM gets things done all day long and stays on time. “I know what kind of activities I do best throughout the day. From 6:30-8:30 a.m. without fail, I exercise, walk or swim. I also use that time to rehearse my day in my head.   From 8:30- 10:30 I’m at the computer “eating the frog first.” JM also uses her magnificent working memory, kinesthetic memory and visual memory, as well as techniques like memory castles. “When I do errands on my commute, I map out in my mind the actual geography of my errands and rehearse them mentally so I do them in the most efficient way possible. In fact, I visualize my whole day in my head, kind of like a movie. I can actually picture myself moving through my day.” JM sees clients from 1-5 pm, then does wrap up from 5-6 pm. Afterwards it’s dinner, chores, and clean-up before she heads to bed. “I don’t need a schedule because I already know what I’m doing during certain times of the day; I call it ‘automaticity’.”

Susan Lannis has another name for it: time awareness. Lannis, who calls herself ‘the Time Liberator’, asserts that, “Time is becoming liberated from the clock because technology has released us from doing things face-to-face, in the same space at the same time as others.” She believes we are increasingly free to work in rhythm with time’s natural pulse. “Awareness of our natural pulse will replace time management,” Lannis claims. The pulse of time has four beats (my terminology, not Lannis’). In the first beat, we expend energy and create. We “hold up” a bit on the second beat, which Lannis characterizes as ‘evaluative.’ The third beat is a ‘gathering-in’ or a resting called a “contraction” followed by a fourth beat, another hold, as we prepare for the next pulse of creativity. Lannis’ book Time Awareness is due for publication at the end of 2015.

Recognizing that the nature of work is different in our digital society than in previous clock-oriented eras, some corporations are developing post-clock models, such as allowing employees to get paid for results rather than by the hour. If you accomplish your results in less than a workweek, you’re done working for the week; the Earth and Sun be damned! Thomas Merton said “… we should stop working, not for the purpose of recovering one’s lost strength and becoming fit for the forthcoming labor….but for a Sabbath, a day for the sake of life.” In the post-clock society, when work is untethered from the clock, walls, bosses, geography and proximity, it is easy to reinvest our productivity gains into more work. We should instead strive to invest it into rest and leisure for “the sake of life.” What could be more important?

Getting Organized in the Era of Endless by Judith Kolberg

If you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Future Sense and the Rise of Time Management: Part I

Time Management and War: Part II

 

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Time Management and War: Part II

Thursday, July 9, 2015 @ 06:07 AM
posted by admin

Time Management and War: Part II from Judith Kolberg | fileheads.net

I misspoke. This is a blog in three parts, not the two parts I originally thought. Part I is available here. This is Part II. Part III is called ‘Post-Clock Time Management’ but in order to have it make sense, I need to finish up the history of time management in Part II below. So bear with me as I lay the groundwork for the exciting Part III ‘Post-Clock Time Management.’  

In the 1920s the country prospered. The enormous post-WWI working age population clocked in at factories, meat packing plants and offices, but underlying economic dynamics would soon result in the Great Depression. Fully 25% of the population would be off the clock, jobless, aimless, and without the structure of normal modern life. So deeply felt were the economizing effects of the Depression that the children of the children of the Depression, the Baby Boomers, live by a waste-not-want-not ethic even in a time of prosperity. The massive spending necessary to build the industrial-military complex for WWII finally got people back on the clock. Even kids were on the clock as public schooling exploded with its tight classroom schedule. There’s nothing like the regimentation of a couple of wars to teach an entire society the time-saving power of routines. People worked 9 – 5, brushed their teeth twice daily, a habit brought back by returning soldiers, ate fish on Fridays and did the laundry on Wednesdays.

Time and Fast and Discretionary Time

The most significant development in the management of time in the 1950s was the integration of fast into daily life. The expectation of how quickly it should take to complete mundane household tasks changed. Electric blenders took the place of mixing bowls, vacuum cleaners replaced brooms and the washer and dryer moved into the house. TV taught us about the time management skill of dealing with distraction as many a seasoned cook burned the roast more than once distracted by the Ed Sullivan Show. Children would neglect homework watching television until the invention of TV dinners.

The word “instant” entered the popular lexicon when John Glenn orbited the Earth drinking an instant breakfast drink called Tang. Rockets let the fast genie out of the bottle forever. In the 1960s, automobiles, among the most efficient time-saving device ever created, were owned by the masses and specifically designed to go faster on America’s newly built highways with their off-ramps to fast-food. Multitasking, another time management skill, was taught to us by the automobile as we drove, listened to the radio, screamed at a backseat full of kids, rolled down the window at McDonalds and ate all at the same time. But it was still safer than the Bluetooth, texting, and driving of the new century that would nearly kill us.

For the first time in decades, people had discretionary time. Families vacationed. Employees enjoyed personal days off. Women entered the labor force in unprecedented numbers, creating more wealth and presenting a persistent time management dilemma characterized as balancing work and home. In 1969, we landed on the moon and that was better than drugs, sex and rock and roll. The civil rights movement and the anti-war movement inspired the women’s rights movement and the gay movement. People spent their time not just on making money but on raising their baby-booming families, raising their consciousness and raising the bar on empowerment of all stripes.

Knowledge Work and Time Management

During the 1970s the knowledge worker (KW) emerged. A knowledge worker is someone who creates value by applying judgment to his or her work, not just someone who labors to finish a prescribed task by the hour. The judgment needed was often how to use one’s time to optimize productivity. Sitting at a computer the KW of the 1970s had numerous responsibilities and tools to manage, including multiple telephones that had to be answered because there was no voicemail. Still, it was a relatively disconnected world, and the array of competing tasks was much smaller than it is today. One could still manage their time and actually get something done from beginning to end.

Electronic mail made its appearance, drastically cutting down the interruption of people dropping by the office unannounced. While it decreased long-winded phone calls, email also upped the ante on response time. A prospective client who requested a proposal by mail could expect it in a week. A response to an email request for a proposal shortened it to three days, then two. A phone message could still be courteously responded to in a day. Email required an answer within hours, thus response time was totally revolutionized.

Time Management, Values and Mobility

With all the lip service paid to knowledge work, judged by value and productivity rather than clock-time devotion, people began to work ridiculously long hours. In the 1980s, US corporations faced intense foreign competition and a slowing domestic market. Millions of middle managers were laid off and big business turned to consultants like the Franklin Institute to get more productivity out of a smaller workforce. The Franklin Institute (now called Franklin Covey) is based on Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy that happiness and inner peace do not come from owning things, but from identifying what is important in one’s life. Covey embodied this principle in his 1989 publication, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Unlike the time management books that preceded it with their emphasis on clock-driven efficiencies of the industrial age, Covey’s self-help books connected the management of time with the personal clarification of one’s life purposes, missions, goals and values. Provided with a two pound, three-ring binder, employees dutifully filled out the Day Planner’s planning aids, monthly and annual calendars, personal time management assessments, goal clarifications and personal mission statements to better align their time with their goals even while the work week swelled to over 40 hours a week.

Users of the time management systems were on the move, in planes, on trains, and traveling between offices. Franklin responded with the Pocket Planner that was eventually replaced by a personal digital assistant, most popularly the Blackberry. Devices proliferated and “work anywhere, anytime” was becoming a reality. Desktop computers at work and home were as standard as TVs. Email jumped the corporate fence to the family. Cell phones the size of cats appeared on the scene though without an internet connection.

Time and the Turn of the Century and Beyond

Digital society and the devices that appoint it pose several time management challenges, especially devices with screens. They deliver unmatched productivity, which simply means getting more done in less time. They also gobble up time to generate and respond to texts, tweets, calls, pings, beeps, tags, blogs, comments, friends, fans, emails and other activities associated with ever-expanding, interactive communication and connectivity. The devices meant to help us manage our time sometimes overwhelm us. In 2008, Americans talked, viewed, and listened to media, excluding the workplace, for 1.3 trillion hours, an average of 11 hours per person per day. By 2012, total consumption had increased to 1.46 trillion hours, or an average 13.6 hours per person per day. Time spent on digital activities displaces non-digital, healthful activities like family dinners, socializing with friends, physical exercise, being outdoors, real-time dating, sleep and sex with a real person. Because technology has made it possible to work without walls, bosses, and without regard for geography or time zones, the expectation of work has changed. In the words of Harold Taylor, a foremost authority on time management, “…the time-savings gained by technology have been offset by increases in complexity, choices, interruptions, expectations, stress, delays and errors.”

 

If you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

The New Done

What Neuroscience tells us about Getting Organized

 

Calendar of Upcoming Organizing Events

Virtual Chapter of NAPO – August 10, 2015.

Judith Kolberg will present “Creating Your Digital Estate Plan”. The one-hour presentation will address how to protect your “information afterlife” including transferring digital information to your executor, accounting for digital assets in your estate, and keeping digital mischief-makers out of your stuff.

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH.

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA

 

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Future Sense and the Rise of Time Management: Part I

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 @ 08:06 AM
posted by admin

The Rise of Time Management | Judith Kolberg, fileheads.net

 

I’m writing this blog in three parts because I feel the new, exciting developments in time management that I really want to write about deserve a historical context. If you hate history, you’ll find Part I a bore. Click here for Part II and Part III!

In prehistoric society, tomorrow always came, though not everybody survived to see it. An occasional eclipse would shake everyone’s faith about whether the sun would ever shine again, but a few hundred human sacrifices would set everything right. Slowly, a kind of involuntary shaping of the homo-sapien sub-conscious was taking place: a subliminal, rudimentary path towards planning based on future-sense. “As an inherent force in nature and within human beings, planning assumes great significance. It may be the most effective force … and among the most basic compulsions in man,” writes Melville Branch, author of The Planning Imperative in Human Behavior. Future-sense became hard-wired into human beings.

The To-Do List

The organizing skill of planning, and the tools that go with it, the calendar, the schedule and the unsung hero of time management, the to-do list, took their place in history. Amenemhat, the great clerk of the Pharaohs, would use a calendar to chart the phases of the moon and the passage of seasons. But the calendar was past-oriented, commemorating events of the past that tended to repeat. Humans’ mental ability to plan, and their faith in the future, gave rise to a revolutionary planning instrument, the to-do list. No longer did humans merely record, track, or tally events of the past and present. They represented actions to be accomplished in the future.

The Schedule

Agrarian society still had most of us awake with the sun and asleep at sunset in accordance with our circadian rhythms. By the Middle Ages, quality of life improved (unless you were a debtor, a Jew, or had the Black Plague.) Increasingly, people needed to know what time it was. Peasants and farmers could still divide their day by the passage of the sun, but priests and monks who played an active role in village life were responsible for performing daily rituals and communal prayer. This was no small deed. Entire villages had to come together to pray at various times of the day and the monks themselves needed to gather for prayer seven times a day between midnight and lights-out at 9 PM. The to-do list was a beautiful thing but sixth century Benedictine monks would trump it by inventing the schedule.

Much of the scheduling of village and pastoral life was accompanied by bell ringing. Gradually, the schedule seeped out of the monastery and into secular society. The rising merchant class lent itself well to scheduling. There were schedules for ship departures and arrivals, schedules of loading times, schedules for the shifts of labor, schedules for payments due, and schedules for hanging people who missed that deadline.

Clock Time

Life synchronized to bells soon translated nicely into clock-time. Monastic communities kept track of the time by various means including water clocks, sundials, astrolabes, and well-trained body clocks from years of practice. The great race to mechanize timekeeping was on. The first truly mechanical clock appeared late in the thirteenth century and just fifty years later most towns boasted a clock in the town square to regiment church services, regulate working hours, and allow craftsmen to bill by the hour. Time was not yet money because the medieval economy was still 85% subsistence agriculture, but the historical connection between time and money was emerging.

The Great Synchronization

Quality of life at the dawn of America’s Industrial Revolution improved by leaps and bounds. Food production soared, the spread of childhood diseases lessened and as a result, the population exploded. Huge numbers of people needed to be absorbed into the economy. The mass production conducted in factories and mills fit the bill. That infernal bell ringing of the medieval towns and honed clock-time enabled what historian Lewis Mumford called “the great synchronization,” the beat of labor to the tempo of the assembly line. Eli Whitney’s musket assembly line used standardized and interchangeable parts, an innovation that became the gold standard for economizing time until a man named Henry Ford raised the efficiency bar even higher.

Taylorism (Frederick, not Harold)

Frederick Winslow Taylor, meanwhile, figured out how to squeeze every last bit of productivity out of Americans. Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management, published in 1911, took getting organized to new heights. “Conservation of our national resources is only preliminary to the larger question of national efficiency, the great loss which the whole country is suffering through inefficiency in almost all of our daily acts,” Taylor maintained. “Efficiency experts” with a stopwatch and clipboard standardized every movement of the factory workers to achieve maximize output. Taylor’s principles of scientific management were applied to parenting, home management, government and many areas of life. But Taylorism pushed efficiency too far. Maximizing effect and minimizing effort was a sound goal, but humans are not machines. People revolted against the dehumanizing nature of scientific management which eventually gave rise to labor unions. Nonetheless, scientific management left a great legacy to the history of getting organized including documenting processes, improving the transfer of knowledge among workers, and the evolution of what became known as “best practices.”

The period from World War I through the Roaring Twenties was an era marked by unprecedented industrial growth and modernization. The San Francisco 1915 World’s Fair featured a small model of Henry Ford’s assembly line that turned out one car every 10 minutes for three hours every afternoon. At home the vacuum cleaner, electric iron, and refrigerator helped to economize time. Routines were common: fish dinners on Friday, laundry day on Wednesday, and spring cleaning always began May 1st, regardless of the official start of the season. Although it would not become the law of the land until 1938, many employers were beginning to observe the 40-hour work week based on research that productivity actually declined after 40 hours. Leisure time was now official!

In the next post, I’ll finish off clock-time and then talk about post-clock time theories of time management.

If you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

The Starbucks Effect

The New Done

CALENDAR OF UPCOMING ORGANIZING EVENTS

Northern New Jersey Chapter of NAPO –  June 22, 2015.

Judith Kolberg will present “Creating Your Digital Estate Plan”. The one-hour presentation will address how to protect your “information afterlife” including transferring digital information to your executor, accounting for digital assets in your estate, and keeping digital mischief-makers out of your stuff.

Virtual Chapter of NAPO – August 10, 2015.

Judith Kolberg will present “Creating Your Digital Estate Plan”. The one-hour presentation will address how to protect your “information afterlife” including transferring digital information to your executor, accounting for digital assets in your estate, and keeping digital mischief-makers out of your stuff.

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH.

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA

 

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The Starbucks Effect

Thursday, June 4, 2015 @ 06:06 AM
posted by admin
The Starbucks Effect - How working at a coffee shop can increase your productivity. From Judith Kolberg, fileheads.net

Picture Source: Picjumbo.com

It wasn’t a scientific survey. The results would never hold up under academic scrutiny, but when 50 people were asked the same question and 97% of their responses were the same, it’s safe to conclude you’re onto something. That’s what happened to me when I discovered what I call “The Starbucks Effect”™. I carried a clipboard to make me look official, and a couple of copies of my books proving that I am a published author. Choosing people way in the back of the coffee shop to interview (so I would not attract the attention of management), I put on a big smile and approached Starbucks customers who seemed to be working, rather than just hanging out.

“Hi, I’m sorry to interrupt. I’m Judith Kolberg, a local author doing research for my next book about getting organized. My survey takes less than 6 minutes. Mind if I ask you two brief questions?” For those agreeable, I asked: “Do you think Starbucks is a good place to get work done?” If they said, “No” I thanked them for their time and gave them a 10% off coupon on my books. I was looking for the people who said, “Yes, I think Starbucks is a good place to get work done.”

I made a wild assumption that chocolate and caffeine figured high into people’s explanation of why Starbucks is a good place to get work done. But I wanted to understand how a place as noisy and busy as Starbucks could be a good place to accomplish work. Thus, my second question: “It’s noisy in here,” I commented to each of my interviewees over the roar of the espresso machines, clatter of cups and loud din of voices. “Don’t you find the noise and commotion distracting?” To a person, the response was either “No” or “I don’t even notice it.”

Survey results

Is Starbucks a good place to get work done?

Yes          No          Total

38            12            50

Do you find the noise and commotion distracting?

Yes          No          Total

0              38            38

Huh? I’d always thought the best condition for getting work done was quiet places like libraries or cubicles. How can a place as noisy and busy as Starbucks not only be non-distracting, but actually be conducive to productivity? I call it the Starbucks Effect. Using the latest research on the brain and multitasking (check out The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin) I believe it works something like this: The external distractions (voices, people coming and going, clattering plates, etc.) cancels out internal distractions such as random thoughts, ideas, worries, and that mental to-do list we all carry around with us. Once the external and internal distractions are roughly zeroed out, the task-at-hand comes into focus. More support: some people find a quiet environment devoid of activity very distracting. It lets those internal distractions run wild. This explains why some people go nuts in a library or can’t concentrate in a cubicle. I have to turn on a radio or TV when I’m writing in my office. Gotta have some noise.

So my questions to you are:
  • Is a coffee shop a good place to get work done?
  • Do you find the noise and commotion distracting?

 

If you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

An Interview with Judith Kolberg

What Neuroscience Tells Us About Getting Organized

 

CALENDAR OF UPCOMING ORGANIZING EVENTS

Publish15 – June 13-14, 2015

Got a book inside you? Get a book coach! Publish15, an annual convention of publishers, authors, editors, and printers premiers June 12, 13 and 14 at the Forsyth Conference Center, Cumming, GA. Book coach and Publisher Judith Kolberg of Squall Press will be exhibiting. Come visit! Use promo code Pub25 for 25% off General Admission and Workshop passes. Visit Publish15 for more information.

Northern New Jersey Chapter of NAPO –  June 22, 2015.

Judith Kolberg will present “Creating Your Digital Estate Plan”. The one-hour presentation will address how to protect your “information afterlife” including transferring digital information to your executor, accounting for digital assets in your estate, and keeping digital mischief-makers out of your stuff.

Virtual Chapter of NAPO – August 10, 2015.

Judith Kolberg will present “Creating Your Digital Estate Plan”. The one-hour presentation will address how to protect your “information afterlife” including transferring digital information to your executor, accounting for digital assets in your estate, and keeping digital mischief-makers out of your stuff.

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH.

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA

 

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New Educational Products

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 @ 03:07 PM
posted by admin

Listen to the recording “Reining In Information Turn-on” to learn more about the latest science on how information turns us on and causes us to want to seek out even more, and strategies for determining when enough is enough, and how to use new stopping points.

We are wirelessly tethered 24/7 to family, friends, fans, co-workers, customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, and perfect and imperfect strangers. The line between work-life and home-life is getting more and more blurry. Listen to the recording “Coping with Endless Connectivity” and learn how to formulate a Family Technology Policy to balance your digital and non-digital life.

In the Era of Endless information in which we live, our information has an “afterlife”: it goes on without us!  We all have a website, Facebook pages, online accounts, and other digital assets. The recording, “Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning” teaches you how to manage your digital assets to protect your information and pass on your digital assets in the event of your demise.

In “We Are All Time Managers”, you’ll learn new time management skills appropriate to the digital age like how to ‘triage’ your commitments, projects and to-dos.

The recordings are perfect for parents, educators, psychologists, professional organizers, and business coaches. You can purchase each teleclass recording individually or the entire series at a discount.

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Information Junkies

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 @ 03:07 PM
posted by admin

My client, Ann client calls her husband Joe “an information junkie.” Ann needed a new car and Joe was eager to help her find one. He researched consumer reports. Joe asked his online friends, fans and followers what they thought of particular vehicles. He watched Youtube videos of the cars in action and set up Google alerts. Joe amassed an enormous amount of information. Ann says “Joe keeps thinking there is just a little bit more information out there to find and we’ll know exactly which car to buy.” He’s right. There is a little bit more information, in fact, there is no end to the information that can be found to answer a question, solve a problem, make a point or satisfy a curiosity.  The problem for Ann is that Joe’s “help” delays her car purchase. “He doesn’t know how to stop”, Ann says.

And as if endless information were not enough, it turns out that Joe is turned-on by information. What do I mean? Information turn-on is like gambling. My mother loves to gamble. On her 91st birthday, we went to Harrah’s Cherokee casino. They play a sound track of coins tumbling out of the machines: ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching. Just the sound of money plopping out entices Mom to sit at that machine. She’s hooked. When a person gambles, the brain releases dopamine, a neurochemical that the brain loves like your tongue likes sugar. Turns out that the tendency to pursue new information has a similar effect. The ping of a text or bing of an incoming email can light up parts of the brain once thought only to be ignited by drugs, sex and gambling.

If you don’t know when to stop or tend to fall into the black hole of the Internet, here are some tips for you:

Tips for Information Junkies

  • Learn how to search more efficiently. Go to www.google.com/insidesearch/tipstricks/basics.html to brush up.
  • Your social network will be full of opinions so limit this kind of input.
  • Choose two or three professional sources and/or experts (who are not paid for their opinion.)
  • Make your search well-rounded and then STOP. Well-rounded might include several live experts, up to three authoritative blogs or podcasts, and a few choice YouTube videos plus your Internet search.
  • Set a time limit for your research/search.

And remember, since there is no end to the amount of information, points of view, perspectives, arguments, “facts” and claims you can gather from others, at some point, you need to draw your own conclusion, formulate an opinion, or make a decision. These are great stopping points.

A professional organizer can help you organize your search, set goals, and manage your time. You can find one at www.napo.net .

If you cannot stop, are neglecting your time with your live family and friends, or have a high dose of perfectionism, consult a professional counselor.

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Reining in Information Turn-on Teleclass

Thursday, January 30, 2014 @ 03:01 PM
posted by allisoncarter

Wednesday March 19, 2014, 8pm-9pm ET       Price: $79.00

We are overwhelmed by information and yet many of us can’t seem to get enough of it!  In this teleclass, you’ll hear the latest research about why information turns us on and makes us seek even more. Information turn-on can be especially harmful in the era of endless information in which we live because it can diminish productivity, steal precious time away from other activities, and overwhelm us. You’ll learn how to assess information turn-on in your life, methods to help filter information, who to determine when ‘enough is enough’, how to implement ‘the new stopping points’, and social media rules of engagement. These new skills are practical and easy to implement.  (For those in the organizing trade, assessing and addressing information turn-on can be directly transferred to your clients, increasing your service offerings, and enhancing your unique value.)

** Classes are recorded. Registrants have access to mp3 audio recordings of each class in case you miss one!

Add Class to Cart – click HERE

View Cart – click HERE

See other classes

Coping with Endless Connectivity, March 20, 2014

Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning, April 17, 2014

We’re All Time Managers, April 23, 2014

Organizing in the Era of Endless, 4 Teleclass Series

Any questions, please contact our Teleclass Techie, Allison Carter, at theorganizer@gmail.com, or call (678) 439-8866

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Endless Connectivity

Thursday, January 30, 2014 @ 03:01 PM
posted by admin

Coping with Endless Connectivity Teleclass
Thursday March 20, 2014, 8pm – 9pm ET       Price: $79.00

We are wirelessly tethered 24/7 to family, friends, fans, co-workers, customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, and perfect and imperfect strangers. The overall effect of endless connectivity is to blur the line between work and leisure. Even leisure-like activities like sharing family videos on Facebook, commenting on blogs, and following people on Twitter all take time. Time lost to endless connectivity includes family time, face-time, and real-time leisure. A Family Technology Policy helps you balance digital activities with non-digital activities, sets boundaries for the use of the devices inside of family life, and reclaims real-time activities. Every family is different. These guidelines will enable you to custom-build a Family Technology Policy.  (For those in the organizing trade, creating a family technology policy can be directly transferred to your clients, increasing your service offerings, and enhancing your unique value.)

** Classes are recorded. Registrants have access to mp3 audio recordings of each class in case you miss one!

Register for Coping with Endless Connectivity Teleclass

Add to Cart

View Cart

See all other classes:

Reining in Information Turn-on, March 19, 2014

Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning, April 17, 2014

We’re All Time Managers, April 23, 2014

Organizing in the Era of Endless, 4 Teleclass Series

Any questions, please contact our Teleclass Techie, Allison Carter, at theorganizer@gmail.com,
or call (678) 439-8866

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