Zen Technology: How to Get Clear on Your Needs and Wants to Be More Productive

Erika Salloux Living Harmony LLC

Have you ever whispered to yourself, “I really wish I had a way to play Monopoly with my friends in France.”?  Or has your inner voice said, “It would be so wonderful if I could turn off the lights in our kitchen while I’m out at the movie theatre.”  “No,” you say?  Come on, haven’t we all wished we could transfer money from one bank account to another between dips in the ocean?

If you’ve never had these desires, then I’m gonna let you in on a few technology and brain science secrets.  I know I’ll be ruffling some feathers here, but here goes.  And it’s all based in science; really it is.

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February 13, 2017: National Clean Out Your Computer Day

Judy Eisenberg, Clutter Clearer Coach

National Clean Out Your Computer Day is observed each year on the second Monday of February. The designation was originally sponsored by the Institute for Business Technology in the year 2000.

During the year, I periodically check out my own information and transfer files to appropriate folders, delete outdated information,
computer screen - eliminate the clutter hereand eliminate photos that are no longer meaningful or needed. Yet, this day is a good reminder to me to clean out my computer more often.

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The Simpler the Better

Receiving a thank you note in the mail is pleasant. It’s even more pleasant when you’re being thanked for something you didn’t realize would make an impact on the other person. This happened to me when I offered a simple organizing solution to a Realtor I had met at a networking event. She asked me if I had any ideas how she could keep all her real estate forms portable and organized. I suggested a portable accordion file. The next thing I know, I’m reading a very sincere thank you note that makes me smile. It just goes to show you, sometimes the simplest organizing solutions are the best solutions. In this case, find a good home for paper and things.

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Gift cards, love ‘em or hate ‘em

Ahhhh, summer in the air brings high school graduations, college graduations, birthdays, weddings, even times to appreciate your staff – and that means gifts. Sometimes all those presents come in extremely small packages… gift cards.

Gift cards, in my opinion, are both a blessing and a curse. The reason I say this is because it is a fabulous gift to allow people to choose what they want. In addition, the cards are easy to mail and don’t require tons of boxes or wrapping paper to make them look like presents. They are a curse because people forget about them or lose them in piles somewhere in their homes. I’ve encountered this a number of times, not just with clients but also among friends and family.

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Less is more

Because I am an organizer many people think I hate stuff, that I despise things and belongings.  When working with a client one-on-one I am able to dismiss this assumption pretty fast.  I don’t hate stuff and I do not disregard other people’s precious items.  What I try to help people see is that relationships and quality of life are so much more important than anything we own.  Organizing is often not about the physical stuff so much as it is about our perception of those things.

If disorganization, clutter or a lack of systems negatively affects you and those around you, you are being held captive by what you own and allowing it to control you.  This will cause stress in your life and ultimately your relationships.  Sometimes people have simply acquired more than their space can comfortably contain, but the belongings are relatively current.  Other times clients are drowning in an avalanche of memorabilia or things associated with memories.  This habit will hold you in the past, keep your present from being enjoyable and even your future from moving forward.

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Creating a Morning Ritual to Start the Day Off Right

I love my sleep, but I’ve discovered that I really love having time for a little morning quiet time before getting ready for work.

When the alarm goes off (a little earlier than it used to), I get up, put on my bathrobe, and sit in my chair by the window. It’s dark outside, but as I sit there for about 20-30 minutes, I can see the sky start to lighten. During these dark winter mornings, I turn on my “Happy Light” (like this one) and bask in the blue light as I let my brain slowly wake up. I read a brief daily thought in a favorite book (currently, this one) and prepare myself for the day.  I’ve found that allowing myself time to have this little ritual each day makes a difference in my resilience.

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New Job, New Desk, Whose System? Easy Office Organizing for YOU.

Have you ever started a new job and “inherited” a desk and its previous owner’s organizational system?  It’s like wearing someone else’s glasses. Maybe you can get by for a bit, but then you get a really bad headache.

When you start a new job, there’s lots to learn. Organizing your desk may not be a high priority at first, but the sooner you organize for YOU, the more efficient you’ll become.

Your desk is your command central. You want your desk to be organized according to the way YOU think and work.

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Don’t bring it home

When we are away from home and the clutter it is easy to buy something and think it will fit right in at the house.  But our homes are so often filled with these types of items, the impulse purchases we make because we couldn’t resist acquiring them.  A huge part of clutter management involves being brutally stringent about what comes through the door.

When you are out and about and something catches your eye ask yourself these questions before you walk away with a new trinket…

  • “Do I truly need this?  Can I live without it?  Is this thing necessary for me to live my life?”
  • “Do I have a place for this item to reside?”

You must be honest from the beginning.  If you answered “no” to any of the questions above the item should not find a home with you!  If you absolutely need to bring something back and space is limited decide before you leave the store what item at home can go to make room for the new purchase.

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Procrastination and how to beat it

So what exactly is procrastination and how does it affect us? Procrastination is the postponement of action. As a result we get caught taking action at the last possible moment. This practice leads to tyranny of the urgent instead of what is of long term benefit or importance. Tasks that should have been fulfilled at an earlier time are addressed at that very moment, pushing other tasks out of the way.

Procrastination can make you scurry around at the last minute. This frenzy takes time away from other important tasks, activities or even your time to relax. You always lose your buffer when you push things off and a time buffer can be a great way to plan for the unexpected.

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A Simple Strategy for Becoming An Organized Email Maven

We have so many gadgets nowadays on which to read our email. I applaud this technology for its efficacy. But it can be tiring living in a world that’s always on. There has never been a better time than now to conquer the chaos in your virtual mail box. Using the 6 Basic Principles of Organizing, you can keep your Inbox empty for the long term.

Create 4-5 folders in your e-filing cabinet located in you email program. Start sorting the items you are keeping with generic labels, such as New Folder 1, New Folder 2, et cetera. Use generic labels first because to create a functional system, labels must match the actual content of the emails rather than imposing a system of labels. Content guides the creation of the system. Use the Trash and Archival functions for non-active items that you no longer need or want to store. Categorize by choosing general subjects into which each email fits and putting “like with like”. Chances are there will start to be a pattern. Once you’ve completed the drag and drop sequence, all of the emails will be contained in your e-filing cabinet, as well as the Trash and Archival functions.

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