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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Organizing Habits #19-23

Effective work habits keep our productivity up and our stress levels down. You may be tempted at the end of each day to just turn your back on your disheveled workspace. But, reality is you will just have to face it the next morning.

If you invest 15 minutes today preparing your space and organizing your work you will not only save yourself lost time tomorrow you will also save your company lost productivity. And, we all need to be affecting the bottom-line positively rather than negatively.

Using 5 effective work habits can help you focus on the tasks at hand right away in the morning instead of wasting an hour before hitting your stride. 15 minutes before you leave your workplace follow this routine:

1. Clear your work surface - of papers, files and supplies. Jot down notes with your last thoughts or actions on projects, so you can pick up easily where you left off. Return project and action folders that may have piled up during the day to a vertical system on your work surface if they are still “active”. Once “inactive” they should find a place in your reference file system in a file drawer. Put away any materials you’ve taken out. Returning them to their designated place now will save time when they are needed again.

2. Write a To Do list - Make a written plan now for tomorrow. While unfinished tasks, new priorities and lingering details are still fresh in your mind write them down. Review your calendar, e-mail messages, and voice mail messages for meetings and appointments that may require prep time. Noting your To-Do’s on either paper or in an electronic format will keep them handy and easy to find for review and updates the next day. Prioritize your To-Do’s and schedule them into your calendar when you will complete them.

3. Confirm appointments - Avoid any possible miscommunications by confirming the next day’s appointments by email, voicemail or both as necessary.

4. Synchronize your hand-held devices (Blackberry, Treo, iPhone, etc.) - with your computer calendar so you don’t overlook an appointment or double book yourself.

5. Back-up your computer - While system crashes are usually infrequent, that’s of little consolation if it happens to you. Take preventative action each day by backing up your work.

Using this end-of the day routine will help you establish effective and productive work habits. You’ll be in control of your day instead of your day controlling you!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Weekly Notepad: Each sheet has a Monday to Sunday section for listing daily activities and a tear-off section perfect for shopping lists. I use mine for weekly menu planning and grocery shopping list.

With a design based on ledger paper, multiple columns naturally create checkboxes. A must-have notepad for any avid planner. Printed with yellow and gray ink on white paper.

If you love paper tablets as much as I do, this one is a must have!

Order from Mateo Ilasco. $9.50 for 50 sheets—a year’s worth of menus and shopping lists if you take a two week vacation from cooking :)

What will you use your weekly notepad for?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick Tip

We're expecting our second of three winter storms in a row in Portland, Oregon today. Many people haven't been able to get out and mail their holiday packages. However, did you know you can use a credit card at any time to print a barcoded Priority Mail label on plain paper with your own printer? Go to and click "Print Postage" or "Print a Shipping Label." It's also trackable at no extra cost! That rule about having to hand carry something to the post office that weighs more than 1 pound (because of terrorism) does not apply when you use this Click & Ship service, since the package is traceable to your personal credit card.

Inspiration Wednesday

This inspiration is from Debbie. “Here's a great alternative that will not only spread the generosity of the holiday season, but it will redefine Christmas. Replace meaningless gifts by giving donations to your recipients' favorite charities (You can even request others do the same for you. It's definitely a better idea than standing in the "Returns" line on December 26.) And, makes it easy to do.” states, "It's not about reinventing the holiday. It's about changing the way we look at gift giving and receiving. It's taking money we usually spend on obligatory gifts with little meaning, and creating gifts of charity that give in multiple ways, to the receiver, the giver, and people who truly need."

This year, my siblings, my mother, close family friends, and I agreed to forgo gift exchanges. Instead of presents, I requested their “presence” for a holiday feast and festivities. After all, isn’t the purpose of this holiday season about getting together and remembering why we all here in the first place?

What gift giving changes did you make this year? Or, did you stay with your tried and true?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Organizing Habit #18

Take a Commercial Break…

It’s brrr cold here in Portland, Oregon and there is no school for the kids. Roads are icy and dicey so I’m staying in too. Which could result in some rare TV time. So, today anytime I’m watching TV I’m going to take the time during commercial breaks to tidy up and organize my home. Try it! You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in two minutes and two seconds.

Send me a comment tomorrow and let me know what you accomplished during your commerecial breaks.

p.s. Happy Birthday to my sweet friend Megan!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I love my new handbag!! It’s hard for a professional organizer to admit this, but I am constantly freaking out because I can’t find my keys, Bluetooth, and sunglasses. No matter where I put them, they become “misplaced”. Fortunately, I have a very patient husband who will hunt these items down for me when I’m freaking out.

Not anymore! With my new Butler Bag, all of these items have a designated slot to contain them safely in my Butler Bag. And, there is plenty of room for everything I want to carry with room to spare!

I have a larger Butler Bag for work that holds all my essentials—including my label maker, camera and tape measure.

If you want to enjoy this amazingly organized and extremely attractive handbag order it here on my blog site and receive $10 off your Butler Bag. Or, buy one as a gift for someone you know who could benefit from not digging in their handbag anymore!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inspiration Wednesday

E-mail Addiction: A Real Problem

E-mail is a valuable work tool, but also an addiction risk. E-mail addiction, to which IT workers and home-office based business owners are especially vulnerable since their workdays center around technology, can become a serious detriment to one's workplace productivity and personal life.

I know I am guilty of e-mail addiction even more now that I have an iPhone and can receive messages when I’m away from the office!

Warning Signs of Addiction:

Checking e-mail every 15 minutes or less.

Going through e-mail religiously when not at work.

Interrupting in-person activities on a regular basis to look at and respond to e-mail.

Interrupting non-professional life, such as sleep, family time, etc., to check e-mail.

Needing to respond to an e-mail immediately.

Feeling compelled to look at every e-mail.

If you fit the e-mail addiction profile, here are some steps to help regain your control over e-mail.

Adjust your e-mail client to check e-mail every couple of hours.

If you feel driven to check office e-mail from home, make a commitment not to look at it after a certain hour. Your family will thank you.

If possible, decide on certain times of the day to deal with e-mail and commit to that schedule. Such as first thing in the morning, before you go to lunch, and as you are wrapping up your day. You may be surprised how much time opens up in your day.

Remember that there is no such thing as an "emergency e-mail." If it's a true emergency, the method of communication should be a phone call, maybe a text message, but certainly not an e-mail.

What do you do to keep your e-mail addiction under control?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Do you struggle with paper management? Do you have piles of paper everywhere and no where to put them? Or, are your file cabinets bulging with paper and you don't have any room for new papers? Do you know what papers should be kept and for how long? Do you know how to file them? That's where FreedomFiler comes in. It's a "self-purging" filing system that provides an easy-to-file and easy-to-maintain way to contain your paper information. And, it's attractive too!

As a Trained and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant I can help you with all of these paper management issues and more.

You can purchase an already assembled FreedomFiler Quick Start set with the most commonly used labels already affixed to hanging files and stored in an attractive filing box for you to use in the box or transfer into your filing cabinet. The set includes extra labels and file folders so you can customize it for your specific needs. The cost for the Quick Start set is $150.

You can purchase a FreedomFiler Label Kit and you can set it up on your own, or we can help you customize it for your own use. The price of the kit is $42.95.

You can purchase either of the above from FreedomFiler directly by clicking on the Freedom Filer Graphic above or directly from me.

To schedule a session to learn how to use the FreedomFiler system and setting it up for your specific needs, call me at 503-246-0710 or e-mail me at

Monday, December 1, 2008

Organizing Habit #17

I just returned from our Thanksgiving respite in Central Oregon. During our travel 'over the river and through the woods' it caused me to think it is time to get the vehicles winter ready. Organizing Habit #17 is to make it a habit to seasonally care and prepare your vehicles. Now is the time to add some winter necessities into the trunk of your car, such as an ice scraper, gloves, a small shovel, chains, jumper cables, boots and in case you get stuck for long periods of time; a blanket, fresh water, power bars, and the all important--TP.

A bit about me...

I love to organize anything! I love to read anything on the subject of organizing. I especially love helping others learn the joy and simplification organizing habits and behaviors can bring to their lives.

Click here to learn a bit about me and visit our websites (organizing services), (training and education for professional organizers) and my book web site

Anne Blumer

Anne Blumer
Certified Professional Organizer, Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant, and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant

Client Before and After Pictures

Certified Professional Organizer

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