Summer Office Productivity Tips: 
More Organization = More Happy Hours

For those working in an office setting, it can be hard to stay organized and productive at the best of times. In summer, there are even more distractions to contend with. Dinner parties, early drinks out, the joy of last minute plans.

So how to stay organized when half of your staff is on vacation, your kids are home, and the sun is calling your name?

First, remember to breathe. Everyone is dealing with the same challenges, and it's important to be realistic about what you can accomplish. Go easy (or easier) on yourself. Keeping your expectations realistic will help keep stress in check and help you actually get more work done. 

We'd like to offer some office productivity advice as we head into the last month of summer. 

Your Calendar is Your Friend. Our planners can sometimes fall by the wayside during the summertime. Jump back into it now, and add your big to-do list items (broken down into smaller steps if needed) to actual days in your calendar. It's easy to get off track with this, and written priorities are integral for productivity. As Tony Robbins says,  "If you talk about it, it's a dream, if you envision it,  it's possible, but if you schedule it, it's real."

Eat the Frog. "Eating the frog" is an expression originating from Mark Twain and popularized further by David Allen. It advises starting your day with the one thing you want to do the least. Especially in the summertime, we have less patience for undesirable time-consuming tasks. Starting your day with the harder task will make use of your stronger morning brain power, and help you feel more productive. It may allow you to go home earlier, too!

Boomerang Yourself. In the warmer months, there are often things that need to get done, but must be put off because someone is on vacation. The Boomerang app is a great tool to handle this. This service allows you to send emails to a future day, so they are out of your inbox and come back to you right when you need them. The service is free for up to 10 emails per month, but we highly recommend the paid version if you use this feature a lot - it is totally worth it and comes with additional tools for organizing email. The 43 Folders (or "Tickler" file) is the way to do this with paper. 

Invest in Yourself. Guess what? Being organized is, above all else, an investment in yourself. Personal productivity dips when we are putting off something that we know we need to do. If you have a pile of papers on your desk, chances are they represent some action items you have been putting off. Organizing the pile will give you the momentum you need to get those things done and continue the productive streak. This is about clearing a couple of hours in your schedule to get organized. If you don't make the time, no one else will make it for you!

Clean Desk = Productivity. Walking into a tidy desk is incredibly beneficial for organization. In summer, we tend to head out in a rush, and anything on your desk in the morning then competes for "neural representation." Take the 10 minutes you need to tidy things up before you go home - your future self will thank you, and tomorrow's productivity will soar.

Get Outside. In a study at Boston University, it was shown that exercise enhances our work motivation by 41%! Since the weather is so lovely, give yourself a break from your desk by heading outside every day. Eat your lunch or go for a quick walk, and stretch a little. We aren't always able to do this during the rest of the year, so take advantage.

Happy Productivity!

On the Blog

Why I Only Shop at Trader Joes
by Veronica Bishop

Please note that I am not affiliated with Trader Joes in any way - all ideas expressed in this article are my own.

I realize that that this statement might be inflammatory and a little surprising, but I promise to explain all! So, how did we come to this decision? It wasn't made overnight. 

One day, I realized that we had been leaning towards TJ's for more of our supplies. Why was that? As a professional organizer, I'm always interested in behavior patterns, and started to ask myself what my reasons were for this change. I came to the following conclusions. 

Portland Resources

NAPO Oregon Shoe Drive - Soles4Souls

Our NAPO Oregon chapter is proud to be partnering with   Soles4Souls this fall, by including a donation collection bin at our November 20th chapter meeting.

Soles4Soul s provides shoes and clothing to people in need, including those impacted by hurricane, tsunamis, fire, floods, earthquakes and other disasters. They also utilize new and gently-worn shoes as a resource to help people with the opportunity to start and sustain a small business of their own, in which they sell the shoes to their local community.

Please help us collect shoes for this amazing organization! If you are a client of ours, please put aside gently worn shoes for us to collect at our next session! If you would like to drop off shoes for the drive, please get in touch with us to arrange a drop-off. 

Local Recycling Resource: James' Recycling

This month, we are featuring a new recycling resource in Portland!

James' Reycling takes a lot of things that curbside Metro doesn't, including styrofoam, electronics and #2, 4, 5 and 6 plastics. They currently do curbside pickup only for a monthly fee ($12), but are in the process of opening up a drop-off location too. There is a waitlist for their pickup service. 

It's great to see a local Portland recycling business focusing on expanding rather than cutbacks! 

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