The benefits of feng shui are real. Click on the infographic to learn how to transform your work space from zzzzzzz (yawn) to zen. Or let's be honest, you are busy at work and don't have time to read the infographic. No worries, I'll summarize it for you:
Have a happy and healthy week!
Back-to-School season is a good time of year for all of us to get organized. I took the liberty (and channeled my former office worker self) to interview my friend, Hannah, who also happens to be a professional organizer. Did you know there was such a thing?! For those of us who are not-so-organizationally or spatially inclined, or are just plain messy, Hannah offers some great tips for my "duh" sounding questions:
Me: I can't even see my desk because it's covered in stuff. Where/how do I start?
Hannah: Start by sorting the easiest pile for you to trash or shred. This will make you feel accomplished so you avoid getting overwhelmed and quitting halfway through the organizing project. I suggest finding a clear spot on your desk or the floor to lay your papers into categories as you sort. This will help you visually see what you have before you start creating a filing system. Be sure that your file categories make sense for your specific paper needs, and label your folders clearly.
Me: Soooo much paper--how do I keep it in order?
Hannah: Once you get a filing system set up and all of your papers in order, spend 5 minutes every day sorting and filing your current papers. That way you won't get overwhelmed with growing piles of paperwork on your desk. I suggest keeping a stapler handy to attach groups of papers as soon as you get them so they are sure to stay together. Once or twice a year, reevaluate your filing system. Determine what works, what doesn't work, and throw out files that are obsolete.
Tip: Always open mail as soon as you get it and immediately throw out junk mail and any empty envelopes.
Tip: Reduce the paper flow and opt out of getting junk mail using handy apps like PaperKarma.
Me: I have a million pens-where do I put these?
Hannah: Get rid of some of them! Spend 15 minutes testing them out, and only keep the ones that you like and that actually work. It is surprisingly relaxing! Then find a container to keep on your desk and resolve to never get more pens than can fit in that container.
Me: There is so much RANDOM stuff-staples, pushpins, stickers, tape, cards, etc. around. How do I find a place for these items?
Hannah: If you have drawers, invest in some drawer organizers with multiple sections in a variety of sizes. They are perfect for keeping your office supplies neat and organized. If drawer space is scarce, find some desktop containers to contain your office supplies. Be sure to purchase containers that fit your style- if you love them, you will use them!
Me: How do I know what to throw away and what to keep?
Hannah: Now that most documents can be accessed on a computer or online, it is not necessary to keep as many paper files. As a rule, the IRS says tax-related documents should be kept for 7 years. You can keep the following documents for a year or less: bank records, bills, receipts, and pay check stubs. Be sure to shred anything that has personal information!
Me: I can't see what's in my file folders. Help.
Hannah: If file folders aren't your thing, I suggest using horizontal desktop paper trays or mounted wall files. Both are great options for visual people, as they allow you to easily see your files and access them quickly. I like to use file folders for long-term file storage and these more accessible options for daily paper flow.
Hannah Marsden is a Chicago-based professional organizer for Chicago Anytime Assistants, a company offering personal assistants that specialize in errand services, professional organizing, and moving and relocation.
How Color Can Affect Productivity in the Workplace:
By Susan Ringer VP My Pretty Office a Division of TwistOP
We all know there have been many studies done on workplace productivity. Sure, there are the usual factors such as efficient workflow, office morale and of course the 3 P’s (People, Process and Product) that will ensure business success, but what about your physical environment? How it is decorated and your color choices both have a major impact in how you feel about being there. In fact, it has been said through various workplace studies on productivity that one of the most important factors in an employee’s ability to focus is their physical space. The right workspace and décor has been shown to increase productivity by about 20%. And it’s not just about the space efficiency. It is about the colors, scents and accessories used to personalize that space!
I had noticed this personally during my career in real estate. As a business coach during that time, I found I could help a client achieve increased sales results by simply getting organized and making their workspace “pretty” (yes, this can also apply to the men!). Making client lead calls in any industry is always more pleasant and effective when the environment supports the task. I even noticed certain colors seemed to create different effects. For instance, the high energy, do-a-million-things-at-once personalities who needed some focus were better served to tone down the colors in their work space and eliminate the warm red, yellow and orange tones. When these color schemes were traded for soft, elegant shades of blue and green, there was a calming effect and a feeling of more focus. On the contrary, the folks who needed that extra push, who were a bit on the relaxed side by nature were better served with a bit of color jolt with those warm reds and yellows to excite their mood and get the productivity going.
Today, there are so many design trends that can serve these needs, that one doesn’t have to compromise style in favor of productivity. This would be especially important in a home office environment. Popular design colors that serve the cool, soft tones needed to reign in some focus are teal, grey, mint green and powder blue (the latter two will be huge, I predict, as it is seen everywhere in fashion right now).
To decorate your office in this scheme, use accessories that compliment this look, yet add to the functionality of your space. If you can’t paint your walls, use some of these soft colors in your artwork, your frames, file folders, organizers and stationery (of course, if you CAN paint your walls, by all means, do!). You will be amazed at how that will pull down those anxious feelings and get you to a “zen” place where you can focus. Remember to add a plant and a wonderful scent, even some soft music. Lavender or eucalyptus mint are excellent choices – calming without putting you to sleep! My Pretty Office has some great products to help with this too. Our Design Ideas line in Mint, White and Grey coupled with some Kate spade acrylic will be great for these calming effects.
For those who need a warm jolt of red, orange or yellow tones to “get in gear”, try these colors: brick red (a little less jarring), wine, pink, melon and warm buttery yellow tones. These tones are really on trend and will work with much of the décor that is popular now. They also mix well with neutrals such as grey and certain shades of beige/taupe. The vibrancy of these colors creates a stimulating effect on the brain and might just make that super heavy phone feel a little lighter to make your next prospecting call (we all have stared at the 100 pound phone, let’s be honest!). A great scent to continue this theme would be anything citrus. We love the Tommy Bahama blends that incorporate a little bit of island scent. In the winter months, switch to something with a pine scent. Remember to add a touch of jazzy (but soft in volume) music. Some products in the My Pretty Office line that would work very well with this idea are the Design Idea products in Mango. If you want the warm tones without all that zing, the Punch Studio French Style accessories accomplish just that. For some feminine energy in these color schemes, try the Anna Griffin florals or a Susan Ringer Fine Art print (yes, that is me. As you can see, I am also an artist and study/use color theory every day). This stuff is real, folks! See some of our examples in the gallery below.
If you want to learn more, here is a great article on the psychological effects of color based on research performed in the UK. There are also some fun color personality quizzes and other tools on this site you might enjoy as well: