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How To Choose The Right Organizer or Productivity Consultant: Part 1 – Client Goals

You’ve made the decision to move forward with a professional organizer and productivity consultant. Below are my top three tips to ensure that the odds of success are as high as possible when working with a productivity professional.

1. Determine your Level of Involvement

Decide how involved you, as the client, would like to be. Client involvement spans the spectrum from involved at every step of the way to only participating as needed. The level of involvement depends on the client’s wishes, and organizers who know what they’re doing can work with clients at all levels of participation.

As an organizer, I work with a full spectrum of clients – those who are involved at every step of the way, to clients who only want to provide minimal input on the organizing process. A good organizing & productivity consultant will know how to work in either of these circumstances, and in every permutation (different word, please) in between.

2. Set your Goals

Be specific, clear, and detailed about what your goals for your space and time are. Do you want a picture-perfect space, a space that functions well and looks lived in, or something else? Does your calendar need to be full every day, or do you want some down time? Knowing what you want for your space and time clarifies the process for the organizer so she and her staff focus on what matters to you and spend minimal time and resources on things that provide less value to you.

3. Commit to Change

Although you may start out with clear goals for what you want in your space, time, and files, things may change as you work through the organizing process. Organizing increases clarity and enables you to see things that may previously have been hidden. Understand that this is all part of the organizing process. A good professional organizer and productivity consultant will be able to adapt to and implement changes in the project as time goes on.

Lisa Mark, C.P.O. is a productivity expert and Certified Professional Organizer. Contact Lisa if you would like to find out if she is a good fit for your organizing or productivity needs.

3 Ways To Streamline Processes

A process is a series of repetitive activities or linked tasks which occur in a specific order and end when a service or product is provided to a client. Streamlining processes makes things simpler and more efficient and leads to improvement in operations. The benefits to streamlining processes include minimizing costs, diminishing or eliminating lost time, and reducing wasted resources. Streamlining can also lead to increased engagement, efficiency, and communication.

To streamline processes, start by doing the following:

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How Changing Your Office Layout Can Increase Productivity

By Kristie Santana

Kristie Santana is a life coach, coaching educator, and author who has been in the coaching field for 15 years. Her latest project, Life Coach Path, aims to help educate and empower students to find coach training and start thriving coaching practices of their own.


Workspace design can arguably date back to the Roman era, but we know that when the first office building of the British Empire was constructed in 1726 in London, the architect had to design meeting rooms and spaces that could hold massive amounts of paperwork. Workplaces were very much about functionality and practicality, with little thought given to the employee. 

Fast forward nearly 300 years, and the pendulum has swung the other way. Global conglomerates like Google believe the workspace emanates an ‘energy’ and must be designed meticulously to support the mental health of their employees. At their New York headquarters, every employee is within 150 feet of an indoor restaurant, cafeteria or lounge. They firmly believe in ‘collision spaces’ where employees are encouraged to chat, dine, and drum up inspiration. 

Now, you may not be able to install a full-service restaurant in your office, but making a few changes could help increase office productivity and promote mental wellness.

Light it Up

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17 Apps for Tracking Time

When bringing tech into my business, I try to select tools that will enhance my productivity. Below are tips for choosing a time tracking app, along with options for time tracking apps that should lead to increased productivity.

When choosing a new app:

Use the KISS method. Kiss stands for ‘Keep It Simple, Sweetie.’ Ease of use is paramount with any new software. If I can’t determine how to use something within, say, the first 5 minutes, I’m not going to use it at all. So, bring in tech that is transparent, fun, easy to use, and keeps things simple for you and your team.

It’s not a bug…It’s a Feature! The more bells and whistles the software offers, the more difficult it can be to use. When possible, choose fewer, stronger features, rather than a whole host of ‘hey, that looks fun!’ Apps with fewer features enable ease of use, better streamlining, and a shorter (and flatter) learning curve. Definitely get what you need, but consider limiting extras.

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Easy Ways to Save Time

Home office organized by Lisa Mark, C.P.O.

Time Blocking

Identifying time-wasters is the first step to maximizing productivity. When thinking of daily tasks, ask if there is a way to clump, or group together, tasks that are similar. This strategy for doing similar things at one time is called time blocking.

From ToDoist.com: Time Blocking is a time management method that has you divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, or group of similar tasks. Similar tasks may include:

  • Processing email
  • Scheduling client appointments
  • Attending meetings
  • Returning phone calls

Try using time blocking and see if it works for you.

Searching for Supplies

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The Best Productivity Apps

Last month, we discussed How to Choose a Productivity App and how apps, like anything else, are only beneficial when they move us closer to our goals. Below are some of my favorites.

I’m an app minimalist. I limit apps and use only what I need to work effectively. For email, tasks, and calendar management, I like the G-suite apps. They are global (can be reached from anywhere), are easy to integrate, and the updates are (usually) seamless. I set up G-mail to integrate with Outlook so emails appear in both. I can better see the individual emails on Outlook, but I also enjoy the Google thread function for organizing and retrieval. Although I have multiple email addresses, all emails are set up to go into the same inbox. This means I only need to check one place to find everything.

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How to Choose a Productivity App for Your Business

Because of the time and learning required to implement any new software, I tend to be a software minimalist. I do not want to spend time implementing and learning new software unless the benefits of doing so outweigh the investment of time and expertise I’ll need to put in. If what I have works well enough, I leave it alone.

This minimalism extends to my relationship with apps.

There is no such thing as the perfect app. App-savvy consumers may spend time on research, set up, and debugging, only to find that the new app is not all that much better than the old app was. Apps, like anything else, are only beneficial when they move us closer to our goals. And as with anything else, less is definitely more when it comes to apps.

I engage two processes when deciding whether to move forward with any type of upgrade, the ‘Questions’ process and the ‘Line in the Sand’ process.

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Learn How You Can Do More with The Resources You Already Have

Poor time management leads to accomplishing less with the same resources. Declining to set aside specific times to work on projects may result in unmet goals. Under these conditions, it is easy to spend the entire day responding to urgent items and be unable to find the time to complete more important items.

Solution: Identify & Pinpoint time expenditure.

  • Use a calendar to schedule deep-dive project time.
  • When possible, schedule other, less important tasks around brain-intensive project time.
  • ‘Chunk’ similar activities like processing email and returning phone calls.
  • Keep detailed records so you don’t have to search for important items after the fact.

The custom half-day schedule management tool below includes time frames for regular daily activities as well as planned deep-dive project time. Extra time is built in for unexpected occurrences – a meeting runs late, heavy traffic, or a task takes longer than expected.

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The Best Time of Day to Work on Urgent Projects

It’s happened to all of us: you sit down to address a high-priority project at the end of the day and find you don’t have the necessary brain power. The best time to address head-to-the-grindstone deep brain work is when you are at your best. This might be earlier in the day if you’re a morning person; later in the day if you’re not. To take advantage of your best times, schedule other commitments around them as much as possible.

To determine when you’re at your best, ask yourself these questions:

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Top Time Wasters: Meetings

If you’re like most people, you’ve spent time in at least one meeting that went on and on with no apparent purpose, without an agenda, with minimal or no follow through, and without resolution. You might even have wondered why you were there at all. Certainly, there were far better uses of your time.

Meetings can be a huge time waster if not done correctly. Good meeting preparation is essential for productive meetings.

Effective meetings consist of the following:

A Tight Agenda: Ensure you have an agenda, with time limits attached to each agenda item.

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