Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life August 2011 – Vol. 10 No. 7
“People who wait for a magic wand, fail to see that they are the magic wand.” ~Thomas Leonard
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How to be productive at the office (when you’d rather be at the beach) It’s that time of year again when productivity tends to lag. Half your colleagues are on vacation; the other half wishes they were. But your work still has to get done. And honestly, the day goes by faster when you are busy, right?

Following are five ways to stay productive when you’d rather be at the beach or anywhere but your office.

Listen to music that makes you feel like you’re on vacation – something from your favorite destination – maybe Caribbean-style tin drums or flamenco guitar music. Or, if you’d rather be at the beach than in your cubicle, pop in a CD with the sound of ocean waves beating up against rocky shores and seagulls squawking over seashells.
At the very least, play music that puts you in a happy, relaxed mood. For me, that’s anything by Jack Johnson or Santana.

Take “mini-vacation days” in your off-hours and you’ll feel more refreshed and energized on workday mornings. Go to the places local tourists visit. Explore neighboring cities or countryside.
Invite friends over for a vacation-themed party like a Hawaiian luau or Mexican BBQ. Join a bicycling group (I met my husband that way!).
Register for a class in cooking, photography, art, or language.

3. Don’t think about all the work that’s in front of you. Focus on only one task at a time. Make a list of the three most important things to do today. Challenge yourself to see how quickly you can get that first item done. When you’re done, take a break to respond to phone and email messages. Then repeat with the second and third most important items on your list. The more focused you are, the faster and easier it will be to get things done and maybe, just maybe, you can leave work early or at least on time.

4. Plan your next vacation. After hours, create a vacation file for travel brochures and maps. Or make a dream vacation collage using clippings from magazines, newspapers, catalogs and brochures. Hang your collage in a place where you will be sure to see it every day. When you’re bumming about having to be at work, let your vacation file or collage be a reminder of what you are working toward.

5. Organize your workspace. Unclutter your desktop – remove everything and put back only what you use every day; find another place for everything else. Toss or shred outdated files.
File those piles of paper. Set up in and out boxes to streamline paper flow. You’ll feel better about going to your office, be less frustrated, and more productive each day if your workspace is in good order.

Last chance to register. . .

Live Teleseminar – How to Turn Clutter Into Cash! Thursday August 25 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT

Some time ago, I read a statistic that shocked me. An eBay survey reported that the average American home housed $3,000 of saleable goods.
What could you do with $3,000? Or even $300?

In this 60 minute live teleseminar, I will share ways to turn your clutter into cash. And yes, you’ll have opportunities throughout to ask questions about specific items and best resale avenues.

Among other things, you’ll learn how to:

Pay for new winter wardrobe items with last year’s purchases.

Trade old books, DVDs and CDs for new ones.

Exchange gift cards and gift certificates for things you don’t want for things you do want.

Hold a successful yard/garage sale.

Price items at fair market value for selling.

Save money (it’s like making money) on your taxes by giving things away.

PLUS. . . learn 3 simple ways to save money every month by getting organized.

To register, go to http://turnclutterintocash.eventbrite.com

When you register, you will receive the telephone line and access code you will need to participate in this teleseminar.

Can’t make the live call? No problem. All registrants will be able to access the recorded call for 30 days. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and reserve your spot now: http://turnclutterintocash.eventbrite.com

NOTE: This seminar is available via live Skype video at a special group rate for non-profit clubs, organizations, and associations. Please contact Donna Smallin Kuper directly at donna@unclutter.com for details.

Next Live Teleseminar – You Organized: What’s It Going to Take?

Thursday September 22 4pm ET/3pm CT/2pm MT/1pm PT

For details, go to http://www.youorganized.eventbrite.com

Favorite organizing products and resources As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources.
Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

This month, let’s talk about organizing shoes.
Have I ever told you about Neat Containers?* It’s a modular, spacesaving storage solution that’s ideal for shoe lovers.

Thanks to the patented design, you can easily stack and access individual containers – even from the bottom – without collapsing or unstacking. Like they say: Take one away; the rest will stay.

Neat Containers won the Organizers Choice Award for Best Residential Organizing Product at the 2008 National Association of Professional Organizers conference. You know if professional organizers like it, you’re sure to love it!

This is one of the products you really have to see to understand how it can help to simplify your life. Check out the Neat Container videos online to learn more about how you can organize shoes, boots, handbags, hats, scarves, mittens and more.

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Shameless promotion: Make my day!

I love it when my readers send e-mails thanking me for writing this newsletter. It always makes my day. You can also make my day by forwarding this issue to a friend or family member who might enjoy it. I would really appreciate that. Thanks!

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.