Overwhelmed at Your Desk? Try Standing Up

You may have seen on NBC’s “Today Show” the standing desk weatherman Al Roker has in his office. Or possibly you read The Washington Post report that 10 percent of AOL employees in Dulles, Virginia use standing desks.

Are you wondering if standing desks are the new “flavor of the month”? Not so!

Doctors point to research showing higher rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even mortality among people who sit for long stretches of time. That is not why I started advocating standing to work, but it can be strong motivation.

Standing is not a new concept in working efficiently. Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway worked and wrote standing up, and Albert Einstein theorized standing up. Standing certainly worked for them.

I am not suggesting tossing your comfortable chair and office desk. In my office, I have a standard office desk and chair plus an art table that I use as a standing desk. I alternate between the two, depending on what I am doing.

Research has shown you have more blood in your brain when you are on your feet. Therefore, you are more decisive and make better and faster decisions. In addition, your paper stacks are not in your face. Subconsciously, you are bigger than the stack and so you feel more able to conquer it. When a client and I are trying to conquer a Mount Everest stack of papers, we tackle the job while standing unless health issues dictate otherwise.

One day I was working with a client whose paper stack would have reached the ceiling. After standing for a while, he asked, “Can we sit and do this?” I agreed, but when I later mentioned that I find this work goes faster when people are on their feet, he started to chuckle. I asked him what was funny. He said, “You are right. Ever since I sat down, I am reading the front and back of each piece of paper before I throw it away.” Back on his feet he went and soon his important papers were secured into a system that he felt comfortable using.

Need more motivation to try standing for some of your work? A Yale University study revealed that people who sit for more than half a day at work have a 60 to 70 percent greater risk of slipping a disk than their mobile coworkers.

When should you stand?
– When work feels complicated
– When you dislike a job
– When you have lots of papers to sort
– When it’s your body’s down time and you still need to be productive
– When your back is tired from sitting
– When you are returning to your office loaded with handfuls of papers
– If you are on e-mail overload and have a portable computer

A client of mine with attention deficit disorder said the suggestion to stand took away his tension. He was able to focus more clearly and stick with work longer. Schools that provide stand-up desks for their ADD students see a huge improvement in their work.

How can you put standing in your office into practice?

Once you find how effective this is, you may want to look at a permanent standing desk. Anderlyn-Desk.com offers an addition you can use on a desktop or other surface, adjustable to your height. And, if you are really into multitasking, there are companies that sell a standing desk with a treadmill.

Standing can be a simple and smart way to refocus your energy and work smarter.

Chronic Disorganization

A lot of the time, those with Chronic Disorganization are labeled as “packrats” or “clutterbugs.”

The average person with Chronic Disorganization has around 3000 documents, 40% more
housework on their To-Do List, and 15-20% of their income goes toward late fees. They are
often creative individuals who cannot seem to stay on top of their chores.

Chronic Disorganization is often marked by a failed attempt at organizing self-help. Chronic
Disorganization affects day-to-day activities, and it may only be evident in one area of one’s
life but is often seen over several areas. It usually occurs over a long period of time, possibly
several years.

There is no quick fix for Chronic Disorganization, but those who suspect they have Chronic
Disorganization should start with 3 main goals:
1. Let go of shame and guilt and move forward.
2. Have a better understanding of organizing pitfalls
3. Generate ideas to start changing one’s own organizing thought process (This can be a
lengthy process.)

If attempts at “fixing” Chronic Disorganization on your own have failed, it may point out the
need for professional help.

Organizing My Closet and Letting the Light Shine

Does the thought of organizing your entire wardrobe make you groan and feel light-headed?
What to do?

Break it up into sections. For example:
I’ll put away my sandals and bring out my fall/winter shoes.
Next I’ll move the summer jackets out to make room for the year-round ones.
Then I’ll switch my summer pajamas with my winter ones. You get the idea.

A client who recently had me organize her closet for her was thrilled to discover a pair of
earrings purchased during a trip to Europe. She was sure they were lost forever…but they
were just waiting for rediscovery in the depths of her closet! I always say that instead of
thinking of it as tackling your clutter, go on a treasure hunt. My clients always find treasures
they thought were lost forever.

Let there be light!
That could be the motto for every closet organizing project.
Light equals energy. Let me repeat that. Light equals energy.
For some reason, good closet lighting is often overlooked, even in a walk-in closet.
Last week I decided to apply this rule to my own closet by adding another light. What a change!

Good light lets you see whether your slacks are blue or black. It eliminates “dark holes” that contain clothes you don’t choose to wear because you can’t see them back in their dingy corners. It motivates you to hang things up after wearing them.

Closet Organizing Tips:
Organizing Tip 1. Break closet organizing into sections.
Organizing Tip 2. Go on treasure hunts when doing projects.
Organizing Tip 3. Light is energy for all areas of the home.

Don’t Let Car Clutter/Cleaning Drive You Crazy!

Has your car become your second office and dining room?

Are you embarrassed if someone needs to ride with you?

Here are some quick types to get the car back in control!

I spent a long time vacuuming up the crumbs remaining from my many “dashboard dining” meals. I remember a cartoon where cleaning up from a meal means getting all the fast-food bags out of the car!

Over the years I have done TV segments on car organizing, so I hope these tips help. In my real life, I have to do this also!

• I spend a few minutes when I get in my driveway and get all the trash together
• Organize what I need for tomorrow
• Gather what needs to go in my office and separate what goes into the house.

If you have children, they can be doing the same with their stuff while you do yours.

It also helps to…
• Think of your car as another room of your house
• Pick up regularly
• Plan a few minutes once a week to purge anything you don’t want in the car for the next week.

You will feel like a new person when your car is Clutter-free & Organized!

Time Management: Reduce Distractions

Time management is a big goal for a lot of my clients. Often, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to
finish up what needs to be done. The key to time management is to work in blocks on one item on your To-Do List only.

One of the biggest threats to time management is distractions. What you have to realize is that what you
can do in 10 minutes will take 40 with distractions.

Some common time management distractions and solutions:
1. E-mail It can be very distracting if there is a constant flow of e-mail messages coming to you. Solution:
Change your e-mail settings so that it does not auto-deliver. Then you can filter through and answer your
e-mails in small blocks throughout the day.

2. Phone Calls Solution: Turn off your cell phone. If this makes you nervous, set a timer for an hour and
then you can check your voicemail.

3. Desk Paper Stacks Each pile of paper is diverting your mind from working and saying, “Should I be
doing this now?” “Is this more prominent?” Solution: The long-term goal is to eliminate paper stacks.
However, the short-term goal can be to perform a desk rescue.

Any of these can be daunting, but the benefit is to gain back a life and not constantly be at work. With
good time management, this can be a reality.

Three P’s to Peaceful School Mornings

Lost shoes, lost reports and lost keys, the clock seems to be running on double – THE SCHOOL
YEAR BEGINS. No, I am not peeking into your house, but many parents describe this kind of hectic
morning to me.

As a mother of seven grown children, I know mornings can be hectic. Since I survived and also
since I am a Professional Organizer, here are some tips to ease the beginning of each day by
planning, purging and paper handling…

Create a Plan
Get the family together over a dish of ice cream and brainstorm for ideas to meet everyone’s
needs. Listen to each person’s input. The kindergartner’s suggestion may be the best.

Routines keep everyone calmer so the night before…
• Set out planned breakfast items
• Everyone, including Mom and Dad, pick out clothes for the next day
• Divide the house into sections – each person takes an assigned room and spends a few minutes
returning items where they belong
• Take a few minutes in the evening to come together and discuss plans each family member has for the
next day
• If Mom and Dad get up 30 minutes earlier and get dressed before the children get up, it allows time to
handle any problems that arise

Purge, Purge, Purge
This is the time to simplify.

Help young ones go through their room and eliminate the old stuff. They will probably be
willing to throw out many of last year’s school papers. The ones they want to keep can be put
into a sentimental box.

Share old toys with the needy. Sorting through their room is often overwhelming for children to
do. Sometimes it is too stressful for a parent and child to do together, so possibly an older
sibling, aunt or grandparent could help them. As a professional organizer, I also work with
children and since I am a “neutral person,” this works out well.

This is also a good time of year for parents and children to organize their closets so that
selecting clothes to wear will be easier.

Tame the Papers Problem
Have a plan for incoming and outgoing papers. It is not so important what you do with a piece
of paper but that you do follow the plan consistently.

Place all papers that need to be signed in a specific, designated area, possibly a basket near
the door that everyone comes in.

Have a system so children know where their papers will be the next morning. For example, you
may return the papers to them or they may be by their place at breakfast. It is not so important
what you do but that you do it consistently.

Keep papers needed for future dates in one place.

Have one location where everyone writes upcoming events, giving each family member a different color pen to use.

Simple Steps to Organization
Plan a routine, give everyone something on the evening To-Do List, decide how school papers will be
handled, and take the time to purge rooms and closets – these are all simple steps we each can
take to help our families be less stressed on mornings during the school year.

Getting your children off to school is more than just getting them out of our door and into the school’s
door. We want them to feel loved, and we also want to have time to listen to our children as they talk. It is
important to be able to give them a hug and smile as we part for the day. Allow some extra time, because
the unexpected will happen – but with good planning and simple organization, we can handle the
unexpected without unnecessary difficulty.

A Mini New Year

For many of us, September is a “Mini New Year”.  Summer is over and now we are refocused on our business and personal To-Do Lists.

Here are ways to get a jump-start!

1.  Clutter-free & Organized will come in and work with you to quickly cross projects off your To-Do List.

2.  Need a plan?  Schedule a few phone coaching calls to help you plan a productive and stress-free September through January.

Get started today!  Grab a pen and write down the three things in your business and personal life that keep you awake at night.

Business                                               Personal

1.                                                         1.

2.                                                         2.

3.                                                         3.

Call me today to talk about your goals for the “Mini New Year”.