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 neuyear photo

The new year is quickly approaching, making this is a great time to get your 2013 calendar situated. For the most beautiful year-at-a-glance rendition we’ve encountered so far in life (mind you, studying office supplies is our hobby), we recommend the Neuyear wall calendar. 

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Neuyear sent us a complimentary calendar so we could see for ourselves it’s as beautiful as they suggest on their website. We can only agree. The background is a faint buttery color much like the soft background we adore in Moleskin notebooks. And the no-gap way the months are linked together builds an aesthetically pleasing picture of a year. (They built it this way to suggest their emphasis on the currency of time coming in 52 annual increments so you can plan across months easily, and see clearly the distance/days between any two dates in the year.)

A favorite feature is that it’s printed two sided, enabling you to chose landscape or portrait orientation. And since it comes complete with 3M poster strips for mark-free mounting, you could change your direction mid year without frustration.

To take advantage of the 30% off discount, go to the website and enter code “LifeContained” through Dec 31, 2012.

While this calendar is excellent for seeing and planning the whole year, it is not meant to replace your electronic calendar where you track everyday things. To maintain your sanity, you’ll probably want to align the layouts of your calendars. To change the settings in your electronic calendar so that Monday is the first day of the week to match up with the Neuyear calendar, following are the steps for three popular platforms:

In Outlook: Tools –> Options –> Click Calendar Options –> Under Calendar work week, select “Monday” in First day of week list –> OK –> OK

In iCal: iCal –> Preferences –> Next to Start week on:, select “Monday” from the drop down list

In Google Calendar –> Settings Icon –> Settings –> select “Monday” from Week starts on drop down list

Check out this video for the five reasons why the Neuyear calendar is awesome, and may you find it fun to use to a product created by people enjoying life. As said by Neuyear themselves, “Make this the best damn year you’ve ever had!”

We work more efficiently, and likely with less frustration, when we can easily locate needed items. Whether looking on our desk, in file cabinets, or even through our toys at home, having a few simple labels will keep those finger tips happy as they search for specific papers or objects.

For fabulous labels that will excite you to organize, file, plan, and store, check out the Martha Stewart Home Office™ options, available exclusively through Staples®. One of our personal favorites is the chalkboard labels, they are black and can be written on like a chalkboard and erased and relabeled as their needs change. They are self adhesive and also are easy to peel off and reapply elsewhere. Similarly, the dry erase labels are just as fun.

Martha file labelsMartha chalk labelsMartha dry erase

For 40% off Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™, take advantage of this coupon at Staples® through August 31, 2012.

martha coupon

Do you feel more inclined to sit down and dive in if you are happy with the organization of your workspace? What other fun solutions have you found to keep your office space fun and productive?

Filertek sent us samples of a smarter tool for paper organization–dry erase file tabs.

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This unique product is useful for building paper filing systems. Some features we found for these file tabs are: 

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  • can use with paper tabs (not our preferred method), printed labels (Avery 5167 return address labels), or with dry-erase marker

  • can use over and over again

  • easy to change a dry erase or printed label–flip open the protective cover, erase or cover the previous label, write in or insert the new label, and flip the cover back down

  • available in clear and colored tabs, and in blister packs of 12 or boxes of 25 or 50

  • clip on and reposition easily, removing the fight to get the tab into the slits in the folder

  • clip onto other products to professionally ad a label  things like letter trays, sorters, notebooks, and paper piles

  • sturdier than other products due to their durable heavy plastic construction that is particularly good for heavily used or shared files

  • slightly larger with a better slant than other 2″ tabs, thus faster for finding the file you are looking for

  • work with any dry erase marker and enables simple color coding of file labels if desired

Our preference was for the clear tabs, as it was harder to read through the colored ones. Additionally, the 25 and 50 tab box sets were nice in that they included a free dry erase pen and we were able to store the additional tabs not needed for our initial project in the box. (Many of our Chicago paper organization clients lose track of the tabs that come with file folders because they were packaged in the plastic bag that is now in the bottom of their drawer under a pile of files. The Filertek box may help store and find any unused tabs more easily when needed.)

describe the imageThese handy little tabs are available at OfficeMax, Walmart, Amazon, and

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We have enjoyed discovering the benefits and time savings of these tabs. What tools have you found for faster and smarter office organization?

Recently a few Chicago time management clients asked us to find a product to carry all of their gadgets. Often moving from meeting to meeting transporting their laptop, phone, power cords, pen, lip balm, etc., these executives wanted to feel and appear more organized and professional. 

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To easily carry these accessories, we recommend the Cocoon Grid-it. This is a light, affordable solution offering the following benefits:

  • Rubberized woven elastic object retention system to hold items in place

  • Handy for any wires & technology you want to keep securely stored and tangle free

  • Encourages visibility of accessories against a black backdrop making items easy to locate quickly

  • More stylish than a plastic bag or juggling your armful of accessories

  • Comes in a variety of sizes and forms – can fit in a binder, slide into a laptop bag, cover an iPad, and more

If you are interested in learning more or purchasing the grid-it, visit and use coupon code: NAPO2012 valid for 30% off through 6.30.12.

What other solutions have you found for organizing your meeting must haves?

I spent time with the acupuncturist this weekend; hence, this post to remind me about the importance of ergonomics and activity at the workplace.

Ergonomics and ProductivityIncrease Productivity Through Ergonomics

According to Ergotron, research over the past 20 years has consistently shown that workstations adjusted to fit the user can result in an 18% productivity increase. (Multi-display configurations result in another lift.) But what is the right fit for you? Go here to generate an illustrated guideline (like we have pictured) specific to your situation.

Increase Productivity Through Activity

If you’ve been stuck at your desk all day (be it ergonomically set up or not), stand up. This simple act tells your brain it’s time to be awake and act alert. This quick burst of activity improves concentration by bathing the brain with oxygen and activating stress-relieving chemicals.

One client of mine was so keen on standing up more, she used recurring phone alarms to prompt her movement, and she asked her company to install equipment so she could sit or stand while computing.

What changes or habits do you need/have your made to make your time at the office more productive and more comfortable?

paper-based action fileA desktop action file positions current files (and control over paper) at your fingertips.

What Belongs in an Action File?

All the papers triggering you to do something today, in the next few weeks, or regularly should live in an Action File. (e.g., make a phone call, enter information into your address book, visit a website, read, research, write an email, review a statement for accuracy, file in long-term filing, enter transactions into the computer.)

What Doesn’t Belong in an Action File?

All the papers you’re keeping for reference or legal reasons, but do not require action on a near-term or regular basis should be archived or stored in a long-term filing system. (e.g., completed project files, tax-related papers, manuals, insurance policies, best practice articles, performance reviews, maintenance records, birth certificate.)

Steps to Create a Categorical Action File

1. Schedule a few hours to create an Action File.

2. Gather all your loose papers, a scratch pad, and a pen.

3. Take the first piece of paper and ask yourself “What is the next action I need to take to get this piece of paper out of my life?”. Write down the answer on the scrap paper and begin a pile of papers labeled with this category heading. Move onto the next paper and repeat. (Most people end up with categories such as recycle, shred, read, write, call, data enter, pay, pending, file, and then special categories to fit their unique situation.)

4. Assess your categories, and condense where possible. Tally the number of categories and evaluate if you can create a file system with your current office supplies, or if you’ll need to purchase new ones.

5. Shop for new materials if necessary. (Some of our favorites are this desktop file box and these hanging and file folders.)

6. Install your office products and place the piles of papers into their properly labeled new homes.

7. Add reminders to your calendar. Either specifically call out special tasks with deadlines, or add reminders to go through certain file folders on specified dates to ensure deadlines are not missed.

8. Maintain the system by keeping up with your filing and reminder system, and by removing files you haven’t used in a month or more.

9. Bask in the clear space and control you just created.

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