An Organised Space – An Organised Mind

Some Experts Say That Your Workspace Can Make Or Break You Productivity WiseDo you ever wish you could peek inside the offices of productivity and organization experts to see how they set up their own workspaces for maximum efficiency?

Imagine the wealth of knowledge that such insight could give you. On realising the value of such information, the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council have researched the workspaces of some of the most well-known productivity experts in the world. This is what we found.

PETER WALSH

Organizing Guru Peter Walsh, author of ‘It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff’, says he imagines his desk like a car. Everything you need most immediately—the steering wheel, radio, ignition, indicators, door handle—is at arm’s length. Things that are needed but not used regularly are two-arms’ lengths away, such as in the glove compartment, and the things used infrequently are in the trunk.

Your desk should be exactly the same,” he says. “When you’re sitting at your desk, the only things you should be able to touch are the things you use all the time.”

Walsh’s desk holds his computer and keyboard, a charging station for his phone, and vertical files that hold active projects. “That’s all I have on my desktop,” he says. “Your desk is a workstation, not a storage facility.”

DAVID ALLEN

Productivity king David Allen, author of ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’, needs just a small desk in his Amsterdam office. He says a desk should hold four things: supplies, reference materials, decorations, and equipment. Anything else should go somewhere else.

A tour of his desk includes a box of facial tissue; a container that holds a letter opener, fountain pen, three felt pens, a ballpoint pen and scissors; and a standing file rack he personally designed that holds about 20 labelled file folders with current projects and client work. He also has a MacBook Pro on a vertical stand that connects to a large screen, a blue-tooth keyboard, and a mouse pad.

Allen also keeps two paper notepads in different sizes, and a pen at the ready. The in-basket is one of the most important tools on Allen’s desk, and it keeps his workspace clean. “It’s the funnel for miscellaneous things you haven’t decided about yet, such as mail or meeting notes,” he says. “Throw them in there. It’s the one place that gives you freedom and discipline to capture unprocessed stuff so it’s not thrown all over the desk”.

JULIE MORGENSTERN

Julie Morgenstern, author of ‘Organizing from the Inside Out’, keeps her desk neat by being selective about what’s on it. Hers includes a computer monitor, keyboard, telephone, and a small clock with an important function: “It’s easy for me to get absorbed in what I’m doing, and it keeps me conscious of the time,” she says. “It’s an old-fashioned clock with a second hand and very clear numbers. I don’t like looking at my iPhone for the time; it’s a device that sucks your energy.”

The most important tool on her desk, however, is her Balanced Life Planner, a product she designed herself, she says.

“It’s always out, and if an idea comes to me about something else I want to do, I immediately put it in my planner,” she says. “Then I can stay focused on what I’m doing. It helps me capture to-dos and guides me through my day, telling me what I’m doing when.”

Morgenstern also keeps a glass of water on a felt coaster and a quote-of-the-day affirmation calendar by Louise Hay. “It’s not an essential,” she says. “It’s something new I’m trying.”

Nicknamed “the queen of putting people’s lives in order” by USA Today, Morgenstern says she prefers her desk to be a clear surface except for what she’s working on at that moment. “I might have a client file or media interview folder, but if I’m not working on it, I don’t keep it out,” she says. “Once you start leaving things out, it becomes distracting. I store everything else within a spin of my chair.”

KIP TINDELL

As CEO and founder of The Container Store, Kip Tindell has access to multiple organizing tools to keep his desk tidy, but he’s very selective about what he uses. “I like to keep my work surface as open and clutter-free as possible since I prefer to be out, interacting with others instead of cooped up in my office,” he says.

Tindell uses stackable desktop organizers from his company’s Like-It Collection to hold office essentials. His desktop also holds a selection of books written by colleagues and friends. And decorating the surface is a collection of seven colored blocks that represent his company’s seven Foundation Principles, which guide everyone on how to treat employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, and the community with respect and dignity.

Since his desk is streamlined, Tindell says it typically doesn’t get too unruly: “As you can imagine, we like to keep things well organized at The Container Store,” he says.

There are many systems that you can use to organise your desk. You may even choose to incorporate different organizational styles to create one of your own. Either way your objective should be to implement an approach which will allow you to carry out your daily tasks productively.

Essential Productivity Tools That You Can Use Everyday

Certain Apps Will Allow You To Set Your Productivity In MotionJuggling your home and office routines can prove difficult and with the festive season literally around the corner it is officially time to crack down, be productive and get things done. Getting into a rhythm can be difficult, so here are some tech tools to make it as painless as possible. They can help streamline productivity and organize life — in and out of the office

Task management

Nose is an app that allows you to create categories to prioritize tasks, and share projects with people on your team. You will be able to see as team members’ check off tasks in real time, allowing you to stay on top of big projects. It also syncs with Evernote, Dropbox and Google Calendar, making it easy to keep all your important information updated and in one place. Although Nose is a subscription-based service, streamlined productivity is well worth the investment. Available on Mac, Windows and Linux and with mobile apps for Android and iOS, Nose seamlessly transitions from desktop to on-the-go. There’s even an app for the Apple Watch.

Nose can be a bit tricky for folks new to digital organization, so if that seems a little too complicated for your liking, Wunderlist makes a great entry-level productivity tool. Available on Mac and Windows with mobile apps for Android and iOS, Wunderlist is compatible with all major devices (including the Apple Watch).

Wunderlist allows you to organize projects by folder, set reminders and share task lists with others. Individuals can try out the free version, while Wunderlist Pro and Wunderlist for Business offer advanced capabilities for business users.

 

Password management

LastPass is a great basic password manager, and offers a free version, a subscription version and an enterprise option for businesses. Compatible with desktops, smartphones and tablets, LastPass stores passwords and website information in a centralized “vault,” where users can see and edit their information. LastPass also allows users to store multiple logins for the same site and input payment information to streamline online shopping.

SecureSafe is another password management tool, but it also goes above and beyond with file storage and transfer capabilities. Users can back up and organize important files in one secure location, with the ability to access them from anywhere. It’s compatible with both desktop and mobile devices, and offers options for businesses as well as individual users.

Money management

Mint is a free personal finance app that allows users to integrate multiple accounts (think banking, loans and retirement accounts), budget and keep tabs on upcoming bills. Users can track and categorize spending, set monthly goals and see visual displays of their progress. The app also offers recommendations and money management tips. While it’s compatible with iOS and Android devices, the mobile applications are read-only, so users must set up their accounts from a desktop.

Better Haves is a money management app that allows users to create virtual envelopes for customized categories, like groceries, utilities and entertainment. When spending occurs, users can deduct the amount from the specific category, making it easier to track expenses and stay on budget. Envelopes can be shared with other users, making this app particularly useful for couples. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, and does not offer a desktop version.

Family organization

The About One Family Organizer provides parents with a centralized place to keep track of the family calendar, health and insurance paperwork, school records, vehicle information, receipts and more. It’ll also send users reminders when it’s time to fill prescriptions, make appointments or for upcoming events. There are several different pricing options available, including a basic free version. AboutOne is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Cozi is another app that allows parents to manage family schedules, shopping lists, chores, meals and more. It can send appointment reminders through the mobile app or email, and it delivers weekly agendas straight to your inbox. Cozi is available for both Android and iOS devices, and can be updated from desktops.

These apps can help make home and office life a lot more organised and productive. Keep in mind however that the use of a succession of technologically based apps can actually have a reverse effect on your productivity levels. Do not become a victim of productivity app overload. Use only the ones that truly help to streamline your work life and that aid in keeping you on track in relation to your everyday circumstances.

The Impact of Competing Businesses to Productivity & Competitiveness

Competing Businesses Demand An Increase In Productivity and CompetitivenessWhen you think about restaurants, stores and retailers near you, why do some seem to thrive whereas others are empty and ready to close down? The answer lies in competitiveness.  A competitive business refers to a business entity which uses all of its resources to outperform its competitors.  These businesses do so in a sustainable way rather than just over the short-term. In the Saint Lucian context, there are some markets where firms must compete in order to succeed. Those who battle to succeed are generally those who are competitive.

Competition in the business environment not only has a positive impact on consumers but on the local economy as a whole.  Domestic rivalry supports productivity and international competitiveness of the business sector and promotes dynamic markets and economic growth.  That is, when local businesses are competing with each other, they strive to keep down their operating costs which makes it is easier to pass on competitive prices to consumers. Lower prices means that the disadvantaged segment of the population are now able to enjoy lower prices. Therefore, these businesses can now reach more customers and can thus increase their market share. This in itself means that those firms are achieving increased productivity while competing.

In addition, competitors in the same market are always trying to increase their share of the market. In doing so, they may export goods and services to foreign markets. This has the advantage of helping them get more sophisticated clients overseas. Of course increased market share overseas can translate to increased profits. These local businesses are then able to expand and employ more workers. If this happens collectively, this will translate to increased employment, competitiveness and thus economic growth for the country.

Michael Porter, the competitiveness guru has stated that industries that are competitive internationally are those in which domestic rivalry is the strongest. He suggests that domestic rivalry contributes to the success of a country in a particular industry.  For example, Korea’s electronics sector is globally recognised and highly competitive. The sector’s high performance resulted from rivalry between domestic companies like Samsung and LG. Therefore, when firms aggressively compete with each other locally this means they are more prepared and better able to compete and sustain competitive advantage in the international market.

Business leaders must understand that the never-ending search for competitiveness is, therefore, a search for competitive advantages. All firms in the same line of business are chasing the same thing, so you can see that the concept of competitiveness is a moving target.  The complacent business that has enjoyed advantages in the past soon finds that it is overtaken by hungrier, fast-moving competitors.

Competitive businesses usually have one or more competitive advantages. Competitive advantage refers to the factors that allow a business to outperform its competitors. In order for a company to use those advantages to work effectively, they need to be sustainable.  A business which has achieved a competitive advantage means that:

  1. The company has been able to add more value to its customers than its rivals and has been able to attain a greater market share than other firms.
  2. The company has an advantage over its competitors by offering a superior value, quality or service.

In conclusion, it is important that our local businesses know how to compete. They have to implement strategies to enable them to be more competitive. These entities have to strive for excellence in order to face fierce competition and more importantly for survival. This effort to outperform their competitors supports productivity and competitiveness which contributes to overall economic growth.