Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?

minimalist workspace
  1. Move your documentation digital. Get rid of as much paper as you can so there aren’t loose items falling out of your work bag or spilling across the table. Need paper for brainstorming or note taking? Choose a journal or other bound notebook like a Moleskine instead of loose leaf paper.
  2. Have one Inbox. I’m a big fan of using Evernote to put all my ideas, notes, and action items. Maybe you use something else – or a combo of programs like Trello and Google Keep. Whatever it is, streamline as much as possible. When an idea comes in, or an action item pops up, go immediately to your app to enter the information. This can eliminate the post it note syndrome.
  3. Manage your cords. Sure, we need to stretch them out when in use, but when not in use, make sure your power cord, mouse, and other accessories have their own contained space in your work bag. Look into items like Grid-It or other cord control options and a travel pouch to put them into. This way you can find what you need as soon as you need it, without pulling everything out of your bag.
  4. Headphones. Not only can you add music to your day – which helps some people focus – but you can use headphones to block out the noise from other people in your work area.
  5. Keep your work area clean. This includes your digital desktop! An organized computer can increase your efficiency and decrease your stress.
Do you have other suggestions? What’s worked for you to stay organized when mobile?

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April Merritt, owner of Ilios Digital Organizing, uses her education in Information Science and her passion for problem solving to help entrepreneurs increase their productivity and revenue. Her focus is on the right tech for the right task, finding what works for you so you can save time, make money, and grow your business.

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

24 September 2018

One Software to Rule Them All

Unitasker or Multitasker?

 

Should you have one software for each task, and rely on Zapier to link them, or find a software that can multitask?

I talk a lot about having the right tech for the right task. But what does that mean? A favorite blog of mine, Unclutterer, frequently highlights what she calls unitaskers. These are organizing or productivity tools that only have one use – like a banana slicer. A unitasker can also be a tool/gadget that can be replaced by something you already own – why buy a grilled cheese sandwich toaster when you already have a frying pan?

When we apply the concept of unitaskers to the digital world, we start looking at the concept of software that only focuses on one thing. Is it better to have one software for financials, one for CRM, and one for email marketing, or is it better to have one software (like 17Hats) which provides all of those programs?

The question of unitasker software also comes up when we talk about automation. Do you have multiple software options and rely on Zapier to connect them, or do you go with software that automatically integrates with each other? For example, Acuity software automatically connects to your Google calendar, PayPal, and Stripe. But Acuity does not automatically connect with Evernote, so I have to use Zapier to get that information where I want it.

I don’t have one software that does it all. Right now my Quicken Online account links to PayPal, my Acuity scheduling account links to PayPal and to Google Calendar, and Insightly CRM links to MailChimp and my Gmail account. The great thing about Google is that so many programs link to it natively. But would I be more productive if I had one software – like 17Hats – which does my financials, scheduling, email marketing, and email?

Unitasker or not, the more important question is are you using the right tech for the right task. It is rare to find one software that does multiple things well. In addition, there is automation software like Zapier which will connect your individual software programs to each other in order to reduce your admin work and make it seem like everything works together. So find what works best for you, and seek expert answers to your questions when you have them!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…

A is for  ASSIGN A HOME  Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.

 

C is for CONTAINERIZE  The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.  When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.

 

So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?

 

Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.

 

 The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Continue Reading
21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Continue Reading
4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Continue Reading

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

24 September 2018

One Software to Rule Them All

Unitasker or Multitasker?

 

Should you have one software for each task, and rely on Zapier to link them, or find a software that can multitask?

I talk a lot about having the right tech for the right task. But what does that mean? A favorite blog of mine, Unclutterer, frequently highlights what she calls unitaskers. These are organizing or productivity tools that only have one use – like a banana slicer. A unitasker can also be a tool/gadget that can be replaced by something you already own – why buy a grilled cheese sandwich toaster when you already have a frying pan?

When we apply the concept of unitaskers to the digital world, we start looking at the concept of software that only focuses on one thing. Is it better to have one software for financials, one for CRM, and one for email marketing, or is it better to have one software (like 17Hats) which provides all of those programs?

The question of unitasker software also comes up when we talk about automation. Do you have multiple software options and rely on Zapier to connect them, or do you go with software that automatically integrates with each other? For example, Acuity software automatically connects to your Google calendar, PayPal, and Stripe. But Acuity does not automatically connect with Evernote, so I have to use Zapier to get that information where I want it.

I don’t have one software that does it all. Right now my Quicken Online account links to PayPal, my Acuity scheduling account links to PayPal and to Google Calendar, and Insightly CRM links to MailChimp and my Gmail account. The great thing about Google is that so many programs link to it natively. But would I be more productive if I had one software – like 17Hats – which does my financials, scheduling, email marketing, and email?

Unitasker or not, the more important question is are you using the right tech for the right task. It is rare to find one software that does multiple things well. In addition, there is automation software like Zapier which will connect your individual software programs to each other in order to reduce your admin work and make it seem like everything works together. So find what works best for you, and seek expert answers to your questions when you have them!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂

25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…

A is for  ASSIGN A HOME  Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.

 

C is for CONTAINERIZE  The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.  When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.

 

So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂

13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?

 

Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.

 

 The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Read More

21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Read More

4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?

Get More Digital Productivity Tips

Are you ready for tips about digital productivity and info about tools that can get you out of the office quicker?
Sign up for our Tips and Tools newsletter to save time!
Email address
Talk to you soon 🙂
Read More