Archive for February, 2006

The Cluttered Desk; The Tidy Desk

A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind”

“A tidy desk is the sign of an insane mind”

What does your desk really say about you? Do you have trouble finding things? Do you know exactly where everything is? Would someone else be able to find anything?

My desk is a mess, but I can tell you exactly where everything is. The system works for me. But what if I had an assistant or needed to bring in extra help for a short time? Would my organizational style help or hinder?

I have been in the mood to tidy up lately (much to the joy of my wife) so naturally I turned to the internet. Nothing like some cyber procrastination to get things off on the right foot.

I found a couple of articles, but basically they all included the same information that I boiled down to some simple strategies for getting organized.

  1. Really want to get and stay organized. If you don’t really want it, it ain’t gonna happen. Don’t even bother with the rest of this article if your heart isn’t in it.
  2. Don’t try to tackle it all at once. Spend a set amount of time each day. Perhaps 20 minutes, perhaps an hour. Whatever is necessary to plug through the current mess without burning out.
  3. Come up with a strategy. For instance “In, Pending, Out”. Or  “Keep, Toss, Move”. Or “Working, Reference, Archive”. You can come up with any combination of categories, you just need a category and a place for everything. Don’t forget to have and use a category for trash. You must throw things away.
  4. Develop a routine. Get in the habit of processing all current papers using your chosen strategy. Practice this strategy even while you are still working through the existing mess. Without developing a habit, your desk will eventually return to it’s wild state, and you will have to start over again.

I was amazed to see how many services and consultants there are that want to help you get organized. But hey, if you’ve tried everything else, you may need to bring in the big guns.

Me… I will try it on my own for a while.

20 Rules for Better Conference Calls

20 Rules for Better Conference Calls or “Don’t make me reach through this phone and slap you!”

This article was born from experience. After you have sat through so many conference calls, you just can’t put up with one more heavy-breather, or side-talker or snack-muncher. You just snap.

When that moment comes you have two choices. Go on a manic screaming tirade, or write a sarcastic article. I chose the latter.

Now, you can benefit from my passive aggressiveness. The next time one of your co-workers sends you over the edge with rude conference call behavior, email them the link to this article. They will thank you for showing them the light. (Editor’s note: They won’t thank you… but others may.)

You may notice that these rules are simple and common sense. Yeah, I noticed that too and yet I still had to write the article… Go figure.

So without further ado, here are the 20 Rules of Conference Call Etiquette Read the rest of this article »

The 2.5 Million Dollar Bathroom Break

Remember, you heard it here first… It is now perfectly acceptable to use Super Bowl commercial breaks as bathroom breaks again.

For many years, commercials aired during the Super Bowl represented the best and most interesting advertising pieces of the year. In many cases, the advertisements would be a bigger draw than the game.

Now, they are just plain dull. The dullness hit us last year in what many say was an overreaction to the whole Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. It’s hard to disagree with that conjecture based on the timing, but I don’t understand how one boob could spell the end to all creativity as we know it.

Certainly there is more to clever advertising than sex and violence. At least you would think so. But last night, all of the commercials that would normally use sex, turned to violence or slapstick and most of those were dull. In addition, all the ads that avoided both sex and violence were lame, dull and unmemorable.

Quick quiz: Name one advertiser that you can remember from Super Bowl XL. Come on think harder! I can only remember Anheuser-Busch and I don’t drink their beer.

So what did all the others that paid $2.5 million get for their cash?

I don’t know what they got, but they bought me some time to make a pit stop.

Cabin Fever

It’s the beginning of February. It’s cold outside. I live in the suburbs. My family has one car. (And I don’t get to use it.)

These are the makings of home office cabin fever.

When the weather is nice, the highlight of my day is walking out to the mailbox to check the mail. It’s a nice leisurely stroll of about 100 yards. It’s not much, but it breaks up the day. Trash day is a bonus, that is an extra trip to the curb and back to bring in the cans. But in the winter, those two excursions aren’t nearly as pleasant. In fact, I find myself trying to combine them or speed up the amount of time spent outside.

What do you do to get through the winter months? What do you do to solve the one-car problem when there is no place to walk to? Is it just a matter of staying focussed and hoping winter ends soon? Ah… that wouldn’t be so hard if that damn groundhog hadn’t seen his shadow.

Please share any advice in the comments section.