Advertising
Advertising

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 15 Ways to Clean Up and Conquer Office Clutter

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 15 Ways to Clean Up and Conquer Office Clutter


    Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What’s the coolest gadget (high OR low tech) you have to help you keep your office space organized?

    1. Paint the Town Chalk!

    Yael Cohen

      Our office is an inspiration cave. We can draw and write on every surface, from the white board to the conference table to the windows to the chalk walls. This allows us to not only go with the inspiration but also to visualize our projects and workload.

      Yael Cohen, Fuck Cancer

      2. No More Post-Its With Asana

        After my teams switched to Asana for project management, I noticed there were far less Post-It notes, scribbles and half-filled sheets of scratch paper lying around my office. Entering and organizing our tasks in Asana was easier, and it has also eliminated the digital clutter of separate task lists and the old mile-long to-do list.

        Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

        Advertising

        3. Old-Fashioned Post-It Notes

          We use post-it notes as our teamwide “To-Do” list. We stick them on the wall in order to avoid clutter on our desks. We have a goal to pull the notes down every week after accomplishing big sales, operations and marketing goals!
          Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

          4. Move to the Cloud

          Louis Lautman

            Move everything to the cloud, so you don’t need any gadgets. If you look at your systems, it is highly probable that you can move many online, so you really don’t need an office. Today, there is more technology than ever that can handle an increasing amount of tasks. Begin to move your work to the cloud and lose the office altogether.
            Louis Lautman, Young Entrepreneur Society

            5. Work the Whiteboard

              We whiteboard everything. From projects to team assignments, presentations to goals and numbers. It is extremely powerful to see your messages in big, dry erase markers every time you walk through the office. It reminds you why you are there and what you need to be doing. That keeps myself and my whole team organized.
              Greg Rollett, The ProductPros

              6. Invest in IdeaPaint

              Advertising

                We turned our walls into large whiteboards so that no matter where we are in the office, we can write just about anywhere. It comes in handy with the studio setup that we have, and creates a great creative visualization for us too.
                Ashley BodiBusiness Beware

                7. Keep It Simple With a Kamban

                  We’ve tried all kinds of online apps for organization, and our favorite tool ended up being a physical 3’x4′ Kamban board. It’s essentially a whiteboard sectioned off into four parts: to-do, in progress, done (waiting for approval) and icebox (ideas that we put “on ice” for later). We pin colored index cards to the board, and we move them from section to section as we progress.
                  Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

                  8. Mobile Office Grid

                    I use a product called Grid-It! by Cocoon to keep my “mobile office” organized. The Grid-It! is a board with a zipped storage compartment on one side and a mesh of elastic bands on the other. The compartment holds paperwork and discs, while the bands hold everything else (cables, gadgets, hard drives, etc). Simple concept, but it’s made my carry-on bag far more manageable.
                    Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle

                    9. Adapt With Batteries

                    Advertising

                      I have a battery charger with a variety of different adapters. It allows me to plug most of the gadgets I carry around into it and recharge them. As an added bonus, I’m popular at conferences because I can always provide at least a little charge to anyone with a dying phone, giving us a chance to sit and chat.
                      Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

                      10. Rotating Paper File

                        David Allen’s GTD system recommends having a “tickler file.” Basically, this means that you have a file folder for each month and then a series of folders labeled 1 through 31. As paper material comes into your life, you put it in the correct day or, if it’s more than a month away, the folder of the correct month. This is a simple way to keep paper organized and accessible at the right time.
                        Elizabeth SaundersReal Life E®

                        11. Evernote for Everything

                          I scan everything into this program, then tag and sort it. It really takes away the need for me to have paper anywhere in my office. Also, whenever I need something, it is only a quick digital search away — even from my smartphone!
                          Justin Nowak, Mobile Business Advisors

                          12. Monitors and Mice

                          Lucas Sommer

                            To me, this is a no-brainer, but I make sure every person in my office has a second monitor and wireless mouse. Most people are unaware of how much faster they become with a mouse and second monitor, and I make sure everyone has that opportunity. Some people resist claiming that they “work better on their laptop trackpad.” Eventually, they realize.
                            Lucas Sommer, Audimated

                            Advertising

                            13. Keep the Cords Clean

                            Anderson Schoenrock

                              I have a henge dock for my MacBook Pro that keeps all my connectors organized and clean.
                              Anderson Schoenrock, ScanDigital

                              14. Cordies for Cables on the Table

                                The biggest source of office space disorganization is cords — they’re everywhere! Not only are tangled cables for computers a pain to look at, but they can also be a tripping hazard. Cordies — starting at just $9.99 — are available to help. Cordies, created by the cool crowdsourcing invention company Quirky, are design-friendly and effective in organizing stray cables.
                                Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                                15. There’s a Job Position for That

                                Brent Beshore

                                  A Director of Operations is the best way to keep a business organized. Startups are all about swift changes, and a human can help you adapt and keep pace with those changes a lot better than any single piece of technology can.
                                  Brent Beshore, AdVentures

                                  (Photo credit: Bad Day at Work via Shutterstock)

                                  More by this author

                                  9 No-Brainer Ways to Track Employee Time Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Things Entrepreneurs Should Stop Doing Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Best Note Taking Tools Ask the Entrepreneurs: 12 Tips for Mastering Public Speaking Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

                                  Trending in Productivity

                                  1 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory 2 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 3 Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start? 4 You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out 5 There Is More to Life Than  ____________

                                  Read Next

                                  Advertising
                                  Advertising

                                  Last Updated on October 17, 2018

                                  7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                                  7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                                  How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

                                  If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

                                  Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

                                  So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

                                  1. Meditate

                                  We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

                                  Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

                                  Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

                                  Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

                                  Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

                                  If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

                                  And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

                                  2. Get plenty of sleep

                                  If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

                                  If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

                                  How much sleep should you be getting?

                                  Advertising

                                  Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

                                  Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

                                  Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

                                  Yes, there are.

                                  Try these three things:

                                  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
                                  • Don’t eat too late
                                  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

                                  Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

                                  However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

                                  3. Challenge your brain

                                  When was the last time you challenged your brain?

                                  I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

                                  To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

                                  Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

                                  There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

                                  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                                  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                                  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

                                  If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

                                  Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

                                  Advertising

                                  4. Take more breaks

                                  When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

                                  At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

                                  However, I was wrong.

                                  Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

                                  Let me explain.

                                  Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

                                  Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

                                  It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

                                  It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

                                  What’s the answer?

                                  Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

                                  If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

                                  5. Learn a new skill

                                  I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

                                  “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

                                  From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

                                  Let me give you an example of this:

                                  Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

                                  Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

                                  The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

                                  Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

                                  Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

                                  6. Start working out

                                  If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

                                  Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

                                  Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

                                  “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

                                  Not a problem.

                                  A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

                                  Interested in getting started?

                                  Advertising

                                  Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

                                  • Join a gym
                                  • Join a sports team
                                  • Buy a bike
                                  • Take up hiking
                                  • Dance to your favorite music

                                  7. Eat healthier foods

                                  I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

                                  This applies to your brain too.

                                  The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

                                  Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

                                  Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

                                  Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

                                  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
                                  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
                                  • Nuts – improves memory
                                  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
                                  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

                                  Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

                                  Final thoughts

                                  I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

                                  You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

                                  But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

                                  Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

                                  Read Next