ORGANIZATION TIP: Where Do You Keep Your Software Activation Codes?

Being able to find something the instant you need it is important!

organize activation codeI have an Outlook contact for each app installed on my laptop. When I received the post-purchase confirmation email, I copy/pasted the codes and other information into the notes area. When I need a code (like recently after installing a new hard drive on my laptop), a quick search in Outlook, copy, paste. Done.

No need to find a document and look for the code. Finding something in Outlook is so much quicker, especially since it’s always open.

This is especially important now since we rarely get the actual software DVDs. Back then, I’d write the code directly on the disk with a sharpie (and still created the Outlook contact).

How do you keep up with your codes? Let us know in a comment.

PEACE.

How to Match Your Gadget to Its Cable

 I’ve been using colored stickers (my dots) for years to match my gadgets with their cable. Place a sticker on the cable, right side up so you’ll know at a glance which way it plugs into the port. If you exhaust all colors, just add two or more matching stickers.

This is also a great way to organize books, CDs, DVDs, etc., by genre.

Here’s a link to stickers on Amazon. Avery also has some, but you have to order as an add-on item (orders of $25 or more, which is no problem for me).

Get Organized Now!

Need more help getting organized, check out my ebook, Get Organized At Work And Make It Easy.

PEACE.

Note: The image above is my Bluetooth headset…awesome!

12 Fast Ways to Answer Email in Outlook (video tutorials on new membership Website)

Are you feeling overwhelmed just thinking about email? Are you finding it harder to focus and manage the never-ending demands on your attention? Are you scrolling through hundreds or thousands of unread messages all day? Are you spending too much time giving the same answers to similar questions?

The best way to handle an overflowing Inbox is to get into a meeting with it, and handle it one message at a time. For the messages that deserve an answer, you’ll finish quicker once you discover little-known, Outlook commands and a few workarounds.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert and author of Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook, has pulled together her best tips for answering emails fast. She manages her life inside Outlook and shares ways she uses it that its creator probably hasn’t even thought of.

· Create good, solid answers once, and use them again and again.

· Grab information you need often, and send it before you can blink.

Investing in this video series will be the best decision you’ll make this year, and it’ll take a little over 30 minutes to change your life. The videos will play on any device, plus PC and Mac, and all browsers.

Here’s a Free Sample from the Course

You can collect text and graphics from other Office software, the Web, a PDF, and so on, store them in the Office Clipboard, and use them to quickly answer an email. This tip also works in all other Office applications.

So clear your calendar, get quiet, and learn how to breeze through your Inbox, one message at a time, by learning ways to answer them faster. And for the ultimate success, use your desktop computer to manage it and your mobile to monitor it.

A one-time investment will give you lifetime access. This way, if you forget how to do something or the technology changes, you’ll be able to come back and brush up on whatever you need. Each tip is in a separate video to make it easier if you need a refresher later…just click the one you need.

You don’t have a second to spare! Don’t waste another minute digging through your Inbox. Invest in this training because, unlike dieting or exercising, the results are immediate!

Check out the site, choose the training you can use immediately to make your life a little easier, and sign up today!

PEACE.

Get Organized for the New Year So You Can Think! A Webinar with Peggy Duncan

Testimonial from Recent Event

“Get Organized” was a fantastic seminar. To be honest, I thought you were going
to share very little of your expertise while trying to sell us
something. Instead, you went on and on, offering tips, delivering insights.
My office is now a different space and results are already showing in concrete manners.
Thank you so much!”

Karina Hatcher, Marketing & PR Specialist
Magnum Group, Inc.

Get organized with Peggy Duncan Webinar

Is this training for you?

  • Are you feeling overwhelmed as soon as you walk into your office?
  • Are you stressed out and always wondering what you forgot?
  • Do you find yourself apologizing too much for commitment fails?
  • Are you beginning to feel incompetent because you can’t focus or keep up?
  • Are you embarrassed when you’re late and not pulled together?
  • Do you jump from one project to the next without finishing anything?
  • Are you digging through piles and finding more work that’s past due?
  • Do you feel guilty about not spending enough time with people or things you love?
  • Do you need more time just to think?

Yes? Then getting organized is your answer! Sign up for this training right now! And unlike dieting or exercising, the results of making these changes are immediate!

If your workload lasts well beyond the workday, getting organized will help. You can easily save one to two hours a day just by clearing clutter from your desk, mind, computer, and Inbox. It’s not hard. You just have to make the commitment to start, finish, and maintain. And unlike dieting or exercising, the results are immediate.

What You’ll Learn

The main takeaway is how to create a logical filing system.

Regardless of where you store your files, they need to be organized for easy access. You’ll need a logical system so you (or anyone else) can find what you need the instant you need it. 

    • Eliminate clutter one pile at a time.
    • Distinguish between things to keep and things to trash.
    • Create a system for files on your desk, computer, online, and Inbox.
    • Beat deadlines every time with external cues that help you remember.

What You’ll Need

  • Fast Internet access.
  • A computer with audio and Adobe Flash. Or connect directly from an Apple(R) iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
  • Latest version of Adobe Flash.

Links

We’ll email you the link to use the morning of the training. Be sure to check your junk email folder.

Recording

This Webinar will be recorded and available to watch online at your convenience. Please allow 2-3 days to receive the email notice.

Affiliates – Promote This Training and Earn Cash!

Join our affiliate program and earn cash We’ve established an affiliate program for this series. Join the program and promote it using your custom link. Every time someone clicks your link and registers, you’ll earn $10 once the event is over.

Put the link on your Website, blog, email signature, social sites. Send an email blast using the logo image above. Simply right-click on it, and Save image as. If you need to know how to hyperlink an image, check out this how-to video.


Your Expert

Peggy Duncan PR

Peggy Duncan travels internationally speaking to audiences on organization, time management, and technology. She’s the author of several books (Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2007; The Time Management Memory Jogger™; Just Show Me Which Button to Click! in PowerPoint 2007. Booklets include: Shameless Self-Promotion: Do-It-Yourself SEO; Computer Magic in Word 2007; Get Organized At Work and Make It Easy; and Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel Made Easy).

The Durham native was formally trained at IBM and was recognized by the chairman for streamlining processes that saved the company close to a million dollars a year.

Peggy has appeared on NPR, CNN, TODAY, Black Enterprise Business Report, and the US Virgin Islands PBS affiliate. She’s been quoted in Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur, SUCCESS, Real Simple, Ladies Home Journal, O-The Oprah Magazine, Black Enterprise, ESSENCE, Health, Men’s Health, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Friday (Dubai), USA Today, and many more.

Peggy received her B.S. degree (Marketing) and a train the train certification from Georgia State University in Atlanta. Visit her Website at www.PeggyDuncan.com.

Reminders

  • Recording of any kind is prohibited.
  • You’ll receive a link to the Webinar the morning of the event. Check your junk email folder.

Click Here to Register. Slots are limited.

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How to Stay Focused When You're Working on Multiple Projects

I need to stay focused on several different projects simultaneously, and they all have different deadlines. Too many things are falling through the cracks (mine and my staff). How can I stay focused on each project without neglecting anything?

It’s not how much work you’re doing, it’s why and how you’re doing it. Look at each project individually and make sure it’s worth everyone’s time. Then figure out how to get it done with the least amount of time and effort. With better processes, it’ll be easier to train your employees sufficiently and this results in their having fewer questions.

Get started by organizing everything related to a project using a product that fits the job: a work folder, file drawer, binder, etc. This will help you avoid having everything you’re working on out on your desk at once, keeping you distracted and overwhelmed. You’ll start thinking more clearly too.

You should also schedule time to work on each project and avoid jumping from one to the next. You’ll get more done if you focus on one thing at a time and either finish it or get it to a logical stopping point. Don’t let multitasking rob you of the satisfaction that comes from completing something.

Technology can help too. Whatever you’re working on, technology you probably already have will make it easier. For years, software has come with features that can reduce hours of tedious, mundane work down to the time it takes you to blink. But, unfortunately, few people seek training and companies cut it first during tight times.

Without realizing it, you may have continued to work as you always have, never considering there might be a better way. Stop long enough to think about this and work to streamline and document everything, step by logical step. If you and your employees start to work like this, you’ll have sufficient time to get everything done.

PEACE.

Get Organized and Create More Time

You’re always declaring you want more time. Are you willing to do what it takes to make it happen? This is not a complicated thing to do folks. You just have to stop long enough to make it happen.

The number one reason people give for not getting organized is that they don’t have time.
The reason they don’t have time is because they’re disorganized.

Organize your files. Use your local grocer as an example on how to organize anything. They use broad categories to separate the products, giving everything a home. For example, Meat Department, then poultry, then chicken/turkey, then by parts, then by brand. You can always go to exactly what you need by starting with a category first. You organize everything this way, putting like items together. Your system will be logical so you’ll start to remember where you put it. You need to organize everything from your paper files to the computer files to the Inbox. The quicker you can put your hands on what you need, the quicker you’ll be able to leave work.

Organize how you remember. You want to use your brain for thinking and external cues for remembering. Every time you know you have to do something, ask yourself, “How will I remember to do this?” You’ll use different systems for remembering based on what you’ll be doing when you need to the reminder. It could be a shopping list on a notepad in your jeans pocket or on your PDA. Or a computer reminder if you know you’ll be at your desk when you need to remember. Checklists, to do lists, computer reminders, tickler files, etc., will help you remember.

Organize your processes. If you do something more than three times, you need a process for getting it done the simplest, quickest way. Take something you do often. First, does this work actually need to be done? If yes, develop a better way to do it, especially if it’s something you dread doing. Write down everything that needs to happen from beginning to end, eliminating wasted steps as you go. Document the process.

Organize with technology. Don’t try to use technology to get organized before you’ve dealt with the chaos and clutter. That’ll just make it worse. Get your clutter under control, use external cues to remember when to do something, streamline your processes, then figure out what technology will make work even easier and learn how to use it.

Spend some time now working on all this. For more help, check out my book, The Time Management Memory Jogger or enroll in one of my time management workshops.

PEACE.

Use Outlook Contacts for More Than Just Names and Addresses, etc.

You can use Outlook Contacts for more than just contact information of people you know or meet. I use them for all kinds of things because it’s so convenient to get to (I live in Outlook). I use the notes block on the contact page to store information. I give each “contact” a logical name and locate it quickly by typing in the Find a Contact box.

Here are some examples.

Blog This. As I think of things to write about (or run across ideas on the Net, magazines, etc.), I add information on various topics in the notes block of this contact. I use two monitors so when I see something on the Net to blog about, I copy and paste the URL to the text area. If it’s something I need to remind myself of, Ctrl+Shift+G to flag the contact. I assigned this contact to my Outlook “Reminder” category.

Airlines. I have the major airlines that I fly listed, along with their phone numbers, URLs, my frequent flyer numbers, and airport codes in this contact. I assigned this contact to the “Vendor” category.
Affiliates. I’ve signed up for various affiliate programs on the Web, and all the information on each one is kept in one place in this contact. Everything is in alphabetical order. I assigned this contact to the “Vendor” category.
Personal. This is a running list of all my passwords/IDs I use on various Websites. I’ve written enough of each password so I know immediately which one I used. Everything is in alphabetical order (I can also press F4 to Find). I assigned this contact to the “Personal” category.
Laptop. This contact lists all kinds of things associated with my laptop. I have the order number/date of purchase, service code/tag (because HP will ask me this if I call them); the date my warranty expires, and case number with notes anytime I have to call them. I assigned this contact to the “Vendor” category.

These are just a few examples. If you have miscellaneous information you have to keep track of, consider making it one of your contacts and it’ll always be at your fingertips (and synched to your PDA).

Note: Outlook Notes work well too. They can be organized and categorized for easy access.

PEACE.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

6 Ways to Create More Time. Hint: Stop Wasting So Much of It!

Every time I hear of company layoffs, I feel badly for the people losing their jobs. But I immediately start to wonder how the people left behind will make it. They were already working inefficiently; now half of their co-workers are gone.

In my work as a consultant helping people improve their personal productivity, I see so much wastage. I often wonder how anything gets done and how people have any time for a life outside of work.

Create More Time

If you’ve wondered “How on earth will I find time to do all this work?”, read on. Now is the perfect time to turn off the TV and start developing ways to work smarter.

Keep a time log. If you don’t believe you waste a lot of time, keep a log. How many times did you surf the Internet reading useless blogs (not mine), etc., that are not work-related? How many personal phone calls? How much time spent on personal errands, events, etc? How much time are you spending looking for a file on your computer? Keep track of every minute for a few days and be honest with yourself about how you’re spending work time.

Organize everything. Save hours a day by creating paper, computer, Inbox, etc., filing systems so you can find anything you need the instant you need it. Start with your clothes closet and purge the things you don’t need and put like items together by type and color. Use this same system for everything else that you organize, not necessarily by color, but by putting broad categories of items together. In a filing system, this could mean putting all of your marketing files together, accounting files together, etc. Get everyone to use the same logical systems so anyone can find anything anywhere in the office.

(Free templates are available at www.PeggyDuncan.com that will help you with all this and will save you hours of tedious work. My site views best in Internet Explorer.)

Set goals and prioritize. You have to determine what your goals are so you’ll know how you should spend your time. The easiest way to figure out what your priorities are is to stay focused on those things that make you the most money. On a job, it’s what’s laid out in your performance plan that’s connected to the size of your raise. In business, it’s whatever is bringing in the most revenue, whether it’s a particular set of clients, products, or services..

Streamline your processes. Get back weeks by not working the same way you always have. Spend time figuring out better ways to get everything done. Look at everything you’re doing, especially the most time-consuming, miserable, mundane work you have to do. Is the work necessary in the first place (not all of it is)? What steps are unnecessary? Is someone else doing it a different way and finishing faster and with fewer errors? Examine everything you’re doing, write it down, move steps around, and eliminate all wastage.

Computerize everything. Get work done in the time it will take you to blink. Technology you already have can perform magic, but few people have stopped long enough to seek training. If you learn how to use the software you touch every day, you’ll finish everything at least six times quicker. Either learn how your software works or hire a geek who already knows.

Delegate or outsource what you can. Once you’ve gotten organized and computerized, you’ll have a clearer picture of the work you do and how it should be done. Now you’ll be able to get someone else to do much of it and offer logical explanations of what you need (because now it makes more sense to you). Spend your time and mind on your core work and delegate or outsource everything else.

You might have to give up a weekend or two to get this done, but you’ll get all that time back and feel better every day going forward. And unlike dieting or exercising, the results from all these things are immediate!

Need training? Check out my Website for public productivity workshops, Webinars, computer classes, and information about hiring me as a speaker for your next event or for company training.

And my book, The Time Management Memory Jogger(TM), teaches everything I know about working smarter in a quick, easy read.

P.S. Here is an excellent article on motivating employees who are left behind after a layoff. And use the calculator in the right sidebar to determine how much free time you have after doing all the things that MUST be done.

PEACE.ggy Duncan, Personal Productivity Expert

Coaching Session Turned Into a Slideshow/Video

Monday Breakthroughs

I recently recorded a coaching session/Webinar I had with two clients who wanted to get organized at work (that’s the number one way of creating more time). One is a small business owner (events planner) and the other in hotel sales. Clutter was taking over their lives and blocking them from reaching their full potential.

The next day, as I was listening to the recording, the idea hit me to create a video of this call and include the slides.

I considered different ways I could create this video and ended up doing it as follows.

Step One

The first thing I did was to edit the audio to a tight conversation that’s the right combination of my tips and how my clients understood them and will use them. Once that was perfected, I made a separate recording of my introduction to the video (the next time I do this, I’ll include this when I record the phone call).

Step Two

The next step was to save each slide in my PowerPoint presentation as pictures (here is a previous post I wrote on how to Save a PowerPoint Slide as a Picture). So now I have my audio and my PowerPoint slides in a format I can use. Next, I had to sync everything.

Step Three

I use Camtasia Studio. I created a new project and added both the audio files to the timeline. I also inserted all the slides into the Clip Bin as separate pictures. As I listened to the recording, I stopped every time I referenced a new slide. I’d then add the appropriate slide/picture to the timeline and adjust the recording to fit.

Step Four

Once I had the project the way I wanted it, I rendered it as a Flash video and uploaded it to Techsmith’s Website, Screencast.com.

Finished Resource

Now I have a product: Monday Breakthroughs. You’ll be able to view the full video/presentation/training at your convenience, then join me on the phone any Monday for live group coaching that’s only for Q&A. (In addition to the video and phone coaching, you’ll also receive my ebook, Get Organized At Work, and a set of free Word documents that make it easy to create a filing system and will save you hours of work.)

Here’s the trailer.

Get all the details and sign up right here.

I went from a coaching call to developing a new product using tools I already know. I spent one day developing this instead of outsourcing, waiting months, going back and forth until I could get exactly what I wanted, completely stressing out, and paying a ton of money.

My question to you: how can you take what you know and create products to sell while you sleep? Leave a comment with your ideas.

What’s Next?

I think my next project will cover how to improve your email habits and etiquette, and how to manage email overload using Outlook. I’ll keep you posted.

PEACE.

Organize Your Receipts Before Tax Time and Beyond

When I started my business almost 11 years ago, as part of the Accounting section of my filing system, I had a folder for each vendor I spent money with regularly (e.g., gas, light, Office Depot, etc.). When I found myself sticking receipts in a To Be Filed folder, I knew my system was too tedious. I was procrastinating about filing everything, and that told me I needed to simplify.

Here is a simple solution that works for me.

  • Create a home for all receipts for each month. This can be a file folder, tray, basket, or whatever works for you. I have a drawer for Accounting and keep everything nice, neat, and out of sight.
  • Create a home for all pay stubs from clients. For all checks you receive for the month, keep these pay stubs separately and in the front of the folder for that month.
  • Keep everything with that month’s bank statement. When the bank statement arrives, use a jumbo paper clip to keep all receipts and pay stubs for that month behind it. When I reconcile for that month, I put a big R so I’ll know it’s done.

This system is simple so it’s easy to maintain.

One thing though, I had to figure out a way to quickly find receipts for higher-priced products in case I needed repair, etc. I created a contact in Outlook called “Big Ticket Items.” In the text area of the contact I have a 2-column table that is similar to the one below. If I ever need to find a receipt, I’ll know which month/year bank statement to pull.

Date Purchased Description
5/15/2008 HP Laptop, Best Buy
5/29/2008 Office Telephone, Office Depot – ATT
8/6/2008 Luggage at TJ Maxx
8/23/2008 Headset for ATT phone, Office Depot
8/29/2008 Took iPhone back and got BlackBerry, AT&T

What system have you developed that works for you? Let me know. If you’d like more training on how to get organized, visit my Website. I also have a before/after organizing story and a page of records retention suggestions on how long you should keep files before destroying.

PEACE.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert