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Be Productive On Summer Fridays

Enjoy your summer Friday! (Photo Credit: blog.syracuse.com)

Enjoy your summer Friday! (Photo Credit: blog.syracuse.com)

If you are lucky enough to have summer Fridays at your workplace you know it’s where every Friday throughout the summer people get off of work at 1pm (or so.)

When I first heard about this, I tried to convince my boss to pick up on the trend. But unfortunately, the news business runs a little differently. But if you participate in shorter workdays on Fridays – you can enjoy your longer weekend by being as productive as possible up until the moment you leave work.

Here are a few tips on how to make your summer Fridays as productive as possible:

1.     Do more during the week: Plan your schedule appropriately, so a shorter workday on Friday is do-able. Rather than cramming everything in at the last minute, really make sure you’re on track with your work. Schedule busier tasks earlier on in the week and reserve Fridays for follow ups and smaller tasks only.

2.     Don’t open your e-mail until noon: It’s harder than it sounds. There’s many times when it’s easy to keep hitting refresh on your inbox to kill time, but resist the urge. Spend your mornings doing what’s important, rather than responding to e-mails that aren’t urgent. As important as you may think it is, usually e-mails can wait a few hours.

3.     Prepare the night before: Throughout the week, make a to-do list of the things you must get done each day. If you’re writing an article, outline it the night before– it’ll save you hours the next day. Don’t leave the office until everything you need to accomplish gets done. You’ll thank yourself when you get to start your weekend early.

4.     Keep your office cool: Working in a hot room tends to make us feel groggy and sluggish.

5.     Treat yourself: Get as much out of your day by working hard first and then enjoying a nice reward of your choice afterwards! Whether you plan to get a manicure or treat yourself to a nice meal, finish your task first and reward yourself afterwards. It’ll act as a motivator and you’ll be able to enjoy it at your own leisure without stressing about all of the things you have left to do.

6.     Meditate: In the morning, spend a few minutes to focus your mind and listen in. You will discover ideas inside of you that will help you find success throughout your workday. By relaxing, you’ll be able to align your goals and plan your day to be as productive as possible.

Enjoy your head start on your weekend!

5 Apps to Make Cleaning Easier

Cleanly App (Photo Credit: darnellthenewsman.com)

Cleanly App (Photo Credit: darnellthenewsman.com)

I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with cleaning. Being tidy and organized helps increase your productivity and makes you feel less stressed—but the process of cleaning is never fun! As a kid my mom even nicknamed me “the mess maker.” Even though I would make a big mess – I would always clean it up!

Especially when you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to push cleaning off to the bottom of your “to-do” list.

Not wanting to clean isn’t something new either. It’s always been a burden on everyone from someone living by themselves, a stay-at-home mom or business owner.

Here are a few of my favorite cleaning apps:

1. Cleanly: If you’re in New York, and have ever dragged your laundry down the street…this app is for you. It allows New Yorkers to schedule laundry pick up and delivery at their own convenience! Cleanly users can schedule a time for pickup, including directions on how to wash their clothes, and a “Cleanly Valet” will come pick up the clothes and drop them off at a local laundry mat or dry cleaner! Fresh, clean clothes are then delivered within 24 hours.

2. Handybook: Users can book a company certified maid, plumber or handyman on their mobile phone by filling out an online application in less than two minutes! You fill out what type of cleaning you want done, how many rooms need to be cleaned and choose from a list of available time slots. In just minutes, an e-mail confirmation will provide you with a housekeeper’s name and phone number.

3. HomeRoutines: No list is complete without a cleaning “to-do” list! This app lets you create thorough to-do lists and then rotate tasks by day or week, so you can develop a routine that makes keeping your house clean a habit. The app splits your home into five zones and gives you a task for each area, reminding you about tasks that often get overlooked, but need to be done!

4. BrightNest: Take your lists to the next level. This app helps you build a customized list of projects based on your personal living conditions. The app asks you questions, such as whether or not you have kids or pets, the appliances you use and what your goals are. Weekly projects are then illustrated with an estimate of how much time they will take. It even lists surprising tips to help you get the job done and gives you home maintenance advice based on your region’s climate.

5. Chorma: If you’re living with multiple people that leave their space messy, this app can help. Chorma lets you create lists of repeating chores and then assigns them to housemembers, who can check-in with their progress. To encourage people to get their stuff done, the app allows you to create redeemable individual or group rewards!

Make a list of five areas that you think need to be cleaned and then download one of these apps that will help you!

Say Goodbye to CardMunch App

The app will be shutting down on July 11 (Photo Credit: gigaom.com)

The app will be shutting down on July 11 (Photo Credit: gigaom.com)

In case you didn’t hear, CardMunch, one of my favorite apps is being discontinued in July! The app allows you to scan business cards and have them synced with your contacts. When I first found out, I was disappointed.  Why does every app I love have to go away? First it happened with Astrid and then Orchestra and even Lemon!

I’ve used CardMunch for years and have recommended it to so many people. I even posted about it just a few months ago. Fortunately, CardMunch is being taken over by another app that I love, Evernote!

Transferring your contacts is super easy and Evernote even offers some cool, new features.  After scanning your cards, you can enter comments and geo-tag the location where card was scanned. LinkedIn, which owns CardMunch, is also offering two free years of Evernote’s business card scanning service if you transfer your info. I already moved mine over and I recommend you do too in order to get adjusted as soon as possible.

Here’s how to transfer your CardMunch cards to Evernote:

1.     Login to Evernote and LinkedIn from this site. If you do not already have an Evernote account, you’ll have to create one. Read more

Five Ways to Simplify Your Life in Five Minutes

Alarm Clock Redux

Alarm Clock Redux (Photo credit: Gnu2000)

We’ve all heard it before, “I’ll be there in five minutes.” or “just give me five more minutes.” Everyone always throws around five minutes even if it’s going to take them 10 or 15 minutes. Throwing five minutes around annoys me. Maybe it’s the producer in me because I’m used to being very precise with time. I’ve been known to have meetings at odd times like 4:37 or 12:23 because I know exactly how long it will take me to get somewhere and every minute counts.

But if you’re smart enough, you can spend those “five minutes” actually doing something really productive. Five minutes is a very valuable chunk of time — if you know how to use it correctly. Here’s a list of things you should use those extra five minutes doing:

1. Prioritize and prepare: Before you go to bed each night, take five minutes to jot down the most important activities that you need to get done tomorrow. This will help you schedule your time appropriately and be productive from the start of your day. Once you have created your list, look through it and identify any ways you can make each task a little easier. If you’re planning on going for a run in the morning, lay out your workout clothes the night before to save you time when you wake up. Not only will this be time efficient, but this will also encourage you to follow through with your workout plans!

2. Refine your list: It’s easy to get caught up in miscellaneous tasks throughout the course of the day. If you find yourself straying from your ‘to-do list’, take five minutes to rework your list. Keep it as simple as possible—if you take on a new task; replace it with a different task on your list. This way, you won’t be taking on more than you can handle. And don’t be afraid to say no when necessary!

3. Limit your media consumption: From cell phones, to social media, to e-mail, it’s easy to get distracted. In order to ensure that you do not stray from your priorities, take five minutes to download apps, such as “AwayFind”, which will send an auto-reply text message stating that you are currently busy. It will also provide emergency contact information just incase. This eliminates the social distractions in your life and allows you to focus on what’s important so you can check another thing off your ‘to-do list’.

4. Clean out your closet: If your clothes drawers are so stuffed that you can’t close them, take a five minutes to give one drawer a once over. Pull everything out, set a timer and get rid of any items you do not use.

5. Eliminate any junk mail: If your email inbox is overflowing with messages, it becomes difficult to find that important email from a few days or weeks ago. Take five minutes to clear out any unneeded messages or spam from your inbox in order to make your account easier to manage. Next time you go to look for an old e-mail, it will be much quicker to find.

Hopefully, the five minutes you took to read these steps will buy you five extra minutes in the future!

It’s Tax Time! Are You Ready?

Image via TaxGeeks

Image via TaxGeeks

It’s one of my least favorite subjects but I’m forcing myself to talk about it because it’s important. It’s tax season and the deadline is creeping up. I know that this is a stressful time for people, and a lot of people worry that they might be accused of having unfiled tax returns or owing back taxes.

Just do it — and get it over with! Then we can make lists of things to do with your refund!!
Here are a few ways to get your taxes in order this year:

Evernote: You know how I love it. I use it every year to organize all the expenses that I want to keep track of and everything is easy to find when it’s time. Then you can scan or email your finished return right into Evernote to keep track of for years to come. It’s really the easiest method. Read more