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  • September 13, 2018 5:39 PM | Shelly Trimble

    Submitted by NAPO member Janet Schiesl

    Reposted with permission from basicorganization.com

    What does ‘being more productive” look like to you? That question could have a million answers. One size does not fit all. Actually, the answer is very personal. To start the process, identify what it is that you want to work on, then using some basic guides work towards that goal. To help you out, here are my top basic rules for being more productive:

    Write a shorter to-do list.

    Focus on what you really “need” to get done today. Make it short and simple, but ask yourself how this list will help you to reach your goal. Prioritizing what needs to get done first, then note the “wants” at the bottom. Maybe your goal is to get more sleep. What do you need to do today to:

    • get to bed earlier? Maybe turn off the electronics early.
    • sleep more soundly? Maybe don’t drink any alcohol or spicy food in the evening, or maybe do some exercise during the day to use up some extra energy.

    Be more flexible.

    Have a plan, but be flexible. No one has a perfect day, but if your to-do list is short then you can deal with any interruptions in your day while still be productive. What if:

    • your boss has schedules a last-minute meeting that you have to attend. Can you delegate the work you were going to do then?
    • the kid’s carpool doesn’t happen and you have to cancel your gym visit to drive your son to practice. Can you walk around the field while soccer practice is happening?

    Go offline.

    This may be hard and I am not suggesting that you toss the electronics completely. But set boundaries for yourself:

    • turn off the distractions when you need to concentrate on something else.
    • set times during the day when you’ll check email and social media, then don’t do it any other time.

    Make decisions.

    Procrastinating on decision making will waste SO MUCH TIME! Seriously! Just make the decisions and move on. I think of this as taking control of your life. Because, often times, if you put off making a decision, someone else will make it for you. If this is hard for you, ask yourself::

    • why am I hesitating?
    • what is the worst thing that could happen if I made this decision? Write it down.

    Put yourself first.

    Be proactive with your time. Make it work for you, not the other way around. You can do this by:

    • making sure your to-do list includes things like exercise, hobbies, or any other personal activities.
    • scheduling yourself on your calendar. It is your calendar, so you should see yourself on it, not just what you need to do for others.


  • August 19, 2018 7:14 PM | Shelly Trimble


    Productivity is more than just a buzzword for managers and executives.  As the generation of “there’s-an-app-for-that” continues to be glued to our phones to do more and more from banking to baby-sitting, we are all looking for balance in getting through our to-do lists.


    In the world-famous productivity guru David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, there is a flowchart that asks one simple question: “Will it take less than 2 minutes?”  If the answer is Yes, we are directed to “Do it” if the answer is No, we are directed to either “Defer it” or “Delegate it”.


    A huge proponent of David Allen and his Getting Things Done methodology, is a productivity guru in his own right, Ray Sidney-Smith.  Ray will be speaking with us at our Successful Productivity Event on Saturday, October 20, 2018.  His topic will be: Getting More Done: The Principles of Greater Personal Productivity


    Most people are productive on some level. They get up every day. They go to work. They are getting things done.

    But, they want to be getting more done. And, that’s what this Getting More Done session is about. How do you get more done? It all comes down to four overlapping productivity themes Ray Sidney-Smith productivity-technology expert and consultant has observed over the past 20 years.

    Ray Sidney-Smith is a perennial Small Business advocate, working tirelessly to helps small businesses launch, grow, and succeed in the marketplace each and every day.Ray Sidney-Smith (rsidneysmith.com) is the President of W3 Consulting, Inc.(w3cinc.com), a consultancy providing small businesses throughout the United States with practical approaches to business development and management/operations using Web, mobile, social and digital technologies.


    As a Digital Marketing Strategist, Productivity-Technology-Management Consultant, Google Small Business Advisor for Productivity, Evernote Certified Consultant, and Hootsuite Global Brand Ambassador, Ray is often hired or invited by economic development authorities, chambers of commerce, small business development centers, convention and visitors associations, and small business advocacy & support organizations to speak to SMB audiences and conduct strategy sessions with small business owners on a myriad of management, Web,Mobile & Social Media marketing topics. Ray is the author of SoLoMo Success: Social Media, Local and Mobile Marketing Small Business Strategy Explained (2nd Edition is available through Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and Audible audiobook versions).Ray has just published Getting More Done: The Science and Principles of Greater Personal Productivity.



    In his spare time, Ray has been organizing the two largest productivity MeetupTM groups in the United States(in DC and NYC) based on Getting Things Done by David Allen over the past decade. Ray uses his education and passion for psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and time, task, team, and project management, in coaching and training professionals on personal productivity methodologies and supporting them at different stages of their systems implementation. He holds regular personal productivity, marketing/management, and technology workshops and seminars, hosts and facilitates Productivity Book Group (productivity bookgroup.org) podcast, #ProdChat (rsidneysmith.com/prodchat)--the weekly #productivityconversation on Twitter, hosts Productivity Cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity(productivitycast.net), and produces Prod Pod, the podcast of productivity lessons in two minutes or less(prodpod.net)--named by Inc.com as one of the top 10 productivity podcasts of 2016 and 2017 and by BusinessInsider.com for 2017.

    You can connect with Ray all over the Web via rsidneysmith.com and his productivity “stream” at TwoMinuteRule.com


    What else takes 2 minutes? Deciding to join us for this wonderfully educational seminar on not just getting things done but getting more done! We’ll see you on October 20th in Arlington, VA!



  • August 19, 2018 10:34 AM | Shelly Trimble

    submitted by NAPO Member, Sandra Wheeler

    Reposted from NAPO Get Organized & Be Productive Blog

    STOP and THINK

    I often wake up with a good deal of energy, ready to jump out of bed and start my day. This is great however, I have learned if I STOP first and THINK, I am more efficient overall. STOP before your feet touch the floor in the morning and you get out bed. THINK about your day. What are the two things that you could accomplish today that would make you happy when you lie back down in bed tonight? Just TWO!

    Choosing two objectives will often set you up for success, rather than allowing others’ interruptions and priorities to take your day and run with it. STOP before you jump in the car to run errands. THINK about what you need to accomplish. THINK about the rest of your week. Are you going right by a store on Thursday? Can this errand wait until then? Perhaps create a crude map with the errands listed. This can save you hours of darting to and fro with no real plan.

    STOP before jumping in to declutter your desk. Many folks want to first take care of all the easy items to get them out of the way. Tackling the easy things first may use up all the time you have allotted and may not allow you to get to the more important and urgent items. STOP to create lists and piles as you THINK about your priorities. First tackle a big fat important task, then a few quickies. STOP often. Be mindful. Allow your body and your mind to rest. Allow down time for yourself, giving your mind a chance to THINK creatively about your priorities and provide you a more efficient day. Once a quarter I try really hard to take a day off. I pack a tote bag of papers and books and spend the day sitting in a Panera.

    Time away from the house (laundry, dishes, meal prep, etc) allows me to let my mind STOP and THINK. It allows me to focus on the important priorities in my life. How is my family? How is my home? How is my business? What is working? What have I been thinking of trying? Having time to STOP and THINK renews my energy and allows me to focus. Days like these leave me feeling energized to move forward to achieve new goals.

    After 20 years in the Corporate world, Sandra Wheeler found her passion and her peeps in NAPO. She has earned her Specialist Certificate in Residential Organizing, as well as Workplace Productivity. Sandra served on the NAPO-CT Board from 2008-2016 and received the Founders Award for her contributions. In 2016, Sandra earned her Feng Shui Certification from the New England School of Feng Shui.


  • August 01, 2018 10:35 AM | Shelly Trimble

    Announcing the Washington DC Book Launch for Julie Morgenstern’s upcoming book, Time to Parent: Organizing Your Life to Bring Out the Best in Your Child and You. Join fellow “Inside Out” fans to hear Julie discuss the most challenging time management issue in the age of technology, keeping your family organized so you can enjoy time with your loved ones.


                                    .                

    "I have a big history of book events in DC, which has included speaking at the National Book Festival with the launch of my last book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life. It was a huge turnout, and it made me feel very connected to readers in Washington DC. This time around, having the chance to speak with families and to help them better organize their lives so that they can have quality time with their kids and for themselves is something I am very much looking forward to sharing."

      • Julie Morgenstern


      Register for the first-ever public event sponsored by the Washington DC chapter of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Both the public and productivity professionals are invited to attend the official book launch and presentation of Julie Morgenstern’s new book Time to Parent. All book launch attendees will receive a copy of Julie’s new book and the opportunity to take part in a book signing reception.


      “Julie is an amazing motivational speaker!  I admire her ability to present in large group settings, alongside celebrities and in front of the camera.  This book launch will not just be her reading a paragraph from her book, but she will inspire us to be the best parents we can be.”

      • Heather Cocozza, NAPO Washington DC Metro Chapter President


      The Book Launch begins with a presentation by Julie Morgenstern, focusing on her latest time management and productivity lessons. Ask Julie your burning productivity questions in a  question and answer (Q&A) period. Afterward, meet Julie and get your copy of her new book signed, then mix and mingle with Professional Organizers and Productivity Experts at the book signing reception.


      The Book Launch Schedule of Events


      3:15 pm - 3:45 pm     Registration

      3:45 pm - 5:15 pm    Time to Parent Book Launch Keynote with Julie Morgenstern

      5:15 pm - 6:30 pm     Book Signing and Reception (light refreshments and a cash bar will be available.)


      This event is only $39 and open to the public, as well as Organizing and Productivity Professionals. Register here. https://www.dcorganizers.org/Julie-Morgenstern-Book-Launch


      The event will be held in beautiful Founder’s Hall on the campus of George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, with easy access to Metro and affordable parking at the event location. Make a day of it by visiting one of the wonderful restaurants and/or stay at a hotel close by.


      Are you a Professional Organizer or Productivity Specialist looking for more education? Register for the Successful Productivity Professionals event that will happen on the same day and will include the Book Launch for Time to Parent. Register for Successful Productivity Professionals here, https://www.dcorganizers.org/Successful-Productivity-Professionals/


      Please contact productivity@dcorganizers.org with questions or for more information.



    • February 01, 2018 5:39 PM | Terri Phillips

      By Heather Cocozza, PMP, CPO | Productivity and Organizing Consultant, Cocozza Organizing & Design, LLC | National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) - Washington, DC Chapter, President

      You have more time than you think! Really! Read Laura Vanderkam’s book 168 Hours and you will be inspired to tackle the priority activity that you want to do but don’t seem to have time to do. We all have 168 hours in a week, and how we spend it is important. This book provides technical ideas of to get it done and the inspiration to motivate you. You can increase your personal productivity!


      168 Hours appeals strongly to my demographic: entrepreneurial moms. While running our businesses, we strive to find time in the day to spend with the kids, volunteer and still exercise! The book also resonates because it is based on many of the core principles of time management guru, Julie Morgenstern. In her book Time Management from the Inside Out, Morgenstern pioneered the use of a Time Map as a tool to make time tangible, to make it visible and to design the life of your dreams.

      In recognition of Get Organized (GO) Month to increase our personal productivity, here are five take-aways from 168 Hours that we can do in February and throughout 2018:

      1. Create a block schedule of 168 hours and block out dedicated time on a weekly basis for working, spending time with you kids and/or spouse, exercising and anything else important to you, which should occur weekly.

      2. Focus on what you do best and what brings you the most satisfaction, and you will find space in your 168 hours a week.

      3. A key to productivity is addressing non-core competency work and activities. Vanderkam suggests to either Ignore It, Minimize It or Outsource It.

      4. Consciously organize your space, like Vanderkam, to save time in cleaning and finding items. Dedicate time in your 168 weekly hours for organizing. The time saved by being organized is greater than the time spent organizing.

      5. Be careful of your TV time or using your computer like a TV. Vanderkam states, “While TV is pleasant, it does not make us feel particularly happy or rejuvenated the way true recreation should.” Fill your leisure time with more meaningful activities.

      As an entrepreneur, my favorite section of the book is Part 2: @ Work, where Vanderkam explains finding your flow in work. She goes on to educate and encourage you to slightly change any job you have today to find your flow of working on difficult but doable tasks.

      Need help in developing a weekly time map or organizing your space to save time? Find a productivity or organizing professional in your area at DCorganizers.org.


    • January 28, 2018 9:49 PM | Terri Phillips

      By Kaveri MaratheFounder and CEO of Texiles, a clothing recycling startup based in Washington, DC.

      Clothing waste has become a serious environmental problem for the United States. Americans throw out 80 pounds of clothing per person every year on average. All this adds up to 13 million tons per year, or 6% of landfill space. Yet, surprisingly, most of the textile material that ends up in the trash, in fact, can be recycled. Old clothing that is no longer considered wearable, such as garments with stains or holes, can be shredded down and converted into useful inputs for the housing and automotive industries, like insulation, carpet underlay, protective padding, and stuffing for cushions. Most consumers, however, feel they lack an alternative to throwing out garments in poor condition, because they feel uncomfortable donating these items to secondhand clothing charities. Consumers should know that they can, and should, include such items with their wearable clothing donations because most clothing charities work with a recycling partner that will responsibly dispose of worn-out garments.

      Ultimately, to tackle the root of our problem of trashing clothing, we will have to address Americans’ rising consumption of clothing. Today we purchase 400% more clothing than we did just 20 years ago, largely due to the rise of “fast fashion” – the trendy, yet cheap clothing that has flooded retail stores, like H&M, Zara and the Gap, in recent years. Curbing clothing waste will only subside when we return to a more quality-over-quantity-based shopping ethic.

      - - - - -

      Author Kaveri Marathe is the Founder and CEO of Texiles, a clothing recycling startup based in Washington, DC. She is originally from Florida but moved to DC in 2011 to pursue her Master's in International Relations at Georgetown University where she focused on energy and environmental policy. Following that, she spent 2 years in Oslo, Norway working as a sustainability consultant and returned to DC in 2016 to launch her own business. For more information, you can visit her website at www.texiles.com.


    • January 21, 2018 10:15 PM | Terri Phillips

      By C.Lee Cawley, Certified Professional Organizer and Founder of Simplify You, Inc.

      Hangers! Something we use every day but don’t think much about. It is worth investing in the right ones for your unique clothing needs.

      STYLE: Always buy hangers that have a bottom cross bar also known as a “suit hanger." This enables you to easily hang a scarf with a blouse that matches it. Or, you can fold a pair of pants over the cross bar. The crossbar also makes the hanger stronger and more durable.

      COLOR: For a unified and coordinated look I like everything on BLACK hangers, that way the hangers will always match when you buy new ones. (The white plastic ones tend to yellow.)

      FLOCKED: My favorites are the thin flocked hangers also known as “huggable."  They are widely available but Costco wins for bargain prices: 35 for $9.99 (45.5 cm wide).

      PLASTIC: The black plastic classic tubular hanger from the Container Store is the best. At 41 cm wide the style will always be consistent and the quality is excellent. Buy them by the case for a price of 27 cents each.

      WIRE:  “NO wire hangers ever!” Actually, I am not as militant as Joan Crawford and will allow blouses and shirts that are back from the cleaners to stay on wire (that way you know they have been cleaned). But jackets must be switched ASAP! That bit of cardboard shaped like a wedge will not support a shoulder for very long.

      BOTTOMS: The Holding Hanger, created in Europe will soon be available in the US. This hanger uniquely holds garments from INSIDE the waistband.

      MEN: Classic wooden hangers with a shoulder width of at least 1” are essential for hanging your suit jackets so that they retain their shape.

      SLENDER SHOULDERS: Petite women will love the Okla Hangers from Container Store. These hangers are only 42 centimeters across and won’t stretch or pull the fabric the way a wider hanger can. They are not cheap at 3 for $3.99, but your expensive sweaters and work wear will thank you!

      BACKWARD: When re-doing your closet or when your seasonal switch is over there is one last step! Go through and put all the hangers on the rail “backward” so that the tip is facing out. As you wear and wash your clothes then return garments “normally” to the rail. This simple cost-free idea makes it effortless for you to see what you have REALLY been wearing at the end of a season.



    • January 12, 2018 12:18 PM | Terri Phillips

      By Heather Cocozza, PMP, CPO

      If your New Year’s Resolution is to “Get Organized,” I applaud you and support you!

      There is a word of caution, for some the goal to Get Organized is not enough. Think of the 3-year old always asking WHY? WHY do you want to get organized? WHAT’s the payoff? WHAT’s the driver?  For example, is the reason:

      To Make More Money? – You want to be more efficient at work.  You want to spend less time looking for things and less time on administrative tasks, so you can focus on the core revenue stream of your business and make more money,

      To Be in Control? – Do you sometimes feel a loss of control over your office environment where you are in a reactive mode instead of a proactive mode?  Do you yearn for a greater sense of control where you know where everything is when you need it?  Do you crave order, but you’re working in chaos?

      To Save Money? – How much did you rack up in finance charge and late fees this year? Are you trying to tighten your budget?  Do you find yourself buying duplicate items because you can’t find the original one?

      Understanding the driver behind your goal will help you get through the tough spots and provide that extra boost of motivation to see the goal through to the end!




    • January 07, 2018 1:12 PM | Terri Phillips

      Happy 2018!

      We are the Washington DC Metro chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) comprising more than 60 members located throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.

      We are fortunate to be a part of this talented group of professionals with many different specialties, each of us coming from unique professional backgrounds that lead us to this meaningful profession; all of us dedicated to helping others get organized to achieve a greater sense of well-being. It’s true, we get what we give. And that’s been apparent to us all year long, with the gifts we receive through shared stories, shared problem-solving, and never-ending support of each other.

      As we reflect on 2017, we pondered on the infinite march of natural disasters that occurred throughout the past year (the continual onslaught of catastrophic hurricanes along the south and east coasts and relentless devastating fires up and down the west coast). These sudden scenarios force you to contemplate long and hard about what’s important. -- If you had only moments to collect your most valuable items (think photos, important documents, family heirlooms, or anything else that’s significant to you), would you know where to find them? This is where we come in!

      Which brings us to… January is Get Organized (GO) Month!

      For many of us whose family and friends were impacted by the devastation and destruction, it’s a constant reminder that there is no better time than now to get organized and liberate yourself of unnecessary stuff, so you too, can be prepared in the event of an emergency. For certain, it brings a sense of calm when you know exactly where your most treasured and important items are, at home and at work.

      With the fresh slate that January brings and the cold of winter keeping us indoors, we’re here to share our top tips on getting and staying organized, share ways to increase productivity (you have more time than you think!) and connect you with the proper resources available to you to achieve a more calm and peaceful life.

      Here’s to an organized 2018!


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