worklife organization

Worklife Organization Tips to Help You Declutter For Good

Organization: a word that elicits much joy and much pain. It’s a relief when you have it and it’s stressful when you don’t, and everyone has an opinion on how to “do it right.”

One major theme in the books, articles, and blog posts about organization is decluttering. It’s out with the old and ditch the unuseful, and in with the new and keep the highly useful. When you start thinking about decluttering and organizing at work, it’s helpful to think about organizing three different spaces: physical space, mental space, and digital space. This article will point you toward a few ideas and resources that can help you to declutter and organize your worklife in all three areas and increase your productivity.

Remember: worklife organization is intensely personal, so there is no “right way” to do it. In order to be successful, you’ll likely have to try out a few ideas and tweak them to work best for you and your work environment.

To-Do List

Yep, the tried and true to-do list still reigns supreme to declutter and organize your worklife. According to a recent episode of the podcast Hidden Brain, to-do lists are actually responsible for saving lives too! But writing down a simple, column list is not always enough when projects start multiplying. I like to have a macro list of all my projects that I break out into daily to-do lists every morning. This helps create to-do lists that I can accomplish in one day.

I personally prefer analog to-do lists, but there are dozens upon dozens of to-do list apps. The Verge’s recent article The Best To-do List Right Now will help you learn more about to-do list apps. (FireFly’s co-founder, James Bennett, uses The Verge’s No. 1 recommendation — Todoist.)

Bullet Journal

Bullet journaling creatively helps my worklife organization exist in one place. I don’t keep track of my calendar or daily to-do lists in my journal, instead I write ideas, thoughts, research, and resources for each project; plus I keep them simply but well-indexed for easy reference. My pages often end up looking like little brainstorms that are easily fleshed out into full-fledged projects. There are many ways to personalize a bullet journal for high productivity, and you can learn more about how they work here.

Color Coding

As a costume designer and theater professor, my friend La may have up to four plays she’s in the process of designing while teaching several classes — that’s a lot of project management! To keep track of each class and show, she color codes all her physical and digital materials. This includes sticky notes, highlighters, pens, folders, and more. It even includes color coding each class in her grading and attendance apps.

Desk Declutter

If you’re tired of lifting up piles of paper on your desk to find the right piles of paper, it’s time to start thinking about a desk declutter. Of course you don’t have to go full minimalist for your desk. Some of the philosophies and tips Becoming Minimalist states in this article can help you figure out what will work best for you. Once you get in the habit, it may only take you 5 to 10 minutes a day to keep it tidy. Remember to include decluttering your computer desktop too!

Meditation

Guided meditation via a mobile app is a great to help you focus energy on clearing specific mental blockers (AKA mental clutter) such as managing stress and workplace pressure, according to the Huffington Post. To help you find the right meditation app for you, check out this article from Healthline for a breakdown of the highest rated apps. I use and like Calm.

Team Building for Worklife Organization

When it’s time to declutter team stress and bring everyone closer together, organize a team building event! Contact us via our website at fireflyteamevents.com, phone at 877.267.1939, or email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

workplace creativity

Workplace Creativity Cultivated: Try These 5 Simple Tips

“If you love what you do, you never have to work another day in your life” – Marc Anthony.

Every company has the potential of offering a fun, energetic and creative environment.  This is a positive place where people can be trusted to do their jobs because they are happy and inspired by their employer’s engagement strategy.

An engagement strategy is a business plan that focuses on keeping employees engaged in the work they are doing.  This can be accomplished by making cultivating workplace creativity a priority.  Cultivating workplace creativity is proven to increase employee productivity, retention, and sales.  As a result, companies have larger profits and happier workers.  Many companies have engagement strategies, but fail to implement them.  So try these five simple tips and see how workplace creativity strategies improves your business.

GAMIFICATION

Apply motivational techniques to everyday tasks to improve workplace creativity.  Video games hook their users with quick responses, goals, badges, transparency, competition, leveling up, and collaboration.  These same methods can be applied in the workplace.

  1. Quick Responses. Use weekly meetings to provide feedback and evaluations. Encourage employees to offer ideas via email and respond daily.
  2. Goals. Set clear, achievable, short term goals
  3. Badges. Provide awards or praise when employees reach these goals. Some companies use a point system.  Employees accrue points for reaching short term goals which can then be accumulated and traded in for larger prizes.
  4. Transparency. Let each employee know where they stand vs other employees.
  5. Competition. Transparency, goals, and badges create competition in the workplace. Competition is a great way to keep members engaged and cultivate creativity.
  6. Leveling Up. Offer training and opportunities for advancement
  7. Collaboration. Encourage people to team up, bounce ideas off each other and assist each other in reaching the goals.

OFFICE LAYOUT

Some people work best with an open floor plan. Others work best with a closed office space.  Why not have both? Offer options for a person’s own style.  Either a shared work table or a private cubicle.  When a person is comfortable in their environment, they will perform better.

OFFICE DÉCOR

People are more creative in a creative environment.  SO ADD COLOR!  Instead of standard fluorescent lights, use colorful lamp shades.  And put art on the walls.  No one wants to live in a beige world, so why are offices painted beige or white?  My high school math teacher painted our classroom bubble gum pink.  It was a horrible color, but he said it would make us focus better, and it actually did.  But I don’t recommend bubble gum pink. Instead, warm earth tones work well too.

EXERCISE

Motion gets the blood pumping, reduces fatigue and increases creativity.  Encourage regular stretching breaks. Teach techniques that can be employed at the desk like head rolls.  Offer a space for walking or stretching during lunch breaks.

WORKPLACE CREATIVITY CULTIVATED OUTSIDE OF THE WORKPLACE

Lastly, to cultivate creativity in the workplace, sponsor activities outside the workplace. A company softball team, wine and paint night or a weekend hike.  Community service projects are also great ways to bond employees and make them feel good about themselves.  Employees who feel good about themselves are more creative and loyal.

For more suggestions on cultivating creativity in the workplace and for team building options contact us at 877.267.1939 or email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

how successful teams make team building count

How Successful Teams Make Team Building Count

Congratulations on completing your team building experience!  You should now have a super powered team that is completely perfect.  No?  Your team is only mostly perfect?  Well, that’s because your team building should never be “completed.”  The value of any team building comes from reflection and implementation.  The actual activity, while probably awesome and Instagram-worthy, is neutral in achieving your goals.  Follow these strategic steps to create value for your team in between epic outings. 

Debrief, Debrief, Debrief!

During your event one of our team building ninjas likely led your group in a discussion about how your team performed during the challenge.  Your company likely already has a debriefing procedure or strategy in place to discuss how projects turn out. Debriefing is where we examine the experience to find the value and actionable data. The key with team building debriefing is the actual activity is inconsequential.  The specifics of what your team did to accomplish a team building challenge doesn’t matter nearly as much as how your group functioned. 

Michelle Cummings, a leader in team development and coauthor of A Teachable Moment warns “If participants are not allowed to reflect on their experiences and relate them to the outside world, then a lot of the learning may be lost” (Cummings. “Effective Debriefing Tools and Techniques”) Gather the team together once you’re back at the office.  Engage with the staff about how they felt and what they noticed after the activity.  You can even ask each member to write down one take away from the event. Utilize these takeaways as talking points in the future. Check out Cumming’s guide “Effective Debriefing Tools and Techniques” for some great ideas on switching up your debriefing technique. It will keep things fresh and interesting.

Check In

Regularly check back in with the team about their takeaways. Have they noticed any topics or trends that you discussed during the debrief? How have they been applying their takeaways to their current projects and responsibilities?  It doesn’t have to be a big meeting, but regular reminders will help strengthen the lessons and your team will ultimately get better at applying the concepts.  Forbes encourages managers to look at team building as an important investment.  As with most investments you don’t want it to go to waste.  You’ll need to provide “maintenance” on those lessons if you want them to continue working.

Remember the Team Building Fun

If a staff member groans about team building, you’re doing it wrong.  One of the most important elements of successful team building is buy in. Buy in requires trust, clear targets, and a transparency. Don’t make assumptions on behalf of your staff’s perceptions.  I stated that the activity is immaterial, but there is a reason we host dodgeball tournaments or graffiti experiences and not Power Point presentations.  Intrigue and excite your staff and they’ll be more likely to support the activity. You can still have a powerful experience with a “fun” activity. 

Continued Investment

Book another event!  I know, shameless self promotion right?  But for truly meaningful team building one outing a year isn’t going to make a drastic difference.  Show your staff you want to invest in them by making time for multiple employee enriching activities.  This will increase their engagement in both the process and your company.

To continue your team building journey or if you want to begin this adventure of staff enrichment contact us at james@fireflyteamevents.com or 877.267.1939

Remote Office Sharing with Hoffice?

I recently came across the concept of the Hoffice. It’s a fledgling movement in Sweden that gives working from home a twist. Instead of heading to a cafe or working by yourself, other telecommuters are invited to share someones home. They work in silence for 45 minute blocks. In between those blocks they chat, exercise, etc. I know that when I work from home I am VERY easily distracted (cats). I haven’t tried co-working spaces because they usually seem claustrophobic and… too quiet. I like the way Hoffice blends interaction and productivity. If you’d like to read more about it – check out the article on BBC News – > http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161230-the-swedes-ditching-desks-to-work-from-strangers-homes

Or head to the Hoffice website – http://hoffice.nu/en/