Category Archives: Productivity Tools

3 tips for a stress-free connected workplace

(NC) Does your workplace stress you out? It may not be the everyday tasks, projects and deadlines, but rather the physical environment.

Maybe your desk is too messy, or your colleagues are too loud. Perhaps your boss is always looking over your shoulder, the dated technology gives you anxiety, or you can’t stand the fluorescent lights.

If any of these resonate with you, there’s a good chance that your physical workplace is affecting your attitude and performance.

According to the recent Connected Workplace Report, commissioned by Rogers Communications and conducted by Harris-Decima, 76 per cent of Canadians believe technology helps them to be more efficient and productive at their job. And, 30 per cent of respondents report that staying connected to their work with mobile technology helps them to enjoy a healthier work/life balance.

Creating a stress free environment for you and your team can pay off big time. Whether you are an executive, manager, or team member, you can have an impact on the stress level of your co-workers by using technology and other techniques.

Here are three ways to do this every day of the week:

Keep your workspace clean and organized. Clear all the clutter around your desk. Put work in progress neatly in one location. File away completed projects, and do an assessment of what you really need to keep. Determine if you can digitize any of your printed documents. Recycle or shred anything that you do not need a copy of.

Ensure your office and desk set up is comfortable. Place your computer directly in front of you with your keyboard and mouse in a comfortable position – your lower arms should rest at a comfortable angle. Think ergonomics – you should have a desk chair that is adjustable and provides proper back support. This will alleviate both physical and mental stress.

Use technology. Modern technology has changed the way we do business. Smooth collaboration between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency while also reducing stress. There are numerous tools that allow people to collaborate and share from anywhere, like interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, Microsoft’s Office 365 and the Rogers One Number app are two examples.

Be a good communicator. Poor communication often causes confusion, leading to stress in the office. If those around you aren’t communicating well, ask questions, make suggestions and do whatever else you can to improve the situation.

Sixty per cent of those surveyed believe that smartphones and tablets have a positive effect on workplace communication. To stay productive on the move, workers need to be able to quickly and easily reach the people and information they need. With file sharing tools and mobile worker solutions and devices, it is easy to work outside the office and still enjoy safe access to the business network.More information is available at

Use Lists to Manage Your Life

My wife is the queen of lists. She uses an iPHone 4s and can, a swipe and a couple of taps, pull up whatever information she needs to plan her next action. For example, she uses SplashShopper to track all our shopping lists. If we pop into Home Depot to pick up a gallon of paint, she checks to see what other hardware items we might need, saving a second trip. She has lists of gift ideas, quotes for greeting cards, honey-do’s and much more.

Lists are the simplest tool or system for managing your life. They consolidate all your tasks in one place. They can tickle your memory or stimulate your creativity. Lists can be as simple or as complex as you need.

You can read lists that give insight into who we are in the Sasha Cagen book, To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us.

Here is a quick outline of some of the lists you can keep:

  • Reference
    • Dates
      • Birthday
      • Anniversary
    • Personal information
    • Account information
    • Action
      • To-do
      • Bills to pay
      • Projects
      • Communication
      • Planning
      • Context-based
    • Shopping
      • Groceries
      • Clothing
      • Household
      • Gifts
    • Ideas

    What are some of the lists you use?

How to Automate Evernote

or… “Put Evernote on Autopilot, Save Boat Loads of Time and Make Your Life Easier (and More Organized)!”

If you’re really using Evernote to “remember everything,” you know that you need to be diligent in getting your stuff into Evernote. There are a few built-in features to speed-up the process: a dedicated e-mail addressing for sending items to Evernote or import folders that Evernote where you can save files for automatic import. As well, there are apps that tie into Evernote from smartphones and tablets, making it easier to add content for those devices.

However, beyond those considerations, there is nothing in the way of native support for automating Evernote.

Kosio Angelov addresses this “shortcoming” in his ebook, How to Automate Evernote: Put Evernote on Autopilot, Save Boat Loads of Time and Make Your Life Easier (and More Organized)! (aff link) A mouthful of a title.

In the 77 page book, Kosio looks at a couple of tools that can work with Evernote to automate a number of processes: IFTTT, Gmail, Zapier and Evernote’s built-in features.

He takes us through each of the tools in step-by-step detail, offering a few concrete examples form each tool – recipes from IFTTT, zaps from Zapier, and setting up the built-in automation processes.

If you’re looking for a way to take your Evernote experience to the next level, this ebook is the way to go. It’s $7.00, a good investment for improving your productivity processes.

How to Automate Evernote: Put Evernote on Autopilot, Save Boat Loads of Time and Make Your Life Easier (and More Organized)!


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How to Keep a Time Log

One of the simplest time-management tools is a daily time log. By selecting a typical week and gathering data on your daily routine, you can find areas where you could improve your use of time.

Instructions For Keeping Daily Time Log

Gather Data:

Keep a daily time log for one week. This will provide accurate information for you to improve your use of time. Be honest and attentive to detail.

Analyze Your Use of Time:

Working with the data gathered, analyze your current use of time. List opportunities for improvement.

Action Plan:

From your analysis, develop specific action plans to bring about the desired improvement in your use of time.


Six weeks after beginning your time management improvement effort, assess your progress, and determine what work still needs to be done.


  • Select a typical week, (i.e., avoid vacation, sick leave, personal leave, holiday, etc.)
  • Record activities at least every half hour. Be specific. For example, identify visitors and record duration and topics of conversations. (Be honest. Only you will have access to this information.) •
  • Write a comment on each activity. Did something take longer than usual? Why? Were you interrupted?
  • At the end of the day note whether this day was typical, busier than usual, or less busy than usual.

5 Steps to Going Paperless in 2014

Evernote for iOS icon

I have slowly been making my way towards the paperless office, both at work and at home. It’s been a steady process, but there is still some ways to go. One of the best resources for going paperless is Jamie Todd Rubin, the Evernote Ambassador for Paperless Living.

For those of you who are looking at starting the paperless process —maybe a New Year’s Resolution— Jamie has posted a Primer to Going Paperless in 2014. In the article he gives a roadmap with 5 phases to going paperless.

“There are 5 main phases to the process. If you go through each of the 5 phases, you should at the end, find yourself growing increasingly paperless day-by-day. That said, if you have already completed one or more of the phases, you can use this as a guide as to where you might go next.”

Phase 1: Select your tools

Phase 2: Determine your processes

Phase 3: Organize your notes

Phase 4: Practice good online security

Phase 5: Go mobile

If you’re already an Evernote user, this will help you tie-in your paperless processes to that service. If you’re not using Evernote, why aren’t you? This will show you some of the benefits of using Evernote as a tool for going paperless.


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50 Ways to Leave Your Paper

50 Ways to Go Paperless has some Inside the Box thinking about going paperless. Some of the 50 Ways relate to Shoeboxed features or other products and services. However, there are lots of useful tips that can be applied without needing to use the services or apps.

If you’re still making lots of excuses for not going paperless, this article is going to wipe-out most of those.

50 Ways to Go Paperless