10 Minute Tidy Up

If you studied science in high school, you may be familiar with the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”.  It states in a nutshell that “entropy increases.”  In layman’s terms it means that all systems move towards a state of disorder.  You don’t have to be a scientist to see how this plays out in life.  Just take a moment to look around and see how quickly personal and work spaces becomes cluttered.  It is amazing how quickly our spaces become disorganized, and equally demoralizing to consider the hours it will take to restore them.

claire-tompkinsIt need not come to this state.  To keep our spaces clean and orderly on an ongoing basis, a simple approach works best.  One method is the 10 minute tidy up, suggested by Claire Tompkins, aka the Clutter Coach, in her book 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized.  She describes the technique on page 11:

“Just as it is better to wipe up a spill right away, the ten-minute tidy up will keep your space organized with much less effort than spending half of a Saturday on it.  If you do this daily, ten minutes should be plenty.”

She suggests tidying up at transition times, such as before leaving the house or immediately after dinner.  If you are interested in trying it out, she suggests making a list of three spots to tidy today before bed.

Small actions can reverse the weight of entropy in your home.  Why not try a 10 minute tidy today!

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Forte Labs & Public Libraries

This year, ForteLabs stars Tiago and Lauren came to Florida to work directly with Palm Beach County Library staff to help them build their own second brains.  Working in person and remotely, library staff got to explore the latest techniques in the science and art of digital note taking.

Tiago Forte just released an insightful summary of the experience working with us on his Praxis blog.  His post neatly captured the character of modern day librarianship and the opportunities the profession has to be a leader in spreading productivity practices.  He also gained a deeper appreciation of the mission of public libraries.

“Far from being a dusty, stale institution stuck in the past, what we saw on our tour was a vibrant, dynamic, quickly evolving organization full of people who care deeply about accessibility for everyone. Lauren and I were blown away by the breadth of the library system’s programs and services, and all of them offered for free to anyone. We came away with the sense that the library was an absolutely vital part of the community, especially for those with the fewest resources.”

Read the blog post on the Palm Beach County Building a Second Brain project here.  As an added bonus, you can read Tiago’s second posting on the role of public libraries as social infrastructure here.  Thank you Tiago and Lauren!

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Digital Decluttering

How many files do you have cluttering up your computer’s desktop?  What about that app on your phone that was opened once two years ago and soon forgotten?  And just how many photos have you saved to the cloud?

It appears there is a tendency to ignore the clutter in our electronic spaces.  While a slew of books talk about the stress relief that comes from tidying up our physical belongings, should we also pay attention to our digital world too?  Some believe that with computer memory so cheap there is no downside to storing all our files and apps forever. What could possibly be wrong with this approach?

Writer Kelly Oakes argues in an article from earlier this year on the BBC’s web site that decluttering our digital world is just as important as cleaning up physical spaces.  Kelly writes:

“Emerging research on digital hoarding – a reluctance to get rid of the digital clutter we accumulate through our work and personal lives – suggests that it can make us feel just as stressed and overwhelmed as physical clutter. Not to mention the cybersecurity problems it can cause for individuals and businesses and the way it makes finding that one email you need sometimes seem impossible.”

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Learn more by reading the rest of the article on the BCC – Future web site.

2nd Brain Paradigm Shifts

Have you shifted a paradigm recently?

Paradigms are philosophical and theoretical frameworks that we all employ in our minds to help us navigate the world.  Whenever someone experiences a radical change in perspective, we tend to say that they underwent a paradigm shift.

Tiago Forte believes that to succeed in our information abundant world, we need to undergo a set a paradigm shifts regarding how we understand and work with knowledge.  In a recent post on his blog, he explores a new way to think about the purpose of his course, Building a Second Brain:

“This may sound strange, but I increasingly believe that the purpose of this course is not to give students new ideas. It’s not even to give them useful techniques. Endless ideas and techniques are already out there for the taking. No, the purpose of this course is to take people through a series of personal paradigm shifts in their relationship to technology, knowledge, and the new world that is evolving ever faster.”

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Tiago believe the course allows for at least twenty paradigm shifts!  Have you gone through any of them yet?

Konmari for Kids

mariekondoBeing organized is a challenge for all ages.  As a father, I see how children tend to be caught up in the moment.  It is always fun to see their eager faces when they pull toys out to play.  However, once the toy has lost its enjoyment for that session it is often left where it was last touched.  Is there a way to encourage children to tidy up and see the fun in it?

In a recent blog post, Marie Kondo shares her top four tips for tidying up with kids, starting with tip one – Narrate as You Tidy:

“As you tidy, explain to your children what you’re doing so they can learn from you. Try to convey that tidying is part of maintaining a comfortable home. If they see their parents tidying regularly with a smile, children will think of tidying as a positive everyday activity.”

To learn the other three tips, please visit her blog on the KonMari web site.

 

What Does the Science Say?

There are many methods and techniques to become organized at home and work.  The list is long and includes GTD, Building a Second Brain, KonMari, and many others.  However, have you ever thought that the gains made by these approaches are only illusionary?   Perhaps they are all simply feel-good methods that work for a short time and then fade away?  In short, is there any science to back up the claims of these systems?

In a blog post on the revamped Getting Things Done web site, David Allen provides a brief overview to explain why methods like GTD have an impact that relates directly to cognitive science.

“Recent cognitive science research shows that the number of things you can mentally prioritize, manage, retain, and recall is . . . (hold on) . . . four! If you park any more than that in your head, you will sub-optimize your cognitive functioning. You will be driven by whatever is latest and loudest—rather than by strategy, intuition, or objective assessment.”

Read the rest of David’s thoughts along with his book suggestions on the Getting Things Done blog.David-Allen-GTD

Ready, Set, Bank

I just returned from the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC.  If you are not familiar with it, the conference is the largest gathering of librarians, library workers and supporters in the world.  It is a great opportunity to uncover new trends, meet up with colleagues, and discover new technology.

person holding pink piggy coin bank

This year, I came across a wonderful free online course that can be done individually or through library facilitators.  It is called, Ready, Set, Bank.  The course is designed to educate people who are unfamiliar with online banking.  Two target populations for the course are seniors and immigrants.  As the course states:

“Ready, Set, Bank℠ gives people everywhere the tools and confidence to start banking online. Our videos guide learners through every step of the process, with overviews and step-by-step tutorials to help them manage their finances electronically.”

The course is a series of short online videos set into five chapters that are meant to orient individuals to the basics of online banking.  I am excited to explore the possibility of bringing the course to the Palm Beach County Library System.

Learn more by visiting the Ready, Set, Bank web site.