Home Office Organization–21st Century Style

Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

Getting Email Subscriptions Right

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I have recently subscribed by email to most of my own blogs to see what my readers were seeing, and I am not happy. But I found out how to make it better and I hopefully will be happy starting today.

What I see when I get an email blog broadcast or digest newsletter from one of my blogs is a message with excerpts of the posts. To read the entire post you have to click on the link that takes you to the blog site. I figure if someone signs up to get your blog posts by email, they don’t want to have to go to the blog to read posts.

I use AWeber as my autoresponder service and I did not realize that my readers were only receiving post excerpts. I looked through their help pages and found that I have to copy and paste the entire post content into the excerpt box for my readers to get entire posts with graphics, videos and HTML included. It will look much like it does on the blog without the sidebars and other blog elements. Or it is supposed to. I will see what actually appears in the emails.

This message and two others are test messages for digest newsletters that are coming out in a few hours so I can check them in the morning and make adjustments and changes as needed.

I will write a part 2 to this post to let everyone know if it worked.

If you use AWeber with the blog broadcast feature, be aware that your readers are only receiving excerpts of your posts unless you are putting all the content into the excerpt box.

Please leave your experiences in the comments and let us know what you have seen and how you run your email blog subscriptions. I am open to all suggestions and ideas.

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I Cleaned My Desk (Before and After Pics)

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

While my computer was being repaired, I took that time to clean off my home office desk. It was quite a mess. I filled my 64-gallon recycle bin twice with shredded paper from on top of the desk! 64 gallons of paper twice! This task was extremely overdue.

I didn’t want to spend any money on organizing things, but I didn’t have any more vertical stacking trays. A box of 6 cost about $15, and they were well worth the money I paid for them. Everything I need to accomplish is in one of those trays in the second picture.

Before I get any further on my desk cleaning adventure, here are the before and after pictures:

Before I cleaned the desk

It’s not clear in this photo, but the tall piles to the immediate left and immediate right of the center pile were twelve inches high. The others were two inches, 5 inches and 4 inches. It’s pretty bad when you measure the mess on your desk in inches of multiple piles.

After I cleaned the desk

It’s no wonder I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. I couldn’t find any of the stuff that needed doing!

I can’t believe the difference. I figured out that the last time I cleaned and organized my desk was in January 2005. I’ve been collecting and not dealing with stuff for nearly 3 years now. I found stuff on the desk that I had forgotten about completely. Some of those things were pretty important, but most of it was a collection of unneeded paper and things that I just didn’t put away. I found a whole grocery bag of software I had gotten out to take to the computer repair place when I thought we’d need to wipe my hard drive and start over. I also found the stapler, tape, whole punch, all my paper weights, brochure holder, business card holder, conch shell, jar of cut-up credit cards, my Albemarle Apex award cube, and the foam robots and Lego piece my son made for me to put on my desk.

I decided to organize my desk in a cockpit-like style as Liz Davenport suggests in her book. I can reach everything I use most every day without getting out of my chair. A few things further to the back are things I don’t use every day, but use at least a couple of times a month. There is one stack of spiral notebooks on the far right of the desk. I use those to jot notes and right down phone messages. If I don’t write them down in something big they tend to get lost quickly. I transcribe anything I need to keep into a file on my computer or into my online Google Notebook. As the notebooks fill up, I plan to put them on the bookshelf until I’ve gone through them thoroughly, taken any information I still need, and then I’ll shred them.

I used 6 plastic trays which are stacked on the left side of the desk (top to bottom):

  • Pay
  • Scan
  • Enter into computer
  • Business #1 active files
  • Business #2 active files
  • Read

I decided against an inbox because it would allow me to put stuff in it without going through it and deciding where it belonged. This way, the new stuff (mail, info, notes, etc.) goes in the middle of my desk and is dealt with first before I start any other work.

I have a basket to the left of the desk for outgoing mail, and my shred pile goes on the floor in front of the shredder. I try to shred things as I go through them, but in case I can’t do that, the pile on the floor reminds me that shredding needs to be done. As soon as I empty an envelope box, I’ll put the shred pile in the box on the floor.

It’s been a pleasure to work in an office with a clean, organized desk. I accomplish so much more, and I know exactly what I need to do. It’s made everything with both my businesses run so much more smoothly, and I’m far less stressed out and feel much more in control of things.

So if you haven’t cleaned off your desk yet, I challenge you to do so. It will reduce the stress level you experience working in your home office.

After working from a clean, organized desk I can believe the statistic that most businesspersons spend 150 hours a year looking for things (the average work-month is 160 hours). I’m looking forward to a year with an extra month of income and profits!

Order from Chaos: A Six-Step Plan for Organizing Yourself, Your Office, and Your Life by Liz Davenport