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Optimize Your Workspace for Productivity with These Organization Hacks

Use these tips to create the best workspace for you

Hanna Kim - January 4, 2019

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be hard to get back to work feeling focused. One way to help you get back up and running is by organizing your office so it can meet your needs. Set your office space up for success with these tips for creating a productive work environment.

Purge Clutter

Psychology research supports the metaphor of clean space for a clear mind. A 2011 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience found that people have more difficulty concentrating on a task when there is clutter. The visual cortex, which receives and processes sensory nerve information from your eyes can get overwhelmed when there are too many irrelevant objects around. Clutter can make it harder for someone to focus and perform a task efficiently.

Depending on the size of your office or cubicle and last deep cleaning, it may take a few hours or a few days to begin organizing your office. Apply this trick for cleaning out your office space if you’re the type of person who has trouble letting go of your belongings: Find 5 unnecessary items each week to either throw out, recycle or donate. Feel free to start small with items like an annoying pen that always writes streaky. Parsing out an unpleasant task into smaller pieces can make it more manageable if you’re feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to do.

Clean Up Your Computer

Since so much work is done on electronically these days, it’s important to declutter your online workspace too. Delete old files you definitely don’t need and create annual archives or folders for documents you may need to reference occasionally in the future. Deleting cookies on your web browser also helps save space on your computer. Check out Kim Komando’s guide to deleting cookies for some popular browsers.

Keep your browser tabs open to a minimum; it slows your computer down as well as creates room for more diversion from your work. Internet restriction apps can help you from lurking around social media and news sites that are easy distractions.

Specify Parking Designations for Your Supplies

Having a set place for your office supplies can help you stay organized as you go about your tasks each week. Figure out what supplies you use daily and need to keep on your desk. Things you only need a few times a week should be stored in drawers or cabinets.

Make sure to have trash and recycling near your desk to prevent junk from piling up. Instead of having to run to the other side of the room or end of the hall with a months’ worth of junk mail and memos, you can keep your space clutter-free. Plan to shred any confidential documents on a regular basis by adding it as a recurring task on your to-do list as well.

Keep Proper Body Mechanics in Mind

How you sit each day can affect your productivity at work. Improper body mechanics can cause problems both in the short term and long term. 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives, commonly after a long day of sitting at work. It’s hard not to slump into your seat, shoulders rounding further in and head drifting closer to your monitor or documents as your body fatigues. In the long term, these poor postural habits can negatively affect the curvature of your spine with issues like a hunched back, forward hip tilt, and forward head posture more recently known as “text neck.”

Regularly attending yoga classes can help you familiarize yourself with where you hold your body in space so that you are more aware of when you stop practicing proper body mechanics at work. Good posture and ergonomically placed office equipment can help you feel less bodily pain so you can be more productive.

Have a happy and productive start to the new year!


Self Care Resolutions You Can Keep In 2019

By Hanna Kim - December 31, 2018

The new year is upon us in just a few hours. Right now is a time to reflect back on what’s brought us joy and what we’ve accomplished in 2018, as well as acknowledge the things that may have gone wrong and can be improved on. It may seem cliché, but the start of a new year is truly the perfect time to set up the goals that help us get towards the future we want to create for ourselves.

New Year's statistics show that only 9.2 percent of us successfully carry out our resolutions each year. While it’s great to have ambition, it can be tempting to set too big a goal, or feel held down by too many goals. Unreasonable resolutions can lead to more stress that makes us feel bad about ourselves.

A study in the European Journal of Social Psychology on how habits are formed found that the average person takes 66 days to break out of an old habit, and it takes even more time to master a new, better pattern. Start with small self-care goals to help you in the long run. Making a small change in your daily routine can help you create new patterns of action. Consider trying one of these subtle positive changes for a healthier you, year-round.

Express Your Gratitude

Start by expressing gratitude for the people and things you have that make life great. Try making a list each day of three things that made your day better, no matter how big or small. 

Something like being unable to find parking in downtown on Friday night or waiting for a delayed package may trigger agitation. We can slowly rewire our brains to not get as immediately irritated, or even focus on the good: we’re happy to have friends to meet for drinks or lucky to soon be opening that present from mom.

Say No to Social Media

Turn your fear of missing out; commonly known as FOMO, into JOMO, the “joy of missing out.” Instead of scrolling through your Facebook page to see how your peers are having a blast without you, make room for joy in your own life.

Pick a time of day to plan a ban social media use. Make a promise to yourself to eat dinner each night without scrolling through Instagram or not check the news after 9:00PM. Newer research consistently shows how social media overuse can lead to sensory boredom, as well as make it harder to get sleep due to screens’ emitting blue light and stressful content. 

Maintain Good Self-Care Habits

Remember to make time to maintain your self-care routine throughout the new year. Continue with an exercise regimen, and get outdoors when you can. Especially in the winter, getting enough sunlight and fresh air is important, especially if you are prone to suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. If extreme temperatures prohibit you from getting outside, do an indoor workout in the morning by sunny window.

Gift yourself a massage to help yourself unwind. More Americans now view massage therapy as self-care than luxury service; over 70% get one primarily for medical or stress-related reasons. The science of touch has received more attention in recent years; theTouch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School has now conducted over 100 studies on the benefits of massage against depression and anxiety, reduced stress hormones, and increased immunity and pain relief. 


How You Can Identify and Reduce Stress This Holiday

‘Tis the Season to Be Stress-Free

Hanna Kim - December 24, 2018

Feeling stressed this holiday season? You’re not alone. According to a poll conducted by Very Well Mind, more than 80% of us feel ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressed by the holidays, ranking holiday stress just as high as the anxiety that might come paired with asking your boss for a raise.

There are many reasons stress levels may go up during the holidays. We may worry about end of the year deadlines, upcoming taxes, and budgeting for personal travel and presents on top of that. Because stress can present in so many different ways, it’s important to identify how your stress manifests. Stress can show up as emotional, physical, cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

Emotional Symptoms of Stress

  • Trouble relaxing your mind
  • Negative feelings towards yourself such as worthlessness and low self-esteem
  • Feeling a lack of control or overcompensating with the need to take more control
  • Quick to feel frustrated or easily agitated
Physical Symptoms of Stress

  • Lack of energy
  • Pain, including headaches and chest pain
  • Tension in muscles; clenching and grinding teeth during sleep and/or daytime
  • Trouble with sleep
  • Digestive issues: diarrhea, constipation, nausea or upset stomach
Cognitive Symptoms of Stress

  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of focus
  • Racing thoughts
  • Poor decision making, such as increased impulsive actions
Behavioral Symptoms of Stress

  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Avoidance of responsibilities; procrastination
  • Coping mechanisms such as use of alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes
  • Increase in nervous habits including fidgeting, pacing, or biting nails
It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the abundance of things that normally make us happy can create additional stress too. This “positive” stress, known as eustress to researchers, can still negatively impact our mental and physical health. Maxing out your calendar with holiday events and overindulging on decadent desserts and alcohol can come with consequences like weight gain, embarrassing situations, and additional debt.

Instead of letting the holidays take control of your life, take control of your actions and make a plan that will help you breeze through the holiday fun.

Plan Your Holiday Calendar

Set up a calendar for yourself and block out hours for all your holiday plans. Having a visual reference of obligations like traveling to visit family and friends, shopping for gifts, and baking cookies can show you what’s realistic and not during this busy month. Find activities you can say no to, or reduce your contribution towards. Remember you still have ongoing everyday needs to fulfill as well, like going to work and practicing self-care.

Maintain Good Self-Care Habits

Remember to make time to maintain your self-care routine during the holidays. Continue with an exercise regimen, and get outdoors when you can. Getting sunlight and fresh air in the winter is important, especially if you are prone to suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. If extreme temperatures prohibit you from getting outside, do an indoor workout in the morning by sunny window.

Gift yourself a massage to help yourself unwind. More Americans now view massage therapy as self-care than luxury service; over 70% get one primarily for medical or stress-related reasons. The science of touch has received more attention in recent years; the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School has now conducted over 100 studies on the benefits of massage against depression and anxiety, reduced stress hormones, and increased immunity and pain relief.

Give yourself time to recognize your stressors and how you personally react to stress. Make a holiday plan so that you can reduce your exposure to increased stress as well as making time to destress.

Take a Breath and Breathe

It’s good to schedule regular times where you can take time to rest your mind and body. Pencil in an hour to complete a yoga nidra meditation or even short 15-minute breaks between your holiday duties to take a breath.

Many of us forget how to breathe, or find difficulty taking deep breaths when we feel stress. Begin noticing your stress symptoms, and how when you have those symptoms you may not be breathing as well as you can. Take a few moments to pause to help yourself regulate your breath so you can go back to enjoying the winter holiday.

Don’t Want to Get Sick This Flu Season? Here’s How.

Stay Healthy Year-Round with this Cheat Sheet

Hanna Kim - December 14, 2018

We’re about a month into the cold and flu season, and if you’re lucky, you’ve avoided catching your co-worker’s bug. However, it’s not so much luck that prevents you from getting sick, but your daily habits. A few healthy lifestyle changes can help keep your immune system strong so that you’re less likely to get sick from any germs that come flying your way in a sneeze or handshake.

Get a Flu Shot

It’s not too late. A 5-minute visit to a drugstore like Walgreens or CVS can protect you from having to call in from work for the next week or two. Even if you are strong and healthy, a flu shot helps protect others in your community like the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems.

Sleep Until You’re Rested

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested. Fad trends like Uberman, where you take a few 30-minute naps a day may seem appealing but are unrealistic and likely dangerous for your health and sanity. Lack of sleep lowers your body’s immune defenses and can even make you a danger on your commute to work. It’s better to be productive and happy for 15 hours a day rather thank cranky and tired for 20.

Use Natural Remedies

Food is the best medicine for a healthy immune system. Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and zinc. Supplements for these essential nutrients can also be helpful when you feel the first signs of a cold like swollen lymph nodes or scratchy throat.

Find Ways to Manage Stress

Stress seems to be a growing reason for more Americans calling in sick each year, and science explains why. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce more cortisol according to clinical immunologist, Leonard Calabrese, DO. Dr. Calabrese shares that in the short-term, cortisol boosts your immunity by limiting inflammation, but over time, your body gets used to the new levels of cortisol, so those with chronic stress can end up with more inflammation. Stress also reduces your white blood cell count, reducing your body’s means to fight off infection.

Many experts agree mindfulness and meditation are a great way to combat stress in our lives. Try combining mindfulness with the outdoors in the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. This relaxing practice has many benefits including a boost for your immune system. Workplaces that offer chair massage and yoga classes are more likely to have more happy, stress-free, productive employees as well.


Plan A Healthy Office Holiday Party Employees Will Actually Love

Hanna Kim - December 10, 2018

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to celebrate accomplishments and friendships, including ones in the workplace. Holiday office parties are a festive way to build company morale as well as camaraderie amongst employees.

Healthy Holiday Potluck

Potlucks are a popular way for workers to showcase their favorite holiday foods to their work friends. Holiday foods are often tempting treats but also can be high in sugar, fat, and salt content. Invite employees to create healthier alternatives to the usual holiday favorites such as sugar cookies, eggnog, Christmas ham, or latkes. Employees can also bring and share recipe cards to encourage healthier cooking ideas throughout the year as well.

Winter Wellness Day

Colder temperatures in the winter, as well as the stress from holiday obligations, can lead to more people getting sick towards the end of the year. Plan a day around wellness for your workers to help them stay healthy. You could start with a group meditation to get the whole staff feeling zen, followed by a light breakfast with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Try a group workout class - yoga is a great fit for companies with employees at different fitness levels. You might even want to leave a sign-up sheet for chair massage throughout the day so workers can feel extra relaxed all day.

Celebrate Outdoors

It’s great to be able to get up and get outside for some fresh air. Businesses in warmer locales like Phoenix or Los Angeles can have a daytime holiday party roof or nearby park. If there’s enough space, you may want to consider group activities like a holiday-themed relay race or scavenger hunt so employees can develop teamwork skills while having a good time.

Alternatively, companies located in Portland, Minneapolis, and other colder climate cities might enjoy an outing to an ice skating rink or sledding hill. Coworkers can bond more easily while doing something nostalgic and active.

Clean Cocktail Bar

A party can feel incomplete without some imbibing to bring out the festivity. Rather than disappointing the team with a completely dry holiday party, provide healthier mixers for drinks. Sodas made using real fruit juice are tasty and better for you than classic sodas that are often full of high fructose corn syrup and synthetic food dyes. Kombucha is low in sugar and has the same fizziness many people enjoy in cocktails. The friendly bacteria and yeasts in this drink also help your body break down alcohol more easily.

Try incorporating some of these ideas to bring in the holiday cheer to your office in a refreshing way. You and your employees will leave feeling invigorated for even more fun with friends and family!

Happy Holidays!


4 Powerful Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team

Hanna Kim- November 28, 2018

The latest LinkedIn State of Sales report found US companies spend $800 billion on incentives to retain and reward talent and an additional $15 billion a year on sales training. The budget for sales is over four times the US advertising budget, at a high of $205 billion.

Regardless of industry or customer base, a strong sales team is vital to any company. A focused sales team can effectively reach customers and explain why your product or service is the way to go. Sales managers can create more excitement for their teams by using new tactics throughout the year. Here are some ideas for sales incentives to charge up your sales staff for success.

Financial Rewards

The most obvious incentive for salespeople is financial motivation. Commission and additional rewards for top performers are often lucrative, and a popular reason for why salespeople get into their career of choice. Some tips for managing financial incentives are creating specific goals for your whole team to aim for, not just those at the top. Having multiple rewards up for grabs in different tiers can help your entire sales team be motivated, not daunted.  

Creative Office Rewards

Sales incentives don’t always need to cost companies a fortune. Creating unique perks around the office can be rewarding for salespeople who already have a competitive spirit about them.
Especially as the temperature drops, a parking space right by the entrance for the month could be an enticing reward. Another idea is to let your team come in dressed casually after hitting a certain sales goal.

Reward with Health and Wellness

Holidays and other busy times of the year can be especially stressful. Your team’s success can be rewarded with productive downtime with a service like workplace massage. Salespeople sitting and making phone calls at their desks, driving around town for sales meetings, or flying to faraway locales for work can all use some time to relax. Chair massage has many health benefits for recipients, including stress alleviation and pain reduction.

A Reward Money Can’t Buy: Time

As the saying goes: “time is money,” but money can’t buy anyone more time. There’s a reason people love holidays - time off work allows people to relax and rejuvenate. Use a day off work as an incentive to boost sales. Consider other options that may be more suitable for your team, such as a half-day off or increased flexibility with one’s schedule.

A great sales manager is key to a great sales team. As a leader, it is important to continuously find and implement new ways to increase your team’s performance. Help your team focus on closing deals by using exciting and useful incentives to motivate sales and sales.


Five Simple Ways to Transform Your Office from Blah to Brilliant

Quick and Easy Ideas for a Productivity Boost

Hanna Kim - November 19, 2018

Being at the Office vs Being Present at the Office

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 8.8 hours a day working, yet studies show most office workers are productive just under 3 of those hours. Having a pleasant work environment can help employees enjoy work and be more productive. Here are some simple ways to brighten up the office:

Bring in Nature

Nature makes a profound effect on mental health. Because most people spend most of their waking hours indoors at work, it can be hard to find time to get out into a park or hiking trail. A study in the Journal of Positive Psychology showed simply being able to engage with nature makes an impact on our days. Bring in a dose of the outdoors to your office with some plants. Hearty cacti and succulents don’t need much care to stay alive.

Stock the Office Pantry with Healthy Snacks

Sweets like donuts and candy are often tempting to grab during a mid-afternoon slump. Foods high in sugar can give us a rush of energy but it is often soon followed by a crash. Salty, fatty snacks like chips dehydrate our bodies, which make us feel groggier too. Making healthy snacks like fruits and nuts available can help employees stay more productive throughout the workday.  

Dress Up Boring Walls

All-white walls can look clinical and glum. Break up the monotony of plain walls and cubicle dividers with a pop of color. Consider repaint with a brightly colored accent wall for your next interior update or decorate with cheerful artwork.

You might also follow the example of one company, Homepolish, that decided to decorate some blank wall space with a bulletin board to be filled by employees with motivational quotes and workplace accomplishments.

Add More Lighting

Natural light is more limited in the winter time and the lack of sun can affect employees, especially those who deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Switch from commercial fluorescent lighting to warmer residential light bulbs that are less straining on the eyes and create a more inviting feel to your office. You can also use mirrors, which reflect light and also create the illusion of having a brighter, bigger workspace

Have A Wellness Event

There’s nothing like a few minutes of downtime with chair massage at the office to help employees feel rejuvenated. Consider hosting a wellness event to show employees you appreciate their hard work and care about their health. A corporate yoga class can also bring the team together for a healthy bonding event.

Just like we decorate our homes to feel cozy and inviting, care should be taken to create an inviting and productive workspace. Taking some small steps to create a better environment for employees can go a long way.


Gratitude For Our Veterans

Hanna Kim - November 10, 2018

The History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day was this past Sunday, November 11th. In 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month originally marked the end of World War I and was celebrated in the US and other countries as Armistice Day. Congress enacted Armistice Day as a federal holiday in 1938 and was changed from “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day in 1954 as a day to honor all veterans.

Telling someone in uniform “thank you for your service” seems the right thing to do on Veterans Day, as military service too often comes with hardships where service men and women must make personal sacrifices in order to accomplish them. A verbal thank you may bring a sense of comradery, but the message may seem peculiar coming from a complete stranger, feel like an empty gesture to some veterans, and may even evoke unpleasant memories for others.  

Ways to Show Our Thanks to Veterans

As the saying goes, it is often more meaningful when we show our gratitude rather than just saying so. Here are some ways to show we mean thanks that make a positive impact on veterans:

  • If you own or manage a business, offer discounts for veterans and service people.
  • Hire a veteran or military spouse to be a part of your business. Organizations like PsychArmor provide educational resources to hire, train, and retain veterans and military spouses
  • Send a postcard or letter to any veterans in your life, or those you might know who are still away on active duty. Check up on those who are adjusting to life back as a civilian, and see if they’d enjoy your company.
  • Volunteer your time at an event or with an organization dedicated to veterans. The skills you have developed from your job could be very helpful; for example, you can put your knowledge of construction to help build homes for veterans or expertise in law to assist veterans experiencing legal issues. Massage therapists and yoga instructors can also help veterans experiencing PTSD.
  • If you don’t have time, non-profits like the Wounded Warrior Project and many other organizations for veterans could always benefit from donations.

Veterans Day serves as a reminder to be grateful for those who show up for a challenging line of duty. Consider one of these ways to show our thanks to those who have served our country.