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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Keep Your Files Organized

Tips to organize files in real-space

If you have a system that isn't working, it's probably because it is not the system outlined below. Simplicity of effectiveness is vital for a real-space filing system.

To organize files in real-space it should take no more than 1 minute to add so me thing new to your system and no more than 30 seconds to retrieve something.

Organize Files - Preparation:
Get a large sturdy metal filing cabinet.
Get box files and card files.
Get an electric label maker.
Chuck out hanging file guides.

Organize Files - Implementation:
1. Grab a card file as soon as you have paper work that you want to reference for later use.
2. Create a label with the electric label maker with a word/phrase that very obviously identifies what the
papers are about.
3. Put the labeled file in your filing cabinet in A to Z order.

Maintenance of Organized Files:
On computer start a file listing everything that's in your real-space filing cabinet from A to Z.
Keep your computer file updated by occasionally flicking through your filing cabinet (it will take less than 10
minutes) to check for items that are not on your computer file and adding anything new.

Consider that if you currently have trouble keeping on top of the way you organize files it's probably because the way you have been doing until now is not this simple strategy. The approach outlined above is purposely extremely simple. It really works to do it like this.

With that technique for how to organize files in real-space dealt with, we can now think about your way to organize files on your computer.

Tips to organize files on computer

Experience with clients has taught me that often someone has more clutter on computer than in their home or office.

The computer can be a source of great enjoyment and productivity if you organize files on it well. I realize that it doesn't take up any real space in your
home or office, which is probably why people let it get so bad, but I found that it effects my clients satisfaction and productivity immensely.

Sure there are plenty of manuals on using the computer but I discovered that there was no simple, straightforward explanation of keeping on top of where everything on computer is. So I created an approach that I show my clients and here is the basics of it.

Is it frustrating or even somewhat anxiety provoking sometimes to approach the computer? Such feelings are caused by thinking of the amount of time it will take to find what you want whilst half-thinking that it really shouldn't be so out of hand.

Well we're about to turn things around. Get into the habit of creating folders on your computer for various topics. Put everything relevant to each topic into the appropriate folder.

Create more folders within existing topic folders for sub-topics. E.g. You might create a folder called Health. In that you might have folders for Diet,
Exercise, Sleep.

Spend time on that process and you will finally feel that you can organize files on your computer very very well indeed.

Train Your Mind with NLP Techniques

You know, in psychology there is a rule, especially within the NLP circles that I work in and the literature that I read, it is quite a famous rule; 7 plus or minus 2 – this is the notion that the conscious mind can only keep track of between 5 and 9 discrete pieces of information at one time. Your unconscious can literally keep track of billions and billions of things at the same time aparently (clever thing that it is!), while your conscious mind is more one step at a time and it has a fairly narrow focus. WHatever the truth of this, it is a useful way to expereince your own thinking.

Here are a couple of things that you can do to test the extent of your conscious mind: Without writing them down, blurt out now, straight away without thought;

- As many brands of cars as you can.

- As many film titles as you can.

- As many pop groups as you can.

Many people run out of steam when they get to ten, usuallly because of the 7+-2 rule. The bottom line is, when the conscious mind is presented with more than 9 pieces of information, it gets overloaded. So before you send me a very clever email telling me off for pointing out the limits of the conscious mind, would you like to know how you can use this to your advantage? Of course you would.

When you bear the 7+-2 rule in mind, you can start to organise things so that you work with your conscious mind, playing to its strengths. For instance, if you have a to-do list.

Many people that I have encountered have a daily to-do list with 20 or more items on it. This is a recipe for total overwhelm (at which point they often resort to looking for the easiest or funnest thing on the list to do.) The following ideas can help you get a handle on your to-do list really fast, especially if that list has things that are important for your goals and achievements and sense of well-being.

Firstly, scan through the list, looking for items that can be grouped together into categories.

For example, here is a load of the stuff on my list for this week:

Write Adam Up.

Bank cheques.

Finish writing chapter for new book

Prepare for client therapy sessions.

Finish project on public speaking.

Finish marketing material for new courses.

FInish listening to current educational Audio set.

Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.

Write up script for new audio title.

Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients.

Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio.

Write up blurb for my new Audio release.

Write new web-page copy.

Review new CD covers

Meet PR people

Do proposal for new book for Publishers.

Read e-book

New course blurb

Meet with prospective business artner for new project.

Clear inbox.

Have a life. Have fun......

The first thing on the list is ‘Write Adam Up’ – for me, "Adam Up" is one of my products, so I write ‘Product’ beside it. Next is ‘Bank Cheques’ – that’s part of our cashflow system, so I write ‘Systems’ beside it. Pretty soon, every item on my list is in a category:

Write Adam Up.

Bank cheques.

Finish writing chapter for new book

Prepare for client therapy sessions.

Finish project on public speaking.

Finish marketing material for new courses.

Finish listening to current educational Audio set.

Read through solicitors material regarding other business project.

Write up script for new audio title: Products.

Send out follow-up letters for last weeks clients: Systems.

Prepare for photo shoot for new Bio: Marketing.

Write up blurb for my new Audio release: Marketing.

Write new web-page copy: Marketing.

Review new CD covers: Systems

Meet PR people: People.

Do proposal for new book for Publishers: People.

Read e-book: Personal.

New course blurb: Marketing.

Meet with prospective business artner for new project: People.

Clear inbox: Personal.

Have a life. Have fun: Personal.

This is better! I have now gone from a list of 20 or so items (instant overwhelm) to a list of 6 categories which is well within even my 7+-2 limit.

- Products

- Systems

- Training

- Marketing

- People

- Personal

This is what we refer to as chunking in my professional field, and is one of the most effective ways of dealing with any large or complex set of tasks (or set of anything else). You may say “Great, but I’ve got 200 things on my to-do list”. It doesn’t matter – the same principles apply. If you go through your to-do list or your goals lists; just get it whittled down from 200 items to 20 categories, that is better, it is getting it more manageable – go through the 20 categories and see where they group together. Group together goals for your own development; being a non-smoker, growing in confidence, creating wealth, reducing weight etc. The key is to have no more than 9 categories at each level – this way your conscious mind can keep track of it.

Secondly, start to manage your to-do list by the high-level categories: You can use this in all sorts of areas to make things more manageable, for example:

- To-do lists.

- Goals you are working toward.

- The filing system on your computer.

- Your filing cabinet.

- Any project you’re doing.

One of the things this allows you to do is notice very quickly if there’s a specific area where you have not been taking much action lately – very useful for helping focus on what needs attention.

Get Yourself Organized--Better Organized for Better Grades

1. Tell yourself that no matter what, some level of clutter with a child is going to happen.

2. Begin with messes and clutter that you see every day. Get organize your kitchen, garage, and family room before your hallway closet.

3. Use drawer dividers for socks, underwear, lingerie, and tiny items, to keep them separated and organized.

4. Use this same principle to organize your silverware, with clearly defined places for every fork and knife, or drawers for ties and socks or, underwear. Think in this same way for every aspect of your home. This will save many hours of searching for things. It will dramatically cut down on the clutter of items left out "for now" or "until I find a place for it." Develop a new mantra: everything has its place and a place for everything!

5. Allocate everything in your house a place. This way your family will know exactly where to find it and where to put it away, when they searches for something they need.

6. Keep items that are used frequently in places where you can reach them without stooping or bending, and store them close to the place they will be needed.

7. Establish one defined place in your house for storing library books, and end a house-wide hunt when it is time to read or return them.

8. Hang hooks for your keys and purse at the entry to your home, so each time you walk in, you can hang them up.

9. Get rid of all junk drawers, or allow yourself just one that you clear out once a week or more. When you establish certain items are being used repeatedly, designate a drawer for those.

10. Enlist a new rule: throw out one old thing for every new purchase that enters your home.

11. Make a mental note to observe what things pile up in your house and where they cluster, and then come up with a place nearby that becomes the official home where those things will reside. For this purpose baskets, shelves, and folders will work well. Set aside one basket for you and your partner for incoming mail, bills, and receipts and letters.

12. Never go up or down empty-handed when using stairs. Always grab some items that belong to upstairs rooms and quickly put it away while you are there.

13. Create a number of brightly marked folders for discount coupons, invitations and directions, and other time-sensitive papers that just clutter your counters.

14. Things you don’t need any longer:
· Expired medications.
· Clothes you no longer wear.
· Extra paper or plastic grocery bags.
· Makeup and samples you have never worn.
· Sunscreen that's expired or more than one year old.
· Organize your coupons and throw out all that have expired.
· Cookbooks you rarely use. Cut out your favorite recipes only.
· Magazines you meant to read but have never taken the time for.
· Stuff your crumpled plastic bags from your grocer inside a cardboard roll like a hand towel roll. Keep under your sink.

You will free your mind to remember your daily chores by getting rid of your clutter and organizing your home top to bottom. Be vigilant about cleaning about once a month and you will find it much easier to keep up, week-by-week.

Check Into Vocational Schools

Your future is important. It is so important that you need to work on it, today. While they say that the only thing constant about life is change, prepare yourself for this and you have it made. The most important tool you will need on this endeavor is a good education. A constant zest for lifelong learning will help you stay ahead in the present and continuously for the future.

To take the first step toward this, it is important to choose the right vocational school. Not just any vocational school will do. Make sure that you choose to invest your time, effort and future in an accredited vocational school.

Vocation schools are a dime a dozen. Before choosing and enrolling at a vocational school, make sure that the vocational school is accredited with the right organizations. Also, you may find yourself applying for a job that will require from their applicants a degree or at least a certification that you are currently or will enroll at an accredited vocational school.

Don't waste your time, energy and money on second rate vocational schools. Make a vocational school's proper accreditation a main criteria in choosing a vocational school for you. The whole purpose of enrolling and learning at a vocational school is to be enabled and ready to be a productive part of society through the school's skill teaching processes. There is no point in going through this whole process if you are not assured of ready employment afterward.

To avoid this and prevent this from happening, take a look and take note of the accredited vocational schools of prospective employers. It will also be helpful to take closer look at the accreditation of vocational schools you may be interested in attending.

Better Note Taking Through Mind Maps

If you are a university or college student, you probably make a lot of notes when you are attending classes or reading your text books. Then later you review the notes you made when you are preparing for exams.

You may have wondered if there a right way or a wrong way to take notes. Does one method of note-taking work better than another?

There is probably no one way that works best for all people in all situations, since everyone’s brain is so unique.

The main problem with taking notes the traditional way is that this is a very passive process. Simply taking notes does not get the brain very involved in interacting with the information. If you can get your brain to get more actively involved in organizing the new material you will remember it better.

If you are strong in visual learning, you can benefit from making notes that include lots of graphs and drawings, even cartoons! If you are very high in auditory skills and weak in the visual area you will do better by tape-recording all the notes you need to remember.

The following technique for note-taking is particularly effective for people who are highly visual. This method of making notes is sometimes called “mind-mapping” or making a “learning map”.

Although it takes some practice to use mind-mapping effectively, most people who use it find they can retain and remember far more information with a lot less work.

The essence of the learning-map (also known as “memory-map”, or “mind-map”) technique is quite simple. You will need a blank piece of paper, the larger the better. You will need at least one pen, more if you want to use a variety of colors.

You will be trying to fill the entire page with your notes, so it is important to keep the size of your writing quite small. With practice you should be better able to judge what size of writing will work effectively.

As you listen to the lecturer, or read the article you are studying, decide what you think the central theme is. For example, you might be listening to a lecture where you decide the central theme seems to be, “Conditions in Europe on the eve of World War 2”

Or you might be listening to a talk that has a central theme of “Strategies that plants use to survive winter”

Once you have decided what the central theme is, jot down the words in the center of the page, and draw a circle around the main theme. Don’t try to write down a sentence or a paragraph--just get down enough of the key words that will bring the ideas back into you mind.

Keep listening or reading, watching for the first main sub-theme.

When you come across the first major sub-theme, pick a spot on the page to jot down a few key words that sum up the sub-theme. Draw a circle around the sub-theme words, and then join your sub-theme circle to the main theme circle with a line.

Each time you come across a new major sub-theme, write down a few key words to summarize the new idea, and draw a circle around those words. Then draw a line to join the sub-theme circle to the main idea circle in the center of the page. Eventually you will have a circle in the center with several spokes radiating from it.

The lines or spokes don’t have to be straight, and they can be of any length required. The “circles” don’t have to be circles; they can be squares, triangles, or oval squiggles if you prefer. You can use different colors to help you organize the ideas better.

As the speaker or writer continues to present his ideas, you will find that some of the ideas being presented are additional supporting details that clarify or illustrate one of the sub-themes you have already identified. In this case you will write these “sub-sub-themes” down using just a few words, enclose them in a circle or squiggle, and link them to their sub-theme with a line.

Eventually your sub-theme circles may have many spokes radiating from them as the author or lecturer continues to present his ideas. At a glance you will be able to take in the dominant themes of the talk and the underlying organizational structure of the ideas.

If you happen to have any ideas of your own while you are reading or listening to the lecture, jot them down as well. This shows you have your brain actively interacting with the material.

When you make a mind map or a learning map of all your notes, you create a very visual document that differs a lot from traditional methods of making notes for class.

People who learn very well visually will particularly benefit from the way that learning maps clearly show the relationships between main themes, sub-themes and supporting facts and ideas.

Try this method and see if this is the note-taking technique that works best for you!

Online Education for Adults

Adult education involves the training and development of adult individuals in certain vocations or subjects for a variety of reasons. Adult education is not the same as the traditional education of young individuals due to the methods that are employed in order to capitalize on the accumulated knowledge and life experience of the adult individual. Because of these factors, adults can use what they know to add depth to their educational experience, and have a better understanding of how to apply it to their current life situations. Though often done in the workplace as training and development, or in a classroom setting for continuing education or basic education, it is becoming more and more common to see enrollment in online adult education programs. This method of training is a valid and convenient way for individuals to improve job skills, complete their educations, and stay in touch with new advances in vocational fields.

Often, employed adults enroll in adult education courses in order to reinforce knowledge in a career field, gain new skills for promotion or a new job, or to fulfill requirements set upon them by employers or licensing bodies. Online adult education programs give adults the opportunity to remain employed full time while fulfilling these professional requirements or learning new skills for career opportunities at their own pace and leisure, without having to commute to a classroom. This method of continuing education is especially helpful for those with family commitments in addition to job obligations.

There are other reasons that adult individuals might take advantage of online adult education programs. For example, an individual might find that dropping out of high school and not earning his diploma was not the best decision and has had trouble keeping stable employment. In this case, he is able to enroll in an online General Educational Development (GED) program, which will help him to fulfill the requirements he needs to get his high school equivalency. With a high school diploma, an individual can go on to college and earn a college degree, which will give him many more professional opportunities. Individuals can also learn basic computer operation skills, which will enable them to take on more job responsibilities.

Another type of adult education program available online is that kind which provides instruction in ESL (English as a second language). This is particularly useful for individuals that are new to the United States. They can learn the English language in a relatively short period of time, which will give them the ability to apply for jobs and function and communicate in American society, as well as study for the test to grant American citizenship.

For individuals that work in professions that require certifications or licenses in order to remain employed in that field, online adult education programs are very valuable from a time and convenience standpoint. This form of continuing education is often required by either the law or by an individual's employer in order to develop and maintain skills that are applicable to the vocation. This type of training also helps individuals remain current on advances or improvements within a field. Such types of certification and training include computer programming, management training, and equipment and procedural training for lab technicians and other medical professions, equipment operators, or engineers. Higher-level professionals such as pharmacists, educators, physicians, and nurses are also often required or encouraged to take part in some type of continuing education. This guarantees that a certain level of competence is maintained and that a professional's knowledge is always tested in a given field of practice. Having the opportunity to complete this instruction in an online adult education program is very helpful to professionals that have very busy work and family schedules, because they can take advantage of the flexibility of the approach, and do class work in their spare time.

Adult education gives many different types of individuals the opportunity for self-improvement and career advancement. Whether an individual is seeking to earn his high school diploma for more lucrative job opportunities, or for a new resident of the United States looking to learn the English language so that he can gain employment and become a part of the American culture, or for an employed individual who is required to renew a license or gain additional training for his job, adult education is a powerful tool. And taking advantage of the many online adult education programs helps people fulfill their professional requirements while not sacrificing their current way of life.

You Are NOT Too Old to Return to College

You want to go back to school and continue your education. Perhaps you'd like to earn your first degree or you'd like to earn a new degree in a different field. You've been dreaming of that degree but haven't dared believe your dream can come true because you think you are too old.

You aren't. It really is that simple. I don't care what your age is, as an experienced college-level educator I can assure you that you are not too old, because there are many nontraditional students on college campuses today (and likely some of those are older than you are), your life experience gives you many advantages over more traditional students, and with the growing nontraditional population many colleges have programs and services especially tailored for the nontraditional student.

I went back to school in my 30s and today I teach college. Yes, I have many traditional students in my classroom but every semester I have a large percentage of nontraditional students as well. I have students in their late 20s as well as 30s, 40s, 50s, and up. I have students who have retired from one career and are looking to move into another. I have students whose children (or grandchildren) have left the nest so they are looking to enter a new stage in their life.

I also have many students balancing school with work and family. I have students who are the traditional age but are in nontraditional circumstances including children and family, work and military service, as well as sports and other activities. You are a unique person, but your situation is not as unique as you might think.

In many ways, your age, or rather your life experience, will be a tremendous asset for your return to school. Nontraditional students understand much better than traditional students how to manage their time and prioritize tasks. In addition, nontraditional students are often much more motivated and goal-oriented than their more traditional counterparts. Finally, your life experience also gives you a great deal of knowledge and experience to fall back on or pull from when it comes to understanding, applying, or adapting the new knowledge you gain through college. I regularly see my nontraditional students outperform traditional students in many ways, but it ultimately comes down to a maturity of thinking and reasoning that can only come with growing up. I know when I returned to college as a student after working for a number of years that I did much better in the classroom and also handled my work load much better than I did when I was a more traditional student.

Today colleges recognize they have a changing student population and offer classes in a variety of formats including on campus, off campus, televised, and internet as well as a range of schedules including days, nights, weekends, and accelerated. In addition, there are now support services available for students who fall outside the traditional student role. Many financial aid and scholarship programs also exist specifically for the nontraditional student.

In the end, it really comes down to your own gut feeling. Do you really want that degree? Are you ready to change your life? You can do it and there will be help and support available for you. Don't use your age as an excuse not to pursue your dream.

Improve Your Mind With Adult Continuing Education

Adult continuing education is very practical. Seniors have several advantages over children.

* Better memory (truly!)
* Experience
* Fewer distractions

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Better memory
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Doctors thought that you couldn't grow new brain cells, so as old cells died you became more stupid. They now know that the more adult continuing education, the more new brain cells you get. You can even delay Alzheimer's disease by keeping your brain active.

But old people keep forgetting things! That's true, because what you remember best are startling, new, shocking things. To an old person it's a case of "been there, done that". Nothing is new or shocking.

However, you often have to learn boring things, and there you have an advantage. Seniors trounced the kids in a test of memorizing meaningless words. My book about exams will show you how to make your adult continuing education more exciting, which cuts kid's advantage over your memory.

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Experience
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You learn from the known to the unknown. So it's logical that the more experience you have, the more you can think "yes... that's right... it's just like..." I am 65 years old now and I can say that my adult continuing education keeps getting easier because there are always relevant things in my experience.

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Distractions
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You may have distractions at work still, but let's face it, are they really as obsessive as your teenage interests? You aren't going to have to choose between going out on a date and doing some study. You might have to choose between having a nap and study, but my book about exams shows a way round that problem. I'm using it right now!

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Exams
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Just as your three advantages apply to study, they apply to exams. Were you sick with nerves in your school exams? Your life-career depended on your performance. Now it would be nice to pass, but your experience tells you that you will survive failure, and land on your feet again...so less nerves.

There are ways to become a lightning calculator and ways to develop a super memory, and you can afford them all. If you want to learn a language you can probably even afford to get a "superlearning" course that teaches you the language in only fifteen hours.

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Why Adult Continuing Education
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All right, you have advantages, but why should you bother with adult continuing education?
* Prevents brain deterioration
* Retraining for a new job
* Self employment