Summer’s coming – Get ready for the heat

Arriving sleep deprived to a brunch in Dubai is never a good thing. Learning at the entrance that our table is booked outside on the terrace was quite the surprise. The biggest realisation and shock though was that summer is approaching. Fast!

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For us in the Middle East, we’ll also observe Ramadan which is expected to be from 18 June until 17 July. This and the heat will impact our activities and it’s time to organise your social and outdoor activities.

Get ahead of the game and get your calendar out. What do you want to do before it gets too hot and Ramadan starts?

Here are some suggestions:

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Work smarter, be more productive

Organised Life and Mind

Organised Life and Mind

168 hours! That’s how much time each of us have per week. The majority of these 168 hours will be spent in bed, hopefully being sound asleep. The second biggest chunk is being taken up by our work. Being in the Middle East, we often face working outside of our normal working hours.  Who doesn’t work with colleagues in Western countries which are 2, 3 or even 8 hours behind our time zone and which have the Monday – Friday working week instead of our Sunday – Thursday working week?

Just like you, I don’t want to spend day and night working. There are too many great things in Dubai (and in life) which I like to experience. Over the years, I’ve been experimenting with different approaches to become more efficient. Here are some tips to help you work smarter and enjoy life more:

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Be aware: Energy vampires

Living in the Middle East, where temperatures can easily reach 45-50C (113-122F) in the summer, the thought of a siesta or afternoon nap to recharge your battery is very appealing. This morning, my colleague Marie was telling me this morning how low her energy levels were. Bang! At 2 am, she was bright awake and couldn’t fall back asleep. I’m sure Marie would have preferred the option for a power nap after lunch.

http://thespiritscience.net/-

http://thespiritscience.net/-

I can so emphasise with the siesta idea as I’m coming across various energy vampires during my day. This is referring to individuals who are sucking the life out of you. For me, multi-tasking is probably the biggest and more stressful one. Answering a call and simultaneously checking my emails or calculating something in excel don’t work. Every day, there’s a new study released which confirms that multitasking is not leading to increased productivity!

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Benefits of Being Organised

While I’m no big believer in fate, I sometimes wonder why a certain person would be sitting to me on is trip. During the NAPO a conference, I met some awesome organisers who shared different stories and insights, leaving me invigorated and energised.  On my return flight, David was sitting next to me and what a beautiful conversation we had.

Working at JFK airport, his belongings created stress for him. He hated driving or even more so being stuck in traffic. When he finally made the decision to sell his car, he could feel a load being taken from his shoulders. For him, deposing a number, well, a lot, of his belongings meant gaining freedom. “I’m relieved,” he said. “I’ve space in my apartment and can focus on the people and things that really matter to me.” For him, decluttering his life style clearly have paid off and he described him as a more balanced and appreciating person.

What could you gain from being (more) organised?

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A fantastic NAPO 2015 Annual Conference

What a great event the NAPO 2015 Annual Conference in Los Angeles was!

Over the last 3 days, more than 500 attendees from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Finland, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Dubai (that’s me!) soaked up the latest trends in the organisation world, exchanged tips and tricks and formed a powerful network. I’m so proud to have become part of this mighty group!

  • Did you know that the average US American household contains about 300,000 items (the average European only has 10,000 items)?
  • According to Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists, the 3 most dangerous words in the English language are “Just in Case”. You keep stuff for this “just in case” but when will this “case” ever happen?
  • Have you ever thought of taking the Lean Principles from your office and apply them to your home, too? Remember Julia Childs, the famous chef, drew the outline of each pot and frying pan on a peg board. She and anyone else who worked in her kitchen would easily know where everything belonged.
  • Do you account for all hours in your workday? If you’re unable to identify 2 hours per day and are charging $50 per hour, this costs you $26,000 in income per year!

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Meet me at the NAPO Annual Conference and Organizing Conference

naponapo2015

I’m really excited to be attending my first Annual Conference and Organizing Conference hosted by NAPO.

Held in sunny LA from 15-18 April 2015, over 80 speakers like Julie MorgensternClare Kumar and Barbara Hemphill will presenting the latest trends and developments. I can’t wait to hear and learn more about cool topics such as increasing productivity, virtual organising, maximising social media and running your business.

If you are in the vicinity, contact me to arrange for a meeting. I’d love to meet you!

Control your space

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Barbara Hemphill, the paper tiger lady, introduced me to the term S.Y.S.T.E.M.: Saving you space, time, energy, money. Space is such a valuable commodity these days. Just because you’re living in a house or villa, as they’re called here in Dubai, it doesn’t mean you need to have every inch of your home filled with items. Until now, I’ve moved about 25 times in my life and shipping boxes from one country to another becomes expensive. Although I’ve no intentions of leaving this beautiful city, I’m conscious of what I’m buying and often ask myself:

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Planning your Workday

I recently listened to a TED talk about creativity and one particular sentence stuck with me: “Write what you know about.” Well, I know how to be and stay organised. My colleagues are jokingly saying it’s in my genes. I’m German after all.

It makes me laugh. I wished it was that easy to explain. In this blog, I’ll share some of my own struggles (yes, there are times when my dining table has papers laying all over it) and also provide tips and trick which will help you have an organised life and mind.

At work, I’ve often been told I’ve high expectations or I’m trying to be perfect. Now, anyone who knows me also knows that I’m by no means a perfectionist. The high standards, maybe, I like a job to be done well and yes, I expect a certain level, fair enough. However, I’ve also learnt that I’ve only so much time in the day and at some stage, it’s good enough.

Clutter in spiritual surroundingsMany of you may be in a similar situation that you’re working with limited resources. My corporate job covers 3 continents and it’s exhausting, no matter how rewarding working with all these different cultures is. My team has gone through redundancies last year and I’m very grateful for still having my job. However, it means there’re fewer resources available and I don’t even need to ask about getting an admin helping me with filing, preparing presentations or setting up training sessions. It forces me to work more effectively and more focused. After all, I’m not living to work. I love my social life too much to become a corporate workaholic. It’s not always been easy to delegate or push back, yet, I’ve learnt:

  • Good enough is good enough and it will be okay and accepted.
  • Prioritise your weekly goals according to importance, urgency and deadlines. Then break them down into smaller to-do action items.
  • Block time in your calendar to simply work. If you are a morning lark or a night owl, use your most productive time for your most challenging and thinking tasks. Don’t forget to turn off your phone and email during this time!
  • Don’t plan 100% of your work day. There will be unexpected emergencies or last minute meetings.

How are you going to schedule your week now?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first entry of my blog where I’ll share my strategies and insights to freeing yourself from physical and mental clutter in your business, home and mind. Let’s start creating an exclusively organised and structured business, home and life shaped around your unique requirements. Make sure you don’t miss my upcoming blog post where I’ll introduce to you SYSTEM: saving you space, time, energy, money.

Until next time,

Agni