This week we recognized Presidents Day - and today I want to share a fascinating look at the (sometimes messy) desks of our country's leaders. Do piles of papers mean chaotic leadership? Or inspired thoughtfulness?
Over the years several studies have actually concluded that messy desks are signs of creative thinkers who are not restricted by confines of neat inboxes. But what about the desks in the Oval Office? From Carter and Kennedy to Obama and Trump, Julie Morgenstern walks us through her thoughts on the these famous desks.
"The truth is that people have different styles, and some work extremely well with a messy desk and other people don't work well at all," Morgenstern says. "But [a messy desk] doesn't make a good impression on anybody — it doesn't inspire confidence."
So maybe when it comes to desks, we aren't inspired when we see messy desks of others. We want to believe that they have everything under control. But in private our own chaos is a little more freeing? At least more personally acceptable if we know no one else will see it?
Keep reading the thought-provoking article and see what Julie has to say about these Presidential piles on famous desks, and what they say about the men who sit behind them!
We have all probably had those days - kindness seemed too scarce and cranky pants seemed too plentiful. And what we all really long for is more of the first - kindness. This is Random Acts of Kindness Week, and according to research, being kind to others is actually a way of giving back to yourself.
When we talk random acts of kindness, we don't need to park a new car in the neighbor's driveway as a surprise. Think about those things I talk about living simply and living well - decluttering excess to bring out the really valuable things in our lives. Same goes for kindness - simple is powerful. Try one (or more!) of these easy and inexpensive ways to share random acts of kindness this week!
It is that time of year. We have a pit of dread for that looming tax deadline. Why the dread? For many it is about the paper piles we have to sift, the files we must conquer, and the sometimes false promises we make to ourselves to do better next year.
Make this your year! Now is the perfect time to make some sense of all the piles and folders. You already have to dig in to them, courtesy of the tax deadline. You'll thank yourself not only for tax season next year, but for those other times when fast access to data matters. And who can't benefit from reduced paperwork stress?
My 3 Tax Tips for You
Not sure where to start? Or how to really tackle that overwhelming pile teetering on your desk? I have three of my own specific tips for you!
According to Mandy Walker of Consumer Reports, there are also four key guidelines to consider when organizing your paperwork.
1. Data to keep for less than a year
This includes financial receipts (bank-deposits, ATM receipts, etc.), insurance policies, and investment statements. Once you reconcile your financial receipts you can shred those (or store securely in an electronic format). Commit that when your new insurance policies arrive in the mail that you trade out the old with the new.
2. Data to keep for a year or more
Keep loan documents until paid in full, vehicle titles until sold, investment confirmations until sold (to help establish cost basis), etc.
3. Data to keep for seven years
The tax rule of thumb is seven years, as the government has six years to collect back taxes or start proceedings against you in certain situations. Invest in a solid storage box for paper files and keep electronic files on a back-up disk. Who doesn't have a computer crash in seven years?!
4. Data to keep forever
Forever is a long time. But records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, Social Security cards, and military paperwork should be kept for forever and a day. These are the kinds of documents that are essential for significant processes, like making difficult decisions during illnesses, etc. Keep a file with these documents for your own sanity and the peace of mind of those close to you.
Now that you have the tips of the trade, get started on your tax prep and give yourself the treat of paperwork organization (trust me - next year you will love yourself for it!).
I love learning - especially when it comes from fellow entrepreneurs! Today we have a guest blog review from one such woman who opened her own business less than a year ago - and quickly determined that wrangling in the chaos would require more than just a blank daily planner. She is sharing her experiences with the Daily Action Planner - and how to account for the "weeds" and "seeds" of daily life!
Guest Blog by Alex Oldenburg
My typical weekly/monthly planner just wasn’t cutting it for keeping track of everything, and I needed a better way to organize and prioritize my to do lists. As a co-owner and founder of MESSY Dog Training I specifically needed a way to organize my life, along with my small business, so I started using the Daily Action Planner (DAP) about 6 months ago.
What I love the most about this planner is that it groups tasks into several categories, including:
By giving my “weeds” their own section, it has really helped me to avoid putting off the tasks I need to do but don’t enjoy. As a small business owner, I also appreciate a section for my “seeds”, so I can make sure I’m taking steps to grow my business and move forward.
The planner also understands that life can be chaotic, and that’s okay! It encourages you to “organize your gorgeous chaos”, with daily and weekly places to savor your successes by finding a success each day, and dedicating that success to a reward for yourself, such as a family game night or treating yourself to that favorite coffee drink (my go-to treat).
The Daily Action Planner helps me balance a business along with the rest of my busy life, and the change of mindset it has provided me has definitely helped lower the stress of trying to organize the gorgeous chaos of owning a business! The DAP company also provides a free support call to help you make the most of the planner, and a Facebook group with other Daily Action Planners for tips and ideas.
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who