Archive | March, 2010

Use Binder Clips To Organize Your Wires

These types of things make you wonder how many organization gadgets are invisible, yet right in front of your face.

Credit: Lifehacking.nl

What other makeshift organization tools do you use?

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Calendar Donations for Austin Teachers

Each year, Calendars.com and Calendar Holdings give out thousands of calendars to local teachers and non-profits. This past Friday, teachers lined up outside our warehouse to jump at the chance to participate in the event.

Both of my parents are elementary school teachers and I know how they struggle with tight bugets. It gave me warm fuzzies to see us providing calendars to help the students organize their days.

Donation Day happens once a year,  usually in late March. If you are a local teacher or a local non-profit in Austin, TX, please contact vendorinfo@calendarholdings.com for more information.

To see the rest of the pictures, please visit our Flickr page.

Here is a snippet of what happened:

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5 Tips for Starting a Fresh Work Week

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When Friday rolls around, the weekend is your only thought. During the weekend you are mentally preparing for Monday—what to wear, who to talk to, what is to be accomplished. Let Monday be your springboard for the rest of the week.

Here are some tips on how to do that.

1. Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero is when you have no emails staring you in the face and causing stress.

Many times, our email inbox is our to-do list, idea bank, and main communication. When you first turn on your computer in the morning, start with getting to Inbox Zero. This is a literal accomplishment. We want to achieve an empty inbox, and settle for nothing less.

Before plugging at your excel page, writing your blog post, or making the first call, you have to free your mind from the number that haunts your sleep; the stressing ‘emails ’ count.

Move the Necessary

An unanswered email, phone call, or contact sheet should not be in your inbox. Most of your emails have a place other than the inbox. Move the necessary emails where they belong, making sure you have not lost any important data.

Archive

References, pictures, and funny work emails should not be in your inbox. Archive them into appropriate folders and move on.

Delete the Rest

Unless it fits in the above categories, delete it. If you are afraid to lose the item, it should have been moved or archived. Delete the items you can do without.

2. De-Clutter Desk

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Your desk clutter does nothing good for you. An important mental step is to stop making excuses. Your desk clutter is the worst kind of to-do list possible.

Spending 10-15 minutes each Monday (or every day) de-cluttering will be a worthwhile investment in your time.

Productivity501 recently published a post called “5 Questions to Help Organize Your Desk.” The questions they ask force readers to think about the real reasons behind desk clutter. You can read the entire article here, or read my summary below:

Reading Materials

Be honest with yourself, and rid of the stuff you don’t need to read. Other tips include the use of RSS, getting a bookshelf, or listening to the audio version.

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Calendars.com Reaches Out To Bazaarvoice




We do business with customers and vendors every day, many times with little or no contact other than email and an occasional phone call. We knew a partnership with Bazaarvoice would be slightly different due to the following:

1. The company culture at Bazaarvoice truly is something to be admired.
2. They are located right here in Austin, the hometown of Calendars.com.

With this in mind, we knew that faxing over a signed contract if/when we made a final decision was just not going to suffice. We decided that we would sign in person at Bazaarvoice during their weekly Friday “all hands.” The video below tells the rest of the story:

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Filtering The Tools You Use

I recently put aside many of my organizing habits and tried to learn why I do things, and what is holding me back from doing it better.

Problem: I seemed to be focused more on the tools that I used to organize my life instead of actually using them.

I could spend hours each week looking for better tools.  A gem would appear every so often, leaving most of my searching time a complete waste. Instead, I should have spent that time doing the actual organization.

The Problem of Choice

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Sitting in a restaurant with 100 options will give you the same feeling; an overwhelming sensation, followed by the constant idea that the next menu item you see will be the better option. Everyone has done it.

Return on investment? Guided by the idea that the tool will do the work for you, companies advertise cutting time, cost, and adding features that you will never use. This is only partially true.

The choice dilemma led to my issue. I maintained 2-3 different tools for doing the same thing. I was using each tool with 50%-60% effectiveness, as opposed to putting all my energy into one.

I had scattered ideas, blamed my tools, and constantly searched for better ones.

The Basics for Your Life

Time

For the must-hold-it-in-your-hand type of person, a wall calendar or engagement book will work great. For the electronic geek, it gets a bit trickier. Microsoft Outlook vs. iCal vs. Google Calendar vs. Yahoo Calendar vs. (Insert Cool Calendar 2.0 Here) are your options.

I may be partial to Google Calendar, but I have seen others use both effectively, each in their own way.  Google Calendar may be the most intuitive and easy to use, but does that mean the others won’t work for you? Of course they will.

Money

Pay: Quicken
Free: Mint.com
There are others, but the most important thing is to stick with one and learn it.

Books

Shelfari.com and Google.com/books each provide a great way to catalog your books. Choose one and move on with your decision. Do not spend time on the minor differences.

Other Tools

The idea is the same for anything you want organized.

Pick a tool and stick with it. You will learn to adapt while not wasting time.

3 Tips For Filtering

Here are 3 basic tips to get past the choice dilemma:

  • Spend no more than 15 minutes choosing your organization tools. A quick Google search will give you an idea of what is out there.
  • Only revisit the tools once every few months. Do not spend more than 30 minutes deciding on whether you want to make a switch.
  • List the top five things you want to organize. Practice focusing on one tool for each of these things. Planning events, keeping contacts organized, maintaining relationships, groceries…etc.
Image credit: chazferret
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Calendar Life Sketches From Stephen Anthony

One of our seasonal call center employees sketched some clever cartoons during one of his lunch breaks. It was one of those moments when all of us stopped in awe, not knowing his hidden talent.

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The Beginning

Welcome to the official blog for Calendars.com!

Calendars.com is located in beautiful Austin, TX. The folks here at the office are passionate about productivity, organization, and having fun. We decided it was time to share our love of these things with you. We will be writing about the calendar world from the inside, showing all aspects of how we function, who we are, and the ideas we stand for as a company.

Expect a whole truck load of fun; we will be exploring the world of time, the history of calendars, and sharing the employees of Calendars.com with you.

We aim to uphold certain blog policies that will allow for a healthy community. See those policies here.

Interact with us!

Interact with Calendars.com in many ways. Our content may be empty on YouTube and Flickr, but stay tuned to those channels.

Who are the writers?

Currently, we have 2 dedicated writers who will be getting the word out to you. We have 3 people who will be helping with editing, and content ideas. The main writers are:

Carlos Urreta is the 23-year old new media geek for Calendars.com. He recently biked a couple thousand miles across the USA and blogged the entire way. When he’s not thinking about something, he’s thinking about something else. He practices simplicity as a lifestyle, and is excited to share his love for efficiency with you.
Twitter : Linkedin : Facebook


Robert Gilbreath manages the Ecommerce Marketing and Analytics Department for Calendars.com. Robert is responsible for the online/traditional marketing channels, site merchandising, new media, and reporting/analytics. He has over 10 years of e-commerce and online marketing experience. Before joining Calendars.com, he was GM/Brand Manager at AcademicSuperstore.com/JourneyEd.com. He holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas State University and an MBA in eCommerce from St. Edward’s University. When not working, Robert enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Twitter : Linkedin




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