The Modern Workspace : A More Productive Workday

Middle age business woman

Guest post by: Denise Caron Quinn

I was extremely fortunate to study at Columbia University in their Executive MBA program. My classmates and I were all employed professionals who either ran successful businesses or worked for organizations that believed our performance warranted 18 months of sponsorship to further our scholastic endeavors and ultimately our careers.

As with most top tier business schools, Columbia offered electives to compliment our core curriculum studies; however, they had one big hole in the program – there were no courses geared toward teaching us workplace organization and how to have a productive workday.

It was assumed that we must already be proficient at this at some basic level prior to admission to the program. But, truth be told, not not all successful executives are intrinsically organized.

What if, during that course of study, we could have taken a class that focused on enhancing productivity and efficiency in the workplace – learning ways to be more on the job as well as in our personal lives?

As the Founder and Director of In Order to Succeed, a company specializing in professional organizing, business consulting and relocation management, I tested myriad technological tools to optimize my team’s efficiency and output. But any tool, whether technological or tangible, must be employed consistently and with dedication to attain the desired results. This means finding the right tool to fit your work style, workplace and mindset is essential. And learning to effectively streamline our workload ultimately results in time and cost savings. What if you could find anything in just a few seconds? No time wasted searching –  just grab and go!

Evernote, a cross-platform application designed for collecting, archiving and easily retrieving data, does just that.

Through Evernote, you are given a virtual workspace that makes every hour of the day more productive. Evernote works seamlessly in real time across various devices, saving material from any format (paper, audio, internet, etc.)  It has become our key application for managing our projects.

NYT writer David Gelles raves about Evernote’s benefits. He especially enjoys its search feature and how easy it is to find something even if he only remembers a keyword or a fragment of a conversation.  Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, is another Evernote power user. He looks for systems that lead to “stress-free productivity without wasting mental RAM.” Ferriss says that he uses Evernote at least 10 times each day because he has everything stored in one place.
Beyond those, here are four more reasons why Evernote is so effective:

  1.  More Efficient Meetings. Evernote allows me to conduct meetings with a clear agenda and present and develop ideas in real time.  No need to create slides in advance since this is done within Evernote. A whiteboard full of lists, notes, diagrams, and to-do’s need not be transcribed but instead are captured on a camera phone and shared instantly with team members.  Evernote essentially turns my camera phone into a scanner, copier and even a fax machine.
  2. Managing contacts. Evernote scans business cards directly from your phone, syncing and storing to a third-party database automatically.  An immediate  request to share your contact info and connect via Linkedin is also generated via  Evernote.  Very cool!!
  3. To-Do Lists. A clear and concise outline of daily goals is good business.   Career expert  J.T. O’Donnell, considers daily task lists an essential habit to keep you on the top of your game.   Evernote checklists  are easy to create, track and share.
  4. Curate. Evernote’s Web Clipper is a game changer. I use it constantly to collect images and information that I plan to use in newsletters, blogs or presentations.  When reading online articles or viewing web pages, this browser plug-in captures and stores anything.  I save articles to read or refer to at a later date in a  “What I’m reading” Evernote notebook.

Organizing is a way of life, not a destination. It’s a continual process of reassessing what works and what doesn’t and finding the right fit.  Evernote is a robust tool that we have found to be simple to learn and easy to maintain.