A Brain New Way To Work

Eve Abbott

Archive for the 'information management' Category

Keeping Track of Both the Schedulers and Your Calendar

If you and your assistant both handle scheduling, take this simple step to make it clear which one of you made each appointment on the calendar. This avoids the: “Who scheduled that meeting for the same time?!

The fix: The person scheduling the appointment can include their initials in parentheses after the meeting title. For example: Budget Meeting, All Staff (CS).

You’ll be able to easily figure out what the misunderstanding was because you will both know for sure who made the overlapping appointment.

Email Signatures Work Best Both Ways 

Just as every executive (or any professional!) needs an email signature with their complete contact information, so does their assistant. Especially if your assistant is handling matters for more than one boss!

Your assistant needs to set up a separate email signature for each of the people for which he/she handles email correspondence.

The example email signature includes:

Rebecca Sunnybrook (name), Executive Assistant to Lou Abbott (boss name)

Vice President of Sales (boss’ title), ABCASEFA EFASEFAX (company name)

X 337455 (Internal phone number)

(222) 555-8888 (External phone number)

Rebecca.Sunnybrook@ABCASEFA-EFASEFAX.com (Live link email)

Optional: company website URL here

Company wide email signature protocols help to keep communications flowing more clearly with fewer mistakes.

Plus, signatures tell people you do want them to be able to be in touch with you. Even if it is through your assistant rather than directly to you!

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 A defined space tends to collect items which belong in it. An undefined space tends to become piles of chaos.

These are two of the universal productivity principles that apply to both computer files and paper information.


Define Your Space or Pile on the Chaos. Whenever you look at a shelf of binders (or anything in your office) that has no label, your brain opens a loop.  

It wants to know “What is it? When do I need to do what with it?  What will I need to put in/take out of it?”

When you label every item (or space) in your office—you’ll act from a more clear mental framework.



Get it Right the First Time 

If there are three shelves labeled on your bookcase, when you are in a hurry you will throw stuff on the fourth shelf with no label. 

 If it’s got a label, your brain goes “BZZZT! Try again.”

So you’re more likely put it where it belongs the first time. 


Label Makers Rule

Label makers are a must for every office tune-up.

First, because it makes it easier to do the best thing and label items as you go along.



Second, because when a binder, file or desktop organizer section is

labeled you make decisions from a sense of order instead of struggling with mental overload from unnecessary stimulation.
Label makers make productivity faster and easier. Just type, print and stick.


Do not let whether or not you have a label maker stop you from

labeling things. Handwritten labels work just fine. I use them often in

my own office.Any sorter unit can become just another pile without clear identification. Labeling is one of the most important productivity techniques to maintaining more order as you adjust to work and life changes. Label makers save time!


Label that sorter!  In – Action – Out

It’s important to establish In zones, and Out exits, in addition to your core Action area. No one should have to ask, “Where’s your inbox?”

 Improve your desktop sorters with categories by department, topic,

or file topic sections, because as long as you have it all labeled or

indexed, anyone can find what is needed.


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Tax, Financial and Business Records Guidelines: Hold on to records for only as long as required

80 percent of the paper that we file at work is NEVER referred to again.  After one year that unnecessary document storage statistic increases to over 90 percent.

Eegads !! It’s no wonder we can’t find what we’re looking for. Use my paper retention tips to melt your paper blizzard at work and for tax-time at home.

Home Tax Audit records retention guideline tip:

Written documentation for each deduction: receipts, buy/sell/donate/yearly investment  statements, 1099s and/or W-2s, credit card/bank statements & checks.

After six years; Put actual tax filing papers and any essentials (W-2s/1099s into a permanent tax records archive. For details see:

Then, dispose of outdated backup documentation and SHRED.                      

If you turn your personal tax insurance and financial record shredding over to a company — make sure they will let you watch them shred your documents.

For more tips on records retention guidelines for work and personal documentation check out:  

If you don’t need it, why not dump it?

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Six Tips for Success at Work with Less Stress: brain-unfriendly words to avoid using

Our brain’s top priorities include survival of our self, our family and our job. That is why the basis of every human transaction is “What’s in it for me?” To enhance your performance for better results, here are six words to avoid using with your colleagues, clients and everyone else too.

1. No
Humans hate to hear ‘no’ (brain MRIs shift to stress patterns). Humans love to hear ‘yes’ (brain MRIs light up in an instant). So, if you are about to say no to someone: Stop. Think what it would take to say yes to their request. Especially if you both can work together for a win-win outcome! Make things happen instead of spending your energy on all the reasons you can not.

2. Don’t
The human brain always processes a negative in language by defaulting to the positive. When you say, “Don’t judge a product by brand alone,” what they really hear after not processing the negative is, “Judge a product by brand alone.” Communicate positively, by telling everyone what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.

3. Can’t
Speaking of ‘don’t’, can’t  is another word that can frustrate or outright anger anyone from your boss to your spouse. When people process “I can’t”, they hear, “I choose not to.” Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.

4. But
As soon as you say the word ‘but’ your listener deletes the previous words spoken. For example, “You did good work, but…”) Now they are waiting to hear what you are really going to tell them. Replace but with either the word ‘and’ or start a new sentence. For example:

“You did good work and I wish your bonus was bigger.”

“You did good work. Unfortunately, the bonus pool last year was less than before.”

5. Honestly
When your listener hears you say, ‘honestly,’ you imply to them that some (or all!) of everything else you’ve said has not been honest. Delete these next two words from your vocabulary for the same reason: frankly, truthfully. I use the words, In fact but only when I have a relevant fact or new information to share.

6.  If

If always implies the opposite, “if not” as your brain processes language. When is a more definite word for the brain; it knows how to use when easily. For example:

“If you want to enhance your performance, here are six words you will be more successful by not using.”

When you want to enhance your performance, here are six words you will be more successful by not using.”

 Changing these words is guaranteed to get you better results at work and in life!

Excerpted: A Brain New Way to Work: Using your brain at work for better results and less stress. Copyright 2010 Eve Abbott All rights reserved.

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7 Easy Optimizing Your Computing Tips

The secret to optimizing your productivity and keeping your team organized is the same as the answer to “How do you eat a computer?”  The answer is “One byte at a time!”

With software applications taking up increasing amounts of hard drive space and people using multiple applications simultaneously, it is easier than ever to  have your work crawling along slowly.

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP: Backing up your work on a regular basis gives you the security of knowing that even if you do toss something before its time – you can retrieve it. Make sure IT actually has backups of your system.

This makes optimizing your computing  a worry free activity. You may be amazed at how much you never refer to again.

Remember, 80 percent of what we e-file never gets referred to again!

7 Optimizing  Your Computing Tips:

  1. Put an underscore (_) in front of any folder and an exclamation point (!) in front of any file name that you use most frequently.
  2. Review temporary (.tmp) files before deleting.
  3. Back up large unused files (or when finishing a project) onto media of choice (Memory stick, CD, DVD, External hard drive).
  4. Make an Archive folder in each major directory and/or in each major folder for outdated files and compress these folders.
  5. Empty the recycle bin.
  6. In Explore, Windows, Delete all files in Temp folder.
  7. At Start Pearl, select Explore, Search (magnifying glass icon), Files or Folders, Key in .tmp, Do a FIND ALL and  delete.

Your computer will thank you and run faster. Your team will thank you and run smoother. Any executive will thank themselves for being so smart as to use my easy brain-based performance tips to save time and overcome overload!

Excerpts from: “A Brain New Way to Work: Using your brain at work for better results with less stress” Copyright 2010 Eve Abbott All rights reserved.

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A true story from my book: “When I was working as a lawyer in a windowless office, I got hellacious headaches and thought I was going crazy.  I went to a neurologist who told me the ‘flickering’ from the computer and fluorescent lights were slightly off—so my brain couldn’t handle the different flickerings. 

“I got full spectrum lights and the headaches disappeared.  Once I got an office with a window, I was able to have God-given ‘full spectrum’ light. I’ll never go back to no windows.”         Sandra Shepard, Esquire

 You don’t have to wait for a corner office with windows to improve your mental ability and energy levels!

Full spectrum light will change the way you work and reduce visual fatigue as well as lifting your energy levels. Our eyes are designed to work with sunlight and won’t tire as quickly with this energy-efficient light source.

It is scientifically proven that the quantity and quality of light plays a significant role in mood and work performance. Young people are more affected than elders but everyone responds positively to higher light levels.

Women are affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder) four times more than men. Female brains are not tricked by blue TV or orange bulb light into thinking it is summer all year long. 

I recommend full spectrum light for everywhere you read, write, do computing or close work of any kind. Just install the bulbs  in your office task-lamps. Quality light makes a difference in your attention span and helps keep your brain performing at your personal best!

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I have been surprised to find just how much the different search engines do not show all appropriate results for any one search term. Plug the same word (s) into Google, Yahoo or BING and get mostly the same results plus there are always some obviously ‘missing links’.  

Enter with a great solution: put in your search terms and just toggle through the link results for all three major search engines (with the duplicates not shown). You also get a complete range of video, images and podcast results!

www.LEAPFISH.com  is now my favorite search site and I use it everyday. Save Time. Get better, faster search results. Try it, you will like it!

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“Brain styles are an invisible diversity issue in the workplace,” Eve Abbott explains. Ian Moore’s eight-minute audio interview with Eve is for individuals who are interested in using their brain to overcome  information overload and improve time management. Plus, learning how to bridge brain style differences for better team performance.

 Brain Styles: Invisible Diversity Issue [7:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup |
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An unedited 12-minute video of Eve Abbott’s program, “How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age Brain”. Each A Brain New Way to Work program combines humor with the latest in brain research. Eve’s proven productivity tips help people to get the most out of their email with their unique brain style. Specialized programs include Outlook or Lotus Notes best practices.

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January 18, Epipod #25:
 and Changing Yourself.

Eve Abbott’s A Brain New Way to Work tips work for people who want to change their behavior or habits…no matter what time of year they decide is right.

Listener comments: 
“As always, Eve was an absolute delight. Her frank, straight to the point yet totally proactive, style is wonderful, and a great role model to try and emulate. Her comments had me constantly hitting the pause button on my iPod to quickly take notes.”

 The Marketers Podcast, Epipod #25 [75:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup |
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Eve Abbott with A Brain New Way to Work on Internet Radio

This lively interview includes three segments with Eve Abbott on getting better results from your unique brain style at work while “Getting It All Done in a 24/7/365 World”. Your host is Bridget Beck of “Get Wise – Get Organized” on World Talk Radio.

 Standard Podcast [43:24m]: Play Now | Play in Popup |

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