PATHFINDER VUE-FILE SYSTEMS 30 Sherwood Lane, Unit 9 Fairfield, New Jersey

800.447.2322

How to organize your construction office

One of the most important aspects of any business is organization. In your construction business, one of the key elements you need to keep in mind is that the in-house operations are kept orderly. In the hustle and bustle that is a construction business, it easy for things to become disorganized, and even if some sort of system is established, without proper maintenance, things can fall apart after even just a few days of disregard. Papers get misplaced, tools are lost, employees have miscommunication issues: you get it. Not a pretty picture.

Here are a few ideas that will help you manage your construction business simply but efficiently. Once established, these organizational functions can be easily maintained so that mistakes and miscommunication are far less likely to occur. Throughout the process of re-organizing the inner and outer workings of your construction business, you will hopefully notice a change in your business’ self-presentation and standard of professionalism.

Tool Organization

One of the first rules of keeping your construction business’ tools organized is by sorting your tools by usage. Keep everything together that functions similarly. For example, keep wrenches together but separate from the screwdrivers, and keep screwdrivers together but separate from saw blades. This isn’t too hard to figure out, but often what can happen is the random assortment of small tools together and big tools together. When this method of big vs. small is used, things are more often misplaced as well as misused. Within the separation of tools by usage, there should also be a separation of tools by type. When you keep all of your screwdrivers and flatheads in the same place, it would be ideal to separate the flatheads from the screwdrivers. This way, the amount of each tool is consistently kept track of, and you will never have to dig through one type of tool in the search for another.

One thing you can use for such organization would include boxes or bins: they are GREAT for keeping things separated and in their proper place. Although there is sometimes a huge temptation to keep things in the box they come in, such as nails or screws, if they aren’t sorted into a larger bin with like-items and are kept loosely, it is far more likely for these individual packages to get lost or misplaced.

After all of your tools are sorted into bins of like-items, a good idea would be to establish a numbering system of all the tools in your company’s possession. First, you need to go through and take inventory of every tool you have, just so that you know the quantity of your tools, and how many individual types you have. After you have kept track of just how many of each tool you have, a numbering system can be put into place by numbering your tools from 1 to whatever the final amount is. For example, say you have 15 flatheads and 20 screwdrivers. By numbering each tool with a small sticker, you would put the numbers one through fifteen on each of your flatheads, and one through twenty on each of your screwdrivers.

You would then transfer that information onto an inventory sheet. You might use one page to keep track of screwdrivers and flatheads, especially if they are in the same bin, and then create a table to keep track of what numbered tool was taken out onto a construction site. The contractor using the tool would enter in on the track sheet exactly what date and time they used the tool, and the date and time the tool was returned to it’s proper bin. This would work to prevent any displacement of tools, as well as establish how often certain tools are used.

If you notice there is a tool that goes many months or even a year or two without usage, then you might want to investigate that tool further: is it damaged or broken? Do you have an updated version of that tool that makes the old tool redundant and take up space? Do you need this tool, or can it be used elsewhere?

Another benefit of the tool numbering system is that if a tool is misplaced, you will know exactly what you are looking for. By keeping close track of your tools both by type and quantity, as well as keeping a written record of tool usage, the time it takes to establish what has been lost or misplaced and tracing your steps back to that item will take significantly less time, and will possibly even cost you less if you are able to replace that item instead of having to purchase a replacement.

Paper Organization

Paperwork is the other main aspect of a construction business office that needs to be thoughtfully organized and maintained. With so many papers going through and living in an office, it wouldn’t take more than a day for a whole entire construction project to be thrown out of order if important paperwork is misplaced or lost.

Different types of papers should be kept and maintained in separate ways. Multiple filing cabinets with clearly labeled drawers and folders should be used for separate types of papers. Paper work should be separated first by type, then grouped together by what they are needed for.

Employee information regarding hire as well as their licenses and qualifications should be kept together in the same place, each employee with their own separate folder within the same drawer. These are best kept alphabetically.

Information regarding any and all of your subcontractors should be kept in a separate drawer, including information of your collaborative history with them, as well as a copy of the proof of payment from jobs that they have done with you before.

Billing and payment information regarding all of your employees and subcontractors should be kept in another drawer, also alphabetically organized by the name of your employees. Your subcontractors’ info should also be in the same drawer, but alphabetized separately from your employees. Timesheets and scheduling information should also be kept in this drawer so that you can keep track of the hours each employee worked, as well as whether or not they have gotten paid for those hours. Within each separate employee’s folder, paperwork should be organized by date, so that their latest working information is in the front, and their oldest information is in the back.

Invoices for different jobs should also be kept in the same drawer. This could be organized multiple ways, the top two being by the date of the project or by the name of the project or client. Date might be easiest, so that you can keep all of your current or most recent projects right up front, so they can be easily accessed without having to look back through folders of multiple names and older projects.

When it comes to storing your Blueprints, it might not be best to go with the typical roll-up and placement into some bin. This can cause damage to Blueprints, even if they are kept in a Blueprint tube.

The best and most organized method would be to store your blueprints in a Blueprint storage rack. A Blueprint storage rack will keep your papers neat and less-prone to damage, as well as keep them organized so that they are easy to find. When you roll up Blueprints and place them randomly on shelves in an office place, they are susceptible to multiple types of damages. It also hard to keep Blueprints orderly this way, and it wouldn’t be hard to lose track of one or to misplace it. Using a Blueprint storage rack keeps them all in one place in a presentable fashion that allows you to see the Blueprint you are working on without having to take it out of its placement.

Once you have a Blueprint storage rack, you can keep them organized by date or alphabetically. Again, organizing by date may be slightly more convenient as it will keep your most recent or current Blueprints up front and easily accessible.

When the innerworkings of a company are organized and functioning well, the whole business tends to follow in those same patterns. Keeping the different functions of your construction business organized to a basic yet detailed degree will allow more time for getting the job done without any extra hassle beyond the work itself. When you are working on a difficult project, or even multiple projects, you don’t have time to be disorganized. Any delays or miscommunications that result from disorganization are unprofessional, and businesses may find themselves in serious trouble if they are not trustworthy and reliable to do their job on time and in the right way.

Organizing your construction office in this way is basic but efficient, and the maintenance is even easier. Once the way things are kept and sorted is established, putting things where they belong and keeping track of what paper goes where becomes a regular habit, and a good one at that. Your company will prove to be even more professional and trustworthy as you develop a reputation of being able to work efficiently and on time in the most organized way possible.

How to de-clutter, starting with a Blueprint storage rack

When we all grew up and became adults, one thing did not change much from our childhood: in one way or another, almost all of us still have desks. Whether there’s one in your room at home, one in your college dorm, or one in your office job, we all spend at least some fraction of our adult lives at our desks. Some people have learned over the years and years of being responsible for desks since their grade school days that it is easiest to function with a clean and well-maintained desk.

Some people.

If you are not one of these people, you might find your desk life a little more hectic than you might like it to be. You might lose things easily, because it was there yesterday but its not there today… or was it the day before when you saw it last? You’re not sure. But it was important.

Messy desk life has also caused you to be easily distracted. Even though you are trying to glue your eyes the computer screen, that paper crumpled over there in the corner might be that the receipt you were looking for to return that shirt you bought last week… but underneath that is the picture you and your significant other took on your trip to Hawaii. You wish you were in Hawaii right now.

Stress also plays a major role in the life of a messy desk. Not finding things can cause you to fall behind easily, and the last thing you need is another lecture from your boss or professor about late work. You might also lose things on your desk not related to school or work, like a gift card or someone’s present. You can misplace money and checks, just like that!

Its also not pleasant when other people notice that you tend to keep an unorganized desk. If its peers at college, the biggest deal is that they might judge you, which is not too big a deal. But what is a big deal is when your boss, or boss’ boss, comes into your work and sees that you are not able to keep your area clean. They are supposed to trust you, as an employee, to keep your desk clean in a professional way to reflect the standards of the company. If you are falling behind, and your desk is messy, then it becomes evident that this job really is in no way near your list of priorities.

What you need to do is become one of those “clean desk” people. Which isn’t necessarily easy, by the way, as it is hard to break years and years of the development of a bad habit, but it can be done! Through the initial decluttering process, hopefully you will start to realize some of the effects right away. You will get rid of things you no longer need, add things that will help keep you more organized, and maybe even find that thing you were looking for a few months ago but never thought you’d see again!

Imagine walking to your desk, wherever it may be, and sitting down to look for something and finding it right away because you know exactly where it is. That isn’t meant to be trivial, as a lot of us know that the struggle is very real. Hopefully, if you use this guide the right way, you might see a major change in your desk life, that will hopefully cause a neat change in the rest of your life as well.

 

Paperwork and Blueprint storage systems

Any college student or employee who spends their time at a desk knows that the number one source for clutter is paper. We get so many things handed to us that we are supposed to keep track of, and we are supposed to print out papers to give back. The whole thing can seem like a total nightmare, especially when it comes to deadlines. Even if you know you completed something in time, if you can’t find it, might as well have not done it at all. Teachers don’t give good grades and bosses don’t pay for, “I promise I did it.”

One nifty way to keep your paperwork organized in your office or workspace is the use of a Blueprint storage system. A Blueprint storage system not only offers a neat and compact way to store your papers all in one place, but it also allows you to organize however your situation requires. For example, in a college setting, you might organize your assignments by class, and then by due date. In a business office setting, you can use a Blueprint storage system to organize your clients alphabetically, or your paperwork by due date.

It is important that know exactly how you organized it, because if you intend to stay organized, then you need to maintain the organizational pattern for every future intended use.

Get rid of things that don’t belong.

There are so many things that do not belong anywhere on your desk. You might forget that this includes gum and candy wrappers, or receipts and old post-it notes, simply because that is where they have lived for so long. This is not the case. Their new home (except maybe the receipts, those you might want to keep somewhere at home) is the garbage can.

Its easy to cast aside whatever on your desk, especially when it feels like you’ve got a lot going on, or you think you’ll remember to do it later. This is almost never the case. If you were to keep a trash can under your desk, then it would take half of a second longer to lean under your desk to toss trash where it belongs. Putting it in a random drawer does not count either.

Dishes also do not have a place on your desk. The one exception might be a coffee cup, and if this is the case, then you should keep one coaster on your desk as a reminder.it also gives your coffee cup a specific place to live, so that the coffee cup doesn’t have a chance to get lost either.

Keep your decorations to a minimum.

Too many picture frames and plants and Pokémon balls on your desk only add to the overall dysfunction. You brought these things to liven your desk life, but really, you can’t see them half of the time anyways underneath all the clutter.  Choosing one or two things might be acceptable, as long as they aren’t too much of a distraction from your work. If you want, consider changing the background on your computer or laptop to pictures of your family and close friends, instead of using the space of picture frames at your desk. You can also consider switching out your desk decorations every few weeks or so, if you are interested in changing things up a bit.

Sort the things you do use at your desk.

Desks tend to feature a variety of different tools, but when they are all over your desk of just in a pile inside of your drawer, it is hardly possible to use any of them. Take them all out of their messy hiding, and sort through them. You might find you have unnecessary multiples that you can take home or give away. Whatever you figure that you can use, you should organize into a drawer organizer or small bins inside your desk to keep all these things separate. This includes: pens/pencils/ highlighters, push pins and paperclips, staplers, hole punch/3-hole punch, whiteout, or other office materials. If you want to keep a small cup-holder for pencils and pens on your desk, then feel free to do so.

Keep your cords out of sight.

            The cords to your lamp, laptop, cell phone, or other should not be on display all over your desk. Recoil the length of chargers and cords that you don’t need, and make sure any cord lengths you do need are kept behind your desk near the outlet or run along the back of the top of your desk. This way, there is no chance to get anything tangled or mangled or mangles or swished to the side by any cords you may need.

Maintenance

Now your desk should be pretty well sorted… the only issue left is making sure it stays that way. One tip: keep your desk clean. Use all purpose cleaner and a rag or paper towel to wipe your desk down. This way, it becomes easier for you to want to keep it clean in that way. Also, if you must, you can make labels for where everything goes in and on your desk. This might seem excessive, but whatever helps, helps!

Once you start enforcing the habit of putting stuff where it belongs after every time you use it and remembering to throw your trash away in the bin instead of on the desk, it gets easier and easier. You’ll find yourself less stressed, and more able to focus on your work. It will be hard to return to a bad habit after feeling this good!

Professionalism in the Workplace: Why It’s Important, and How to Achieve It.

Professionalism in the work place is a vital part of becoming a successful business. This seems like fairly obvious and simple concept, but if this was the case, and every company took professionalism to heart, there would be a lot more satisfied clients and customers out in the world. But Yelp reviews and other review sites reveal otherwise. Yes, there are many great reviews of businesses and their professional atmospheres, but there seem to be a equal or greater amount of negative reviews as well, and the businesses with continuous negative feedback tend to not survive.

Professionalism is of key importance to any business, and whether or not you are just starting up or you have been in the business cycle for some time, it is continuously significant that you remember that the atmosphere and attitude of a company should convey trust, which is another vital part of becoming a successful business. Clients need to be able to trust that you know what you are doing, that you will do a good job, and that you respect the people you intend to serve as well as the task they have set before you. Now these things may be true, even though your environment may not be up to the exact standard it should be. Even though you may be good at your job, and your business is put together well enough, without that key factor of a professional environment, these things might not even matter, because new clients won’t be able to look past your incompetent exterior. Which is a shame! If your business has the ability to be trustworthy, strong, and successful, but is unable to prove it is so because no one wants your business based on the inefficient presentation, then it really is a bummer that the one thing holding your company back was the lack of professionalism, which can be easier to convey than you might think.

To get your business up to the standard of what competence looks like, read through these three aspects that you may or may not have considered before. If you have heard of them before or have already consider taking these tools with you to the work place, read through them again to really get it in your mind what you can do to boost the professional atmosphere of your office.

 

For your consideration: Organization

Now this should be a given, but some offices underestimate the power of organization. They might run under the term, “Organized Chaos,” but in the world of truly competent professionals, that is not going to cut it. Even if you think you know where an important file or blueprint is, if you can’t guarantee it’s in a safe location where nothing can happen to it outside of your knowledge, then this automatically wilts the trust that you are supposed to be growing between you and your customers. Organization leads to success both inside and outside of the workplace environment.

Professionalism is conveyed through the indoor location of an office by organization as it has tremendous benefits for the employees of the said office. Efficiency helps a team work more efficiently, and by having a set plan for the locations of papers, files, drawings, or blueprints around the office place is bound to prevent any confusion between coworkers in regards to how the office is managed and where they can find any needed materials.

The organization of the indoor workings of an office also shows professionalism to clients visiting your office for meetings or updates. Say a client stops by unexpectedly and wants to know how the blueprint for their new home is going. If you have to scramble to locate the requested blueprint because you don’t keep them organized with a blueprint storage system, or worse, you are unable to locate it, then not only does that convey to your client that you do not prioritize them or their business, but it also shows the severe lack of professionalism that they should expect from your company.

In contrast, however, say the customer stops by with an unexpected request to view the status of their blueprint, and you happen to keep your blueprints neatly presented and organized with a blueprint storage system, then you can connect your client with the blueprint in no time at all, and not only will they be impressed with your ability to keep your business organized and accessible, but you will also relay the knowledge that they are valued by you, and that they can trust you with their business.

Organization can also help you when you are out on the job, or out of the office, meeting with a client. Knowing exactly where your papers or blueprints are means not scavenging for them last minute, and not leaving anything of importance behind because you knew exactly what you needed and where it could be located. It also means showing up to a meeting prepared and on time because you were able to find everything you were requested to bring with plenty of time to spare. This, again, helps to build that trust with your client as it lets them know that their time is valuable to you.

A few items that might help maintain the office’s professional atmosphere in an organized matter include blueprint storage racks, or blueprint hanging racks, that work to keep every blueprint on file neatly protected from dents or wrinkles, as well as easily accessible by members of your work place. Job jackets can also be used on a more small-scale level to preserve paperwork that may need to be continuously reviewed during a job. Other items might include a filing cabinet for important files your business is bound to encounter, and an organized bin to keep work materials such as paper and pencils available when they are needed

Work Place Appearance

Extending beyond the valued appearance and use of organization in your office, the appearance of the office is a clue to your professional status. Appearance extends to not only the use of the work space itself, but also to the employees and managers representing your business. Office clutter as well as employees that follow no evident dress code appear untrustworthy. How can you manage a client’s business if you are unable to even keep up the presentation of your own?

When it comes to the look of the team within a work place, it is important to not under dress, or to over dress for that matter. How an employee is dressed communicates effort to a client. If an employee spends at least a little time on their appearance before they show up to the work place, then it shows your clients the dedication an employee has to their job, and that they are coming to the office with a mindset of professionalism.

Dressing appropriately for the work place should never only extend to the employees of an office space, but also to the employers. If bosses come to work dressed carelessly, then the example is set for the rest of the office. Be mindful, as you should expect professional attire by presenting the expectation yourself.

Lastly, the office itself should reveal that it is a professional work place through its appearance, and one of the first things to pay attention to is whether or not your office has clutter. Always make sure your office is supplied with enough trash cans to prevent a disarray of garbage invading your team’s space. Make sure the office is cleaned regularly, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a cleaning crew. This is a healthy habit for your office, and it also shows how much you value your work and the business of your clients.

Office appearance also extends to decoration: there is such a thing as way too much. Make sure that your office is not off-putting with clashing colors and an over abundance of photos or posters, as this not only reflects your taste (or lack thereof) to your customers, but it also presents an unwanted distraction from the important matters at hand. It is also important to avoid being too bland. Again, this is a representation of your taste, and you should make your office a relatively enjoyable environment to visit.

Time Management

Time management is another key to revealing the professional status of a work place. This goes beyond timeliness as it pertains to being early or late for work. It looks more into what you and you employees do with the time you have in and out of the office while you are on a job. Time is money, and wasted time not only costs you, the employer, but also might cost you a few clients if they feel you are not a good manager of their time while they are in business with your company.

One idea for this might be to have your employees, for a period of time, keep track of the way they spend time on a time log. You might be also subject yourself to this practice, as you might waste time of sorts and not even realize. When the period of time is over, collect each employees’ recordings of their work week to see where time is being wasted in some places, or where time should be spent more often in others. This will help you manage the time your office uses to not only remain efficient within the workplace, but also to show your clients exactly how valuable you find their time to be.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you to circle around some ideas on how you can make your workplace a professional one, and beyond that, a successful one. If your company should be successful based on your skill and your purpose, then the best way to show that to the world is through the professional dispositions of you and your office.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Incentivizing Employees and Boosting Productivity (#4 Includes Blueprint Storage Rack)

It’s obvious: most managers strive to eliminate the kinds of disruptions that cause their employees to lose productivity throughout the day. The trouble is, lost productivity rarely has one simple cause. When managers try a one-size-fits-all strategy to get more results from their team, they may often find that their efforts do more harm than good.

To create a workplace that supports your employees and drives them to be as productive as possible requires a multi-faceted approach. You’ll need everyone within your organization onboard in order to really get the ball moving—from the most senior members of your executive team to your most entry level employees. That said, here’s how to motivate your employees and make them more productive (#4 includes blueprint storage rack).

#1. Happier Employees Make Better Workers

A 2015 study revealed that happy employees do better work. In fact, happier participants were 12% more productive than the control group.[1] This most likely translates into not only more personal success but success for the business—aka more business growth.

Here’s the Assumption

Needless to say, some business leaders may feel that it’s just too expensive or challenging to incentivize employees to be more productive; of course, any employee would prefer to have more time off, added benefits, and higher pay—so they say.

The Truth

The truth is, incentivizing techniques, like paying employees more, actually drives companies’ revenue; just ask Waye Cascio, a University of Colorado, Denver management professor, who found that Costco is still more profitable than Sam’s Club even when employee wages are 40% higher.[2]

#2. The Number of Vacation Days May Not Matter  

Companies, like Kickstarter, learned that unlimited vacation policies work better in theory than in practice.[3]

Contrary to what some may think, employees weren’t keen on taking months off. In fact, when the decision on how much vacation to take was left up to employees, they’re more likely to consider the optics than whether or not they genuinely need a break from work; someone who takes a week of vacation every month clearly appears less dedicated to their job versus someone who takes one day a year.

Consider a Vacation Policy That Counters American Work Culture

The lack of vacation days taken shows that it’s not so much the number of days that are the issue but the American work culture—shaming employees if they dare call out. Ultimately, not have breaks from works leads to higher chances of burnout and a loss in productivity.

Combat this by having a common-sense vacation policy in place that encourages employees to take time away from work so that they can recharge and relax, returning back to the office fully ready to work.

#3. Free Coffee Doesn’t Mean Positive Work Culture

Higher-ups may believe that giving employees free food, drinks, or other amenities is crucial to creating the kind of work environment that employers are looking for and can excel at.

However, some companies have found the opposite to be true. Nextivia, in particular, discontinued their free snack program because rather than a nice perk, employees were unhappy when their favorite snacks are unavailable.[4] In this case, more perks—aka more free snacks—didn’t help creative a positive culture.

#4. Increasing Productivity in the Office Starts with a Blueprint Storage Rack

Telecommuting and home offices are big trends in many industries; workers often cite  autonomy as one of the big perks of working from home.

And it makes sense. Having the ability to design your own home office is certainly a plus, but an organized office space is often essential to getting tasks done on time and staying on top of the work load.

When it comes to sorting through large printed documents, there’s no better choice than a blueprint storage rack specially designed to make it easy to flip between documents and select the right one in a matter of seconds. With less time digging for that one file in your cluttered filing cabinet, you can increase your time efficiency and get more done.

#5. Employee Engagement Increases Productivity

Company culture is one of the most important factors when employees choose to leave a job.  But the truth is, over half of the US workforce is not engaged in their work.[5]

This most likely means a dip in productivity, as the more engaged your employees are, the more productive they’ll be. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, highly engaged organizations have over one-fifth higher productivity (22%).[6]

Companies who don’t keep their employees engaged risk high turnover rates and, with that, more expenses in training employees—possibly as much as 16% of an employee’s hourly salary.[7]

Take Action to Increase Employee Engagement

At the end of the day, especially with millennials moving jobs almost every year, it is important for companies to keep their employees engaged, taking steps like being transparent and treating employees as business partners.[8]

Final Thoughts: Develop Your Workforce

The truth is, high-quality employees create high-quality work. You can identify which skills and general personality traits are most prevalent in your high-performing employers. Work with your human resources department to develop a recruiting plan that seeks out individuals with these skill sets. Making sure new employees are the right fit for your company, versus the best at their job, is an important part of building a strong team.

Consider Internal and External Hires

Many companies overlook their current staff when seeking to fill a new role or backfill a recently vacated position. A fresh outsider’s perspective is valuable, but employees who have been with the company for some time also have a uniquely valuable perspective. Evaluate both internal and external candidates with the same level of scrutiny to avoid creating negative perceptions among your existing employees.

Creating transparent career paths allows each worker to understand how high performance in their current position can lead to a better position in the future. Offering training, job shadowing, and/or other forms of personal development time, helps your employees understand how valuable they are to your company.

What It Comes Down To

Much of creating a company that supports productivity is about utilizing your resources wisely— whether that means designing a training program to better develop specific employee skills to installing a blueprint storage rack in each office.

Overall, letting your employees know just how valuable they are to the success of your organization, and demonstrating it appropriately via bonuses and a suitable benefits package will help incentivize your workforce and boost productivity.

What have you done to increase productivity at the office? How do you incentivize employees to stay on track and produce above-average work? Do you use a blueprint storage rack? Is there a productivity tip you’d like to share? Let us know by commenting in the comments section below.

Summary

  • It’s Simple: Happier employees are more productive
  • In fact, happier employees in the study were 12% more productive than the control
  • Employees need to bypass common misconceptions and take action to incentivize employees
  • One way is by increasing employee salary
  • Surprisingly, Costco which pays its employees more than Sam’s Club, was 40% more profitable disproving the myth that high employee salaries negatively affect company budget
  • Number of vacation days is irrelevant since American work culture shames employees for taking time off
  • Instead of focusing on number of days, consider creating a vacation policy that encourages employees to get out of the office and avoid burnout
  • Free food perks actually may hinder company culture, as was the case with Nextivia—consider using other ways to incentivize employees
  • Increase productivity in the office by installing a blueprint storage rack, which allows for easy storage
  • Employee engagement is an indicator whether employees may consider work elsewhere
  • Sadly, more than half of the American workforce reports to not be engaged with their jobs
  • Highly engaged companies were 22% more productive
  • Not taking steps to counter engagement rate may increase your turnover rate, which can be as much as 16% of an employee’s hourly pay
  • Use resources wisely and consider a blueprint storage rack to boost productivity in the office and allow employees to get more work completed
  • Seek internal and external hires to show and employees that they can move up in the company—another way to incentivize and increase work performance
  • Work with HR to develop a recruitment plan to attract and retain high performers
  • Get every level involved in not just company culture but increasing company productivity

Interested in increasing organization and productivity in the office? Want to decrease clutter?  For more information about a blueprint storage rack, feel free to contact Big Blueprint Hanger.

[1] Fortune: Study: Being happy at work really makes you more productive

[2] Inc.: How Paying Employees More Can Make You More Profitable

[3] Fast Company: Kickstarter Nixes Unlimited Vacation Time for Employees

[4] Entrepreneur: Why Perks Don’t Make a Company Culture

[5] Aon Media Center: Employee Engagement Declining Across the Globe

[6] Harvard Business Review: Employee Engagement Does More Than Boost Productivity

[7] Huffington Post: High Turnover Costs Way More Than You Think

[8] Inc.: 10 Best Ways to Keep Employees Happy, Engaged, and Motivated

13 Productivity Hacks for College Students to Stay Ahead (Blueprint Storage Rack is #12)

With the new school year here, college students are back to the books…and pulling the infamous all-nighters. In fact, surveys from Psychology 101 classes (which polled college students from several majors) revealed that 65 had pulled at least one all-nighter while 45 had not.[1] Consequently, the study showed that those who had pulled an all-nighter had a (slightly) lower GPA than those who didn’t While reasons other than the occasional all-nighter may factor in—such as poor note taking and not going to class—not sleeping before a test could inhibit students’ abilities to remember the information they studied the night before. To prevent college students from spending caffeinated, sleepless nights, we compiled 13 productivity hacks geared to help college students battle procrastination, reduce all-nighters, and succeed in school (#2 includes blueprint storage rack!).

  1. Leverage the “Do Not Disturb” Feature on Phones

Nearly all phones have a “do not disturb” option. This feature restricts notifications—like texts and calls—from showing up on the screen. College students who are hitting the books can decrease distractions and stay focus by leveraging this productivity hack. To use it, go to the phone settings, then “Do Not Disturb.” From there, students can select the setting options that best fits their study needs: Manual, Schedule, Allow Calls From, Repeat Calls…

  1. A Clean Study Space Matters

A Princeton University study revealed that objects in an individual’s line of vision compete for their attention, which hinders performance and increases stress.[2] College students can prevent this from happening by ensuring their study space stays clean and organized. This will allow students to study more effectively.

  1. Re-Think the All-Nighter

Contrary to popular belief, the infamous all-nighter associated with college finals may do more damage than good. According to Business Insider, students who pull an all-night may feel euphoric and a feeling of positivity. However, the overly optimistic dissipates quickly and, according to the researchers, could lead to risky behavior.[3]

The article goes on to state that getting little to no sleep wreaks havoc on the brain’s ability to retain memory. Meaning, all of that cramming and large quantities of caffeine may not be worth it. College students considering an all-nighter need to make the choice if an extra few hours of studying is worth the risks.

  1. Use Organization Apps and Calendars for Better Planning

From the Physics 101 exam next Monday to an in-class essay on Friday plus extra circulars, college students are juggling several commitments. To make it easier for them to keep track of and stay on top of them, students can use organization apps, such as Wunderlist, to prioritize what and when things need to get done. Students can also use Google Calendar or iCalendar[4] to sync their schedules to multiple devices. That way, whatever electronic device the student is using, he or she has quick access to it.

  1. Write It Down

A study involving Princeton and University of California students (300 plus) showed that students who took long form notes had better recall than those who typed them on laptops.[5]

The actual act of writing helps students retain information. Since manual writing takes longer than typing, students have to make the conscious decision of what to write down and what to leave out. To get the most out of class, students should stick to long form writing or at least alternate between typing and writing their notes. Still, students who prefer typing can study in other ways that involve writing—such as using notecards, creating charts to organize the information, etc.

  1. Just Start to Eliminate Procrastination

A 2007 study revealed that 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate, especially when it comes to course work.[6] To reduce these figures, students need to just start, even if it is for 15 minutes. Starting the school work is enough to break through that procrastination barrier. From doing this, that 15 minutes may turn into an hour, which may turn into a task complete.

  1. That Morning Break Counts

Those who believe that taking an early break is a sign of an unproductive day may be surprised by this research. A survey of 95 employees showed that taking a mid-morning break was more effective than a mid-afternoon one. This is because the break is early enough in the day where students still have energy. An early break recharges energy, performance, and concentration.[7] Which then allows for a better study session.

  1. Keep Computer Desktop Clean

Similar to a physical messy desk, scattered folders and images on computer desktops contribute to clutter. Students should re-organize desktop folders and images to help create a proactive, organizational mindset.

  1. Using the Pomodoro Technique for Studying

Contrary to popular belief, not all studying happens in one long burst. Breaking it into chunks may help decrease procrastination inclinations and improve focus. There are several ways students can do this. The Pomodoro Technique, one famous productivity hack we discussed in _______, uses 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks in between to space out productivity.

  1. Leverage the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule[8] uses the thinking that 20% of input is responsible for 80% of the results. Applying this principal to college, 20% of studying yields 80% of students’ academic performance. This makes sense, especially when we consider a study that shows that the average worker is only productive for roughly 3 hours (2 hours 53 minutes, to be exact) in a standard, 8-hour workday.[9]

While this is slightly more than 20%, it goes to show how much influence a small percentage of time has. To take advantage of that 20%, college students should consider allotting work and break times.

  1. Not Everyone’s Circadian Rhythm is the Same

Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that regulates when you are tired and alert. In other words, it is your sleep-wake cycle.[10] Thanks to it, you tend to wake up, go to bed, and feel energized around the same times every day. With most people working from 9 to 5, it may seem like everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same. However, if you notice people’s work and study patterns, that is not always the case.

Case in point: Night owls and morning risers. In fact, with enough time, you can trick your circadian rhythm, staying alert at times when other people are falling asleep. This may be why some students who pull all-nighters or study at night may actually do well on tests (however, it is not enough reason to start the habit). Still, it is worth tracking when students are at their most energized and when they feel the most tired. That way, using this information, students can schedule study sessions and study groups around their most energized times, getting the most from them.

  1. Use a Blueprint Storage Rack to Increase Organization

Students can save time looking for papers and study guides by utilizing a blueprint storage rack. Only taking up 24 inches of space, students can store thousands of documents in them—essays, tests, study guides, notes, you name it. Storing up to 60 hangers, students can easily thumb through documents and easily find what they are looking for.

  1. If Students Must Pull an All-Nighter

If college students need to pull an all-nighter, simply gulping 5 cups of coffee and hitting the books is not going to cut it. Since coffee is a diuretic, in taking multiple lattes can cause dehydration. Instead of drinking the brew, go for water instead. Also, take frequent short exercise breaks to increase blood flow.

Final Thoughts

Students can improve their productivity by using a number of these simple hacks. Using productive-friendly furniture, like the blueprint storage rack, keeps documents organized and easy to find. Allotting specific time periods for studying and breaks will increase focus and simply starting can help students avoid procrastination. Have other productivity hacks? Leave a comment!

Summary

  • Use the “Do Not Disturb” function on phones to prevent texts and calls from interrupting study sessions
  • Keep study spaces clean to help maintain focus
  • All-Nighters are associated with poor recall; consider re-thinking it
  • Wunderlist, Google Calendar, and iCalendar helps students stay on top of courses and extra circulars
  • Long form writing leads to better information retainment than typing on a laptop
  • Eliminate procrastination by just starting
  • A morning break is much more effective than a mid-afternoon one
  • Keep computer desktops clean to create a more organized mindset
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique to schedule work and break periods
  • The 80/20 principal states that 80% of outcomes are due to 20% of input
  • Track circadian rhythm to learn the most energized and unproductive periods of the day
  • Use a blueprint storage rack to organize documents
  • If an all-nighter is a must, opt for water instead of coffee and do small exercises to increase blood flow

Contact Big Blueprint Hanger to learn more about the blueprint storage rack.

[1] Fox News: Study: Students Who Pull All-Nighters Have Lower GPAs

[2] JNeurosci The Journal of Neuroscience: Interaction of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex

[3] Business Insider: Infographic: How Much Damage All-Nighters Do to Your Body

[4] Huffington Post: Top 5 Productivity Hacks for Students

[5] US Today College: Staying on Track for Finals: Productivity Hacks That Work

[6] American Psychology Association: Procrastination or “Intentional Delay”?

[7] Business Insider: Here’s the best time to take a coffee break for maximum productivity

[8] The Balance: Understanding Pareto’s Principal: The 80-20 Rule

[9] Inc.: In an 8-Hour Day, the Average Worker is Productive for This Many Hours

[10] National Sleep Foundation: What Is Circadian Rhythm?