Strip formatting from a Word document. Select the text, then press the Control key and space bar and—voila!—your selection converts to plain, unformatted text.
Work toward a big health goal one text at a time. A free text service called Health Txts will send messages that you write yourself or that come from an online library. Example: A quit-smoking message might read, “Cravings will pass—strokes and heart attacks do not.” Sign up at www.healthtxts.com.
Make clutter disappear by turning each piece of paper into an action item in your planner, advises Julie Morgenstern, a productivity consultant and the author of Organizing from the Inside Out. For example, if you come back from a networking event with a stack of business cards, don’t leave them in a file. “You want to convert those into actual to-dos or calls that go into your calendar,” Morgenstern says.
Avoid information overload—and save time—by asking a specific, “micro” question. Specificity cuts out extraneous detail. For example, instead of asking a vague question such as, “Can you describe your design experience?” Ask, “Do you have experience in designing four-color, glossy annual reports for foundations or corporations, and could I see some samples?”
Connect with people who want your cast-offs. Sites are popping up all over the Internet to help link people who want to recycle their used items to a new owner. One of the biggest examples, Freecycle (www.freecycle.org), has more than 4,000 local groups. The site could also help you score a coveted item—free. All you pay is the cost of the gas used to pick up your find. Other sources: Freesharing.org, SharingIsGiving.org and FreeUse.org.
Find out if your spelling skills are bee-worthy. The Scripps National Spelling Bee offers an online test at www.spellingbee.com/sample-test, where you’ll be challenged with words such as “pusillanimous.”
Last-minute contest alert! Receive an extreme makeover for your company’s business cards by applying for the Business Card Project contest. Winners receive a card redesign and 50 premium business cards from moo.com. Apply at businesscardproject.com.
Working in a demoralized workplace? Stay neutral. A demoralized workplace can be factionalized so it’s critical not to take sides, says Margaret Morford, president of HR Edge Inc. “Stay out of the conflicts,” she tells The Wall Street Journal. “If a co-worker vents, tell him that you prefer not to hear anything negative about other employees since you have to work with them. Whatever you do, don’t join in on the negative talk.”