Archive for the ‘Organization Tips’ Category

Excel is a powerful business tool.

What tasks come to mind when you think of the program Excel? Lists, databases, a way to keep track of customers information? Excel is good for these things, but so much more! I have done some research recently on the differences between Excel and Access. This has remained somewhat of a mystery to me over the years, because I have chosen not to try to learn Access. Excel has done the trick for me so far. But now comes the time when I need to tackle this task – time to stretch my brain a little more. I thought I’d share what the differences are between Excel and Access. Here is an article I found giving an explanation between the two:
Microsoft produces two different products—Access and Excel—that many people use interchangeably. However, each has its own purpose and one may be better for your needs than the other. While both cost the same, they are vastly different. Knowing those differences can help you pick the right one for your needs.
The most important difference between Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel is the purpose. Access is a relational database management system, while Excel is a spreadsheet. Access manages large amounts of data, and Excel does math.
Both Access and Excel may be purchased separately. If you want to buy an Office package from Microsoft, Excel is available in the Home, Student and Professional packages, while Access is included only in Professional.
Relational Data
If you need to create relationships between your data, Access is the only choice. Because it uses only flat files, Excel has limited functionality and cannot make the connections that Access can.
Ease of Use
Excel is more user-friendly and intuitive than Access, with a GUI that resembles Word, a commonly used program.
Excel can only handle up to 15,000 records. Access is meant to handle thousands of records, all related through multiple tables.
Access is meant to create calculated queries, making connections based through a “wizard” or through user programming. Excel does not have the ability to do so, although it can create charts, graphs and pivot tables.
Excel is meant to handle numerical data and run equations. Access is capable of doing so, but that is not meant to be its main function.

Read more: Difference Between Microsoft Access & Excel |

I will be posting some of the fun, flexible and powerful things you can accomplish using Excel.  It is a great tool for home or business.   If you don’t want to miss any useful tips, be sure to subscribe to my blog.  Thanks for stopping by and reading.  Until next time…Cindy

Taming the Paper Pile – Friday’s Tip

Here’s the final step, but may be the most difficult one, in taming that pile of papers that seems to follow you from room to room.  Are you ready?  What can be so difficult after doing all of this? 

Set a day of the week or of the month which you pledge to do your filing on.  Do not sway from that pledge.

Doesn’t sound so hard you say?  Well, it is easy enough to put off dealing with that paper pile until tomorrow, and tomorrow and the pile just keeps growing and calling your name in your sleep.  So make a deal with yourself and set a date with that paper pile.  Then you can check it off of your ‘to do’ list!

Reward yourself when you’re done.

A little ‘bribery’ even works on us adults.  Don’t let yourself watch your favorite show on TV until you have done your filing, or if you prefer positive reinforcement, go get yourself a treat when you’re all done.

That’s It!  Repeat and keep on filing.

I hope that these tips on taming your paper pile have been useful to you.  Tune in for more weekly series relating to organization and other topics that we all deal with in our daily lives.  Just remember – you’re not alone in your struggles.  Happy organization!

Taming the Paper Pile – Thursday’s Tip

We’re moving right along with our goal to rid ourselves of that annoying paper pile that stares at us every time we walk by. We’ve sorted our pile, picked a container and spot where the papers will rest TEMPORARILY, looked at what space we have available to file them away in. Now what you say?   Let’s talk about your filing system, if you have one set up already.

Do you have a workable filing system?

Take a look at what kinds of papers you are finding in your pile.  Do you keep copies of paid bills, insurance paperwork, monthly bank statements, pay stubs, kids school papers, etc.?  Make sure you have the appropriate supplies that will help you set up an efficient filing system – hanging file folders, manila folders and something to label with.

Don’t scrimp.

Don’t be tempted to stash miscellaneous “onesies” in file folders belonging to similar subject, or along side of a folder because you don’t want to take the trouble to get the box out of the cupboard and make a file!  Keep some blank manila file folders in a hanging file folder right in your drawer for easy access. 

Make sure your filing system makes sense.

If  you don’t arrange your files in a manner that will make it possible to find all of those papers you file away, then you might as well just take them straight to the trash can.  How frustrating is it to look for something, knowing you’ve had your fingers on it and you placed it in a ‘safe place’, only to be defeated?  Put banking, investment and retirement files in the same area, files for each car’s maintenance records and car insurance should be neighbors, a file folder for each member of the family’s health records and insurance paperwork, and so on.  Not only will this make it easier to do your pre-sort of incoming papers, but it will make filing and finding papers much easier.

That’s all for today!  Make sure to ‘tune in’ to tomorrow’s tip and happy filing!

Taming the Paper Pile – Wednesday’s Tip

Okay, so now we’ve consolidated all of the various paper piles you may have waiting for a final resting place.  You’ve quick sorted through them, so that any papers of importance will be on top and not forgotten.  You’ve gone to the store and found a container that will help you contain the sorted paper pile.  Great!  Now what you say?

Look at what you have for file space and how well it is set up.  Is it a functional filing system, or is it a messy file cabinet with no sense of organization hidden in the garage?  If you have a smooth functioning, logical filing system, you will be much less hesitant to put those papers in their final resting place. 

Invest in hanging file folders, manila files and maybe even a label maker.  If you don’t put your important papers into a filing system that you can find them in again, then you might as well save yourself the trouble and chuck them all in the trash!  Here’s an example of a portable file drawer system from

If you don’t have room for a traditional filing cabinet, take heart.  There are lots of compact and portable filing solutions out there nowadays.  If you’ve never made the trip out to the IKEA store, I recommend you go.  They have a huge collection of storage solutions that are unique and designed for portability.

In the end, if it is easy to take those sorted papers and find a proper home for them, you will be less likely to procrastinate.  Happy filing!  We’ll talk again on Thursday.

Taming the Paper Pile-Tuesday’s Tip

Okay, so now you’ve decided on a resting place for all of those papers and bills that pass through you and your family’s fingers.  Now what?

Find something that will allow you to consolidate any and all paper piles into one.  I looked at Ross tonight and found a couple of possibilities.  One was a cute box that will hold 9 x 12 papers and the other was a cute little sorter that looked like a fancy handbag!  Whether you want to hide away your papers until you’re ready to deal with them, or you want to quick sort through them, go find something that will inspire you to accomplish the task. 

If you go with something like the cute little box I found, make sure you sort through your papers before you stash them inside.  Take an extra set of notebook dividers that you might have left over from purchasing school supplies, or a colored piece of construction paper, and seperate the papers into general categories:  bills paid, receipts, insurance/medical related, or whatever types of papers you see come through the most.  I have made a file folder for each of my children so I can put report cards, teacher’s notes, schedules and so forth in them.  School papers are a lot of my paper pile during the school year!

I hope I’m inspiring you to grab the tiger by the tail, and tame your paper pile(s).  Look for Wednesday’s tip.

Taming the Paper Pile

When I see the pile of papers growing on my kitchen table, I wish that they would magically disappear.  Have you ever worked with someone who has a sparkling clean desk, clear of clutter?  I have a secret to share with you – it’s not because they’re super efficient, it’s because they just open up a drawer and hide the clutter away.  I caught my boss doing it once!  So instead of putting off the inevitable, just deal with it!  The papers will never go away and something important in that pile that you buried will come back to haunt you eventually.

The papers will come – from school, work, the mail.  It will not stop.  So set out a plan for yourself, that will fit in with your personality that will work best for you.  Are you a procrastinator or do you tackle tasks head on?

Monday Morning Tip:

  1. Designate a place for all of those papers to initially land.   Find something decorative to place them in, if you hate to have them out in the open for all to see.  A pretty wicker basket large enough to hold 11 x 14 size papers perhaps.  Don’t give into the temptation to stash them in a drawer!  I would also discourage  you from using a closed portfolio sorter like the one pictured.  Although it serves the purpose of doing an initial sort and hiding the evidence, it is difficult to get papers in and out of, because of the flap, and it’s also very easy to forget what is in it.  You know the old saying ‘ out of sight, out of mind’.

I will have more tips that I hope you find useful, published daily, so stay tuned!  Our days on this earth are too short to sweat the small stuff.

Do you have a paper pile?

This is the kitchen table isn't it?

We’re all guilty of having a paper pile (or mountain) somewhere near the point of entry into our homes.  Mine is on my kitchen table.  That’s where things in my hand and purse come to a temporary holding place until I have the time to decide where their final destination will be.

Oh, it gets moved when company comes, gets an occasional shuffling through when I’m looking for that certain piece of paper, but usually continues to grow and grow until I don’t have a place to eat at the table!  Why do I continue to do this?  Because it’s easy, of course.

Is there a solution to the problem of too many papers?  No, we will always have papers, receipts, cards and such coming through our hands at an alarming rate, but we can tame that pile.

Every morning, or evening if you’re a night person, make a point to go through the pile and at least make sure that it is sorted into categories (school papers, receipts, things to be filed, things that need action on your part, etc.).  Once it is sorted, then it will be easier to complete the action needed to get it off of your landing spot.

More tips on taming your paper pile coming soon so stay tuned.  Have a great day!

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