How to Clear Out Your Workspace for a Fresh Start in 2019

How to Clear Out Your Workspace for a Fresh Start in 2019

By Wanda

There comes a point where items get in the way and just take up space instead of helping you be more productive. Not only that, but studies indicate that companies with less materialistic bosses fare better overall, and that clutter in an office or home can throw out a negative message about your personality. And lastly, there’s a trend toward minimalism, not only because people want to clear their heads and focus on what matters, but because it’s just too expensive for an individual or company to house a bunch of extra possessions.

So let’s accept for a moment that you know stuff has to go. How do you decide what to toss/donate and what stays?

3 feet. This strategy has you put everything in the center of a room, Tetris style. The rule is that you must leave 3 feet of space out from every wall. If items don’t fit, you have to make some choices about what to pitch or move elsewhere. The strategy is helpful because it forces you to see what is most essential and consider whether the larger pieces in the room could be swapped for something smaller based on the way you really need to work. It’s ideal for smaller spaces like your bedroom or an individual office. If you’d rather not do heavy lifting for this one, a computer program or a few paper cutouts to scale can let you play around.

6-months. This rule says that, if you haven’t used an item in 6 months, it’s not helping you and should be donated or tossed. Seasonal items or ones with sentimental value can be exceptions, but you should consider whether they can be stored in another area and ensure you don’t have more than one of anything. Many times, snapping a photo of a sentimental item or considering how it is going to help or bring pleasure to someone else can help you let go.

No duplicates. Multiples of items often accumulate because of gifting or upgrades. Ask yourself which one you always reach for and get rid of the others. If borrowing has caused duplication, return what you borrowed.

The core. What’s most essential to a process or concept? Ask yourself if you’re keeping things just because they are nice to have or because they actually contribute to what you’re doing. Ditch anything that doesn’t align with your values and goals.

Purpose. Related to the core above, everything in your space should have a designated purpose. Don’t keep items you might use–good intentions often go nowhere without a concrete plan. Be able to identify why everything in your space is there and know when it’s going to offer functionality.

Alternate access. This strategy looks at whether there’s a public version of what you use available. For instance, maybe it’s cost effective to rent something for a brief period instead of keeping it, or maybe you can get books digitally or from the library.

Joneses. For this strategy, you purposely compare yourself to others, not to lose your individuality, but to think critically about standards versus what you need. For instance, do you really need to stuff six chairs in an office when most people only have two? Look around and observe what others do to see if maybe there’s a better way to manage the space.

New is a cue. Whenever someone gives you something or you buy something new, that’s your cue that something else in the space should go. I use this one to keep my kids’ toy collection from getting out of control or age-inappropriate, but it works well for just about anything,  including your office wardrobe or technology.

Break the group. Sometimes we hold on to a bunch of items because we associate them with other items. For example, you might see a dozen books as a unit because they are on the same topic, or because you got them all around the same time in your life. Ask yourself why those items have to stay together. The odds are good that they don’t.

Some of these strategies might feel more natural than others, but using them all makes it more likely that you’ll be more critical in your downsizing. Once you’re clutter free, your only job is to resist the urge to fill the new open space!

Want to Build Trust in the New Year? Show Kindness in These 66 Ways

By Wanda Thibodeaux

Being a great business leader or team member takes a lot of traits and abilities–grit, curiosity, intelligence, patience, for example. But kindness is the glue that makes people stick around you. It’s what allows people to let down their guard to trust and connect with you for both better work and higher quality of life. That’s what makes committing to compassion one of the most meaningful resolutions you can make.

You can show kindness to those around you if you

  1. Bring them a coffee or treat.
  2. Extend a deadline if possible when stress escalates.
  3. Check in regularly just to see how their doing, rather than for a project update.
  4. Share an inspiring book or quote.
  5. Offer genuine praise or thanks, especially when it’s not expected.
  6. Ask what they need.
  7. Introduce them to someone who can help.
  8. Leave your phone off or out of reach when you’re with them.
  9. Keep communal spaces clean.
  10. Donate your raise toward employee training, bonuses, or pay increases, or reevaluate your benefits package to better meet immediate needs.
  11. Be realistic about quotas and the circumstances workers try to reach them in; set the bar  high, but don’t let numbers give a false impression of the employee experience or ability.
  12. Hold open doors.
  13. Give them a few fidgets to keep at their desk.
  14. Tell a brief story that demonstrates empathy.
  15. Cater a lunch or let everyone have a potluck.
  16. Be honest about your own mistakes so they know it’s OK to make them, too.
  17. Ask them about the good that happened in their day.
  18. Be more generous and flexible with breaks.
  19. Donate some vacation time.
  20. Shut down gossip or ask for facts/sources.
  21. Offer easy access to music they like and encourage them to listen.
  22. Let them know before supplies run out.
  23. Help for a few minutes on one of their projects (especially if they have to stay late).
  24. Invite them to take a walk, grab lunch or do another activity with you.
  25. Pay for a leisure membership, conference, tank of gas or trip.
  26. Make it easier to work remotely, especially in emergencies.
  27. Mentor or give unsolicited support, no strings attached.
  28. Leave private notes of encouragement on their desk.
  29. Let them know as soon as you can if there’s a different, better position within the company they’d thrive in.
  30. Reply to correspondence quickly.
  31. Be a listening ear in moments of anxiety or depression.
  32. Share rewards programs you know about within the community or online.
  33. Put fun activities and games in the break room.
  34. Take care of yourself–unhealthy, sleepy bosses usually are grumpy bosses!
  35. Apologize as soon as possible if you’re wrong and change your behavior to prove you’re sincere.
  36. Make sure the office has tools to make others more comfortable, such as a few extra cushions, personal fans or weighted lap blankets.
  37. Make sure they get training.
  38. Send them home early or surprise them with a random call to take the day off.
  39. Share positive feedback with their direct manager if it isn’t you, ideally in writing.
  40. Give their desk plants a drink.
  41. Ask for their insights so they know you value their opinions and expertise.
  42. Hold the elevator.
  43. Make sure they get away from their desk for lunch.
  44. Tape money to the vending machine.
  45. Keep a bowl of healthy snacks or fruit in busy office areas.
  46. Let them go ahead of you in the cafeteria, on the stairs, etc.
  47. Talk about what they do for you, not what their title is.
  48. Let them completely finish what they are saying, even if you have a good idea of what their message will be, disagree or are in a hurry.
  49. Lend out an extra umbrella.
  50. Promote their side hustle to those in your network.
  51. Give the benefit of the doubt; instead of assuming someone is unintelligent because they don’t automatically know what you know, assume they can learn and improve.
  52. Go out of your way to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate.
  53. Offer a ride home, especially in bad weather.
  54. Arrive on time.
  55. Volunteer to help with non-work jobs that can pile up and eat free time, like grabbing their dry cleaning if it’s on your way to the office, unpacking after a move, etc.
  56. Leave coupons on the main bulletin board.
  57. Bring in a therapy animal (consider allegories) or other stress relief entertainment.
  58. Provide a way for them to catch a catnap without judgment.
  59. Tweak your language to use more inclusive phrases and pronouns.
  60. Alert them to fun after-work activities.
  61. Keep your word.
  62. Arrange one-on-one time where they can voice concerns and share ideas.
  63. Celebrate milestones.
  64. Cut to the chase and stick to the agenda.
  65. Tell it like it is right away instead of sugarcoating.
  66. Clarify how their efforts help you or make an impact and say thank you.

This might look like a big list, but the reality is that it only scratches the surface of all the ways you can show your team a little grace. Adopting even some of these strategies might kill stress, lower absenteeism, improve morale and spike productivity. If you have additional, unique ways you show you care, leave them in the comments below to inspire others!

Canada’s first medical pot coverage plan and savings calculator launched, the first fully integrated Health and Wellness Marketplace in Canada, has introduced BuyWell Care. The new program is the country’s first guaranteed issue Medical Cannabis Coverage Plan and Medical Cannabis Savings Calculator.

By inputting the form of cannabis and dosage the calculator recommended to them into the BuyWell Care calculator, patients can determine how much they can save on their medical cannabis while purchasing coverage plans through the online application process. The coverage included in the program includes treatments that use cannabis oils, dried flowers, and gel capsules.

“BuyWell Care’s inclusion of coverage for medical cannabis is a true example of the paradigm shift that’s sweeping through the medical landscape,” said Dr. Ira Price, MD, FRCPC, and medical director of Synergy Health Services. “It’s a breath of fresh air.”

Research and findings from Synergy Health Services suggest that BuyWell Care Consumers may realize savings of up to $5,700 per year on their medical cannabis, depending on their province of residence.

“For hard-working Canadians who rely on medical cannabis as part of their treatment regimen, BuyWell Care’s Medical Cannabis Coverage Plan provides a revolutionary way to save money on their expensive medication,” said Amanda LeBlanc, co-founder of

Buyers in Ontario can immediately avail of coverage; for those in other provinces, coverages will be available beginning in Q1 of 2019.

Source: Life | Health Professional

Want to Know If Someone Is Trustworthy? Here’s what to look for

Want to Know If Someone Is Trustworthy? Here’s what to look for

By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux | INC.

These 15 signs are dead giveaways that you’re dealing with a keeper:


1. They are consistent.

A trustworthy person will use roughly the same behavior and language in any situation. They have the self-control to maintain character and follow through on what they say they’ll do, even when they are tempted to walk it back. They won’t wear different masks or pretend they’re someone they’re not just to impress. Switching gears comes from having learned reliable new information, not from self-serving whims. What’s more, what they say matches what you hear from others.


2. They show compassion and humility.

Both these traits demonstrate that the person can think of others well and doesn’t consider themselves as more important than anyone else. Because they are more outwardly focused, they’re less likely to step on your toes or betray you to get something they need or want.


3. They respect boundaries.

Trustworthy individuals don’t try to impose their will on others because they don’t feel the need to control those around them. They avoid bullying and acknowledge that no means no.


4. They compromise and don’t expect something for nothing.

Small sacrifices show that the individual recognizes that trust is a two-way street. They’re willing to give a little to get something back later. And if they do ask for something, they’re sure to demonstrate the value of their request.


5. They’re relaxed (and so are you).

A person who is faking it and who is more likely to behave in shady ways usually will display some signs of anxiety, such as agitated body language. If the person seems at ease, they likely have nothing to hide and are being honest and open with you. You’ll likely feel calm, too, because you won’t be subconsciously picking up on and mirroring back negative cues.


6. They are respectful when it comes to time.

Trustworthy people do their best not to be late or cancel plans at the last minute because they know doing so inconveniences you and violates promises. They won’t try to rush or drag things out for their own benefit.


7. They show gratitude.

Trustworthy individuals are willing to admit they can’t do it all alone and value teamwork. They give credit where it’s due, even if it means they don’t advance as quickly or shine as much themselves.


8. They give up all the facts, even if it hurts.

Truth and transparency matters to trustworthy people. They won’t lie by omission or fudge data. They will give up even the information that could put their reputation at risk or create conflict, believing that those conflicts can be solved with good empathy and communication.


9. They confide in you.

Confiding in someone, exposing faults and all, involves a certain amount of vulnerability. So when someone confides in you, it demonstrates that the individual already trusts you and that they want you to be open with them, too.


10. They aren’t materialistic or desperate for money.

While there’s zero wrong with having nice things, trustworthy people don’t put stuff ahead of people. They’re willing to give up what they have (or could have) to help. Financial stability facilitates trust because it reduces the temptation to treat others poorly out of the need for self-preservation.


11. They’re right a lot.

Because trustworthy people value truth, they are willing to do their homework. They do the research that leads to verifiable conclusions, so they have a track record of having the right answer.


12. They skip the water cooler gossip.

Trustworthy individuals don’t like to make assumptions about anything or anybody. They prefer to get information from the source and to let the source speak for themselves. They avoid rumors because they know that rumors usually include negativity that tears people down instead of building them up. When they do talk, their language is empowering and respectful.


13. They’re learners.

Individuals who are worth your trust know they don’t have all the answers. They look for ways to learn and improve themselves constantly, and through that process, they’re willing to share the resources and facts they find.


14. You know who they’re connected to, and they try to connect you.

Both these elements show that the other person sees you as important. They want you to be part of their regular social group and meet the people you need to succeed. Others can affirm or contradict what you know about the individual, too. Subsequently, the more people the individual introduces you to, the more likely it is that they’re not hiding who they are.


15. They’re there for you and others.

Trustworthy people will listen to and support you even when they don’t need something from you. They do their best to be available to help, whatever you might be going through.

Source: INC,

Privacy watchdog calls for stronger laws to protect Canadians’ digital privacy

By Teresa Wright


OTTAWA _ Canada’s privacy watchdog says he’s worried that privacy rights in Canada are being cast aside as both public and private entities rush to mine digital data from citizens and customers.

“We have reached a critical tipping point upon which privacy rights and democratic values are at stake,” privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien said in a letter to Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains on Wednesday.

Therrien wrote that government has been slow to put a legal framework in place to ensure Canadians maintain trust in the digital economy and he’s increasingly troubled by it. The government must take stronger actions to protect Canadians’ digital privacy in the face of the lightning-fast evolution of ways to collect deeply private information, he says.

“Recent events have shed light on how personal information can be manipulated and used in unintended, even nefarious ways,” the letter says.

Therrien pointed to technology executives, such as Apple’s Tim Cook, who have recently warned about data extraction being used in ways that could breach the public trust. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also recently admitted his company committed a “serious breach” in the Cambridge Analytica data controversy, which involved the alleged unauthorized use of some 87 million Facebook profiles globally including those of more than 600,000 Canadians.

Both companies have expressed support for new laws to protect and regulate digital information.

“You know the ground has shifted and that we have reached a crisis point when the tech giants have become outspoken supporters of serious regulation,” Therrien wrote.  “Now is the time to ensure we adopt the best approach for Canadians.”

He raised a concern over a question posed to Canadians by Bains’ department as part of a national public consultation launched this summer on data. It asks how government should try to strike protect Canadians’ digital privacy  “while not impeding innovation.”

Therrien wrote that he is  “wary of this discourse” as it suggests that privacy and innovation are at odds.

“At a time when new and intrusive targeting techniques are already influencing democratic processes and data analytics, automated decision-making technologies and artificial intelligence are raising important ethical questions that have yet to be answered, Canadians need stronger privacy laws, not more permissive ones.”

Therrien is urging the Liberals to create a new law to protect the private data of Canadians and to give his office greater powers of investigation and enforcement.

He also says it is  “absolutely imperative” for privacy laws to apply to Canadian political parties.

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