October 6, 2017

On the move? Tips for moving your office or studio

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 12:18 pm

moving your offcie or studio

I’ve moved my office a few times and I will admit, it never gets easier. It can be unnerving not having easy access to what you need to get your work done—especially with deadlines looming. (Is it just me, or does work always get busy before a move?)

My recent office move has been a unique challenge as I’m in-between offices for a few weeks, so my iMac is on my kitchen island—and the rest of my office is split between my storage unit and my car trunk. I always make sure to pack and label a box of important items that I can easily access after the move—and it has really come in handy during this transnational time.

Below are some of the steps I took to prepare for my move—as well as some that, in retrospect, I wish I had taken!

Before the move:

  • Schedule movers: Do this a few weeks in advance and be prepared with an estimate of furniture and boxes.
  • Purge, purge, purge: The less you have to move, the better! Be ruthless and trash or recycle as much as possible.
  • Box up donations: Consider donating unneeded office supplies, books, furniture or computer equipment to a local organization. See my list of Chicago organizations who accept art and craft supply donations.
  • Store old files: Pack up old accounting and project files and put them in storage to keep your new workspace neat.
  • Pack a box with important items: Label this box “important” and move it yourself so you can keep track of the following:
    • Current project files
    • Invoices or other bookkeeping
    • Office supplies (USB drive, file folders, sticky notes, stapler, printer paper, pens)
  • Be specific when labeling boxes: When packing file cabinets, label the exact location to make unpacking easier, i.e. “left cabinet, top drawer”
  • Label cords on computer equipment: This makes set-up easier (poring through a jumble of cords is never fun!)
  • Create a scale drawing of your new office: This will help you (and movers) know exactly where to put furniture and other heavy items.
  • Call utilities: At least 3 weeks in advance, change your phone number and/or internet service.
  • Order updated stationery: Update your business cards and other stationery with your new contact info.
  • Forward mail: Use this USPS link to forward mail to your new location. 

After the move:

  • Update your email signature
  • Send a “new address” postcard and/or email blast
  • Call attention to your new address on invoices (I added a yellow “sticker” near my address)
  • Contact clients that may need updated tax paperwork
  • Enjoy the new view from your office window!

Above all, get started EARLY. A few weeks before your move, start organizing and purging (it will take longer than you think). Work will inevitably get in the way in the days before your move, so be prepared.

As much as I don’t enjoy moving, I do look forward to the chance to start fresh in a new office. Let it inspire you and go with the flow. Happy moving!





October 29, 2012

Small biz spotlight: Mercury Organizing Professionals

Mercury Organizing Professionals in Chicago improves efficiency and reduces anxiety and frustration levels. They can improve utilization and control of your space, streamline filing, storage and scheduling systems, and help set sustainable organizational parameters. They provide a personalized plan for you. They put clutter in its right place and create efficient systems that eliminate obstacles, minimize distraction, and allow you to function at your best!

Founder Elizabeth Lourdes (Lulu) Miranda and I have known each other for many years, she is one of my dearest friends. Over the years, Lulu and I have collaborated on several successful art shows and currently co-host Neighborhood Networking in Chicago. Oh, and she is also helping me organize my home and office!

Elizabeth Lulu Miranda of Mercury Organizing Professionals

Elizabeth Lulu Miranda of Mercury Organizing Professionals

Tell us a little about your business.

The company was founded by Elizabeth Miranda. The name was chosen with the concept of the planet Mercury’s retrograde in mind. Three to four times a year the planet Mercury appears to slow down and appears to reverse direction in its cycle.

People commonly attributed technical malfunctions, setbacks, lost luggage, obstructions, misunderstandings, and sudden unexplained ‘out of the ordinary’ events to the Mercury Retrograde. They were advised to take things slowly during this stage of the cycle, to look at the details, and take extra precautions. Out of this came an awareness that instead of feeling loss of control and disappointment, one can create an advantageous moment, to redo, reassess, review, reconsider, and reorganize their activities.

I discovered that the concept of Mercury retrograde is quite meaningful. Whether you rewrite your business proposal, take time out to do the things you enjoy or reorder your messy cluttered closet, Mercury retrograde is about finding the treasures you hold, finding what really matters to you and honoring them.

What do you love most about having your own business?

I love the daily opportunities that come up for me to be creative and create solutions to a challenge. The sense of ownership comes from the freedom to learn from mistakes as well as celebrate the wins.

Who is your dream client/customer?

An ideal client is an individual or a small business dedicated to starting and staying organized. Keeping a schedule, whether weekly, monthly or annually with us to assist them in keeping up with their system we helped implement into their daily routine.

What skill(s) do you feel is most important for a small business owner?

A small business owner has to wear many hats and it’s difficult to reach beyond the daily grind. Once a system is in place, it’s the ability to reassess their current priorities that will keep them on task to reaching their goals.

Tell us about an exciting project you’re working on or have recently worked on.

People I work with generally comment on how frustrating it is for them to get organized and generally don’t know where to start. I enjoy that I can coach and pass on my skills to a person who wants to “get organized for life!” (that’s my slogan). Each case is different but the outcome is always the same, a person feels empowered to move forward with their ideas and dreams, not seeing clutter or obstacles any longer hindering their progress. I am happy to contribute to making that happen.

Learn more:

Mercury Organizing Professionals & Design Studio, Inc

Chicago, Illinois (they work with clients nationwide)

Twitter: @mopdscom
Pinterest: elmiranda
Facebook: MercuryOrganizing

And stay tuned to Biz Mama for an upcoming feature highlighting some of the organizing solutions Lulu has created for my office!

June 6, 2012

Got aches & pains? Step away from the computer…

Filed under: Health & Wellness — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 3:01 pm

One of my favorite resources for avoiding aches & pains

Is sitting at your computer all day a pain in your neck? Or back? or hands?

Extended periods of time in a sitting position + poor posture = aches and pains.

But, relief can be just a few stretches away. Having experienced a bout of wrist tendinitis when I first started my business (yes, I worked too many hours!) I can vouch for the benefits of daily stretches and yoga, as well as frequent breaks.

See some of my favorite resources below.

Preventing work-related aches & pains

Now, step away from the computer and get moving!

Still feeling the pain of sitting all day? Read my tips for staying healthy at your desk on the Creative Freelancer blog.

June 20, 2011

Put your dog to work

Filed under: Small Business,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:00 am

It's time to take a break!

Why should kids be the only ones who get a chance to peek into Mom & Dad’s workplace?

Mark your calendars: Friday, June 24 is Take Your Dog to Work Day!

In my case, I’m lucky to have Essie in the office regularly. Essie is a great office-mate. She doesn’t complain much. She’s a great stress-reliever and walking partner. Plus, I don’t even have to pay her (well, maybe in kibble). She also keeps me from hunching over my keyboard for hours on end. How can you resist a furry paw on your arm, begging you to go out? Now if only I could train her to fetch me a cup of coffee.

See Essie “hard at work” in the Take Your Dog to Work Day Photo Gallery.

Are you planning to take your dog to the office on Take Your Dog to Work Day?

Does your dog work with you full-time? Share in the comments!

February 18, 2011

From our greeting card shop: Year of Greetings set

Filed under: Featured Design Project — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Year of Greetings card set from Lidia Varesco Design

Why don’t more people send handwritten cards? Because they don’t have one handy. Being a small business owner, I know it’s hard to find time in your busy day to go out and buy a card. For that reason, I created this special greeting card set.

With the Year of Greetings personalized card set, you’re prepared for any office or business occasion throughout the year. Includes our exclusive designs for special occasions such as a birthday or anniversary—as well as cards to thoughtfully express gratitude and sympathy.

Keep it on your desk along with stamps, and you’ll be prepared for any card-writing opportunity!

Buy the Year of Greetings card set.

Visit our online greeting card shop.

February 4, 2011

Staying healthy at your desk

Filed under: Small Business,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:30 am

photo on flickr by Alsterstar

As small business owners, most of us spend hours at our desk without even realizing it. Dedicating long hours to your business can be a necessity—but it can also take a toll on your body

Read my latest post on the Creative Freelancer Blog for tips for staying healthy at your desk.

• • •

See all of my small business posts on the Creative Freelancer Blog here.

October 20, 2010

Moving your office?

Filed under: Small Business — Tags: , , — lidia @ 1:00 pm

image by Chris Campbell on flickr

Are you a solopreneur or small business owner planning to move your office?

As I just went through the experience, I gathered some useful tips (and a few things I learned along the way) for a new post on the Creative Freelancer Conference blog.

Read Part 1 of “Moving Your Office?” here.” And check back next week for Part 2!

September 15, 2010

A few of my favorite (office) things

Filed under: Goods & Wares,Small Business — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 9:41 am

decorative file folders from Paper Source

As I pack up my office for my move, I’m inspired to spruce things up in the new digs.

I’ve already replaced my unattractive, vinyl 3-ring binders binders with cool-looking, recycled ReBinders, but I thought I might pick up some more attractive office supplies—many of which have the added bonus of being good for the environment.

top office supply picks:

Why should kids be the only ones to get brand-new school supplies?

July 14, 2010

Let’s clear the air in the office—literally

Filed under: Workspace — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Snake plant (Sansevieria)

While I’ve recently kicked my outdoor urban gardening into high gear, I’ve always had lots of houseplants in my home and office. I recall my mom telling me long ago that plants clean the air—and by gosh, she was right.

Whether we realize it or not, our offices can harbor loads of air pollutants and irritants, such as laser toner dust, carpeting and dry cleaning chemical residue, and recirculated air. But our houseplant friends are here to save the day, helping to remove common air toxins—all while making your workspace more cheerful and inviting.

But don’t just take my (and my mom’s) word for it, read about a study from NASA on how houseplants help clean indoor air. Then go out and hit your local nursery.

Top air clearing plants:

  • Spider Plant
  • Philodendron
  • Peace Lily
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Janet Craig (Corn Plant)
  • Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)
  • Gerber daisy
  • English ivy

Most of these plants are easy to grow in an office, with some needing little or no light (great for a windowless cubicle).

Read how to choose and care for houseplants.

March 3, 2010

Take a break and stretch….

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Time Management — Tags: , , — lidia @ 4:49 pm

Most of us spend a good part of our day sitting in front of the computer. And I’m guessing we don’t always have perfect posture.

I realized this was taking a toll on my health, and I needed an easy way to remind myself to stretch throughout the day. I created a stretch book by making copies of fast and easy stretches I could easily do at my desk. I placed the stretches in sheet protectors and paired it with a cover that would stand out on my bookshelf—making sure I wouldn’t forget to take a break and stretch. It worked!

Another useful tool for good office posture is an ergonomic chair cushion, such as the Fitball Wedge by Ball Dynamics. It can be used as lumbar support or an angled seat cushion that encourages proper posture. (your grade school teacher was right: sit up straight, no slouching!)

And don’t forget to schedule a 30-minute to 1-hour  yoga or stretching session at least once a week. It can help prevent repetitive stress injuries, back pain, and bad posture. Personally, I have found that doing yoga and stretching regularly keeps aches and pains away. Can’t make it to a class? Try a DVD that focuses on upper body and back stretches such as my top picks, the RX: Yoga series and Back Care Yoga by Gaiam. There’s even an online yoga-at-your-desk routine at My Daily Yoga.

No more excuses.. and no more slouching!

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