Cook Up A Storm: Meal Planning

Food/Meal Prep is kind of a funny thing. People either love or hate being in the kitchen. When culinary adventures are in your blood they just are, however, when they’re not – “cooking up a storm” just isn’t fun. 

Between job commitments and family schedules, the working weeks are crazy! One of the last things most people want to do is plan a dinner table full of fancy, stylish foodie things from scratch.

Anyhow, the point being made here is that while leisurely cooking might not be your thing, you still need to eat and eat well. You don’t have to go all out, to provide meals that your and your family will love. 

Meal Planning Made Easy

Believe it or not, iStratus is here to help you relieve some of that chaos felt in the kitchen when you prefer to avoid it like the plague.

What’s the secret? Meal planning. (Ok, so that probably sounds tedious, but it doesn’t have to be).

Taking 5 (or 15) minutes at the beginning of the week to plan out meals is a MASSIVE, timesaver. It always helps reduce the time and energy involved in “dreading” meal prep.

Smart Meal Planning

This isn’t new news… how many of us (*raises a hand, slaps own forehead*) are guilty of wishing we were more efficient meal planners without actually having to plan any meals?

The truth is it only takes five minutes to sit down and type out a recipe list for the week. Using iStratus you can easily start by adding any recipes you know you and the family love to a checklist.

Next, fill in the remaining slots for the week with quick and easy recipes, that you often have staple ingredients stored in the pantry for.

ORGANIZE Those FAVORITE Recipes

Meal planning happens much quicker when using an organized recipe catalog. You’ve probably already guessed by now that iStratus loves to organize, organize and organize.

Easily create Food File Categories for:

  • Recipes you want to try.
  • Your “Quick and Easy” meals.
  •  Recipes you have tried and loved including a note with links or references (unless those tried and true favorites are memorized). 

When planning, pull up your checklist and choose a few things that stick out.

Shop All At Once

This is the toughest part of meal planning – but it saves time (and money!) in the long term. You might even find it reduces food waste too.

  • Plan your weekly meals, noting your grocery list at the same time. Here’s a secret we use.  
  • Use iStratus to checklist your shopping against your pantry items, and do one shopping trip or better yet use a service like Instacart or Amazon Prime to have your groceries delivered

Multiple visits tend to deviate into unneeded things, so checking and sticking to your list curbs temptation!

Not EVERYTHING has to be Prepared From Scratch 

One of the best things about iStratus is that information is stored. You don’t have to keep doing things on repeat or making food from scratch either. WHAT?! How does food prep help your organizational skills? 

If you have a grocery store like Wegmans or Whole Foods (love them both)! You can save additional time following your meal plan by using iStratus to:

  • Establish a shopping list, linking via copy, ingredients from recipes into notes/a checklist. And –
  • If you know the supermarket layout well, pop down the aisle number for the ingredients on your list, it’s a bonus timesaver.

Side note: There is no shame in pre-chopped fresh ingredients or frozen fruits and veggies folks; you’re allowed to cut some corners. (Especially if it means there’s no microwaved Spaghetti-O’s every week).

Join a Foodie Mailing List and Daily Dropbox Meal Ideas

When the repetition starts to get boring it’s time to incorporate new sources of inspiration. Sign up for email updates from chefs and food bloggers. That way, tasty, interesting food ideas are right there on your phone as you’re drinking your morning coffee!

Any recipes that inspire you – copy them directly into your “Daily Dropbox” or your “Recipes to Try” folder. And boom! Meal plans are a one-stop-shop!

Throughout the Week

Using the Slow Cooker on Sundays can be a busy Mom’s friend. A few favorite Slow Cooker recipes are Chicken Cacciatore and Vegetable Curry. Be it a Monday or Wednesday it doesn’t matter, reheat and serve to save time. Favorites stick, simply switch side dishes to avoid boredom.

List Swap-able Staples

9/10 times a mysterious thing happens when you plan in fine detail: There’s change! 

We can have the best intentions, the checklists, and the best-stocked fridge on the planet, but sometimes, you just want pizza to arrive. IT’S ALL GOOD.

Build a “cheat day” into your weekly meal plan – use it whenever necessary, there are no rules.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
~ Thomas A. Edison

 

Just:  Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Time Management For Moms

What do you do when motherhood is your greatest gift, but it eats into minutes of your day so there’s no room for much else?

Time Management For Moms

As a working Mom, “life’s busy”, is an understatement. Chances are, the life you had pre-kids leaves the very definition of “busy” in its wake. Spare time is now both elusive and valuable.

As mentioned above, motherhood is one of the greatest gifts a woman will ever experience, however along with it comes the immense pressure of holding up “the fort” and everyone in it. In most cases, Moms, have their lives choreographed right down to the last minute, just to fit everything in.  But, for a minute or 10, what about upholding Mom herself?

No bones about it, it’s not selfish for Moms to consider their well-being for a moment. The truth is, even the busiest Moms can create some space for breathing room aside from even the craziest day on the planet. 

Fifteen Minutes Of Peace

Whether for work, for others or to care for themselves (the latter is best), a bunch can be achieved in those “sacred minutes.”— For working Moms, a 15-minute window can have an hour’s worth of potential to “chill”.

Our tips below, aren’t exactly anything new for “finding time”, however, we do hope working Moms find some useful ways of doing more with iStratus to take 5 precious minutes, with less time available. We honestly think – Moms Rule!

Set Boundaries with Work Hours

Life commitments and work responsibilities will fluctuate, so it’s important to verify what expectations there are. If your boss typically calls or emails after hours, you need to decide whether this is suitable and what your boundaries are. Sticking to your calendared timeslots makes your work schedule clear. It’s ok to set weekends exclusively for the family if you’re able to.

Set Realistic Daily Goals

A To-Do List is useless if it’s unattainable. Use iStratus to record achievable tasks only.

What’s the benefit of overwhelming yourself? Set daily goals that are realistic enough to finish. Don’t forget, nothing is set in concrete, you can “roll-over” tasks, and/or if you have time to, you can always address more than was planned.

Avoid Multitasking 

Focusing on the task at hand increases performance. When you’re at work, try not to worry about your son or daughter’s calculus homework, or forwarding your spouse, the weekly shopping list from iStratus for Saturday. Address that on Saturday.

Perfection Doesn’t Exist

Therefore it’s unachievable. Instead of holding on to intangible ideals (aka being the “perfect” Mom), use iStratus to establish practical goals for yourself. Schedule that yoga session you’ve been delaying today.

Be Present

Speaking of yoga: Mindfulness and practices such as meditation improve focus, which drives productivity. Block time in iStratus to relax and avoid burnout at both home and work. Embrace the method that speaks to you and zone in.

Set Time For Sleep

If nothing else, prioritize your sleep so that you can thrive, not bomb dive. Schedule sleep like you would any other activity and commit to a reasonable bedtime (for you and the kids too. It’s worth it for everyone). That way, the next day is functional. Ultimately time is wasted with sleep deprivation.

Take Hiatuses From Cyberspace

Surfing the net can be a major time killer for both parents and children. A “little” break can evolve into hours, there’s no way of getting back. We recommend, setting reminders in iStratus to establish limits on family screen time and then make it a habit to unplug once that limit is reached.

The Power of “No.”

Saying no can feel intimidating, however, it’s a skill that frees up time on your agenda you wouldn’t otherwise have. Furthermore, enforcing your limits teaches your kids the value of clear boundaries and priorities too.

Let It Go – And There’s That Word Again: “Delegate”

Relinquishing control and learning to let someone else “handle it” is tough, but it is also necessary to allow other people to pitch in and pull their weight. Delegating tasks is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s important to have support from your network.

“Let it go” and consent to other people in your life managing their responsibilities. This includes children, spouses, and colleagues.

“The time to relax is – when you don’t have time for it.”
~ Sidney J. Harris

With effective organizing and planning in iStratus, you can “get it done” in time as a mom — and still have those precious moments of freedom left over. Just think smart (you know how to) and implement a few rules into your daily routine. 

Once you do, you’ll discover there’s always room for something new, exciting, and compassionate towards yourself. You’ve more than earned it and you deserve it. Moms rule!

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Don’t Ghost it, “Post-IT”!

Who knew a little yellow square could be SO resourceful?

Oh what an invaluable joy those little ‘sticky notes’ are for day planner organization and productivity! 

So of course, we couldn’t resist diversifying their use to suit the electronic form, which we hope you’ll enjoy, just as much as the original. 

Post-It (Note) in the “Daily-WS” Tab – And boom, your annotations, observations, and jotted thoughts are always there when you need them most. One of the best features of iStratus Pro is that you also have the option to add your own signature, date, and/or converting Post-Its to PDF. 

Hallelujah! No more forgetting or “Ghosting” out little yellow squares. Those essential reminders or motivators are set and can be effortlessly exported or forwarded at the drop of a hat. Akin to a handy little pocket, you can simply drop biz into them wherever you go. 

Why The “Sticky Note” Idea Works 

We’ve mentioned it before; distractions are a major inhibitor of our ability to organize ourselves in our modern, notification-obsessed working world. The iStratus “Sticky Note” idea is your workspace best friend created to help you work faster and remain attentive towards the task at hand. 

You may have once been bestowed the “World’s Best Multi-Tasker” Award in your home or office, however, in life’s experience, no one is truly flawless at multi-tasking. 

When you think about it, this concept is really not an actual thing. What we’re really doing is constantly switching our minds from one task to the next. Every time you take a coffee break or tidy the kitchen (which you can’t stand looking at any longer because the kids left it like a bombsite) you’re forcing your brain to change gears.

Your brain cognitively resets this new information – and hello there, sluggish, brain drain that requires a reboot of its operating system.

Multiple University studies have concluded that you’re dropping the ball on at least 40 percent of your productivity by rapidly interchanging tasks. 

Following distractions, it requires approximately 23 minutes to recoup the same level of in-depth concentration you had prior to dealing with that chocolate milk explosion in the kitchen. 

In a world where productivity software reigns supreme, we realize, our attempt to digitize the sticky note, is a hard sell against the more popular original paper square. 

Going From “Blah” To “How Did I Ever Survive Without This?!”

It’s not news, that what is deemed ‘normal’ now was initially difficult to adapt to, simply because “we’ve always done it this other way.” This something we say far too often. Electronic sticky notes are a classic example. It’s really not so different from the initial Post-It Note design idea, so “why not just stick with the paper ones?” (No pun intended). 

We’re here to say, with some adjustment the process, will eventually go from “Blah” to “Wow. How did I EVER survive with this tool before now?!” Give it a shot – change is good from 1977.

They Do What? 

Just think: When you’ve plastered a wall or whiteboard with sticky notes for productivity and development, the only way to record detail is with a photograph, which often goes nowhere in the abyss of your phone. iStratus already has your sticky notes covered:

  • In an online environment that automatically recorded and ready for the next phase of any project. No need for a picture or time-consuming transcribing.
  • Upon unlimited walls for jogging your memory. Electronic sticky notes remain exactly where you left them and you are able to access your spatial memory every time you open the App.
  • With a direct, reportable commenting functions available. You can create Sticky Notes to record a discussion, or meeting minutes, saving time and energy. 
  • Saving trees! This is one of the best parts. The impact we have on the environment is very real. It’s important to question how much paper is truly required. A sticky note generally has a lifespan of a couple of hours, maybe four tops. Is all that paper really essential?

So while you may be stuck in the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset, sometimes all it takes is seeing the advantage of evolution with a little less hesitation.

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; [followed by] transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”

~ Napoleon Hill

Are You Ready To Stick To It?  

The beauty of electronic sticky notes is their ease of use, and just like the original – their versatility enables them to cater to any system, which is why they are still a highly favored element for productivity. It’s not about being a fancy software tool, but a highly effective, useable one. 

Hopefully, things will stick if you let them.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Time Management For Teens

If you have been at loggerheads with your teen’s mood and coinciding words like: “Just stop nagging Me!” “You don’t understand”! Or “Mom! We’re going to be late! We need to go!” You’ve no doubt witnessed your teen unravel under the stress of “time management and anxiety” in action.

Our world these days is over-stimulating, and finalizing assignments involves coordination between the rational processes and emotional needs that play on our minds. For the teenager’s brain, time management is even more difficult. Executive functioning which trains the brain to plan, organize, and execute tasks in a timely manner is neurological activity, intertwined and complicated with an emotional response — Hi there, anxiety! 

When it comes to juggling everything, it’s rough. If you have conflicts with your teen concerning time – before leaping in to rescue them from overwhelming feelings, psychological studies recommend, validating their underlying anxieties. 

More often than not, the reasons for time challenges are associated with tackling emotions. Research shows that identifying feelings and implementing easily accessible time management strategies helps teens’ deal with worries. 

Addressing Time Management with iStratus

We all exhibit an inner procrastinator at times. We can easily fall into mastering the art of dreading something or avoiding tasks until it becomes too much to bear. If your teen evades things, they probably want to avoid failure.

While they’re fully aware of their avoidance, they may not realize its intrinsic protection from painful feelings. The mere thought of study the night before an exam, or not being seated before the bell rings brings anxiety.

Using iStratus as an Academic Planner each day can help your teen visualize what’s ahead so they can plan and manage what they’re required to do; and when they will have the time to do it. In other words, they see the whole picture; your teen has their day mapped out.

You can easily create a list of timeslots in iStratus with the Checklist feature, so that daily scheduling is clear for “ticking off.” For example: 

🗹   Timetable: Wednesday, 5/5/21

  •    Morning Homeroom @ 8:40 – 9:00 am

🗹    English @ 9:05 – 9:55 am

  • Math @ 10:05 – 10:50 am

🗹 Lunch @ 11:00 – 11:45 am

🗹 Social Studies (S.S.) @ 12:05 – 12:50 pm

🗹 Study Period @ 1:00 -1:45 pm

🗹    Recess @ 1:50 – 2:05 pm

🗹 Visual Arts @ 2:10- 2:50 pm

  •    Afternoon Homeroom @ 2:55 – 3:20 pm
  •    Finish Homework 4 S.S. & Math @ 4:15 – 5:15 pm
  •    Prepare gear for Tennis Practice tomorrow afternoon

Shifting Time Management Anxiety

Does your teen underestimate how long tasks will take and then feel surprised by the overwhelm they experience? 

Do you hear statements like: “It wasn’t meant to take this long!” 

Your teen can adapt Stratus to:

  • Avoid spending too much time working on projects until they’re “perfect”. If they have a hard time knowing when a task is complete, checking something off within a deadline helps.
  • Finish things with a clear goal in mind, so they avoid feeling powerless, victimized by their to-do lists.
  • Calendar multiple events with reminders. 
  • Highlight after-school and weekend commitments. The ‘POST IT’ Note feature comes in handy for this.

Visual appeal is important for motivation and engagement too. Your teen can jazz up their Checklists with custom color themes and emojis.

All options are easily duplicated and edited. iStratus is a support tool that helps combat feeling overwhelmed. Everyone is different, keep it simple and use what works.

Teens rely heavily on the approval of others to feel good about themselves. They often lack trust in their ability to complete tasks, when there’s a lot on their plate. 

It’s a struggle with their internal gauge that indicates to them what is manageable and what’s too much. “So long as you’ve tried your best that’s Good Enough” is not part of their vocabulary. Realistically, the words: “more,” “better,” and “improve” are. 

Thus, for a plan to truly be effective, teens require a system, which displays their ENTIRE week at a glance. Akin to adults, it also helps teens to set goals: “What are their main ones? Nonjudgmentally naming them, will help navigate and apply the strategies that iStratus hopes to encourage.

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement, and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.”

~ Brian Adams

Awareness and persistence are everything. Driven by fear, teens will attempt to avert criticism by poking holes in their own assignments before anyone else does. Being over-prepared with iStratus is a way for them to feel in control with increased confidence for managing their anxiety. 

Together, we can time things right.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Color Coding For Productivity

Effectively optimizing your productivity increases your overall workplace performance and reputation. Anyone can increase their productivity with specific strategies, utilizing functional tools so that you can perform at your best.

On surface value, productivity measures how efficiently production inputs, such as labor and capital, are being used in an economy compared to a set level of output.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) defines productivity as “the ratio between the output volume and the volume of inputs.”

Productivity isn’t everything, but… 

In the long term, it is almost everything. Our country relies on it for future growth and development. Ultimately, there are always hidden functions operating in the background, we don’t necessarily think about. iStratus recognizes the ways in which we can apply ‘color’ for maintaining productivity is one of them.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into why ‘color’ (is not just for organization) – it is known to improve one’s industrious output. Trust us, this will keep looking at the screen each day, a little more interesting.

Right now, you’re probably thinking: What The? Exactly, how do shades of Blue, Yellow, Green, and Orange, improve your productivity while using iStratus? 

We hope you’ll continue reading to find out.

Unearth Calmness with Blue Hues

Blue is well known to be a calming color, even just by looking at it on screen, can slow our breathing and lower blood pressure. UK Color Psychologist Dr. Angela Wright suggests despite its feel of tranquility blue has the hue, which stimulates the mind.

For focus and completion: Try adding blue Titles on To-Do List’s, blue fonts to electronic sketches, emails, and or/notes for sending out. The right combination of a calm yet stimulating effect, is likely to give you a motivational boost.

Yellow: Energizes and Improves Collaboration

Yellow is possibly the most inviting, uplifting color in the rainbow. Regardless of what shade it is, yellow is vibrant. If you want to create a more open, invigorating atmosphere adding accents of yellow could help without overwhelming the senses. Yay for Sticky notes! 

As discussed in our article:Don’t Ghost It, “Post-IT”!” [hyperlink] they’re a happy yellow favorite when using iStratus.

Dr. Wright’s Color Psychology Properties suggest: 

  • Yellow sparks creativity and memory. 
  • Self-esteem and optimism can also be elevated by moderate touches of yellow. 

We hope that using some mellow yellow in iStratus will inspire your ability to collaborate and create.

Relax Amongst Green

Fun Fact: Do you know the human eye can identify more shades of green than any other color? 

This is most likely because of its prevalence within the natural world – we’re so used to seeing various green tones everywhere. 

Have you noticed that within our App, backgrounds and titles are set to feature a distinct Green, so that they’re eye-catching, without being distracting?

Pro Tip: Use Green on your Activity Lists for less eye fatigue.

Orange Helps Maintain Enthusiasm 

Surprisingly, research indicates that Orange may be the winning color for boosting productivity. Orange often imparts enthusiasm and endurance – two things that definitely improve productivity.

We recognize there is a benefit to highlighting your electronic Calendar in orange. On the same hand, it is a hue that’s either loved or hated, so splashes or “pops of it” are best. 

Cultural norms, trends, and past experiences can all influence the way a person reacts to a certain color. Despite all external factors, people appear to have universal, innate reactions to color hues.

Productivity and Impact:

Overall, at iStratus we believe productivity functions across three dimensions whereby: 

  • Quantity does not overrule Quality, and 
  • Value is created. 

Technology is widely viewed, as one of the most fundamental factors contributing to productivity. This may seem obvious, but the dimension of quality and significance is central to our conception of productivity. 

Perhaps, think about the productivity of your life in a way that reinforces well-being. Too much focus on the path rather than the destination can make it difficult to determine the success of our resolves to become more productive which can unnecessarily dismiss the best practices that don’t fit into our views of efficiency.

So even if you only apply a few of these color concepts and elements within our App, so as long as you make them part of your daily routine, you’re much more likely to reap the benefits and cover Productivity like a Pro. 

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people are not used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

~ Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

Hopefully from a color perspective, you see, its impact is about the difference it has on the world around you. And in turn, your productivity is a positive impact on the world.

One’s output matters.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Take Action From “High To Low”

Whether it’s brilliant ideas or the exciting possibilities that await us, most of us have many more activities noted on our “bucket lists,” than the time readily available to work on them.  In short, there’s never enough time to do everything we want to do. It’s a universal hitch.

We can easily bog ourselves down in time-depleting, low-yield tasks that prevent us from moving forward. 

In a world where alerts and notifications pop up on us for everything under the sun, it is imperative to distinguish which alerts are critical and which alerts can be addressed later. 

It really doesn’t matter which technique you use. In our App, you can blend parts of different techniques to create your own custom method that feels right, and get to work.

Read on to take action on your priorities. Check-in on that bucket list. Let iStratus, help you structure things from “high to low” to make the most of your time, and keep it flowing that way, today…

What’s The Priority?

You have 40 tasks upon your list, and before the “worst-case scenario” towards underachievement rears its ugly head, ask yourself: Which one of those things is the most important?

For iStratus, our prioritization “Flags” and “High to Low” preferences support your answer to that question, with an immediate method for quickly evaluating the necessity of each task on your list. We believe, through informed decision making, you’re more likely to: 

  • Do what is required to complete tasks.
  • Recognize what you don’t need to do, and as we like to say: “Roll Up”.
  • Work out exactly when you need to focus on certain tasks and
  • Accomplish what needs addressing next in line.

Prioritization Tackles Two Significant Matters:

Everything is Critical! If you feel like you spend your day extinguishing fires, because everything is considered to be “urgent”, at work or home – we hear you!

Use iStratus to establish a succinct prioritized list and regain control of your own time, pushing back any unreasonable last-minute expectations or requests.

Prioritized lists can be an effective armor against delays and distractions. For instance, any new, work-related ‘urgent’ demands can potentially be refuted with evidence of clear priorities, and the cuts that would be required for such accommodations. In the long run, prioritization and productivity should aim to be improved, even if, it’s in the smallest of ways. Our brains love to procrastinate and deter us from accomplishing important work.

Speaking of: Should you really answer that email? It’s not rocket science, if you constantly enable incoming emails to influence your list of priorities, you’ll find it difficult to get ahead. That’s not to say recurring important documents needing attention should be ignored. 

We simply mean, sometimes a delayed reply to an email is justified when you’re attending to what needs to be focused on first and foremost.

“Of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking.”

~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Rate It, We Say.

Thinking about the ‘High to Low’ points we mentioned earlier, research suggests, the MoSCoW process (pronounced like Russia’s Capital) is a humble technique for the resourceful distribution of every task into one of four categories:

  • M – The Must Do’s (M): Are rated as such for immediate attention.
  • S – The Should Do’s (S): Are the ‘Should Do’ tasks that are important, but they’re not as critical.
  • C – The Could Do’s (C): Are the cream of the crop, kind of To-Do’s. You’d like to do them, but if you don’t, it’s unlikely to be a big deal.
  • W – The Won’t Do’s (W): Are things that really aren’t worth doing. Hello, procrastination!

Use the MoSCoW technique in Stratus, to evaluate your To-Do list. By the end, you should be able to see your tasks inflow, from top to bottom in accordance with their priority. Any W tasks should be deleted.

If you consistently address your list from the top-down, you’ll always feel a sense of focus and direction.

Hey, by the way – we recognize, some days you might feel off base, and that’s okay. Remember, there’s always more than one way of doing things. 

You might find, iStratus works better for you in 5 Simple Steps known as the “Ivy Method”:

  1. Conclude every workday identifying the six most crucial tasks remaining on your list for tomorrow.
  2. Order those in terms of priority.
  3. Set to work in the morning, focusing on task number one until it’s done.
  4. Complete tasks in sequential order.
  5. Continue until all six tasks are complete (preferably). Repeat this process daily.

Bottom line: Do what works. 

Which elements work best for you?

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Organize Your Way To Zen

Creating a Digital Filing System

Do you find yourself always running back and forth?  How often do you forget something at the Grocery Store?

Consider filing a list in the ‘Food’ Category and your inner foodie will thank you. Car Service completed? Keep important info easily on file. Rename that ‘Travel’ file to ‘Vacation’ for reminders. Avoid that sinking feeling en route to the airport, as you realize you have forgotten your passport!

Thanks to iStratus, those kinds of days and missing pieces can be a distant memory.

Right in the palm of your hand, customize folders, set with a theme and a recognizable emoji. The process of creation is straightforward, so you won’t miss a beat – or plane while backtracking home. Let iStratus help you find some Zen.

Big Deal. Why Bother Organizing At All?

These days, we have millions of digital files stored across multiple devices. From music files, photos, work or school documents to business and financial files, you name it – we have oodles to sift through electronically.

Times have changed. What if they were all easy to find in one place? That’s convenient, right? Feeling Zen already? You betcha!

Now, perhaps you enjoy using the “Search” or “Find” function on your computer, tablet or phone to locate your files, but more often than not, that summons a significant list of possible matches instead of the exact file you wanted. And that’s only if you can recall something of the actual file name in the first place!

Realistically, who doesn’t become frustrated with such an approach? Searching relies on both descriptive names and useful keywords. Essentially, we have a limited timeframe as it is, so iStratus is the perfect system for organizing your files as you create and store them in order to find them faster later.

Do What Works.

iStratus ensures its digital filing system becomes a matter of personal style that works for you. Below are some essential truths, we believe can help anyone organize filing with order and efficiency.

  • Don’t save every file: Delete the old ruthlessly! If you don’t need it, you don’t need to organize it. Delete duplicates, those ancient files you never use, and avoid downloading every email attachment. Click delete. Trash it. Those blurry or duplicated photos add to the abyss of data. Store what is required, there’s no need for the photobomb with iStratus.

  • Create names to file in a detailed and consistent fashion: Instead of wasting time opening every file to establish which one is the most recent and relevant, name them distinctively. Use dates and keywords and file under the appropriate category iStratus has set out for you. Goodbye searching.

  • Categorize new files immediately: Use the App set up every file, all the time! Put your new documents, photos, and tasks in the appropriate folders as soon as you click “Save” or “Download.” Get into this habit, so you’ll stay organized.

  • Synchronize files automatically: If you have more than one device, and you need to mirror some of your files onto the other computer (i.e. shared documents), determine which files are to be synced and which are not.  Synchronicity is an automatic necessity with iStratus.

  • Avoid creating a complicated folder system:  You don’t need a million and one folders and sub-folders to stay organized. As long as all your files aren’t floating loose in one giant “Documents” directory, you’re probably a step ahead with digital storage.

iStratus has already put in the hard yards for you. Creating folders for each of your major file categories or by the tasks you work on most frequently, whatever makes sense for your data.

“THERE ARE TWO MAIN STRATEGIES WE CAN ADOPT TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE. THE FIRST IS TO TRY MAKING EXTERNAL CONDITIONS MATCH OUR GOALS. THE SECOND IS TO CHANGE HOW WE EXPERIENCE EXTERNAL CONDITIONS TO MAKE THEM FIT OUR GOALS BETTER.”

~ MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

Create some Zen in your life. Avoid overflowing your device with so many Apps that you’re scared to even look at it and/or your emails, sometimes. Deep down, you are probably someone who takes pleasure in being organized, tidy, and ordered (us! Us!), you don’t even need a reason to begin orchestrating the process. It’s your happy place and being disorganized is quite a nightmare.

Conversely, if you’ve been delaying organization because the task is too immense or daunting, or you simply don’t know where to start, wait no more. The good news is, iStratus is here to get you choose the right folders and on the path to mastering the effectiveness of your own personalized digital filing system.

Choose a theme, create a folder and organize away.

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

Wait. That phrase appears too familiar… No, we’re not starting a rendition of ‘The Sound Of Music’. We’ll leave that one to Julie Andrews. Trust us – your eyes and ears will thank you.

We do, however, love our star-sectioned iStratus favorites tab.

The concept of a filing system goes back to the good-‘ol-days of a filing cabinet and hardcopy files and folders.

The advantage of the initial paper-based filing system was that placement was important so that items could be located easily. In contrast, it becomes too easy to have digital files scattered everywhere.

Often, you don’t realize you have a problem — until you have a problem! With iStratus, you don’t have to feel the pain of a disorganized system any longer.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Digital Filing Goals

There are three overarching goals to a digital file organization system:

  • Easy to File: You don’t want your filing system to be a huge, hierarchical maze. It needs to be fast and easy to save files, clash-free.

  • Easy to Find: You want your system to make it easy to find the file or folder you need, either by using ‘favorites’ or a search.

  • Reusable: Where possible, keep re-using the same lists and templates and titles, all of which support the previous two goals. The complete principle of your ‘Favorites’

A Few Simple Rules 

Organization does not mean ‘complex’. These rules may help you make the most out of the iStratus App.

LIMIT FOLDER CREATION

When you’re generating folders, think minimal. Most files and notes can be easily categorized logically if your initial layout is well structured.

In general, iStratus recommends only creating new folder sections if you find yourself repeatedly coming back to save similar files/items in the same place.

Your favorites should be designed to cover a vast array of important information that is easily accessible when you need it.

You want your file structure to be as simple as one, two, three.

“DON’T AGONIZE. ORGANIZE.”

~ FLORYNCE KENNEDY

BE STRATEGIC

For an “Easy to Find Fast” situation, be strategic. Less is more.

Put some time into incorporating ‘the digital’ into situations where you’re most likely to use these handy tools.

DROPBOX AND FILE SYNC MAGIC

This leads us into the nitty-gritty of  Dropbox™ and other similar services iStratus supports.

Sync services (such as iCloud™ Dropbox™) are an instantaneous way to coordinate and share your important information effortlessly.

As the tech-savvy folks at Geeks For Geeks explain, these systems are:

“A file hosting service, offering cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software”. There are two main differences between the hosts:

  • Dropbox: Shares files through web applications

  • iCloud: Shares files through links.

Both of which are amazing tools used within iStratus, to give you access to your important documents between various devices. This allows you be productive wherever you are. They’re also great for easily sharing digital files, notes and ideas with others and yourself as a future reference or a reminder.

Favorite Shortcuts Are Your Friend

Now you have specific folders, what’s next?

Well, you can structure your files to suit any way you want. iStratus allows to customize and personalize your features. Don’t feel like typing? No worries! Create a sketch or add a new audio memo by clicking the “more” option, when you tap the screen. Giving you a ‘1-click’ access shortcut directly to the folder, you’ve created or selected.

You can of course rearrange, change or delete these at any time, using the simple to follow editing tools, all within the App itself.

  • Pro-Tip: The Favorite feature is great for those folders you permanently need access to, but it is also excellent when you are working on a project. Add info to the ‘Planning, Projects’ folder while you require quick access, to include photos or notes. When you’re done, ‘check it off’ or remove it completely.

The key is functionality and some things are made to be temporary. Look for the folder you want, with a few keystrokes jump right there.

Automated Organizing

You can gain a huge productivity boost with iStratus, by setting up an automated organization tool.

If you have tasks that are recurring, set iStratus to save specific events or supporting material, and it will automatically allocate and store the necessary information to the calendar and/or an appropriate section.

The point is, not only are we going paperless using an automated organizer to set an efficient pace for your day, but we’re helping the environment too!

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Revitalize Your Workspace with ‘Balance’

What does your day look like? Are you balancing?

 No, not checks. Yourself. Whether we’re one month down or six months into the year, it’s always a good time to revisit personal values. If you have found yourself feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied this past year, (it’s normal, whatever that is? However, let’s not digress).

Simply put, aside from external circumstances, often doubt arises from not upholding the personal values and goals you set for yourself during day-to-day life.

Before time slips away, it’s worth taking a few minutes within your day to reflect on what your personal values and goals are to revitalize your daily routine.

As cliché as it may seem, there’s no escaping the fact, feeling accomplished is a value in life, which increases happiness.

Here are five tips on how creating a functional workspace with iStratus, can honor your values:

Accountability

Being aware of your values in decision-making also holds you accountable for choices.

The iStratus ‘Daily Drop Box’ helps set things out. So next time a new project lands on your desk, use iStratus to establish a ‘sketch’ of your values before saying, “Yes” or “No”.

Following through with a clear direction could lead to an unexpected outcome where you aren’t compromising what is truly important to you.

Prioritization

Ah yes, an iStratus favorite: Prioritization. Organize your workspace planning by re-arranging “To-Do’s” that honor your values first.

Endless “To-Do’s” often make it more difficult to accomplish tasks. Thus, instead of bringing order to the chaos of life, it can actually lead to feeling the opposite, like you’re not accomplishing anything.

iStratus Recommends: 

  • Prioritizing your “To-Do’s”, with your top two or three values. These could be anything. For example, improved fitness, creativity, or family time. Think about what matters to you most.

  • Tasks responding to unimportant items in your inbox should be completed following time spent tackling projects that are hanging over your head. 

Balance

Honestly, ‘work-life balance’ feels like a myth. As stifling as mapping out your values might seem, it will bring a bit of balance to your life, no matter how hectic or crazy it becomes.

The iStratus Workspace aims to support the process of applying your values within your schedule. When your week is filled with multiple activities, we feel storing important items with reminders on your phone can help re-create a balanced to-do list that honors values, on all levels.

Authenticity

It’s easy to get bogged down, especially when it feels like others are succeeding, where you’re struggling.

In time, we must take action for completion. Even mundane tasks can be done with heart, when we commit to what we do.

In iStratus, simplicity is the only shortcut. You still need to stick with your goals and values in order to see what is working and what isn’t. We feel this is a good thing! When you practice looking at your own values for achieving your goals, you’ll be living with sincerity.

Happiness

Happiness comes back to making time for positive planning, prioritizing and holding yourself accountable. The ability to find balance and live authentically, all leads to a happier you.

Find the right fit. Spend some time using iStratus to kick-start your value-based goal setting today.

Like everything in life, there are two sides to the coin or plan. Pro’s and Con’s are key to revitalizing your workspace with iStratus:

Position The Positive

  • Planning is a Guide for Action: Coordinated and focused actions work because they apply specific outcomes.

  • Plans Facilitate Commitment: Planning reduces uncertainty. Clear expectations become a win for commitment, working towards goals and subsequent rewards.

  • Plans Establish Performance Standards: Planning outlines desired outcomes as well as mileposts to define progress. Growth is always fundamental.

A Few Drawbacks – 

To planning that iStratus aims to reduce:

  • Planning Prevents Action: “Death (figuratively) by planning” exists. Planning does little good if it doesn’t lead to functionality.

  • Planning Leads to Complacency: Solid plans can lead to believing the ‘where to’ and ‘how to’ is concrete, causing lapses in progress. Remember, planning is not a one-time process. Continual implementation and modification arei critical.

  • Plans Inhibit Creativity/Flexibility: If something isn’t working, scrap it from the folder. Success comes from innovation and organization, however, it shouldn’t inhibit you from applying creativity or intuitiveness.

Progress is rarely made through random activity. Plans are not objectives, but a means to an objective. The iStratus App is designed to help you make headway.

When you revitalize your workspace ‘balance’ with a whole new modality for the future, it’s got to be a good thing.

“AN IDEA ISN’T WORTH THAT MUCH. IT’S THE EXECUTION OF THE IDEA THAT HAS VALUE. IF YOU CAN’T CONVINCE ONE OTHER PERSON THAT THIS IS SOMETHING TO DEVOTE YOUR LIFE TO, THEN IT’S NOT WORTH IT.”

~ JOEL SPOLSKY

Live life and roll well with iStratus.

Synchronize It!

Synchronicity. We approve of that. Don’t you?

Synchronicity brings organization.

For you. And your Calendar, that is.

What is it with life that causes, those days, weeks followed by months on end to become a mind-boggling swamp? When you think about it, it’s the daily calendar we often find ever so monotomous.

Isn’t it a pleasure when things just work impeccably well? All those dates and dot points connect together without a hitch across various platforms.

Welcome to iStratus.

Our calendar function does just that. Allows access via your phone settings, and it’s as simple as one, two, three. In fact, it is even simpler.

Set an event, in one calendar and it transfers directly to iStratus. One-click. No-fuss. Just purely, perfect synchronicity.

Organization Simplified. Book it in.

Your calendar is akin to armor in the skirmish of working life. It safely guards your boundaries against other people’s priorities and influence, which can easily impede upon your own precipitously expanding list of “Must Do’s”.

All you need is something like iStratus, a proven calendar management strategy, to win the battle.

Follow Your Instincts When Planning Ahead

It’s natural to feel more energized by certain activities at different points during work hours.

For instance, when working from home some of us like to hit the gym in the morning. Followed by meetings, phone calls and transcribing reports or proposals that require completion. By late afternoon, procrastination on Facebook beckons — and then to avoid becoming a complete couch potato with Netflix, it feels far better to address more tasks, paying bills or reviewing stats on your SEO.

A culinary adventure for becoming the next Master-Chef in the evening works well. Or perhaps not. Do whatever floats your boat.

The point is, the specifics of your day are less important than recognizing when responsibilities motivate you to be productive as opposed to when they vampire your internal fuel tank.

Armed with this knowledge, block-book everything in your iStratus calendar for the coming week —and then work on what matters most.

Give Your Days Some Color

Color Coding, that is. Let’s consider work overload.

Various activities require diverse skills, involving different parts of the brain. Thus, it’s no surprise it can be difficult to juggle time and fit all of life’s business in. It’s not news that multiple tasks due simultaneously can become overwhelming, and cause a rise in blood pressure.

Phew!

If this sounds like you, why not begin planning your days by theme? iStratus allows you to:

  • Created colored categories on your calendar, making things more recognizable.

  • Dedicate an entire day to a colored theme.

  • Easily allocate a chunk each day to a project, highlight in one color.

This way, you’ll free up headspace with iStratus, because you’ll know what to cover and when.

The Importance of Gaps

The truth is, none of us have “time to kill”. Often, calendared items run back-to-back. It’s one class, meeting, or appointment to the next, without breaks.

However, regardless of how “flat out” situations seem, it is important to:

  • Incorporate at least fifteen-minute gaps on your calendar.

  • Use such moments to decompress or address factors arising from a previous meeting/appointment.

Or go hardcore. Of course, the choice is yours. The aim of your calendar is to achieve goals. Every meeting (no matter what form) should create connection, rather than small talk.

According to The Business Insider, Elron Musk once said:

“WALK OUT OF A MEETING OR DROP OFF A CALL AS SOON AS BECOMES OBVIOUS YOU AREN’T ADDING VALUE. IT IS NOT RUDE TO LEAVE, IT IS EXPECTED. IT IS RUDE TO HAVE SOMEONE STAY AND WASTE THEIR TIME.”

The Calendar Review

We all know, situations don’t always run as expected. Work commitments, seep into personal time. Today, it’s considered normalcy.

On the contrary, iStratus sees your time as being relevant. We recommend reviewing your calendar, every Friday to consider:

  • How closely your previous week’s calendar matches up with what your next one needs to look like. Plot progress;

  • Scheduling appointments and meetings that are a must, canceling anything irrelevant if you can;

  • How you wish to spend your time.

“WE MUST NOT ALLOW THE CLOCK AND THE CALENDAR TO BLIND US TO THE FACT THAT EACH MOMENT OF LIFE IS A MIRACLE AND MYSTERY.”

 ~ H.G. WELLS

You might lack full control over your working week specifies, but there are undoubtedly some weeds requiring attention, aka pulling to break the feeling of monotony.

Remember, your calendar is a clear representation of how you’re spending your time and where your priorities lie.

Using iStratus effectively will organize your days and allow you to accomplish more without burning out. Keep that synchronizing simple.

LIVE LIFE AND ROLL WELL WITH ISTRATUS.