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Occupy Wall Street protesters lack realistic expectations

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The Occupy Wall Street movement

Some (like the Occupy Wall Street protesters) will disagree, but there have actually been good, if not necessary improvements born of the housing crisis. Many will not recall this fiasco, but there was a time when tenants were getting the boot while paying rent to landlords who were pocketing the cash, and yet skipping out on mortgage payments. Tenants have real rights now. If a foreclosure happens, they can stay through the end of the lease, and sometimes longer.

There are also at least 12 different government sponsored programs to help prevent foreclosure. TWELVE. These are in addition to the now traditional foreclosure avoidance methods that we have been using such as short sales, deed-in-lieus, loan modifications, interest rate reductions, mortgage cram downs, banks and servicers own in-house loan programs, and even short-refis are being used. When one of the programs recently expired with much of the funds being unused, we called it another failed initiative, like HAMP.

Last week, there was a photo shoot by John Moore in the Washington Post, on a family getting kicked to the curb via an eviction. They had an income loss, didn’t pay the mortgage for 11 months, and the wife didn’t tell her husband until the Deputy Sheriff came knocking with the final eviction notice. Yes, she was ashamed, embarrassed, whatever. There were at least 12 things she could have attempted to help her and her family, other than nothing. See above.

Enter the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is like the epitome of the I Want (Deserve) It Now Society we’ve become accustomed to – without actually doing or working for anything, and it’s such bull. These groups are out there protesting for everything, and I do mean everything… the war, foreclosures, money for ecological items, gender equality, taxing the rich, jobs, spreading the wealth, free healthcare, corruption everywhere, free college education, politicians, getting rid of credit agencies, corporate greed, eliminating *all* loans, big banks, bail outs, unemployment, raising the minimum wage to $20.00/hour regardless of employment, and God knows what else.

They want resolutions, and they want them now. Sorry, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What got us here and what is next?

All of the crises which got us here- and the sleezoids who participated in them- didn’t screw everything up overnight, nor will they get their comeuppance all at once. The current programs and policies are designed to help distressed homeowners and there are more in the works for the future, as well as the money to finance them. It’s not as though the powers that be have a magic lamp with a genie inside granting unlimited wishes to conjure all of these programs up, it kind of takes time. A homeowner also has to toss out a little effort; they can’t just bury their head in the sand and hope for a miracle to arrive like a stork with a bundle of joy.

Protesting with no clear agenda at hand is one of the most confounding things I’ve ever heard of; doing absolutely nothing to help one’s self is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard of. There is a saying that I believe applies to these two scenarios: You can’t fix stupid.

Katie Cosner, occasionally known as Kathleen, or KT, is a Realtor® with Cutler Real Estate and is active in her local Board of Realtors® on the Equal Opportunity & Professional Development Committee. She has been floating around online for a number of years, and is on facebook as well as twitter. While Katie has a few hardcore beliefs, three in the Real Estate World to live and die by are; education, ethics, and the law - insert random quote from “A Few Good Men” here. Katie is also an avid Cleveland Indians fan, which really explains quite a bit of her… quirks.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Peggy

    October 17, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Where do you get your news from? The majority of the protestors want an end to corporate-sponsored political cronyism and accountability for the actions of individuals who act unscrupulously on behalf of corporations. They do not want corporations to be given the same rights as individual citizens when they have the resources of small countries. They want the culture of greed that has run rampant in this country, actually throughout the world, to be tempered by some small amount of humanism. You think that is wrong? I think you are wrong.

    • Kathleen Cosner

      October 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Peggy, I actually get news from a ton of places, the NY Times, Fox, CNN, the Washington Post, local papers, HuffPo, and RE sites. The loosely organized protesters are not actually "for" one gven thing, and that *is* their thing. I just don't really agree with what they doing, and chose one of their issues to write about.

  2. Hello

    October 17, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Ms. Cosner has created quite a perfect little world for herself. There are twelve programs available? Has she tried one of these twelve herself? Does she know the reality of Mr. & Mrs. Consumer's attempt to utilize any of these programs? Clearly she has no concept of how things work in the real world and, if she wants to talk intelligently about these program, she should try utilizing just one of them herself. THEN maybe she'd understand the idea behind the Occupy Movement.

    Ms. Cosner, have you talked with anyone from the Occupy movement? Do you really understand why they're mad? Have you gone to one of the rallies or are you just speculating from the chair behind your computer? Do you understand what the right to protest means?

    Nobody is saying these problems can be fixed overnight. But, 99% of Americans didn't create this mess and yet, they are the ones being asked to fix it. And, if you even tried one of those 12 "fit-it" program you tout, you'd understand that statement. They are mad and rightfully so.

    That 1% has lined their pockets from the mess that's been created. The government can put whatever programs they want in place but, banks are the ones making it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to take advantage of those programs and NO ONE is forcing the banks to do that.

    It's the big corporations that get "bailouts" when they suffer from what's happened. Consumers have NEVER received a bailout but, we're just supposed to sit quietly and let them take more money from US to fix a problem we didn't create.

    You cite one incident of a woman not telling her husband they were being evicted. How about talking to the hundreds of thousands of people who tried desperately to save there houses but, could not because of all the red tape in these "helpful" programs. Who tried to refinance but, was told "no". Who tried to reduce their interest rate but, was told "no". Who tried to do a short sale but, was told "no".

    Come out of your bubble, Ms. Cosner, and talk with the people in that crowd.

  3. Kathleen Cosner

    October 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Hi… Hello, No one's life is a bubble, it's not all puppy dogs and sunshine. As a matter of fact, The Hardest Hit Funds, via Restoring Stability saved my fam's butt. I'm not mad, things happen, that are beyond our control. Things I certainly never planned on happening in this life. Do I need to speak with anyone involved in OWS? Not when I can read. People are quitting their jobs, their JOBS, so they can go protest.

  4. hangemhi

    October 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Wow- the pot calling the kettle black. YOU have unrealistic expectations of protesters. Anger in the streets is how revolutions start. You'd have been a Loyalist during the American Revolution with your kind of thinking. Geez, what was the point of throwing tea overboard during the "Boston Tea Party" that didn't solve anything. Meanwhile that occurred in 1973, the Declaration of Independence didn't happen until 1976 and the Constituion wasn't ratified until 1787. So you are the one with unrealistic expectations.

    • Kathleen Cosner

      October 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Cute anaolgy. The Constituion, is a living, breathing document, which can be changed at any time. It has been so throughout the years and was designed as such; abolishing slavery, chicks getting the right to vote, prohibition, need I go on?

  5. South Lake Travis Real Estate

    October 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I agree with Kathleen. Some of the protesters know what they want, but I think most simply want change. Obama promised that and that has not exactly worked out in a favorable way.

  6. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    This is perhaps one of the STUPIDEST and most ill-informed posts I've seen on AG EVER. Wake up and smell the coffee perking my dear…because you are as far removed from the harsh reality of the world as it gets. 12 Programs? HAH! Try getting the banks to help a distressed home owner with any one them. Hell will freeze over before they lift a finger. If this weren't so pathetic it would be FUNNY.

    I was out in the streets of my town with the #occupy wall street crowd and PROUD TO BE THERE. How dare you judge me or them. You obviously haven't a clue and what's worse, you could care less. The rich sold out the middle class over a 30 year period and the 99% are finally fighting back. This is the stuff revolutions are made of and those that have remained fat and happy are scared that the sleeping lion (the American public) is finally wide awake. These people have had the economic rug yanked out from under them. Most are hardworking Americans that have played by the rules and have been thrown under the bus for their trouble.

    And it is NOT too much to expect that those who trashed the world economy be held accountable for their actions in a timely way. The fact that they haven't paid the price shows how totally dysfunctional and corrupt our government has become.

    And btw, NO ONE I ran into quit their job so they could go protest. Some have RISKED their jobs in the name of free speech. I also met quite a few people who can't FIND a job. I initially came from biotech and know a lot of engineers, scientists and health care professionals with high degrees packing bags at Trader Joes and Stop 'N Shop. Stop watching Faux news – get out in the streets and talk to these people and get a grip on reality.

  7. Matthew Hardy

    October 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    @ Ruthmarie

    > "This is the stuff revolutions are made of…"

    Perhaps you might specify the type of revolution sought. Too often revolutions are violent. Try applying the act of protesting to a personal context. Have a problem? How does complaining solve it? Everyone seems to understand that, when shifting from complaining to problem-solving, a better situation results. In a political context, voting is the most potent answer for democratic societies. Rallies can serve to send messages about what citizens want, but the real responsibility lies with the individual and the use of their vote.

    > "those who trashed the world economy be held accountable for their actions… how totally dysfunctional and corrupt our government has become."

    Well. Let's name them. Who should be indicted? Who currently in government are most complicit? "Wall Street", of course, is too amorphous a target — unless the demise of capitalism is the real goal.

    The contemptuous tone… the extreme polarization. Yes, there are ideologues on all sides ("Faux News" watchers AND "MSLSD" watchers), yet my hope is for those who want to make a great country better by upholding and refining systems that have served us well for some time. Retribution, demonization, class-warfare: these are not the hallmarks of the dreamers and doers who embody the success of America.

  8. Kenny

    October 19, 2011 at 1:15 am

    It is disappointing to see this article on AG.

    "Enter the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is like the epitome of the I Want (Deserve) It Now Society we’ve become accustomed to – without actually doing or working for anything, and it’s such bull."

    "There is a saying that I believe applies to these two scenarios: You can’t fix stupid."

    The above statements are simply ridiculous and insensible, as is this whole article.

    I frequently read articles here because they are insightful, knowledgeable, and relevant. This article was none of these.

    The author should have just titled this article, "Occupy Wall Street protestors are lazy, stupid, and spoiled"

    I don't fully understand what is going on with the Occupy Wall Street protests, but when I see pictures of people across the WORLD protesting something, it seems pretty obvious that this is more than just a bunch of lazy people, quitting their jobs to go protest for handouts.

  9. Jeff Brown

    October 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Thank God and Katie for this post, as the comic relief in the comments has made my day. What a buncha whining, entitled wannabes, and never-will-be cry babies. Randomly pick 1,000 'occupy whatevers' and you'll find, in my opinion, that of those who're were eligible to vote, or bothered to, put there X next to Obama and his cohorts in their states. Now they're unhappy? And yeah, I know the next reply, 'It's Bush's fault'. I'm not a Bush supporter, but he was George Freakin' Washington compared to who the Occupiers put in office.

    NASA hasn't yet invented the devise that can measure the depth of ignorance of these yahoos. I for one HAVE seen multiple street interviews, and if their arrogance, stupidity, and ignorance weren't so sad and scary, they'd be hilarious. I take that back, I still laugh. Funny is funny wherever you find it.

    Ron White was right, you CAN'T fix stoopid. And pulllease stop claiming this is the beginning of a revolution. Frankly, it's much more likely the end to the socialist attempt at revolution that's been takin' our country down, rung by rung, since I was in fifth grade.

    These are the same ignoramuses (generically) who demonstrated in SF in the 60's, talking about free love and the rest of all their perfect world fantasies. Most of 'em are my age today (60), and I can tell ya from first hand experience, they fall into two broad brush categories.

    1. Embittered, defeated, and vindictive people who're still wondering what went wrong in their lives.

    2. Those who now speak of those long ago times with a bit of blush in their cheeks, wondering how they coulda been so naive for so long. They're the ones who later on elected Reagan twice. Churchill said it best I think, loosely paraphrased: If you're under 25 and not liberal, you have no heart. If you're over 25 and not conservative, you have no brain. Amen, Winston — we sure miss ya.

    The more things change, the more they remain the same. Every generation has it's losers. And no, I'm not labeling all the Occupiers as losers. Except that is on the first Wednesday of November 2012 that is. 🙂

  10. Kathleen Cosner

    October 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Feel free to critique, I can take it, really. Please do read the article, and its links in their entirety, before jumping to conclusions, though. And do please remember that any kind of trial, that doesn't involve burning at the stake or stoning in the streets, takes longer than two-three years.

    Here are other links to check out at your leisure:
    https://tinyurl.com/5wda649
    https://tinyurl.com/6duhzwj
    https://tinyurl.com/5vbtw3x

  11. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 21, 2011 at 1:29 am

    You can "take it" because you are clueless, insensitive and lack basic knowledge of the issues. Have you tried to help a seller with a short sale? Ever….I doubt it. As far as revolutions go – they are often violent. These demonstrations have been more peaceful than a lot of the tea bagger BS that I've seen. And Jeff you are certainly right- you have proven above all that you can't fix stupid….

    • Kathleen Cosner

      October 21, 2011 at 5:04 am

      Ruthmarie- I have refered several people to a great short sale agent over the years. As that is where her experience and talents lay. She has the contacts in nearly every bank to get them closed faster than any agent I've ever seen, & works with an awesome title co to help throughout the transactions. I have never taken a ref fee for any of them. Also I've refered people to various programs available, not just housing related, as that's where my contacts are. Some people utilize them, some don't. If you want to be angry, be angry at those who are not taking advantage of the programs which are set up to help. Please don't jump to sweeping conclusions simply because I have an opinion with which you may not agree.

  12. Matthew Hardy

    October 22, 2011 at 10:38 am

    > jump to sweeping conclusions

    A refuge for the empty and vapid argument.

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Opinion Editorials

Before you quit your job, ask yourself these 5 questions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Frustrated at work? Here are 5 ideas utilizing design thinking and exploration tactics to assess if you really are ready to quit your job.

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Man reclining on beanbag with laptop, thoughtful. Considering tactics before you quit your job.

We have all been there. We are in a job that just doesn’t feel right for us. Maybe we strongly dislike our manager or even our day to day work responsibilities. We find it easy to blame everyone else for everything we dislike. We question life and ask “Is this what life is all about? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something I am more passionate about?” But, we probably like the regular paycheck… Thus, we stay there and possibly become more miserable by the day. Some of us may even start to feel physical symptoms of headaches, stomach aches, and possibly depression. We also may go to the internet like this person seeking answers and hoping someone else can tell us what to do:

“I feel conflicted but I want to quit my job. What should I do?

I was thinking of quitting my job because I dislike what I do, and I feel I am underpaid.

However last week my colleague tendered her resignation too. Needless to say, if I leave too, my whole department will fall into a larger mess and that causes some feelings of conflict within me.

Should my colleague quitting affect when I want to leave too? How do I go about quitting now?”

We can definitely empathize with this – it’s really uncomfortable, sometimes sad, and hard to be in a position where we feel we are underpaid and we aren’t happy.

So, how can you navigate a situation like this? How do you figure out if you should just quit your job? How can you be an adult about this?

Here are some exploratory questions, ideas, and some design thinking activities to help you answer this question for yourself.

  • Before you up and quit, assuming you don’t yet have your next opportunity lined up, have you considered asking for a raise – or better yet, figure out how you add value to the organization? Would your supervisor be willing to move you in to a new role or offer additional compensation?
  • If you don’t have a job lined up, do you have the recommended AT LEAST six months of living expenses in your savings account? Some would recommend that you have even more during a global pandemic where unemployment is at an all-time high – it may take longer to find a new position.
  • Do you have a safety net of family or friends that are willing and able to help you with your bills if you don’t have your regular paycheck? Would you be willing to put that burden on them so you can quit your job?
  • Why aren’t you job searching if you are unhappy? Is it because the task seems daunting and the idea of interviewing right now makes you want to puke?
  • What would your ideal job be and what would it take for you to go for it?

Many people claim they don’t like their job but they don’t know what to do next or even worse, don’t know what they WANT to do. To offer a little bit of tough love here: Well, then, that’s your job to figure it out. You can go on Reddit all you want, but no one else can tell you what is right for you.

Here are some ways to explore what may be an exciting career move for you or help you identify some areas that you need to learn more about in order to figure out where work will align with your skills, interests, and passions.

  1. Consider ordering the Design Your Life Workbook that provides writing prompts to help you figure out what it is that you are looking for in a job/career. You may also like the book Designing Your Work Life which is about “How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work”.
  2. Utilize design thinking to answer some of your questions. Make a diamond shape and in each of the four corners, write out the “Who” you want to be working with, “What” you’d like to be doing, “Where” you’d like to be, and “Why” you want to be there or doing that kind of work.
  3. Conduct informational interviews with people doing work that you think you might be interested in. Usually these conversations give you lots of interesting insights and either a green light to pursue something or validation that maybe that role isn’t right for you either.
  4. Get your resume updated. Sometimes just dusting off your resume, updating it, and making it ready gives you a feeling of relief that if you did really want to pursue a new job, you are almost ready. Consider updating your LinkedIn profile as well.
  5. Explore what you can do differently. A lot of what we can be frustrated about can be related to things out of our control. Consider exploring ways to work better with your team or how to grow to become invaluable. Tune in to Lindsey Pollak’s podcast, The Work Remix, where she gives great ideas on how to navigate working in current times where there are five generations in the workplace. There may be ways you need to adjust your communication style or tune in to emotional intelligence on how to better work with your supervisor or employees. Again, focus on what is within your control.

You may decide that you need to quit your job to be able to focus your energy on finding a better fit for you. But at the same time, be realistic. Most of us have to work to live. Everyone has bills, so you may continue working while you sort out some of the other factors to help you find a more exciting prospect. Either way, wishing you all the best on this journey, and the time and patience to allow you to figure it out.

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Opinion Editorials

New USPS duck-shaped truck design has mixed reactions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) The USPS is getting a fleet of electronic delivery vehicles. We’re wondering if the actual design got lost in the mail.

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New USPS truck in a fictional neighborhood delivering mail.

So the USPS is getting new trucks and they look like ducks and maybe that sucks… or maybe it wucks. Like “works,” if a duck said it. Just give me this one please.

Anyway.

I don’t know how mean I can be here – there has to be something said for objective journalistic integrity – but I have a feeling most people are going to have a rather sarcastic reaction to the new design. I’m not so sure I can blame them – it has a kind of stubby little nose with a shortened hood and a boxy frame and super tall windshield, which gives the wheels a disproportionately large look compared to the rest of the silhouette. It’s sort of like a Nissan Cube but less millennial cool, which A) is discontinued (so maybe not so cool), and B) is not the car that had those giant hiphop hamsters running around, but I’m still going to link to it anyway.

Elon Musk must be breathing a sigh of relief right now.

The contract was awarded to Oshkosh Defense (which I was thrilled to find out is NOT the adorable kid’s clothing company, even though I personally think that would be hilarious if there was a factory making overalls for tiny humans alongside tactical defense trucks) and officially announced on February 23rd, 2021 to the tune of $482 million. Seriously though, someone is going to mix those up for the rest of all time and eternity; I’d never not think about my own baby pictures if some contractor from Oshkosh Defense showed up.

The release mentions that, “The historic investment is part of a soon-to-be-released plan the Postal Service has developed to transform its financial performance and customer service over the next 10 years through significant investments in people, technology and infrastructure as it seeks to become the preferred delivery service provider for the American public.” It’s called the NGDV – Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, which I happen to adore, and will pronounce as Nugduv, and you can’t stop me anyway. The old one was called the Grumman, by the way.

Some credit this as a radical change, and keeping in mind that radical doesn’t necessarily denote positive or negative, it seems like the perfect word to use here. Then there are those who correctly identify “a mixed bag of responses,” sort of like when you get a bag of candy at Halloween that has at least one thing no one likes. Some call it strange, while others defend it as something every new big vehicle should look like (this is where – as one of many – I found it called a “duck” which oh man do I love, quack quack).

We can also hit up the ever fair public opinion of Twitter, because why wouldn’t we?

JavaScript is not available.

This is how I would draw a car. That is not a plus for this design

I really can’t get over that last one. But I mean, whoa. That’s quite the spectrum. There’s less disagreement on pizza toppings I think. But luckily I think we’re safe there – Domino’s makes people drive their personal cars.

Taking a step back and putting snide commentary away for a moment, there’s some areas that should be discussed. First – and what should probably be obvious – there was a laundry list of requirements and restrictions from the USPS, which made Nir Kahn – design director from custom carmaker Plasan – offer up his own tweets that give some insight on dimensions and design:

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I was involved in an early proposal for the USPS truck so I know the requirements well. They pretty much dictated the proportions – this package sketch shows that to meet the ergonomic and size requirements, there wasn’t much freedom 1/2 #USPS pic.twitter.com/Fk35g98Z83

Kahn mentions that “there wasn’t much freedom,” but also that “it could have looked much better,” and this sort of underlines the entire discussion I think – there were goals in place, and possibly some more aesthetically pleasing ways to meet them, but the constraints won out and drove (hehe) the design more than style did.

Certainly, there are other concerns – the ability for USPS drivers to reach a mailbox while seated is paramount. Others have pointed out that this design – with its large windshield and shortened front – should help with safety around small children (all the better if they are wearing Oshkosh B’gosh, because that implies they are tiny and may not be at all concerned with the dangers of streets). The open field-of-vision will aid in making sure drivers can navigate places that might be frequented by any number of pedestrians, so that’s a plus.

Further, if you get struck by one of these, you’ll basically “just” get kneecapped versus taking it square to the torso. The duck article is the one making this call, and I think there’s some merit there (though it makes me question how the USPS fleet is going to do against the SUVs and big trucks out in the wild). It then goes on to point out that this design has more cargo space, fitting into the idea of “rightsizing,” where the form and function of the vehicle meet in a way that is downsized, but still punches above its weight.

“From smaller fire engines to nimbler garbage trucks, making vehicles better scaled to urban tasks can make a huge difference, not only for keeping other cars moving on narrow streets, but also to ensure that humans on those same streets can access the bike lanes, sidewalks, and curb cuts they need to get around.”

I didn’t try too hard to find stats on crashes in mail trucks, but seems like something that should be addressed.

Maybe the biggest point here is that we sort of have to get new trucks – they are outliving their 24 year expectancy and catching on fire. On FIRE. I mean a mail truck might be the worst place for a fire. I’m not even sure I can’t think up a better answer… Ok maybe toilets would be worse.

The new vehicles can be either petrol or electric powered, have 360 cameras, airbags, and automatic braking. Oh, and air conditioning, which the old vehicles did not have. So yes, literally the worst place to have a fire. But due to the taller vehicles, someone can stand in them now! So escape is even easier! Hooray!

A series of delays pushed back the introduction of new vehicles from their 2018 projected date, with poor initial prototypes and the pandemic being major setbacks. Aggressive bidding led to extended deadlines, which had been narrowed down to a small list of candidates that included Workhorse (who unfortunately suffered a large stock plunge following the announcement). It’s been in the works for at least six years.

In the end, I don’t think we can discount all the advantages here – more efficient vehicles that are safer and provide drivers with modern amenities. That’s a LOT of good. I think once the initial goofy shock is over, the design will be accepted. Everyone thought Nintendo’s Wii was a hilarious name (still pretty much is regardless of being in the public book of acceptable nomenclature), and Cybertruck sales are brisk, so I think we can set a lot of this aside. The Edsel these are not.

So hey, new USPS vehicles in 2023, like an exceedingly late birthday present. All I want to see is a bunch of baby ducks following one of them around oh please let that happen. The USPS kind of has an identity crisis in the modern era, so maybe a funny little cute silly boxmobile is just the right way to get some attention.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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decluttering

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob, or an un-alphabetized bookshelf, or that we’ve put off ‘declutter’ on our to-do list for too long.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, taking time to declutter can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those 3 things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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