Archive for ‘Office Supplies’ Category

Posted on: June 8th, 2017 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

Remember the first time you ever saw someone rub a balloon on his head and then stick the balloon to the wall? You were perhaps four or five years old, and it probably seemed like magic. At some point you learned it was static electricity, but if you’re being honest, doesn’t it still seem like magic?

Well, Smead’s newest answer to solving paper clutter with vertical storage pretty much runs on balloon magic.


Last year, at the NAPO2016 conference in Atlanta, we got a sneak preview of the Justick by Smead collection, but this year in Pittsburgh, we got our official introduction to their new display boards. We viewed a desktop copyholder, the kind of item you’d usually use for displaying documents to give you easy access while typing at your computer. But look more closely at the Justick — and take a moment to appreciate the adorable tot on the left, the daughter of Smead’s Associate Marketing Manager Leiann Thompson. (Paper Doll is sending a shout-out to Leiann, soon to welcome tot #2 into the world!)

Can you tell that there’s nothing holding the photos to the copyholder? The photos and doodads adhere to the Justick as if by magic. Rather than needing push-pins, glue, magnets, tape, or that sticky roly-poly stuff used to hang posters, Smead has developed an advanced type of bulletin board that allows you to organize things vertically — using nothing but the power of static electricity!

OK, officially, it’s electro-adhesion surface technology.

Justick’s technology keeps in place whatever you put on the board: photos, memorabilia, reminder notices, business cards, phone lists, illustrations, training material, etc., and does so vertically. And no, you don’t have to rub anything on your head to get it to stick.

The electrical energy behind the Justick boards is powered by four AA batteries, or you can use an optional AC adapter if you’d rather keep it plugged in. Justick products have modern aluminum frames and frameless styles, and there are a variety of display solutions within three main categories:

  • Electro Bulletin Boards
  • Dry-Erase Boards with Clear Overlays
  • Commercial Communication Solutions

Justick Frameless Wall Strip Display

Start by hanging this simple, black, unobtrusive, 48″ W x 8″ H strip on your wall.

Next, grab anything you’d like to keep in front of your face, but off of your desk. Your toddler’s newest artwork? Up it goes. The business cards for the people you need to call this week? Display them in columns or rows. Birthday cards? Motivational photos of yoga positions? Whatever you’d like to see on your wall, without having to find studs, poke holes, or make anything sticky.

The Justick Frameless Wall Strip Display retails for $79.99 on Amazon, and Office Depot.

Justick Frameless Desktop Organizer/Copyholder

Ever since the days of the typing pool, there has been a need to stand papers vertically while doing your typing. Invariably someone gives you a printout or handwritten document when you’d prefer an email or link to Evernote, and it’s up to you to get the information into digital form. Arraying a document vertically makes it easier to move your eye from the paper to the screen and back again vs. having to keep looking down at your desk.

The neato-keen thing about the Justick version is that you can stick multiple items on at once — so you can keep multiple ad hoc (documents, contracts, to-do lists, etc.) items and more permanent ones (cheat sheets, department codes, etc.) on the same page. Paper Doll tested this out — things really do stick where you put them and, unlike balloon-style static electric power, they do not start sliding down to the floor or desk as time goes on.

The Frameless Desktop Organizer/Copyholder is black, measures 8″ W x 11″ H and is priced at $34.99 at Amazon,, and Office Depot.

Justick Frameless Mini Electro Bulletin Board

The “mini” bulletin board measures 16″ W x 24″ H, so it isn’t all that small except in comparison to its siblings, but it’s perfect for vertically displaying essential papers in homes and small offices.

The mini runs $69.99 at and Amazon.

Justick also has three versions of their framed full-sized electro bulletin boards. The boards for all have modern black styling, and both the standard and premium framed versions are three feet wide by two feet high, suitable for larger home offices and small businesses. The larger premium version, four feet wide by three feet high, is more suitable for larger businesses with ample display space.


As discussed above, Justick provides an innovative alternative to a fussy French board in your home or corkboard in your office. But what about when you want a dry-erase board? Do you have wall space enough for both? Happily, you don’t need it, as Justick has also developed a combination electro-board with a clear dry-erase overlay, to serve both purposes.

As with the electro boards above, just install four AA batteries into the board, and the Justick electro surface technology transforms the surface from “zero adhesion” (that is, like any old “dumb wall”) into a powerful force field able to attract photos, papers, business cards, calendars, and memorabilia.

Use either dry-erase or wet-erase markers on your board to “write, display, and interact” with three times the benefit of a traditional board. The durable plastic overlay provides a clear, brilliant surface that Smead says won’t ghost or stain, creating a dynamic whiteboard experience with the utility of a bulletin board. However, as they say on the infomercials…


Smead has also developed Justick overlay board templates. Categories include:

  • Education (for teaching addition, alphabet tracing, telling time, cursive writing, and more)
  • Sports and Coaching (for teaching basketball, football, and hockey plays)
  • Family Activities (daily calendar for activities)
  • Home Management (grocery shopping planners, architectural design planning)
  • Scheduling and Management (Gantt charts, goal tracking, sales reporting, weekly/monthly/yearly and project planners, and more)
  • Medical Industry (hospital and clinic sign in/out, operating room schedules, patient information data for hospital rooms, etc.)
  • Restaurant Management Industry (layouts for the day’s specials)

Got papers? Stick them up!

Got something you want to write or draw? Doodle it freehand or use a template! Get thee to it!

Whether you’re doing a presentation for your biggest client or teaching your child that “M” is for “Mommy” by moving a photo of yourself next to where you’re practicing the alphabet together, Justick has an option.

Justick Frameless Mini Dry-Erase Board with Clear Overlay

The Frameless Mini Dry-Erase Board comes in two versions, black or white, with a clear overlay. Both measure 16″ W x 24″ H and sell for $79.99 at Amazon and

Premium Aluminum Frame Dry-Erase Boards with Clear Overlays

If you want something on a grander scale, for your home, school, business, or medical office, Justick has four full-sized dry-erase options, all with the same electro surface adhesion technology and erasable properties, in either black or white in each of two sizes, measuring 36″ W x 24″ H or  48″ W x 36″ H.


In addition to home and office bulletin board and dry-erase solutions, Justick also has a line of commercial display products suitable for larger businesses, restaurants, hospitals, non-profits, and other locations.

3-Panel Table-Top Expo Display

Picture yourself at the fanciest, most grown-up version of a science fair and you have some sense of how this Justick 3-Panel Table-Top Expo display works. At 72″ W x 36″ H, it allows you to set up your displays for conferences, expos, and whatever corporate version of Show & Tell at which you need to make a big splash, without fear that breezes, un-sticky sticky tape or lost push-pins will cause trouble. It’s priced at $399.99 at (or $391.67 at Amazon) and can be carried securely in its own 36″ W x 27″ H nylon carrying bag ($99.99).

Lobby and Promotional Stands

Justick also makes a wide variety of lobby and promotional stands. They are all black with aluminum frames and have electro surface technology, but you can choose from standard or dry-erase versions for the lobby stands, and choose among single- and double-sided for the promotional stands, as well as a dry-erase version.

Certainly, some of the higher-end Justick products are more than one would need in a home or small office, and I’d like to see some technology for making the wall-affixed products even easier to display. (Hmm, how about a partnership between Smead’s Justick and 3M’s Command brand of hooks and adhesives?) I’d also love to see some colorful options for the smaller items for use in dorm rooms.

So, why are these Justick products so intriguing?

First, it’s the balloon magic. The ability to make your papers and photos adhere to a vertical surface without having to rummage through your desk for thumbtacks or tape is an organizational advantage.

Second, for the dry-erase versions, it’s advantageous to be able to mix (temporary) storage and dynamic writing.

Third, it’s VERTICAL. As this blog has referenced previously, vertical storage is fabulous when your area is small, when your workspace is awkwardly laid out, and when you want to avoid building up clutter.

Of course, vertical clutter isn’t completely impossible — I’m sure you’ve seen refrigerator doors with long-forgotten appointment card reminders, overdue notices, and invitations to events that have long-since past — all layered over one another until the door is almost double its original thickness. So, it’s still important to cull and purge your papers on an ongoing basis, whether they’re lying down or standing up.

Don’t you just love balloon magic?

Photo of Bella+Balloon, courtesy of Pat David is licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Posted on: May 30th, 2017 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

Paper Doll doesn’t like to play favorites, but it’s hard not to love a company whose heart and soul is helping you keep your paper organized, so we have more than a few post’s worth of post-NAPO2017 news from our friends at Smead. Today, we’re looking at their direct-to-consumer line,, designed to help you keep your personal and family documents safe, secure, accessible, and organized. But Smead’s NAPO Expo showing was bountiful, so watch upcoming posts for some nifty innovations.


In an emergency, could you find your will? Your Power of Attorney documents? Your life insurance policy? Approaches to general filing systems vary. Some people have very specific, well-labeled, color-coded filing systems that they maintain religiously. Others have one drawer for important documents and one hip-high “stack” earmarked for paid bills, and assuming no strong gust of wind (or a playful puppy or child) gets near, they’re satisfied. Most people, and especially most of my clients, fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

DIY vs. Made-For-You Filing Systems

Often, what holds people back from developing filing systems is perfectionist procrastination. Rather than creating a wrong system, they won’t get started at all. Others, fearful that their system isn’t good enough (measured against some arbitrary benchmark or guideposts), up-end their files and folders and binders, starting from scratch every few months or years, not because their system wasn’t working, but because they’d never committed to it in the first place, and the appeal of a magical solution was more compelling than the reality of having to make decisions and apply rules.

It’s not as though there aren’t multiple ways to contain papers and documents — we have tabbed file folders, hanging folders, ringed binders, accordion-style folders — and they are all fine, depending on your resources, your space, and your willingness to maintain your system. By and large, there is no wrong system — as long as the system works for you!

Longtime readers of this blog know that Paper Doll isn’t going to drink the Koolaid and tell you that you have to buy a pre-existing filing system with pre-made categories, like FreedomFiler. I have many colleagues who love, respect, and recommend that particular pre-made, “self-purging” filing system, with the categories all laid out, and even year/odd year purging and shredding schedules. I see the value, but unless one of my clients asks for something like that during our sessions, it’s my professional experience that people with disorganized (or non-existent) filing systems learn more when, together, we create their entire filing system from scratch. This way, clients learn the why behind the what and the how. I think naming each file something that works for you (Vet: Fluffy vs. Medical: Cat, or Elantra vs. Auto vs. Car vs. Roxanne) helps inspire you to actually file your documents away.

That said, most people don’t have the opportunity (or haven’t taken the opportunity) to work with a professional organizer to get their papers in order, so if people are in a situation where “they don’t know what they don’t know” and don’t have a sense of all the documents they should be creating, collecting, and organizing, a pre-ordained system template can eliminate confusion and stress. For my clients (and readers of this blog), my Family Files approach generally works well as a starting point for getting the whole kit and caboodle in order.

It’s one thing to try to finesse an entire system to pay your bills, and track your daughter’s orthodontia plan, and keep your life running, but sometimes, you want to make sure that your super-essential information is available in case of an emergency. Friend-of-the-blog John Hunt, Smead’s Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and host of the Keeping You Organized video podcast, has written previously about the emotional and financial pitfalls of not having essential records available when necessary.

Life Documents Organizer

A few years ago, Smead launched its own self-contained filing system called the Life Documents Organizer to help consumers organize and store what they call “key life documents” — what Paper Doll refers to as VIPs (very important papers). These include wills, trusts, health care directives, investment documents, retirement plans, marital and adoption paperwork, and contact information.

Each Life Documents Organizer kit centers around three elements:

  • The container — one black polypropylene file box
  • The interior essentials — 6 colored hanging folders, 24 SuperTab® file folders, and 1 sheet of Viewables® Quick-Fold tabs, and 3 label sheets with pre-printed labels
  • The philosophy — a detailed instruction sheet, based on The Wheel of Organization

Smead’s philosophy behind The Wheel of Organization, and how it’s put into use, is that the hanging folders represent each of six major, overarching “life-essential” categories, and each tabbed folder is used for a document or types of documents in those categories. The kit spells out what those documents are that you should be seeking to plop in there.

The Wheel of Organization includes categories for:

  • Financial — essential account information
  • Health — medical records and contacts
  • Ownership — essentials documents regarding real estate holdings, valuables, insurance, etc.
  • Personal — key VIP documents like birth and marriage certificates
  • Communication and Wishes — key directive documents and end-of-life instructions
  • Contact Information — names and contact information for key advisors

While Paper Doll‘s own Family File categories (financial, legal, medical, household, and personal) are designed to figure in every personal/family document that might be necessary, the Life Documents Organizer kit focuses on just the key documents, the ones that are most likely to be needed in a particular situation, like a healthcare emergency, catastrophic event, or other life-changing circumstance. Smead notes, “Having your key life documents organized helps to ensure that your wishes and assets are managed, retained and distributed as needed while being less stressful for you and your loved ones.”

The Life Documents Organizer Kit runs $39.95 on Amazon and in office supply stores. For more in-depth information, be sure to check out’s dedicated Life Documents Organizer page.

All-in-One™ Organizing Kits

Sometimes, you want or need your documents to be quickly accessible, portable, and/or self-contained, separate from your regular files. Certainly, you could use a traditional red rope accordion folder, the type attorneys have been using for generations. However, they’re a bit drab and hard to tell one from the other without using a label maker to help identify the contents. This is where the new line of kits comes in.



All-in-One™ Emergency Kit

This snappy red-and-white (First Aid-themed) durable poly organizer has 12 interior pockets and includes Viewables® labels. The kit has a plastic handle for portability and a latch closure for security.

All-in-One™ Healthcare & Wellness Organizer

For healthcare, there are two versions of the kit:

The boxier durable poly organizer is identical in design to the Emergency Organizer Kit, but with a soothing blue and white theme, and has a plastic handle and latch closure, 12 interior accordion-style pockets, and Viewables® labels.

For those who prefer paper to poly, there’s a durable paper Healthcare & Wellness accordion version, with an over-the-top paper flap and elastic band closure. There are 12 expandable pockets with one large pocket in back, and it also includes Viewables® labels.

All-in-One™ Financial Planning Organizer

All-in-One™ Income Tax Organizer

Both the green and white Financial Planning Organizer and the navy blue and white Income Tax Organizer come in the durable paper version, with an over-the-top flap and elastic band closure, 12 expandable pockets with one large pocket in back, and Viewables® labels.

The Financial and Income Tax organizers, as well as the paper Healthcare & Wellness Organizer, contain 10% recycled content and 10% post-consumer material.

The All-in-ONe™ Income Tax Organizer is currently available at Amazon and office supply stores, and runs about $18. The remainder of the All-in-One™ Organizer Kits are branded COMING SOON, so pricing information is not yet available.

Create a DIY Kit With the Smead Poly File Box

Sometimes, you have a clear idea of what you want to create, but you don’t want to have to go in search of putting all the pieces together. I wasn’t surprised to find that has an option for that, too. You could start with the Smead Poly File Box (suitable for desktop or in-drawer use) and add your own hanging folders and tabbed interior folders, in whatever color schemes you prefer, using whatever labels fit your needs.

It’s a sturdy poly file box and holds up to 3″ of files, directories, or similar materials, and can be used with hanging files and interior folders, or just folders, depending on your needs and preferences. The Smead Poly File Box is harder to find in brick-and-mortar stores than online, and runs from $8.95-$10.55.

Conversely, you could opt for the Poly File Box with SuperTab® Folder and Viewables® Labels Kit.

The kit comes with one black poly file box, 12 colored one-third cut SuperTab® file folders (three each of yellow, red, green, and blue) and 16 Viewables® labels. The SuperTab® folders have a 90% larger labeling area than standard folders, so you can use larger text or more lines of description. The file box is lidless, so you’ll want to make sure that if you need it to be portable, you’re holding it securely and upright. The Poly File Box with SuperTab® Folder kit runs upwards from $11.95.

And that’s the straight talk on Smead’s organizer kits. No caboodle!

Posted on: May 26th, 2017 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

Every year at the NAPO conference, we look forward to seeing new products and hearing about upgrades to ones we’ve seen before. This was definitely the case with Paper Doll‘s visit to the Samsill booth at NAPO 2017, and it was a delight to know that Samsill paid attention to customer and professional organizer feedback for making their products even better.

In last year’s Paper Doll‘s NAPO2016 Recap: Samsill’s Duo & Trio & Pop…Oh, My!, we took the time to get to know Samsill, previously famous mainly for its binders, and got to explore its new offerings, particularly the Pop N’ Store line of attractive storage boxes, flat-packed but ready to POP up into functional form in five seconds.

The Pop N’ Store boxes introduced last year are made of heavy-duty chipboard and are covered with Lotus Seed™ textured paper. The corners of the original Pop N’ Stores are metal-reinforced for added durability and charming aesthetics, while the box bottoms are covered in a scratch-resistant fabric designed to protect delicate surfaces, like fancy-schmancy tabletops and shelves. The boxes are made of 100% recycled material and 70% post-consumer material.

Samsill really understands the advantage of flat-packed, collapsible, stackable storage. College kids need an easy way to move into and out of their dorm rooms and apartments; office-dwellers enjoy the ability to mix-and-match supplies as needed without having excess empty boxes on display; and professional organizers love being able to bring solutions to clients without giving up breathing room in our vehicles.

Originally, the lidded, decorative storage boxes came in six colors (black, navy, red, brown, grey and white) and five sizes with the following (internal) dimensions:

But it was this year’s newcomer to the Pop N’ Store collection that really caught my eye. First, however, some personal background. Longtime readers of the blog know that the inspiration for all things organizational is Paper Mommy of Paper Mommy Knows Best fame. Unfortunately, last December, Paper Mommy was viciously attacked by a rogue comforter while stripping her bed and had a bad fall, directly into a wall, fracturing her C2 vertebra and her wrist.

Note, even with a severely fractured wrist, Paper Mommy maintained perfectly manicured fingernails. However, it must be noted, in the final score, it was Wall: 1, Paper Mommy: 0.

It’s a testament to how loveable she is that I flew to Paper Mommy HQ in Buffalo in mid-January to help her tackle all of her financial and medical paperwork. Normally, Paper Mommy‘s files are kept in her kitchen office drawer, but accessing them while one-handed and wearing a neck brace was proving to be problematic. However affable she is in general (and that’s a lot), as a client, she was a bit persnickety, and rejected all suggestions for potential desktop file boxes. However, I believe that if we’d known about Samsill’s newest line extension, she’s have acquiesced happily!

The organizing community told Samsill, “Hey, we love the Pop N’ Store boxes, but why don’t you have a filing box? Something flat-packed and pop-up-able, but with a hanging file rail?” So Samsill made one. And, “Oh, could it have a lid, too?” And Samsill said, “Make it so!”

Along with the file box, there’s also a new cube-style box for fitting perfectly with those Ikea-esque cube shelves, and a new smaller box for corralling small doodads.

These new boxes have been designed with the same heavy-duty chipboard and Lotus Seed™ textured paper, so they’re as sturdy and elegant as the original Pop N’ Stores. For next year, I hope Samsill continues to upgrade this series by adding bright, cheery colors. (Black, navy, red, brown, grey and white are fine for oh-so-serious workplaces, but for the rest of us, let’s hope Samsill brings their usual penchant for brightness to this line, too!)

The products are so new, the measurements and pricing have not yet been announced. Follow Samsill’s accounts on Facebook and Twitter to be updated when they become available.

Above, I caught Samsill’s Digital Marketing Associate, Christine Hampel, chatting with New York City professional organizer Leslie Josel. In addition to being Paper Doll‘s fellow Cornell University alum (Go Big Red!), author/organizer/inventor Josel is a stellar student organizer, head honcho of Order Out of Chaos, and the mastermind behind the award-winning Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management® (deserving of a blog post in its own right).

The Samsill DUO 2-in-1 Organizer combines a seven-pocket expanding accordion file with a 1″ three-ring binder. The file portion holds up to 225 sheets of paper, and the accordion-style expanding section includes blank write-on index tabs so you can customize your labels. The DUO weighs 14.6 ounces and measures 9.8″ x 1.5″ x 11.8″.

I’ve previously described the DUO as a grown-up Trapper Keeper, perfect for storing tax prep documents or financial information (budget, bills, coupons, and shopping lists), family medical files (with categories for tests, prescriptions, and dietary rules), or household plans (with sections for decorating, monthly upkeep, garden plans, etc).

The durable and water-resistant DUO is made of PVC-free, acid-free, archival-safe, environmentally flexible polypropylene and comes in hot pink, turquoise, green, burgundy, orchid, black, light blue, and coral.

The DUO (seen below, right, in hot pink and green) was originally designed with dual elastic clasp and cord closure to provide access to each portion (pockets or binder) individually while maintaining a secure closure to either or both sections.

Leslie Josel’s work with students led her to provide feedback to Samsill regarding how to improve the already-nifty DUO and TRIO portfolios we’ve previously covered. For example, note the original DUO on pink on the left, with the dual elastic. Leslie found that her students were having trouble manipulating the two elastic bands and keeping the DUO open, so Samsill is modifying the design to include a Velcro closure and other rumored advances.

The TRIO, Samsill’s 3-in-1 Organizer, which also got so much attention last year (seen in black and turquoise, above, left), has all the same features as the Duo.

However, the TRIO also has retractable hangers, turning the entire TRIO into a combination hanging file, binder, and interior folder set. Store it in a file cabinet, filing drawer in your desk or desktop file box. Thanks to the hangers, even though the Trio is poly, you never need to worry it’ll slide to the bottom of the drawer.

The word is that there are also design modifications on the horizon for Samsill’s TRIO, but shhhhhhh. Spoilers, Sweetie.

Watch Samsill’s blog for updates, such as the post for their new Padfolios, and find Samsill products on Amazon.

Posted on: May 19th, 2017 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

The concept of time management (as opposed to its practice) is simple: identify your priorities, spell out the tasks to complete, and focus on them for a period of time. When appropriate, transition to other tasks. Done!

But what if “time” is a fuzzy concept for you? Well, you wouldn’t be the first. Not long after returning from NAPO 2017, I took one of Tara McGillicuddy’s superb webinars, ADHD and Punctuality: Even You Can Learn to Be On Time with ADHD Coach Lynne Edris. Although I have an innate sense of the passage of time, possibly from my prior career working in television (where time is, literally, money), the issue of conceptualizing time in order to work productively with it is something that plagues many who seek help with organizing and productivity.

During the webinar, Edris talked about how some of the contributing characteristics of ADHD, including distractibility, impulsiveness, and hyper focus, impact time blindness, as defined by Dr. Russell Barkley.


When you have a strong sense of time, you are aware of what time it is now, how much time you have left (to perform a task, or before you have to change gears and transition to a new task or location), and generally how quickly time appears to be passing. When your sense of time is wonky, your productivity can feel cursed.

I once had a client, a successful engineer, who overestimated how much time some tasks would take (causing him to procrastinate and avoid the labor) and underestimate how long others usually lasted (leading to double-booking as meetings ran long). As a test, I once encouraged him to work for fifteen minutes on a task he’d been avoiding, while I observed him. After eight minutes, he looked up, exasperated, certain that I had lost track of time and that far more than fifteen minutes had elapsed. Nope. Again at twelve minutes, he was sure either I or my timer was off. In terms of engineering, this client was a genius, but he had the conceptual sense of time of a pre-schooler. And he’s not alone.

Of course, none of these factors are unique to those with ADHD. I think we have all experienced time dilation such that ten minutes in the final act of our favorite television show can speed along (darn you, Shonda Rhimes!) while ten minutes while waiting in the “little room” at the doctor’s office, relentlessly bored and denied the ability to people-watch, drags by.

Learning how time works — mapping the representational to the reality — can also be problematic. For example, we know that digital time is harder for children to comprehend than analog time — and this can be the case for some adults, too. Take this anecdote about the author Douglas Adams:

In the early days of personal computers, he said, people got very excited that their spreadsheet programs could finally create pie charts. This was considered a revolutionary advance, because as everyone knows, a pie chart visually represents a part-whole relationship in a way that is immediately obvious—a way that, to be more specific, mere columns of numbers did not. Well, the hands of an analog timepiece form wedges that look very much like a pie chart, and like a pie chart, they represent a sort of part-whole relationship in a way that requires a bare minimum of mental effort to comprehend. Not so digital timepieces, which for all their precision say nothing about the relationship of one time of day to another.

It’s just harder to conceptualize — visualize — the passing of time with digital clocks. They’re merely numbers separated by colons. But the analog clock provides a clear visual distinction between moments — and this is the central advantage of one of the most popular time management tools the organizing and productivity industry has ever seen: Time Timer®.

The original Time Timers were plastic, battery-operated, analog countdown clocks. Rather than a minute hand and second hand, Time Timers had red, circular cellophane-like discs that diminished in size (from a maximum of 360° coverage for an hour) until the time was up, and then the red portion disappeared (hiding behind the clock display) and a buzzer went off. Kids (and adults) using the Time Timer were able to get a sense of the “feel” of how time passed.

Paper Doll has covered Time Timer many times, most recently in our detailed coverage of NAPO 2016’s Organizers’ Choice Award Winners. But our friends at Time Timer know that time marches on, and so do they. Let’s look at some new developments on the time front!


Historically, all of the Time Timers (the Plus with the quick-grab handle, the 3″, 8″, and 12″ handle-free versions, and the adorable and brightly colored little Mods) have all had one thing in common: they measured durations of up to 60 minutes. For children, and for anyone who has a general difficulty with visualizing time flowing, this makes sense — the Time Timer emulates how time elapses on a clock face.

The two new versions of the Time Timer look like the traditional (white) Plus with the quick-grab handle, but have two new distinctive features. First, the new versions come in two different durations: 20 minutes and 120 minutes. Second, for the first time, instead of red, the time-elapsed disc is in new colors, robin’s egg blue for the 20-minute timer and purple for the two-hour version.

The 20-minute Time Timer is designed to offer a greater visual impact for shorter tasks like homework blocks and practicing musical instruments, as well as keeping on-task for workplace meeting agenda items. Because it doesn’t emulate the hour-long clock face, it’s definitely better suited for those who understand how time flows, but merely need visual reminders of its passage. I think it’s an attractive addition to the line, but feel Time Timer missed a chance to capitalize on the productivity industry’s love for the Pomodoro Technique and should have created a 25-minute timer.

I can see the 120-minute version of the Time Timer working well for high school and college students taking timed practice tests and for keeping both adults and kids on-task for larger projects.

Both of the new versions run $38.95, use one AA battery, and have a volume control for the “done” tone. Both will be available as of June 2017.


You know you’re at a conference for professional organizers when you hear people squeal in delight from across the room — over a new timer shape! The hubbub of the expo this year was definitely, “Have you seen the Twist?” Chubby Checker would have been impressed!

The first thing you notice is that this new Time Timer is round! As all other versions of the Time Timers could stand on their own, you might wonder how to ensure that you can see the face. Magnets, baby! The external ring is in the classic Time Timer red, while the ring around the face is white, with a grey central section for the time display.

Set this unique timer for up to 90-minute durations by turning the outer ring. Verify the timer digitally, but watch it count down in an analog format — silently, of course, like all other Time Timers. Then stick it on your fridge or filing cabinet for an elegant way to visualize the passage of time.


Fans of Time Timers were delighted a few years ago when the iPhone and Android apps were launched, and the multi-color Time Timer iPad app wasn’t far behind. With all three, you can customize your countdown timers, save and name them for re-use, change colors, create alert options, and more. What was missing was a desktop app — until now.


The Time Timer Desktop App comes in eight languages: English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. It’s compatible with Mac and Windows, and sells for $19.95.


In addition to a wide variety of timers, apps, and watches loved by most organizers, there’s a special place in Paper Doll‘s heart for one particular Time Time accessory: the Time Timer Dry Erase Board.

This small, desktop-suitable, dry-erase board has a cut-out space perfect for my favorite Time Timer, the Mod (with the Berry cover). Heather Rogers, Time Timer’s VP of Marketing and Operations, illustrates the advantages of the board, which runs $18.95, below.


(Now they just need a magnetic Twist/dry-erase combo!)


Even people who are adept at managing time, in general, can be led astray due to excitement or adrenaline. At my NAPO-Georgia meetings, a modern Time Timer is on display to ensure that speakers maintain focus and keep to the schedule. At a recent committee meeting, we used a classic Time Timer to ensure nobody had to be the bad guy and cut off overenthusiastic participants. Time Timer’s website notes a variety of uses of their products in different realms, including:

At Work

  • Maximize efficiency with LEAN manufacturing principles—time is money!
  • Keep meetings on track at a glance, giving everyone equal time to participate.
  • Creatives: generate ideas more quickly through timed brainstorming.
  • Healthcare: keep schedules moving and effectively manage time spent with patients and clients.
  • Sales: deliver succinct, impressive presentations without the “mental math” of how much time remains.

At School

  • Teach the concept of time and learn to visualize time as a measurement: What does “5 minutes” really mean?
  • Manage transitions in (and out of) the classroom.
  • Transition “ownership,” allowing educators to be children’s ally, not the “enforcer” of the classroom schedule.
  • Keep students calm, focused, and aware of time during practice and while conducting timed standardized tests to satisfy state standards.

At Home

  • Ease and manage daily routines: morning, dinner, cleanup, bath & bedtime.
  • Monitor turns and time for homework, computer use, instrument practice and play time.
  • Manage time-outs: help children calm down and watch frustration fade as the red disk vanishes.
  • Encourage punctuality: when the red disk disappears, we’ll go!
  • Organize: keep track of valuable time and break large, overwhelming projects into small, manageable 10-minute activities.

Do you use a Time Timer? Is there a version you’d like them to make? Share in the comments.

Posted on: January 9th, 2017 by Julie Bestry | No Comments

We’re a week into the new year, and while some of you have your calendars or planners fully updated with all of your recurring appointments and items scheduled long ago, others of you have been trying to make do with that 13th month in your calendar while you decide what to do next. And perhaps, part of that search is how to make your days a little more colorful?

Paper Doll doesn’t doodle. I’m not visually artistic. I didn’t like coloring when I was little, and honestly, trying to figure out whether two colors go together, or making sure I’m coloring inside the lines, is stress-producing for me. But from the coloring tables at NAPO2016 to Smead’s SuperTab® Coloring Folders, I see many of you have embraced coloring, and you’ve got some support from research in the mental health and neurological communities:

Why Coloring Relieves Stress (And Is A Perfect Activity for Introverts)

10 Therapeutic Benefits of Coloring Books for Adults

Drawing, Art Therapy, And Stress Relief: What Research Says About Drawing Pictures for Stress Relief

The Science Behind Adult Coloring Books Explains Why They’re So Therapeutic

Given all of this, it stands to reason that it’s the coloring, not the book, per se, that is the key to stress relief, so it’s interesting to see how coloring being incorporated into other activities, such as the aforementioned Smead Coloring Folders, can improve the organizing experience.

Tasks, schedules, and appointments often make people stressed, so it’s no surprise that some enterprising calendar and planner designers would find a way to blend the precision of scheduling with the freedom and stress-reliving properties of adult coloring books. Today, we’re going to look at a few that might tickle your coloring fancy while helping you organize your days.

Franklin Covey Living Color Planner


These ring-bound, two-page-a-day Franklin Covey pages come in Compact (4.25″ W x 6.75″ H x 0.5″ D) or Classic (5.50″ W x 8.50″ H x 0.5″ D), on 70# paper, with the monthly tabs included. They are available at Amazon in Classic and Compact for about $48 (for you Amazon Prime people) and directly from Franklin-Covey for about $44.

fc-livingcolorcoverfclivingcolordesignsOf course, If you’ve already bought your ringed Franklin Planner for the year, don’t fret. Franklin-Covey has the coloring-loving early birds covered.

Franklin-Covey Coloring Page Packs

The coloring page packs, available directly from Franklin-Covey, come in two ring-bound sizes, Compact ($8) and Classic ($9), with a wide variety of black-and-white designs on the 32-sheet packs. The pages are printed on the same heavier, 70# paper as the Living Color Planner, but note that designs appear on only one side, while the reverse pages are blank.

At-A-Glance FloraDoodle Premium Weekly/Monthly Planner

Mead’s At-A-Glance line includes a variety of delightful FloraDoodle-themed items, including pocket planners, wall and desk planners, and monthly/weekly planner in multiple sizes.



The wire-bound FloraDoodle planner has a flexible, pink, reusable (and removable) canvas cover with a zipper pocket for storage, and features a black and white design with a hand-drawn look. The individual page designs “feature white flowers on a black backdrop with a scribble look where flowers, petals, and squiggles lay overtop one another for a one of a kind pattern.”

Every page of the FloraDoodle planner displays black borders with a white flower pattern across the top for coloring. The two-page monthly pages are tabbed for easy navigation and include unruled daily blocks, as well as doodle space and past/future month reference calendars to manage upcoming events. The two-page per week weekly spreads provide an equal amount of ruled planning space for each day (Monday – Sunday) for recording daily tasks. Each weekly section begins with a blank space for doodling and drawing.

The FloraDoodle Weekly/Monthly Planner’s special pages include a holiday list, a three-year reference calendar, an overall event calendar, contact pages, note pages and planning pages for the following year.

Items from the FloraDoodle line are available directly from At-A-Glance, and at Staples, Shoplet, and other stationery vendors and at (but not in stores), and range from $7-29.

Color Drawing Schedule Academic Planners


This academic planner is a little more loosey-goosey than the professional planners above, with un-dated pages so the user can begin at any point in time. Each coloring planner measures 5.1″ X 7.4″ and consist of monthly and weekly pages, accounting pages, a blank notes section and a checklist section for recording tasks.


Each planner comes with a protective PVC cover to preserve durability, and two different coloring covers. (Note: While there are four different coloring cover versions, random coloring covers are shipped, so it is not possible to accurately predict and purchase a complete set.) Each planner runs under $10 at Amazon.

A related product in the same family is the Color Therapy Planner, sold at Cool Pencil Case for $12.50. The product description is almost identical except that specific “soothing colors” may be ordered: soft mint green, powder blue, rose pink, and mellow yellow.

For those looking for less of a robust planner set and more of a straightforward calendar or desk pad, you might like:

Fantastic Cities 2017 Wall Calendar by Steve McDonald ($7.50)

Blueline Botanica 2017 Mini Desk Pad Calendar ($6-$16)bluelinebotanica

Joanna Basford Coloring Desk Calendar ($17)

johannabasfordcoloringdeskcalendarFor fans of Johanna Basford, a superstar in the adult coloring realm, this 2017 calendar includes drawings from her Sea Garden, Enchanted Forest, and Lost Ocean coloring books, and comes with a keepsake box for storage. (Paper Doll‘s editorial note: Saved coloring pages easily become clutter, so do consider setting the box of colored pages free after the end of the year.)

For more coloring calendars, check out Cleverpedia’s blog post, The Best Adult Coloring Calendars for 2017 for a gorgeous array of colorful planning options.

For more on how to pick the right calendar or planner for your needs, you might like to review Pick Your Planner 2015: Paper Doll Rounds Up the (Un)Usual Suspects.

Whatever calendars you use, whether paper or digital, Paper Doll believes that commitment to your system is the key to success. If coloring your appointment pages helps you keep your commitment, then, by all means, make your days colorful!