Fun Ways to Look at Organizing Projects

An organizing project can be fun if you look at the task with these strategies in mind:

1. Think of your project as a Treasure Hunt – which is much more fun than saying “I am going to go through my clutter!” I have never worked with a client who during the day didn’t exclaim, “I am so
glad I found this…!”

2. Make a detailed list of the different Areas to Tackle. Check off each area and feel the sense
of accomplishment!

3. Any boxes or bags that leave your space are called Trophies! Some businesses and families that I work with have a contest to see who has the most and even take pictures of the group in front of their Trophies. Count yours and be proud. You may want to take before/after pictures.

4. Jump-Start the project by getting out supplies and making your list the night before. Remember that a job begun is a job half-done.

5. Get out your WOW! sheet and put it in the area you have completed. Look at your accomplishments – not what you still have to do. This will motivate you to keep going.

6. From my experience of teaching classes and presenting seminars, I hear people getting
discouraged because they have tried to tackle too big of a project. Remember the turtle – slow
and steady wins the Organizing and Productivity Award. Think small!

Conquering Mind Clutter

We often think of organization in the context of things and possessions, but often it is our Mind Clutter that prevents us from achieving our potential.

Tips for Conquering Mind Clutter:

1. Do a Mind Clearing of all the items on your “To Do List” by writing them down on a piece of paper
2. Next ask yourself how important each is on scale of 1 -10
3. Give yourself permission to delegate or eliminate as many items from your list as possible
4. The items that remain on the list then go on the “Must-Do List” and should be written on your calendar.

Time management will aid in working efficiently to complete your new “Must-Do List.” Block 15-minute uninterrupted segments to focus on a project, and only ask of yourself to complete a task one-step at a time.

Creating Uninterrupted Focus Time Pays Off

Getting individuals to set aside uninterrupted Focus Time is like pulling teeth, but when they do set the time aside, they find the greatest relief.

Are you tired of staying late to accomplish your work or coming in early on Saturday because you are behind?

I know your days are full and you don’t have a minute to spare, but are you open to trying something different?

Do you work best focused for long periods on one project or do you prefer variety in your day?

It was eye-opening for one coaching client to realize that she worked best when focused on one project, not moving from one thing to another. It made a tremendous difference in her time management and productivity.

Another client worked best and stayed motivated by switching tasks but still worked best in blocks of time.

Creating Focus Time is a way to get projects done, finished, eliminated! To do this, you need solid blocks of time. I’m not talking about being unavailable to clients, coworkers or family for hours, but can you schedule a single uninterrupted hour to focus on a project?

It has been said that if we create Focus Time, without distractions from our phone or e-mail alert, we can get four times the amount of work done than if we allow interruptions. This may mean putting a sign on our door that says, “Working on a project. I will be available at 11:00.”

Put this topic on the agenda for your next office meeting. Discuss how each person can get Focus Time. Could two individuals swap time to cover each other’s phone calls? Maybe it would be a good idea to close your door and put a note on it. Remind everyone to respect each other’s Focus Time. Unless smoke is coming out of the air vent, don’t interrupt each other. It takes 20 minutes to wrap our mind around detailed projects and an interruption puts a person back at square one.

Here are some guidelines to help you can get more Focus Time:

– Select a time each day in which to focus, realizing that some days this may need to be flexible.
– Who do you need to communicate with about this time?
– How will you remind others not to interrupt? (examples: by e-mail, a sign on your door, or verbally at staff meetings)
– What will you need to turn to turn off phone or e-mail alert? Do you need to redirect your phone calls?

Think about this: You can get done in 10 minutes of Focus Time what might take you 40 minutes with interruptions. An hour of focus on a task or project allows you to maximize your productivity, move forward and complete projects. This will have a tremendous impact on eliminating Mind Clutter and shortening your work day.

ADHD and the Workplace

Individuals that have ADHD can often find that their mindset is advantageous in some aspects, and detrimental in others. However, having this disorder does not limit a person from becoming immensely successful. On the contrary, many of the most successful persons throughout history had ADHD, from Einstein to John F. Kennedy to Bill Gates.

Though it may be harder to stay on task, ADHD people tend to be extremely creative and can be of benefit in problem solving by thinking outside of the routine box. Since they are intuitive and quick, they often will be most successful in jobs such as emergency response work. Since they are creative, many find jobs in computer programming and website development. And the ever-evolving sales field would also be suitable.

Those who have ADHD often encounter misconceptions about their disorder. ADHD was once considered to be a childhood disorder that could be outgrown as a sufferer transferred into adulthood. As it was further studied and that myth was debunked, the notion of how to manage ADHD in the workplace emerged.

Quick ADHD Facts
Roughly 15 million in the U.S. suffer from ADHD.

60 to 70 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD experience it well into adulthood.

Since diagnosing ADHD is relatively new, those in their 50’s are now finding out that it can be attributed to their
school-day’s hardships.

If ADHD is one of your challenges, call me to discuss how phone coaching or on-site support can help you to move forward with less stress.

Do You Hate Filing?

Honestly, I hate filing just like you do.

Last week I realized my personal stack of insurance papers, receipts, etc…. needed filing. So I had to practice what I preach: I wrote it on my calendar to do Saturday morning. If I hadn’t made that commitment, I would have kept letting the stack get bigger.

Next I figured out a way to eliminate the boredom and the pain of doing it. I timed the filing so I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs. In fact, to finish listening to the program, I even cleaned out the drawer of a desk I was letting my daughter use.

What do you do to take the pain out of filing?

Organizing Tip 1. Write filing project on your calendar.
Organizng Tip 2. Plan something you would enjoy listening to while doing your filing
Organizing Tip 3. Reward yourself with a walk, dark chocolate kiss or something enjoyable.

Snow Day – No Car Day!

What did you do on your snow day? If you don’t live in East Tennessee you may be saying, “What snow day?”  We can wake up to several inches of snow. Really, it is nice being home, feeling good and not having a choice to leave.  It is also a great opportunity for a Snow Day Organizing project!

One of my clients with young children says she tries to plan “No Car Days.” That would probably do a lot to reduce our stress as adults if we did that regularly. This area of the country isn’t equipped like the North to clean the roads quickly, and with our hills, mountains and curvy roads, it is smarter to stay home.

On one snow day, I slept in, fixed pancakes for breakfast and then conquered a project on my list – dug through, cleaned out and organized (putting like items together) several drawers of tablecloths and stuff like that.

I did drag my daughter in to show her which ones were family pieces, so in case I croak someone would know where the older ones came from. Maybe I should practice what I preach and label them with their history.

Don’t ask me why they were in these drawers, but at the bottom were several board games, such as Mother Goose. They will stay out because shortly my 3-year old granddaughter will be ready to play them. That is fun to think about!

In the afternoon, I read a book and relaxed. Tomorrow I plan to try a recipe I dug out that I used to make as a teenager, Spanish Cream. Now, if you have looked at my picture on the website, you will realize that that wasn’t yesterday. I wonder if I will even like it, but it will be interesting to see.

I also took a walk in the woods and enjoyed the beautiful snow.

So what do you do on your day at home?

What To Pull Out of Your Files for the New Year

Having a filing system is essential for keeping paperwork under control and holding down the paper piles.

Sometimes, even organizers break their own rules. I had actually gotten behind on filing at home. Recently, I bit the bullet and did all of my neglected home filing for the past 3 months. And the reason this is a “no-no” is because doing it all at once is a terrible job; even listening to Car Talk on the radio wouldn’t take the pain away.

As we start 2018, vow to no longer procrastinate this year and to stay organized. Why not get a head start? Now is a good time to organize, re-prioritize, and purge your files. When doing so, go ahead and pull out:
1. Everything for your 2017 taxes
2. Anything that is considered a “business expense”
3. Any material that you want to focus on in your business in 2018.

In doing so, you will already have a jump-start on the new year. I even recommend doing this frequently to avoid my home-filing situation.

Organizing Golden Rules

Follow these Organizing Golden Rules to guide any organizing project.

Consistency – When you form a good organizing habit, stick with it. Example: Always put your bills in the same place.

Like Items Together – Group information by subject. Name the file by asking yourself what you will be thinking when you need it.

Prime Items in Prime Space – Use it every day–keep it at arm’s reach. Use it once a week or less–you can get up and go get it.

What Will Make Me Need This? – This is a much more decisive question than “Will I ever need this?” Use it for papers in your office or home.

Simple is Smart – Ask yourself: “How and when will I need this in the future?” How it will be used will then tell you how to organize it.

Don’t Forget to WOW Yourself! – Patting yourself on the back will energize you to organize other areas. WOW yourself and keep moving forward!

Reclaiming Your Office

I bet you are wondering if a Professional Organizer ever needs to reclaim her own office. Yes!

Here’s how it went. Even professionals need to work at being Clutter-free & Organized.

I had been working pretty nonstop with clients – in their homes and offices. Plus, I had been
traveling with my business. Also, after every speech there is a certain amount to undo and put
away. Unfortunately, I came home and didn’t follow my own advice to allow for an office reentry day.

So what did I do? Well, if you have read any of my writings, you know I suggest an easy win. So my easy win was to empty all the trash containers. Immediate improvement! Then I practiced what I teach: I started in a corner of my office. That meant taking apart all the material from my Florida speech and getting my speaking case ready for my next presentation. One corner now looked much better.

Next I tackled my desk, which still was covered with material from a coaching session for some certification I am working on. I had left it a mess the night before, after finishing a 9:30 p.m. phone call from a coaching client on the West Coast. I must admit, when I walked out the door of my office that night, “I didn’t care.”

In organizing it is not “now or never”, it is now or later, and my later had come. Per my own advice, I celebrated when I started to see clear space. Then I went for lunch, came back and did some 3-5 minute tasks to get them off my desk. Next, on to organizing my standing desk. I had momentum! I could do it!

Organizing Tip 1. Start with some “easy wins”.
Organizing Tip 2. Start in a corner and work around the room.
Organizing Tip 3. Celebrate your successes. They’ll motivate you to keep going.

Finding Time To Do It All – Make a Plan

“Bad news – time flies
Good news – you are the pilot!”
– Michael Altschuh

How true this little short poem is! A plan can make you a better “time pilot”.

Make a plan to save time and get more done! Try standing up to make your plan. You will be more focused and work faster.

Take control of your schedule by listing what you have to do and then put beside each item an estimated time frame. When I do that, it brings me into reality of what is really do-able for that day. When I see I have 8 hours of items to do and only 5 hours of time, it makes me decide what is really important. I use this system in my office and for my personal projects on the weekends.

For bigger projects you may want a Project Action Plan. Go to www.clutterfree.biz/clutterfree-services/business/  to print one.

1. Stand and list the items to do.
2. Put a time estimate for each item.
3. Reality time – look at the time available and then match it with what is most important to accomplish.

You can also click here to print a Project Action Plan.