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Organization Tuesday: What should this "baby" be when it grows up?Views: 856
Jun 24, 2008 7:29 pmOrganization Tuesday: What should this "baby" be when it grows up?#

Julie Bestry
As I mentioned last week, the key to organizing is not to put things down, but to put them away.  That means that "away" is a home for what you want and need, the things that are age-appropriate, size-appropriate, lifestyle-appropriate, and for the purposes of this Ryze network, content-appropriate.  Those of us offering expert posts want to talk about the things that interest you, the network members, and let go of topics that fail to meet your needs.  None of us, expert posters or readers, need more busywork in our lives.  :-)

Back on February 19th and 26th, we talked about tips for organizing our thoughts to prevent and conquer writer's block.  In trying to figure out what to write this week, I thought it might be helpful to review what we've already talked about.  In the nine months I've been posting The Business Consortium's Organizing Tuesday messages – and yes, sometimes it's felt like trying to birth a baby -- we've covered the following topics:

Organizing Your Stuff

Organizing Your Time

Organizing Your Thoughts and Concepts

Wow--it's been a busy nine months!  No wonder it's sometimes felt like gestating a tiny person.  I'm still following my own advice from February for inspiration for these Organization Tuesday posts:

1.    Create an idea file.
2.    Use your computer to capture thoughts.
3.    Harness the power of the web and social bookmarking sites.
4.    Subscribe judiciously to networking groups.
5.    Use tape flags to mark likely resources.
6.    Schedule creative time on a regular basis.   
7.    Schedule time with an accountability buddy.

But the truth is, I need your help.  Your questions.  Your input.  Please share with me what your organizing concerns and obstacles are, and please be as specific as possible.  I can do a lot more to help when you say "I'm always forgetting to do little tasks because I can't find the scrap of paper where I wrote them down" or "I'm having trouble coming up with a filing system so I remember where I filed something" than "I need help getting organized".  I use my own clients as inspiration, but many of you operate businesses of very different types from the folks I usually see, so I may not be hitting your concerns.  What organizing issues are slowing you down?

Please, let me know what organizing subjects (for tangible items, time management or organizing thoughts) you'd like me tackle.  If you don't want to post in public, please feel free to email me, in confidence, at organize@juliebestry.com and I promised not to divulge your identity.

Julie Bestry, Certified Professional Organizer®
Best Results Organizing
"Don't apologize. Organize!"
Visit http://www.juliebestry.com to save time and money, reduce stress and increase your productivity

Private Reply to Julie Bestry

Jun 24, 2008 10:24 pmre: Organization Tuesday: What should this "baby" be when it grows up?#

Susan McCool

I have a topic that I run into all the time with my clients.

Organizing their computer files!

They just simply don't understand the "tree system" of computer files...where every file can contain files.

My computer is highly organized so that I can always quickly find any file that I need. But, then I talk to clients and they are searching....searching....searching...."Susan, can you please send me that file again, I can't seem to find it."

I wonder how many other people have this same problem. I would assume many, since it is several of my clients that have had this issue.

Another computer organization area is their Email Client. Most people are just unaware that they can organize their email client into folders and move everything from their inbox straight into a topic specific folder within the inbox.

So...if you are well versed in all things computer organization...these would make very great topics. Especially for us virtual (and mostly paper-less) businesses :)


Susan McCool
Spotlight Marketing & Design
...Guiding balanced business owners to enjoy the spotlight of success!

Private Reply to Susan McCool

Jun 24, 2008 10:39 pmre: re: Organization Tuesday: What should this "baby" be when it grows up?#

Julie Bestry
I'm soooo adding these topics to my list, Susan. I'm a Mac user, so I'll probably need some time to confer with my PC-using sisters to make sure I don't lead anyone astray on the file hierarchies, but I'll definitely cover these.

I used PCs for years, but I haven't touched personally one for anything but vacation Googling since 2001! For clients, I teach them to save everything initially to their desktops so they can practice the same putting-away habits they've honed with paper. I've found that if they get in the habit of manually filing each digital document, until they understand their own filing system, things work better. It's like putting away everything when you move into a new home. If the movers put it away without you being present, it'll take you longer to feel like it's yours.

And y'know, this also holds true for organizing web bookmarks. So many people either have no bookmarks, or have one long ribbon of unsorted ones, never realizing they can categories what they want for their bookmark bars and bookmark menus. Heck, until recently, I didn't know I could put bookmark folders in my bookmark BAR, essentially giving me built-in drop-downs. I took two hours last week to teach myself how to use RSS, and that little bit of knowledge was a nice by-product of the experience. :-)

Thanks for the input!

Julie Bestry, Certified Professional Organizer®
Best Results Organizing
"Don't apologize. Organize!"
Visit http://www.juliebestry.com to save time and money, reduce stress and increase your productivity

Private Reply to Julie Bestry

Jun 27, 2008 6:36 pmre: re: re: Organization Tuesday: What should this "baby" be when it grows up?#

Natalie Clegg
What a baby - I love your organisation advice. I am not a chaos theory person and have a very organised environment but you give me more. I am going to look at all those articles from before - thank you.

Susan - yes I know what you mean - Organising a computer file is just like a paper file - which cabinet is it in and what drawer and what folder - no different to the real world.


Private Reply to Natalie Clegg

Jan 12, 2009 4:47 pmOrganization Tuesday: How to Create a Perfect Office (12 Tips)#

The Eagle: Motivating Champions Around The World
I came across this article by Michael Masterson on Office Organization that I thought I would share it instead of my Seeds Of Greatness Message Today. I hope this is Okay Julie.

How to Create a Perfectly Organized Office

By Michael Masterson

What does your office say about you? That you are orderly and businesslike? Messy but creative? Hopelessly overwhelmed?

Whatever your current habits are - sloppy or neat - you'll get more done and have less stress while you work if your office is intelligently organized. All kinds of studies have proven this to be so.

I've added at least an hour of productivity to my day by planning and organizing my work. A big part of that has to do with the physical organization of my office.

Here are 12 things you can do to make your office work harder for you.

1. Provide yourself with a range of lighting, from subtle to very bright.

You will need three or four separate light sources. I recommend fluorescents (overhead or indirect) to light up the room brightly when you're feeling tired and need to wake yourself up. A second light source should focus on your desk. You can do that best with an overhead spot. A lamp, either on the desk or standing on the floor, will give your office a warm and friendly feeling when you entertain visitors. And natural light, shuttered with blinds, is great if you can get it.

If possible, have all your lights on rheostats (dimmers) so you can control the amount of light you need. And have them all switch on and off from the same place - preferably by the door.

The lighting in your environment may seem unimportant if you are not used to giving it any attention, but it has a direct effect on your energy and your mood. Use the best-quality lights you can afford.

2. Make the space workable.

Your desk and credenza should be tailor-made to fit your working style. Don't shortchange yourself here. Give yourself sufficient room, but not so much that you will accumulate more stuff than you need. Make sure the files and equipment you use regularly are within easy reach. And position the furniture so that you can easily move from desk to credenza and back.

Put your computer on the credenza, not on your desk. That way, when people come in to meet with you they won't feel like your attention is half on them and half on the computer.

3. Keep all regular reference and inspirational books handy - preferably within a step and a grab from your chair.

This can be done inexpensively by furnishing your office with store-bought bookshelves.

4. Invest the time and money to find and purchase a great chair.

From a personal productivity standpoint, your office chair is the most important thing you own. It is more important than your house - even more important than your car. Just think... on a typical day, you may spend eight to 10 hours in that chair. Your chair is also one of the first things people notice when they step into the room. So make sure it looks good.

Adjust your chair so that your trunk meets your hips at 90 degrees, and tilt your computer so that the top line of the text is five degrees below your eye level. (That way, you don't have to move your head up and down to read.) Your keyboard should be positioned so that your hands lie flat. Set down a hard plastic mat on the floor beneath your chair so you can roll freely.

5. Keep an egg timer on your desk.

Use the egg timer to make sure you are never seated for more than an hour at a time. (I block my time off in 30- and 60-minute increments. I've rarely needed to go beyond that - even for important meetings.) Each time the timer rings, stand up before you turn it off. And once you are standing, get moving. Do something physical for five minutes. I stretch or do squats and push-ups. Sometimes I walk around the office and chat up my colleagues.

6. Get rid of the mess.

You may think it works to your advantage to have everything you could possibly need piled up around you, but it doesn't. It just shows the rest of the world how unwilling you are to take control of your life.

"A place for everything, and everything in its place." That includes holders for pencils, pens, and reading glasses - separate and easily within reach.

7. Use two inboxes and two folders.

The first inbox is the one that other people put stuff in. The second inbox is for you. Go through the first inbox every morning and select from it any important work you intend to do that day. Transfer that work to the second inbox. Take the rest of the stuff in the first inbox and file it in one of two folders.

You need one folder that has 31 pockets, one for each day of the current month. And you need one with 12 pockets, one for each month of the year. As you go through your first inbox, decide (specifically) when you will attend to each item. If that date falls in the current month, file it in the first folder - in the pocket that corresponds to that date. If it falls in a future month, file it in the second folder - in the pocket that corresponds to that month.

Make sure the second inbox (your inbox) is cleaned out by the end of the day.

8. Have one or two drawers for everything you might need in case of an "emergency."

In one of my drawers, I keep all the tools I might need at the office. Small screwdrivers (even a jeweler's screwdriver that fits the tiny screw that holds the arms to my reading glasses), WD-40, duct tape, etc.

In another drawer, I stash some back-up clothing (two laundered shirts and two ties) so I can look good for an unanticipated but important meeting.

As it happens, I have my own bathroom at the office where I can stock a toothbrush and toothpaste, bandages, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, cuticle cutters, etc. But these items can easily go in one of your "emergency" drawers.

9. Hang a clock on the wall that your visitors can see.

Nod at the clock at the beginning of each meeting as you announce exactly how many minutes you have to solve the problem at hand. (Do NOT use the egg timer for this!)

10. Set up an old-fashioned bar.

Stock it with Scotch, vodka, and rum for those moments when kind words aren't enough. A humidor for cigars is optional for some, but not for me. If drinking is not your thing, try a Chinese tea service. I have a bar on one side of my office, a tea service on the other. They both come in handy.

11. Bring some life into your office.

A live plant breathes back oxygen into the environment. It softens the hard surfaces too. Select a big green plant, if you have room for it. Care for it on a few of your five-minute "egg timer" breaks.

12. Decorate your office with signs of who you are as a complete person.

Put up your family photos and your business awards. The walls and spaces of your office are gazing grounds for your visitors. Make sure the message they are getting is the one you want them to get.

And make sure there's at least one thing in your line of sight that makes you smile - maybe an inspirational quotation. Keep it there to work its magic until it loses power, and then find something new to replace it.

Invest in a sound system, too. You don't need anything fancy - just something that puts out soft background music.

One final thing that I won't put on the list because it may be too much to ask for until you are the boss: a daybed for a power nap when you really need one.

Richard "The Eagle" Motivator
Live and Act Like a Champion Today!!

Private Reply to The Eagle: Motivating Champions Around The World

Oct 22, 2009 3:02 amre: Organization Tuesday: How to Create a Perfect Office (12 Tips)#

Jorge Azurin
I hope it is all right to share with you some of the tips I have gathered from Barbara Hemphill (Author of "Taming the Paper Tiger at Work").

The Big Idea

Getting organized is not an easy task. Everyday, you are forced to deal with mountains of paper that contain both crucial information and useless garbage. This scenario is common to anyone who dares thrive in the workplace.

Without realizing it, you may have bred your very own paper tiger. Although paper can serve a great purpose, a huge amount of it can literally wreak havoc and harm productivity.

Barbara Hemphill, a well-known professional organizer, shares her expertise on how to effectively manage your files, take control of your time and produce effective results.

Getting Centered

Organize Your Thoughts
It is tempting to put off organizing things for another day. Unfortunately, constant procrastination often results in you realizing that your files have become unmanageable causing you to mismanage appointments and other work commitments.

“I don't have the time” is the most common alibi used to explain lack of organization. What you may not realize, however, is that a lot of time is wasted when you try to search for missing documents.

Remember that organization is a tool that will help you be more effective in the work you do. By being organized, you are giving yourself the opportunity to come up with the right materials at exactly the right time they are needed.

Let FAT Work for You
You have to stop thinking that you don't have time to organize. Remember that the process of organization only becomes more difficult in time because clutter accumulate. A task that may take you only an hour to do may take you weeks if you let everything pile up.

To make organization easier for you, use the FAT system:

1. File it.
2. Act on it, or
3. Toss it.

Whenever you receive information, ask yourself if it requires any action. If it required action, file the document and include it in your files that need urgent action. Otherwise, toss it in the wastebasket.

After an action has been done, ask yourself if the file will be important for future reference. If so, file it in your cabinet. Otherwise, toss it.

Getting Started

The Mechanics of Filing Paper
The simple task of filing paper involves mechanics. One of them involves the use of filing cabinets. Although everyone knows that filing cabinets exist, few have tried using them. Even fewer use them effectively.

Once you start filing, labeling your files is crucial. A filing cabinet can store tons of information and it would be too much trouble to rummage through all that paper just to get a single page of information.

An effective way of labeling your files is by using color-coded folders. You may also write along the sides of folders to ensure that you are aware of what the folder contains at a single glance.

Set Up Your File System
Pulling at every drawer of your cabinet and rifling through each folder to find the information you need is a tedious task. One way to resolve this is to devise your very own file system.

Create a file system similar to catalogues used in libraries. Remember that your system doesn't need to be a sophisticated one. You can even use index cards.

Label each cabinet and each folder. On the index cards, write the labels and what type of information they contain. Put together things according to their use and not according to their source.

Manage Your Contact Information
Files are not the only things you organize. You also have to manage the people you work with.

Remember that not all the files you need to complete a project will be available in your filing cabinet. Sometimes, you will be forced to ask for help from other people. Officemates and business partners are just some examples of individuals that can supply you information necessary to complete a task.

Nowadays, you can choose from a variety of technological equipment that can assist you in managing contact information. You can use laptop computers, personal digital assistants, or a simple telephone book.

Make the Most of Your Calendar
Not all information you receive are for filing or tossing. In fact, a great percentage requires action.

When you receive a document that requires your action, ask yourself first if you are the appropriate person to do the job. Do not burden yourself with commitments that you should not be handling.

If this is the case, delegate the task to the appropriate person or department. Not only does this save you time and energy, it will also give you a sense of ease that the assignment is being carried on correctly.

On the other hand, if you are the person responsible to do the task, it is important to know the deadline for that particular commitment.

Deadlines are best handled by calendars. You can choose from a wide variety of software designed for managing schedules. However, some people find it more comfortable to write down appointments and other commitments on paper.

Instead of jotting down notes on post-its or scratch papers, write down notes directly on your calendar. This way, you can be assured that you will remember them and find them on the day when they are supposed to be completed.

Eliminate Clutter with Your To-Do-List
A person is expected to do a lot of things in a single day. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to do all of these tasks at the same time.

To solve this problem, it is important to make a To-Do List. A list will prevent you from scattering your files all over your desk as you battle with your judgment on which one to act on first.

In your list, enumerate the things that need to be finished before the end of the day. Do not list them down randomly, however. You should decide which ones need to be accomplished at the soonest possible time, and which ones can wait until the end of shift. To do so, classify the commitments into four quadrants:

1. Urgent and Important.
2. Important but Not Urgent.
3. Urgent but Not Important.
4. Not Urgent and Not Important.

Realistically, some tasks will not be done on time — or not done at all. At the end of the day, go over this list and ask yourself what could have been the reason why. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Am I the right person for this task?
2. Should I have allotted more time for this task?
3. Should I have done this task in a different way?

Remember, assessing your To-Dos will help you be more efficient the next time you have to do something again.

Organize Your Computer
In an office where a computer is shared by two or more people, it is best to create your own electronic folder where you can store all of your files. This saves you time and energy when you need to retrieve them. Furthermore, this prevents accidental deletion of your files when another colleague takes over.

If you have a separate computer, remember that the same rules apply. Clean out computer files that are no longer needed periodically. This gives you more space to work and save on.

In an office environment, most computers are networked. If this is the case, it is important to know where to save your files. Remember, if you save an important document on a drive that has been scheduled to be reformatted by the I.T. department, your important files may be deleted by mistake.

Another way to safeguard your files is to create back-ups. By doing so, you can continue working and meet deadlines even if your computer crashes. You can use floppy disks, CDs, and external hard drives to back-up your files. Remember to label them.

Maintain Your Filing System
More often than not, people discontinue practicing what they have started at a certain point. Do not fall into this trap by keeping in mind that the information that needs to be filed is continuously being received everyday.

Remember, you have to clean your files whenever you can or one day you will find your office back to the same bad shape it was when you first started organizing and filing.

Organizing in Special Situations

When You Work From Home
For convenience and cost-effectiveness, you may consider setting up an office at your home. Doing so does not lessen the quality of work you deliver provided that you equip your office with the necessary tools.

Make sure you have a trusty computer and the necessary software installed to conduct your business. If you can afford it, a copy machine is another must-have tool.

To open ports of communication, a fax machine and telephones are needed. Even though technology does allow you to have one telephone number for voice, fax and internet services, it is still advisable to have at least 2 phone lines — one for personal and another for business.

Cordless phones allow you to move and perform multiple tasks. Be sure to subscribe to important services through your telephone company such as call waiting, caller ID and call forwarding.

Sometimes hiring an assistant is necessary. You may have deliberately overlooked doing so for fear of paying a large compensation. To go around this, consider hiring part time help when your load gets too heavy. On days when the work is manageable, you can discontinue the services of part time help.

When You Work on the Road
If your job calls for a lot of traveling, a cellular phone is a must. A voice mail subscription is necessary to make sure you can still get your messages when you are unable to answer all calls.

So you can continue working on the road, bring your laptop computer along with you. That way there is no need for you to make hard copy of files stored in your office computer.

A lot of establishments, including hotels, rent out Internet services using wireless routers. If you have your laptop with you, you can go ahead and continue communicating using the Internet without the need for cables.

A portable recorder may also be a big help.

When You Attend a Convention
Before you set out and attend a convention, make sure you have read all pertinent materials so it will be easy for you to outline what your objectives are. Prepare and pack the necessary files you have to bring along.

Once you have arrived at your hotel room, create a mini-office so you can keep track of the papers you will gather from the convention everyday. Know which ones need to be filed and which ones require immediate action.

When the convention is over, organize these papers and ship them back home to avoid loss of documents while you travel. If you intend to write thank-you cards, your calendar is a good tool so you don't forget and miss out on people you have enlisted.

When Your Space is Shared or Downsized
A recent occurrence in the corporate world today is workstation-sharing. This maximizes space and eliminates costs without sacrificing quality of work and productivity. Although this is not an opinion shared by many employees, most companies see this as an efficient and cost-saving arrangement.

If you have to deal with a situation like this, remember that you need to show your courtesy to the other user. Do not share drawers to avoid loss or mismanagement of files.

Here are other tips you can use to help you:

1. Consider keeping some office supplies exclusive.
2. For supplies you can't use exclusively, make a deal with the alternate user to replenish cleaned-out supplies.
3. To keep track of whose turn it is, put it in writing.
4. At the end of the day, don't leave with your desk all cluttered.

Reorganizing the Organization
At the end of each year, it is necessary to make an evaluation of how the previous year went. An overall assessment on how the current filing and organizing system has worked is crucial. Use the assessment to decide whether the system needs to be maintained or modified.

It is also of utmost important that an annual Clean-Out Day must be set. Not only is it always refreshing to start the year clean and neat, it is important that other people understand the importance of organization. Soon, the people around you will also understand how important it is to have a big room in the office to continuously accommodate incoming files that have to be filed, acted upon or tossed.

When cleaning out files, you must have retention guidelines. Even though you have to do this annually, it does not follow that all stored files will have to go on a yearly basis. You must decide among yourselves which of the files are no longer needed by the company and therefore must go. To do it more effectively, you can have the person who originally received the file decide if it should be retained or not. Soon everybody will be doing this on their own thus saving time and a lot of energy.

Jorge "Jojy" Azurin
(877) 358-4208

Private Reply to Jorge Azurin

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