Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Accountability Partners

Having trouble keeping a commitment to yourself? Can't seem to get that project finished? Difficulty staying focused on your goal? These situations are so common and here is where accountability partners can really help.

An accountability partner is like a coach. They help you keep your commitment. They inspire you and keep you motivated. They are great for bouncing around ideas.

Where do you find an accountability partner or partners? For the past 10 years I have been part of a group that I call the goals group or the dream team. We meet once a month and review our wins from the past month and our goals for the upcoming month. We also feel free to call upon each other for advice, feedback, and brainstorming. Within this group some of us have partnered for different periods of time to concentrate on one goal where we felt we needed extra support.

As a professional organizer, I am often an accountability partner for some of my clients. Because we have planned times to work together the client is often motivated to complete a project or part of a project. They want to share their wins. They want inspirations to continue. They want someone they can bounce off ideas and know that their ideas are listened to and respected.

Some of my clients reach out to friends going through the same process and do regularly planned accountability calls. They set up a call and share their intentions for the day and then have a couple of check in calls to share their progress.

If you are looking for an accountability partner, look for someone who will be honest and straightforward with you. You want someone who will challenge you and not condemn or discourage you. You should look for someone who is a great listener and knows how to ask good questions. It also helps if the partner's strengths and weaknesses are somewhat different from yours.

I would love to have some feedback on how you have used or plan to use an accountability partner.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Turn Those Piles into Files

You come in from a meeting and you are tired. You bring in the mail but don't have time to mess with it right now. You are afraid if you file the paper away you will forget it. So, everything gets dumped on the desk or countertop.

Meanwhile, your desk or countertop becomes one big inbox with piles everywhere. Some paper has been there so long that it has actually stuck to the surface or has fallen behind the desk or is so buried that unless there is some trigger to dig for it, it is forgotten. The clutter is overwhelming and slows down your productivity.

See if some of these tips work for you:
  • When you bring in paper, do a quick triage. What is obviously trash or needs shredding? What needs action soon? What do you need to take some time over and ponder? 
  • Have a trash can and shred box nearby and get those papers handled right away
  • Have a landing pad for all items needing action soon
  • Have a basket or bin for magazines or articles you want to read and ponder. When that basket gets full, acknowledge that you have more than you can handle and either set aside some time to read or dispose of some of the material
  • Have a folder or box for ads or upcoming workshops or events that you are considering
This should corral most of the paper but still very little has gone away.

Here comes the hard part:
  • Schedule regular times on your calendar to pay bills or check on bill pay. Then after paying, immediately file or get rid of paid bills
  • Weekly, at a scheduled time, take care of any receipts or invoices that need entering or filing. If possible, scan these items and get rid of the paper
  • Chose a couple of items you want to read and ponder and either look through them now or remove them to another location to read later. After reading them either dispose of them or file them
  • Schedule a time at least monthly to look through ads and coupons you have saved and toss any that have expired or that no longer interest you. Look over any upcoming events and see if some no longer appeal to you or have passed their due date. Dispose of all expired items.
  • Empty the trash can and the shred container
While you may never get your desk completely clear of paper, do realize that paper you keep has a purpose and when that purpose is completed, the paper should go somewhere else besides on your desk.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Organizing the Office Using the Zone Plan


It is the beginning of a new year and January is Get Organized Month. I would love for my whole house to be magically clean and organized. However, the reality is that I am the one that has to make that magic happen and it would be crazy to think that I could do it all at once. That is why for years I have been maintaining my home using a Zone Plan. This plan has me touching everything in my home at least once a year. (http://timespaceorg.com/services/) 

The first zone I work on each year is my office. In the past year files have gotten overfull, project bins are hanging around even after projects are completed. New items have come into my office and it is now feeling a bit crowded. Now is the time to follow the program and work my plan on the office.

1. What is bothering me in this zone?
  • Clutter and unfiled papers
  • Projects not in bins
  • Files too full
  • Too much laying around and screaming "DO ME"
2. How do I want my office to look and feel?
  • Look clean and uncluttered
  • Look and feel welcoming
  • Have empty spaces to allow for growth
  • Feel productive
3. What do I need to do to make this vison come true?
  • Sort and label all loose papers
  • Clear out all desk drawers and desk surface
  • Purge files and put into a project bin all I will need for taxes
  • Shred and archive papers
  • Declutter and organize bookshelves and the storage credenza
  • Set up bins for current projects and purge old projects
  • Deep clean room
4. Schedule times to do each task
  • Pull out calendar and see what times are available for work
  • Schedule reasonable times for each task and dates/times to work
  • Write on calendar the dates and times 
By the end of the month, I will call whatever has been accomplished "good enough" and move on to the next zone. The office is now ready for regular maintenance until the next year. I always reward myself by buying a fresh flower for my desk.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

In with the New - Out with the Old



Christmas is past and if your house is like ours, gifts were received. Some of the items I received were kitchen items I had been wanting. A couple of lovely glass pie plates, a grater, and some measuring spoons are now put away in my kitchen. I also received some CDs and books. My husband received some clothing items as well as books.

Now, here is the idea. The glass pie plates will take the place of some old metal pie tins, the grater replaces the one so old that I should probably donate it to the Smithsonian. In other words as the new items are put away in my kitchen, the old ones disappear. I do not save them "just in case" I will need them someday. I only allow so many CDs and books on my shelves so for each new one in, an old one will leave my home. New clothes  in - some old clothes gone.

My challenge to you is that as you put away your new, wonderful gifts you see what items you can now donate or in my case some were just trashed (who would want a grater that had to be cleaned and oiled before each use?). By New Year you will open up space in your home for the abundance of the upcoming year.

Happy New Year!


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

If Ornaments Could Talk

I have several old family ornaments that I love to put out each year. A few days ago as I was admiring one of them, I realized that my family members probably have no idea as to where this precious (to me) ornament came from or any of its history. In fact, I wish I knew more about the story as to how it originally came into my family. I know that the figurine candle holder came from my maternal grandmother. I know that the bottom of it is marked "Made in occupied Japan". I have another of my grandmother's ornaments and a lot of my mother's ornaments. I have some old glass balls that were from a close friend of my mother. I have ornaments on my tree that were mine as a child and are still favorites to put out each year.

While every ornament on my tree has meaning to me, I realize that most of the stories about them are of interest only to me. But some might be of interest to other family members in time.

This year as I pack some of these ornaments away, I am going to take a picture of them along with a note giving some of the history as I know it. Hopefully, some day, they will become a treasure for someone else.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Reflections

Let's enjoy the season! It's less than two weeks until Christmas. My holiday party, that I give each year, is already becoming a fond memory. Gifts and cards that need mailing are gone. While there are still a lot of tasks to complete, I am at a point where I can begin to enjoy my decorated home and some of the goodies that have been prepared. It is time to enjoy the holiday music and watch some of the holiday shows.

Join me as I let "good enough" become my mantra.

Cleaning will now just become maintenance work. I will delegate some areas to others.

Cooking will become lighter and less complicated. We will eat out more and have more snack-like meals by the tree.

I will schedule on my calendar some times to pick up those last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. I will take my time doing this and enjoy the surroundings and decorated stores.

I will set up a wrap station to finish the wrapping for my local gift giving.

I will enjoy the cards as they come in. I will read notes and check to see that I have correct addresses.

I will plan a trip to see the holiday lights.

As I work around my home, I will put on some holiday music.

On Christmas day I will start jotting down a list of ideas for future gifts. If I receive a gift that duplicates something I already have, I will start a donation box for items no longer needed.

I hope that your holiday season is the best one yet!


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

To Tree or Not to Tree - That is the Question

Putting up a Christmas tree is a lot of work. Taking it down and carefully putting away all of the ornaments seem like even more work. Is it worth it?

That depends on you and your vision of what this Christmas season looks and feels like. For me, it is totally worth the effort. I love coming out each morning to  my living room, turning on the lights of my tree, and enjoying that first cup of coffee. It centers me and helps me get ready for the day ahead. There was only one Christmas that I was just not going to mess with the tree and that was a year of deep depression. Fortunately others intervened and the tree went up. Almost every ornament on that tree has meaning and memories for me. I know though as I continue to age, it is getting harder. At some point I may need to look at options like hiring someone to help or downsizing the tree.

I have one client who is in the midst of decluttering her home. She has decided that this year she does not want to bring out all her holiday trimmings because she feels it will just set her back on her progress. I have another client who has several artificial trees. She has decided to go with just one of her smaller ones and concentrate on her yard ornaments. Some people are traveling most of the holiday season and plan to put out just a few ornaments around the house and a wreath on the door.

The important thing is to know your vision and your reasons. Don't do things just because you always have done it or because others think you should. Do what gives you happiness and plan your time accordingly.

Happy Holidays!



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer