Thursday, June 24, 2010


What is ADHD and how does it affect individuals? ADHD is a condition that develops in some children in early years but can continue into adulthood and often gets worse for post menopausal women. ADHD can make it difficult for people to focus and control their behavior. Criteria for a formal diagnosis is determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from the American Psychiatric Association.
ADHD people are often bright yet challenged by simple tasks; creative with the big picture but fall apart with follow through; interested in many things and often work on multiple projects but complete few.
So how can ADHD individuals be helped or how can they help themselves. Susan Karyn Lasky gave some great tips at the last NAPO conference.
First teach time management skills. Give them reality checks-"With all that is on your plate, will you have time to paint your deck or should you hire that out while you handle more critical tasks?" Have them put recurring maintenance tasks on their calendars and note how long they will need for each task. Help with prioritizing tasks. Point out the options- if you do this then there will not be time to do that.
Use a timer-especially for distasteful tasks. Have them reward themselves after they have completed the task or part of the task in the allotted time. Encourage short breaks. Give reminders of all the progress that has been made.
Keep the environment relaxed.
Set up systems that work the way they think. They well may be pilers instead of filers. Use printed labels and clear containers.
Focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. Know their learning styles and check that they understand what you ask them to do.
Above all, accept them and accept less than perfect (and teach them to accept less than perfect, too).

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, June 18, 2010

Power Office

One of the presentations given at the NAPO conference this year was on Creating a Power Office by Judith Lubowicki, CPO. She defines a Power Office as one that: contains systems that are flexible and expandable; contains work areas that are unclogged and easily accessible; contains systems that are clear to everyone; contains processes that can be duplicated easily; and contains tasks, routines, and maintenance that are planned-not left to chance.
The two I would like to discuss are systems that are flexible and expandable and having tasks, routines, maintenance that is planned.
We often set up our office and expect it to stay that way. Well, life happens and things change so our office must be able to change to meet the new circumstances. My business is steadily growing, so each year when I reconfigure my office I have to deal with the past year's growth and leave room for new growth. As my files grow and get more complicated, I need more file storage. I now file archival materials in another room. Activity and projects are in files and binders in my bookcase. I color code my files so that I can easily refile and if a file is out I know exactly where its home is located. I have finance files, active client files, nonactive client files, activities, projects, reference, and product instructions/manuals/warranties. Items I need everyday I can reach without leaving my chair. I already have plans for January when I revisit my office zone again.
The other challenge is that we often don't plan and schedule routine and boring tasks and we just leave them to chance. We need to schedule these tasks on our calendar. While not fun to do, it makes the workspace so much more enjoyable to use and will save us time in the long run. I do a yearly reconfiguration but weekly and daily maintenance tasks like clearing the desk, putting away random folders, and filing.
Let me know your office challenge!

Jonda S. BeattieProfessional Organizer
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Party Preparations

Summertime is a wonderful time to have a party. I love to throw a party every July for my special friends.
The very idea of giving a party can be overwhelming to some people. Like any event that seems overwhelming, it is not so daunting if you break it down into smaller, manageable tasks.
I start with my vision in mind. What do I want this party to look like and to feel like. I usually have a theme but the theme could be as simple as "catch up and have fun." This year my theme is "re-purpose." I will have everyone bring an idea or item that demonstrates that idea. I want people to have fun, relax, reconnect, and have dialogue. I want the atmosphere to be comfortable, casual, and connected.
Now I brainstorm as to what has to happen to make this work. I start with the guest list. Then I plan my invitations. I also look at what I want to serve and my party location. My list may look like this: make invitation list, design invites, print invites, address and mail invites, get person to help one day with yard work, pressure wash deck, have deck painted, prepare yard (3 Sundays), clean teak furniture, paint some deck furniture, plan menu, prepare/order food/beverages, put up tent, clean house, decorate, spray yard, put out food/beverage stations.
When looked at all at once, it seems overwhelming, but I break it down and do it over a month's time. I will either hire out some help or ask for some help or usually both. One day I just put my invitation list together, another day all I do is design the invites, another day I print them off, another I address them and put them out. Now my intention is set and the party is on! The other items are mostly done on weekends and are broken up so that no one day is consumed just by these tasks. By the day of the party there is little to do but finish decorating, some last minute food preparation, preparing the food/beverage stations, and spraying the yard area for bugs.
When the guests come, I am ready to party with them.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bathroom Zone

If you are following along on the zone plan, this is a good month to focus on your bathrooms. I only have one small bathroom so I also include my hall outside my bathroom which includes my linen closet.
One of the big jobs is cleaning out your medicine cabinet. Old pills create clutter and can be dangerous. Not only do medicines lose their effectiveness over time but they can actually be harmful. Their chemical integrity may be affected, as well as the body's ability to break them down properly. Dispose of these items safely. If possible, take them back to the pharmacy for safe disposal. Don't throw them in the trash or put flush them down the toilet where they go into your water supply.
Clean out make-up, hair products, and lotions you haven't used in 6 months. Check expiration dates on sunscreen. If a product is dried up or has changed consistency or color- let it go. Old razors, scissors, or any other dull or rusty item should be tossed. If you have duplicates of items, store the duplicates elsewhere and shop from there before you buy more.
Only store what you use daily on the easiest accessable space. This might be in a drawer or a shelf near by. Place seasonal items (bug repellent) in the same area as your duplicates.
Group like items together. All mouth and tooth care items, all hair styling supplies and products, all cosmetics, all first aid, all medicines should be together. Small baskets are great for grouping these items- especially if you have a deep shelf.
If items are consistently left out and not put away- look carefully at where they are stored. If it is too difficult to get to an item, it will not be put away. Try to find a more assessable place for these items- perhaps in a basket on a shelf or the the back of the commode.
Let me know your bathroom organizing tips. Post them so others can enjoy as well.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer
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