Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tweaking the Zone Plan

You have set your intention for the year with your zone plan and it looks great and doable. Then life happens. In my case, this past month, I got sick. I lost a couple of weeks where I was just in survival mode. This month the zone to work on for me is the office. What to do?

There are several choices.
  1. Put in a whole day set aside just to w0rk in the office.
  2. Let this zone bleed into the next month.
  3. Let it go and just move on to the next month's zone because I know I did this zone well last year and will do it well again next year.
Because the office zone is very important to my business and part of this zone is setting up my files for the next year, I am opting to do the first choice. What I can't get done in the one whole day may bleed into the next month.

If this happened when working in my master bedroom, I would be inclined to go with the third choice.

The point is that the Zone Plan is just that - a plan - an intention. The goal is to touch everything in my house by the end of the year. But it is a continuous loop. I will start over again next year. I am not worried about perfection.

My goals are:
  1. Know what is in my home and in each zone.
  2. Know what is still important to me in each zone and to let go of what I know longer need or love.
  3. Check into each zone and see if it still matches my vision
  4. Open up spaces and allow for flow.
Now that I have made my decision on how to handle my setback, I feel invigorated and ready to move on.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When You Make a Mistake - Man Up!

Everyone makes mistakes. If you are in a business serving people or working with people, at some time you are going to make a mistake.

Man up! Own up! As soon as you see the mistake or realize there has been a misunderstanding, get it straightened out. Correct it if you can, pay for it if you can't, apologize, tell your story without making excuses. Then move on.

I have broken the frame on a mirror, misfiled a set of papers, misspelled a label (OK, more than once there), put an item where a client couldn't find it. As soon as the mistake was noticed either by me (the mirror was obvious) or the client (where did you put it?) the situation was straightened out. I don't feel I have ever lost a client because of this.

Vendors working for me have hung a cabinet upside down, poked a hole and put in a faucet in a location different from where I wanted it, broken items in my home. It was always straightened out because communication happened and all was made clear and whenever possible, mistakes were fixed. I have always had that vendor back because I like their work and I trust them.

We want to be remembered as someone who makes good if mistakes happen. None of us want to be remembered as the captain who abandoned the cruise liner Costa Concordia.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Early Tax Preparation

Paper clutter, when it comes to tax forms can cost you money. If you overlook deductions, contributions, or other chances to itemize, you can lose out. Already you are receiving W-2s, 1099s and year end statements. Designate a folder for all of this incoming tax paperwork - I like to make mine red and it sits in the back of my files.
Whenever anything comes in that might relate to taxes I just drop it in that folder. At this point in time I don't bother categorizing what goes in there - I just make certain that it gets there.
All year round I place contributions and tax related papers in this folder. It might be the tax on my car tag or the house - in it goes.
I use a computerized bookkeeping system for my work, but it is also important that I have paper backup of what I have itemized there. If I bought a new computer and I entered it into my system, the IRS will not take my word for that. I'll need my receipt or the deduction will not be allowed.
I keep my business receipts in envelopes - one for each month of the year. This is my back-up if I am ever audited. Some people scan receipts into their computers for safe keeping and that is an acceptable method. Just back up your computer files in case it crashes (remember my computer deduction?).
Get on top of everything coming in now and as soon as you file for this end of year, set up that red tax file to start collecting all of your donations and tax related papers for the upcoming year. It will make the final crunch time so much less stressful.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Zone Plan - The Office

There are many ways to organize a home. I have developed what I call the Zone Plan. I take my home and divide it into 10 zones. Each month except for July and December, when I take a breather, I work on organizing one of those zones.
January is my office zone.
During the year the office area tends to get overflowing. Conferences have been attended and the material from those conferences are stored in the office. New organizational books have been bought. Classes have been taken and the notes are filled in notebooks in my office. File drawers have gotten packed with receipts and folders from new clients. Now is the logical time to organize and clear out areas to allow for breathing space and new growth. I take the whole month to work on the office zone.
I divide my office into 4 parts and tackle one part a week. As my office has 4 walls, I use this as my way of dividing up the zone. Some walls are more time consuming than others. The desk/file cabinet wall will take much longer than the wall with the bench. I look at what else is going on during the week and put the larger task walls on the lighter weeks. I also try to attack the larger tasks early on in the month so that if I need to let some of that task bleed into the next week, it will still work.
I always start with my vision. How do I want my office to look and feel. I spend a lot of time here so I want my atmosphere to be light and welcoming. I want it set up so that paper flows and does not get stagnated on my desk or floor. I tweak my plan from last year, noting what worked and what did not work. The bin idea from last year for projects works well. A couple of shelves in my cabinet need their function reevaluated. I brainstorm what I want to do and then jump in.
As I work, I also clean and update my inventory. I have a new computer this year so that will need to be updated on my records.
By the end of the month, I will call whatever has been accomplished, "Good enough" and move on to the next zone.
I always celebrate by buying fresh flowers for the office desk.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer