Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Help with Prioritizing Tasks

The Urgent/Important Matrix

Important & Urgent
Go to school and pick up sick child
Collate papers for presentation tomorrow
Important & Not Urgent
Outline presentation due in 3 months 
Work on budget for next quarter
Urgent & Not Important
Return due book to library
Respond to emails as they come in
Not Urgent & Not Important
Catch up on Facebook
Watch TV

The above matrix has been around a long time. I first saw it in Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I have since seen it used in different forms including in two of our workshops at the NAPO conference this year.
The concept is worth thinking about when trying to prioritize our tasks. Look at your "to do" list and place each task in one of the quadrants.

So often we react to what is directly in our face. These tasks we think of as urgent. They may be very important like helping someone out in a true emergency or taking care of a task that is very important in our work. Sometimes these tasks that scream Now! are not really that important. The library book is due today. The library is a 30 minute drive across town and you are on a very tight schedule. Perhaps it makes more sense to pay a fine and return the book later in the week when you are doing other tasks in the same geographical area. Answering a ringing phone often seems urgent. But probably not as important as getting out the door on time to be on time for an appointment.

Important but not urgent tasks are often put off. They rarely have an immediate deadline. However, if we don't attend to these tasks they may eventually become urgent. It is important to exercise but maybe not urgent. We feel we can put it off until another day. Eventually we may forget about it. But eventually our health will deteriorate. Working on a presentation due in three months will get pretty urgent in two months and three weeks.
It is a good idea when prioritizing our "to do" list to put in one important but not urgent task early in the day or it may get pushed off until it hits the urgent mode.

Think about it.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NAPO Conference 2013

Tomorrow I will head off for my 7th NAPO conference. It is in New Orleans this year and I am very excited.
I am looking forward to learning about the latest trends, resources, and products in the organizing industry. I am excited about sitting in on workshops and presentations given by some of the great experts in our field. I expect to glean information and inspiration that will improve my services to my clients. I will also observe some extraordinary presenters and learn how to improve my presenting skills. There will also be a Special Interest Group of organizers who present for fees.  I will get to visit face to face with organizers that I normally only chat with on Facebook.

I also will enjoy a social evening with the other organizers from our Georgia Chapter. We will go out to dinner one night to sample some of the great New Orleans food and just catch up with all that is going on. Plus I will just get a bit of the ambiance of the great city of New Orleans.

When I return from the conference, I will develop an action plan to fully benefit from the experience.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Value Do You Assign to Your Time?

Time is very elusive. At the end of the day our time is used up. We can't speed it up, slow it down, or save it. So often we are not really aware that time is passing. At the end of the day we often wonder what we did with our day.

When we do one thing with our time that means we are not doing something else. This is the Law of Excluded Alternatives. It is important to know that we do make choices of how we spend our time.

What is your time worth? As I have aged I have found that I no longer have this need to do everything myself. I chose to work on my job helping clients rather than polishing up my newsletter. I chose to spend time with my friend over the weekend rather than cleaning house. I would rather let another organizer sell items on EBay than try to do it myself. I am more conscious that I am not really saving money by doing these tasks myself. Instead I am losing time, and my time has a very high value to me.

I feel it is important to check in with yourself frequently. What are your goals? What gives you joy? Is what you are doing right now moving you closer to your goals or happiness? Is it more important to spend the day pressure washing your deck or going for a walk with a friend?

I love my business but I do not excel at all parts of my business and some parts I find very tedious. I work one-to-one with my clients but I get help with graphics and accounting. I contract our the tasks that are not my strengths or loves so that I have more time to do the things that I do really well.

In my home I contract for cleaning assistance and landscaping. I am capable of doing these tasks and even enjoy some of them but I chose to do other things with my time. I do a lot more delegating these days. My time is my life and that is priceless.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Organizing the Breakfast Room Using the Zone Plan

It's finally spring! Many people like to do their "spring cleaning" at this time of year. I prefer to do a "zone plan" and do my deep cleaning/purging/organizing all year round. I divide my home into 10 zones and work on one zone a month - skipping the months of July and December. By the end of the year, I have touched everything in my home and rearranged items to fit my currrent vision.
This month I focus on my breakfast room. It is located at my back entrance so for you this might be your mud room or another small room in your home. I use this room for overflow for parties, storage for rarely used cooking wares, party supplies, food storage containers, china, and crystal. I also have a closed top shelf that holds suitcases and baskets. I like this room to be open, inviting, and light.
This year, as I go through my storage closet, I will pack up my good china and silver. I no longer use these items when entertaining. I have a son and daughter-in-law who will be glad to inherit these items now. I may also have food containers that have lost their lids or party decorations that no longer fit my style. All of these items will go. I am sure I have a suitcase or two that I have not used in the past couple of years. These will be donated. My goal is to eliminate items in every area. New things come in during the year so some items must be discarded each year or my space will become crowded and disorganised. As I clear the shelves, I deep clean.
At the end of the month, I will put fresh flowers on the table and look forward to throwing a party soon.
For more help on organizing your space, order my workbook From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home. http://timespaceorg.com/order_book.php
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer