Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quick! Where Does It Go?

It seems no matter how hard you try, your desk continually gets covered over by piles of paper. You riffle through the stack looking for a telephone number or an article you want to read for inspiration for a blog. As you churn your papers, you find a bill that is overdue and you panic. Why does this keep happening?

Most clutter on the desk comes from not making immediate decisions on what to do with the paper or from not having any system that lets you put paper away but still not forget about it or lose it (that old out of sight/out of mind thing).

So, here is where Action Files come into play. Pick up a piece of paper and ask yourself the question, "What is the first action I need to do with this paper?" Your response to that question determines where the paper is stored.

That phone number on your desk? You need to either call that person soon or record that number so you can find it later to contact them. Your answer to the question, "What is the first action?" will tell you whether to drop it into the "Call" folder or the "Enter" folder.

The article you copied to read for inspiration? If you have not yet really read it, it should go into the "Read" folder. If you have read it and know you want to write a blog using some of the ideas, it should land in the "Write" folder.

That bill will most likely to into the "Pay" folder unless you have a question concerning the bill. If you have a question, the bill will go into the "Call" folder.

The notes from the potential client you chatted with would go into the "Waiting For" folder. The new insurance policy print-out will go into the "File" folder while the reminder to get your oil changed will go into the "Do" folder. What files you put into your Action Files entirely depends on the types of paper that end up on your desk. So go ahead and quickly squirrel away every scrap from your desk into one of your Action Files.

Now sit back and enjoy your clean desk. All that empty space to inspire you and all that clear area on which to work. Wonderful!

But, wait! These are called Action Files but putting the paper into the files is NOT THE ACTION. These files MUST have a SCHEDULED time where you actually look into the files and complete those actions. Some files should be looked into daily, others weekly, and some like "File" on a less regular basis. Again, this is personal according to what are in your files but put those maintenance dates on your calendar and HONOR them.

OK. Now, relax and smile. Enjoy your clean desk!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How Do You Want to be Remembered?

A family patriarch died this past week and I was privileged to be part of the enormous group of family and friends who gathered to recall all of the wonderful times we had shared with him. Although Lin was one who could and did give great sermons, what really stood out was how he lived his principles. You could tell by his life events that he valued his God, family friends, and people everywhere. His love for my sister and all of his family was tangible. As around 80 family members gathered, talked, laughed, and cried, you felt that he was still with us. His sense of humor, his laughter, his big hugs were spoken of over and over. It was not big events or big donations that made him special. It was the everyday living and giving that made him who he was. People shared stories and if they had not done the sharing, many would not even realize all the little and big things he did that added up to one great man.

We should reflect on how we are living our daily lives. How do we want to be remembered?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Are You Prepared for a Disaster - Natural or Unnatural?

September is National Preparedness Month. Emergencies often happen with little warning. You may only have minutes to evacuate. To improve your chances for survival, it is best to have a plan and prepare a kit or "gab and go" bag.

I used the guide from Judith Kolberg's Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Home for any Natural or Unnatural Disaster.  Another great source is Ready Georgia - http://ready.ga.gov/Prepare.

First develop a plan with your family on what everyone is to do if disaster strikes. Then practice that plan. If everyone is at home, one person might have the job of corralling pets and putting them in carriers. Another might have the job of pulling out the sleeping bags or bedding. Another might load the car. If the family is not together, have plans on how you will communicate and where you will connect.

Next have in place a "grab and go" bag and/or clear bins already prepared to put into your car.

Some items for your kit will have to do with safety and communication. Have a radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit with your medications and prescriptions. Have your purse in a consistent place nearby with your cell phone, charge cards, and drivers license. It would be a good idea to have an extra phone charger that lives in this kit. You may not have time to gather up such items.

Some items will allow you to survive outside for a while. Have food, water, can opener, matches, blankets, plastic bags, a plastic drop sheet, a Dopp kit, tissues and a pen knife in your kit. Also have a change of clothes and shoes, extra glasses, extra keys, and a pen and paper.

Also have prepared a folder with all of your essential documents, information and cash. Have names/phone numbers/email addresses/account numbers as well as contact numbers for insurance, utilities, banks, etc.

If you have a pet, also include vet/shot information as well as extra collars and leads, pet food, a dish, blanket and a toy.

It takes a considerable amount of time to assemble this kit. Break it down into smaller segments and complete one section a week until you are finished. Then update it every year.

It will give you great comfort to know that this kit is ready for you should you ever need it.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Organizing the Workshop or Garage Zone

In September the weather begins to cool down. Summer equipment is now getting cleaned up and stored. This is a good opportunity to set time to organize your workshop or garage zone. Even when you do this area once a year, it can get easily disorganized or cluttered because it is not in your main living space and it is soooo easy to walk in and dump something "just for now."

Start with deciding the purpose for this area. Do you plan to:
  • Park cars
  • Store extra household items like water/paper products/oversize cookware
  • Store garden tools and gardening accessories
  • Work on woodworking projects or store household tools
  • Use as a holding area for some recyclables
  • Store sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
Now bring everything outside - if this is a large or very filled area, do it by sections.  Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use.

Next decide where to logically place your zones. You will want to place items that you access regularly near entrances. As you are grouping your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Utilized shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because for sure you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Knock down the cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away. You'll be amazed at how much roomier the area is now that all the items have been bunched together and stored away.  Now, reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer