Posted in Goal Setting, Home Office Organizing, Home Organizing, Learning, Office Organizing, Planning, Procrastination, Small Business, Time Management, Training, Uncategorized, Wellbeing, tagged balance, Change, Clutter Free, Control, Home Office, Organizing, Paper, Piles, Planning, Procrastination, productivity, Small Business, Time Management, Training on June 26, 2011 |
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I am fascinated by how the concept of ‘good enough’ relates to being organized and our many attempts to be what we perceive as ‘well organized’. What does being organized mean to you? Most likely not the same as it does to your spouse, your best friend or your children.
What if, instead of constantly striving to be more organized, better organized or even, heaven forbid, perfectly organized we strove for ‘good enough’. According to Sarah Hampson the author of an article entitled, The Secret to happiness? Live a ‘good enough’ life, “. . . when you don’t expect much, when you manage the ideas of what you think your life should be, you can be pleasantly surprised – and grateful – for the good fortune that comes your way.”
Somehow this sounds like lowering expectations, reducing the standards of what is acceptable and seems to me like settling for mediocrity. Not acceptable to someone like me who is a recovering perfectionist and still battling with doing my ‘best’ instead of striving for ‘perfect’. So, the concept of good enough doesn’t sit well with me but I know for many of you it might be just what you need.
If your kitchen drawers are organized so that you can find what you need but you don’t have those fancy dividers that you saw in a friends kitchen that might just be good enough? If your clothes are all hanging up but not on matching hangers is that good enough? If your papers are all off the floor and in tidy piles on your desk where you can put your fingers on what you need that might just be good enough. If your email inbox is down to 50 messages, instead of 500, maybe that is good enough?
I like the idea of good enough as opposed to perfectly organized as it does allow us to lower our expectations of what organized means and move towards a level of organization that is achievable. I think this concept is especially important for those who don’t like to spend their time organizing or find it difficult to know when to stop organizing.
What we see in magazines and on television is often not realistic and perhaps that is where some of our expectations of perfectly organized come from? Have you ever noticed the desk in the corner of the living room on a makeover show with a computer on it but not a single cord in sight nor a stitch of paper – no matter how organized we are our space will never look like that so perhaps lowering our expectations is exactly what the doctor ordered!
Everything in life seems to come back to deciding what matters most. As long as your home and office are organized ‘enough’ so that you can function effectively and enjoy your space, forget about what others may think and go with what works for you. I think the summer is the perfect time to try some ‘good enough’ thinking – at least for you my dear readers even if not for me!
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It’s been an interesting few days to say the least. I travelled to Cornerbrook, Newfoundland on Wednesday to facilitate a workshop on ‘Time Management and Organization for Small Business’ at the NLOWE conference. And, wow, was I in great company with 5 other workshop facilitators and 2 keynote speakers (Barb Stegemann and Cheryl Cran). Not to mention the amazing women in Newfoundland who work for NLOWE and who run their own businesses.
Which brings me to what I’ve been thinking about for the last several days. I had the privilege of travelling from the Deer Lake airport to Cornerbrook and having dinner with ‘The Philosopher Queen’, Barb Stegemann and my new friend Betty Wood who works with WEConnect. Whew, what a whirlwind Barb is! Holy cow, she never stops. The energy and enthusiasm for life makes one feel somehow totally inadequate. I thought I was dedicated to my business and worked hard at it until I spent a few hours with Barb. I wonder if she ever turns off?
Her 7 virtues: Wonder, Moderation, Courage, Truth, Justice, Wisdom and Beauty come through loud and clear in every conversation and, of course, in her keynote speech. And she’s selling books (The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen) and perfume (love the 7 virtues packaging) by the truckload. I’m certain her recent appearance on Dragons’ Den had something to do with that but it’s Barb herself delivering her message with consistency and conviction who is ensuring the success of her business and helping others in countries experiencing war and strife while she’s at it – truly amazing!
The interesting thing is that I have had several new ideas for keynote presentations one of which I’m sure I will develop over the coming years - hmmm… maybe I’m channeling Barb?
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Posted in Goal Setting, Learning, Planning, Time Management, tagged Annual Planning, Change, Continuing Education, Employees, Grow Your Business, Money, Organizing, Planning, productivity, Profit, Time Management on February 6, 2011 |
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Last weekend I attended a retreat with a business group I belong to. We were very fortunate to have a session facilitated by Jol Hunter from Grant Thornton.
The most meaningful part of the 24 hours we spent together was something all of us as business owners want to know about and that is how to grow our business and make more money.
Jol identified 4 essential elements to making more money:
- Know Your Business
- Know Its Value Creation
- Involve Your People
- Be Disciplined in Execution
Here are the key points to consider in order to be certain we are on top of the 4 keys above.
- Know the formula for making money in your business. For example, in a service based business that might be ((# of hours x hourly rate)-expenses)/# of employees = profit/employee
- Work the formula relentlessly
- Have a plan to improve the current performance of the formula. For example, will reducing expenses have a positive impact on the profit per employee?
- Have a plan to make the formula produce more tomorrow. What should the formula look like in 2 or 3 years? More hours? Higher hourly rate?
- Execute on your plan
- Know where the value is created in your business. What is your distinctive advantage? Why do people buy from you?
- Work deliberately to increase your value-creating ability. Enhance the reason people buy from you
- Ask your people how they would score your business. There are several key questions to ask including – Do I know what is expected of me at work? Do I have the opportunity to do my best every day? Do I receive recognition regularly for doing good work? Do my opinions seem to count? (Wow, my last employer had it all wrong – no wonder I started my own business!)
- Ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, how organized are you? (this point was music to my ears!)
- Have you analyzed how you spend your time? (Yes, I have – whew!)
- Is it time to bring on more support so you can truly spend time on the important things that will ensure you grow your business and make more money? (Yes, it is!)
And, after we’ve done all of the above, Jol says we need to ask ourselves, “How can I make sure my business is ready for the future”?
Holy cow, don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of work to do!
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Posted in Record Keeping, Time Management, Uncategorized, tagged Blackberry, Calendar, Change, Organizing, Paper, Paper-Based, Planner, Planning, productivity, Time Management on January 23, 2011 |
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I think I’m in ‘like’ with my new Blackberry Style but not yet in ‘love’ with it. Wow, do I have a whole new understanding for what many of my clients have gone through over the last few years as we switch from a paper planner to these wonderful electronic devices. I am suffering from ‘paper calendar withdrawal’ symptoms – who knew it would be so difficult.
I suppose I should lay blame with the Tony at Priority Management who taught me oh so well to be totally reliant on my paper system back in 1993 – eeks, that’s a long time ago, no wonder I’m having such a hard time. Now I understand why so many people have an electronic and a paper calendar system – it’s hard to teach yourself not to automatically go for the paper planner and open it up to glance at that big monthly calendar and the weekly To Do’s all nicely organized by day.
So, the first two weeks I had my Blackberry, you guessed it, I kept the paper planner too and spent an inordinate amount of time entering all my appointments and tasks in both places. Oh boy, that did not make me a happy girl. There is nothing I hate more than wasting time getting myself organized. I’m all about quick and simple when it comes to keeping track of where I have to be and what I have to do when. So I tried entering everything in my computer (which syncs beautifully with my BB by the way) and then printing out my calendar and tasks.
Suddenly I realized what I was doing – why on earth was I wasting trees printing all the information that was already in two places – my computer calendar and my Blackberry? It was difficult to explain the compulsion that drove me to keep looking for these things in my planner. I suppose it has been almost like an extension of my body for over 15 years. I never went anywhere without it, ever. Well, maybe on the weekends when I wasn’t working I left it in my office.
I am pleased to report that I am gradually weaning myself off my paper planner but I’m telling you it certainly isn’t easy. I still have to carry around client files and reference information during the week so my plan is to purchase a new binder to carry those items in so I can finally free myself once and for all from a paper-based organizing system. Fingers crossed that it all works more efficiently and effectively in the end.
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How we help our clients change was a hot topic at the dining table today. I spent several hours with five good friends and fellow coaches, consultants and trainers this afternoon and the topic of how we each work with our clients, our methods, and our beliefs around how we may or may not succeed in helping them change was certainly a well debated one.
This has me thinking about a fascinating tool I discovered in a book entitled “It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys” by Marilyn Paul. She has created a ‘Seven-Step Change Cycle’ specifically related to organizing.
Here are the 7 steps:
- Establish Your Purpose
- Create Your Vision
- Take Stock of Current Reality
- Choose Support
- Design Systems & Solutions
- Take Effective Action
- Go Deeper to Keep Going
When I discovered this map, I realized that all of these steps are exactly what I do when working with a client. It occurs to me that you can certainly understand the cycle and how it could help guide you through any organizing project. However, I still wonder if answering questions like:
- “What will I see”
- “What organizing systems will work for me?”
- “What are the specific steps I plan to take . . .?”
- “How can I change my thinking?”
is difficult when you are completely overwhelmed by mental or physical clutter. I believe that having the support of a professional organizer and/or a coach is one of the key components in building a support team to help you achieve long term change. That person should be a good fit for your personality, have the credentials and experience to work with you effectively, and be able to support you in a positive way while holding you accountable for your actions and choices.
One thing we all agreed on is that before any individual or organization hires anyone in a consulting or coaching role they have to be willing and ready for change. Allowing individuals to flourish within a changing environment requires trust and the freedom to make choices that are best for both the individual and the organization.
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I’m so excited this week because I get to share the final one of the four webinars I attended on Your Brain at Work with Dr. David Rock. This one was my favourite. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about action. How do I implement what I’ve just learned? How do I change myself and help my clients change as well?
One way to achieve change is to focus your attention. Quantum physics tells us that you change the nature of physical reality through attention. If you think about anything regularly you can re-wire your brain circuits. So, I think we had better watch out what we think about and put our attention on, don’t you?
Dr. Rock spent some time in this session focusing on Mindfulness. Just thinking about it is making me more mindful – ha! Anyway, developing the skill of mindfulness (or paying attention) requires us to do 3 things:
- Pay attention to incoming information
- In the present moment
- In an open and accepting way
Now, there’s this nasty tendency our brain has to intefere with our ability to be mindful by turning on the narrative circuity. You know what I’m talking about – that little voice that says, “You are crazy, you can’t do that!” and so on. The key to paying attention is to learn to turn down the narrative and focus on the incoming information right now in this moment. In this way we can become better at switching attention and choosing what to focus on. The idea, the way I understand it anyway, is to use your power to veto the thought you don’t want as soon as you notice it and get back on the right train of thought.
The final key to facilitating change in ourselves and others is to create a feeling of safety. We can do this by focusing on where we are going, not what we are avoiding or where we’ve been. We need to be careful to minimize status threats, we need to create certainty, we need to give people choices and help them connect. In the end, by asking ourselves and others the right questions we can move away from focusing on the problem and move toward the solution and a new reality.
Here’s the reason I’ve been blogging about this for the last 4 weeks – Dr. Rock says that if I focus my attention on what I’ve learned by speaking about it, thinking about it and writing about it, I will create new circuits in my brain. Say what? Just kidding! Hope it’s been as much fun for you as it has for me. I’m off to put some of these concepts into practice with my clients. Wish me luck!
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