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 |
2 Comments »
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!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Filing, Home Office Organizing, Home Organizing, Office Organizing, Procrastination, Small Business, Time Management, tagged Clutter Free, Home Office, Organizing, Paper, Piles, Procrastination, productivity, Small Business, Time Management on May 15, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
Here are some wise words from my good friend Georgina Forrest from Smartworks Organizing in Calgary, Alberta from one of her recent newsletters.
Doing Small Things Can Make A Big Difference. Have you ever taken something out to use it …
- a file from the file cabinet
- the hole punch out of the supply cupboard
- a book off of a shelf
- something – anything – out of a drawer
. . . used it but didn’t put it back? You know, because you just didn’t have time to put it away.
Then you needed to find something – perhaps a file or a hole punch or a book or something – only to SPEND time digging through the piles of stuff that had accumulated because you didn’t have time to put it away in the first place.
It’s a funny paradox of life:
Why is it we always have time to look for something yet we don’t always have time to put it away?
Don’t just put stuff down when you’re done with it, put it away. It really only takes a few additional seconds to do this, but can save you oodles of time wasted looking for it again in the future.
Every little thing you can do to keep order, results in huge benefits for you down the not-too-distant road.
So put that file or hole punch or book or whatever away – right now.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Education, Learning, Small Business, Training, tagged Continuing Education, Junior Achievement, Making a Difference, Non Profit Organizations, Our Business World, Small Business, Training on March 20, 2011 |
Leave a Comment »
The last few weeks I have been volunteering for Junior Achievement Nova Scotia delivering the ‘Our Business World’ program to grade six students. It never ceases to amaze me that kids are interested in business at such a young age. And, wow, do they know a lot of stuff – go figure!
The program focuses on 4 modules:
- Organization – we discuss the skills needed to start a business, all the resources you have to consider and the various types of businesses in Canada.
- Management – we talk about the role of management in a business, the decisions a manager has to make and we focus on how to hire employees and what we need to consider.
- Production – in this lesson we actually produce pens and discuss productivity. Students learn about various methods of production and have fun testing unit production versus assembly line production.
- Marketing – students learn about the imporance of marketing a product most importantly pricing and advertising. We discuss advertising strategies and students create their commercial to sell the pens manufactured during the production lesson.
Every time I think about this amazing program I wish someone had come to my grade six class to talk to me about starting a business. Perhaps I wouldn’t have waited so late in life! And, the other thing I think about is how little I really knew about starting a business back in 2002 when Get Organized! Professional Services was only a dream!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Filing, Home Office Organizing, Office Organizing, Record Keeping, Small Business, tagged Filing, Home Office, Organizing, Paper, Small Business on March 13, 2011 |
1 Comment »
This week was very gratifying on many fronts but especially so because I got to help a client who owns a small business revamp her paper filing system. I’m quite sure I was far more excited about the process than she was.
She admits to being exhausted from all the decisions that had to be made. Naturally, the filing revamp begins with a good purge. This is where I have to play bad cop and force my clients to go through every scrap of paper and every existing file and decide what to keep and what to let go of. Asking yourself questions like, “How long has it been since I last referred to this information?” and the all important, “Do I need to keep this for tax or legal reasons?” is tedious and tiring but must be done. And it feels good to know exactly what you have and why.
Once the purge is done, then it’s time to make a home for each piece of information that we’re keeping. In this instance the existing system was confusing because of two things- the files were not alphabetical and there were many file folder colors in use. Both of these make it very difficult to find what you need quickly.
So, you guessed it, we made all the file folders white and named our files so that they naturally fell into alphabetical order. We did indulge ourselves a bit and use 3 different colors of hanging folders for the 3 main filing categories – blue for personal files, green for business files and red for tax files.
I have to thank my client, Gail, because I actually got a new idea from her. She was keeping all of her ‘tax’ files (anything that she can claim for tax purposes as a business expense) in a separate case. We took the files out of the fan folder case (I always find them difficult to work with) and created a separate category for those files. I’ve actually never taken the household files like power, water, insurance, etc. and kept them in a separate section – I’m liking that idea going forward. Hmmm…. must test it in my own office.
The final session, my favourite part of the process, involved putting all the new labels (merged from an Excel spreadsheet for printing) on the nice new white file folders in the new colored hangers and ‘voila’ a masterpiece once again. It never ceases to amaze how much easier it is to find a file amongst dozens of others when all the file names are visible and all the folders are the same color so you can see what you’ve got.
Can’t wait to do another one! Yes, I know, just a little sad that I love doing this stuff so much.
Read Full Post »
As the song says, I’ve been ‘Hunting Hi and Low’ (famed Norwegian band ah-ha in case you want to check them out) for home office furniture for the last week or so. Turns out I’ve got several home office projects on the go right now -very cool.
The challenge of finding furniture for a home office makes it seem, at times, like I’m never going to find just the right pieces. We have to consider the following:
- The size of the space
- The needs of the client
- The functionality of the furniture (a biggie for me!)
- The style and color of the furniture
- The availability of the furniture (especially here in Halifax)
- My extreme pickiness (ha!)
I have to say that options seem to be improving. Not only can we choose from the usual places if we want something inexpensive like Staples, Ikea (shipping it here is a bit pricey), Sears (Sauder) and Bombay but local retailers have done a great job of ramping up their selection. For moderate budgets Jordans Furnishings in New Minas has a good selection including Ashley and Winners Only. If we want to put up with a little hassle around getting the furniture here, I do love Pottery Barn for certain offices and the pricing falls in line with a decent budget. However, if you’ve got some money set aside and really want an awesome home office, my favourite right now is local retailer Attica. They have several lines of home office and I’m loving the BDI Sequel collection, the Hudson Street collection and the Catalina product line.
When I’m searching for furniture here are all the things I may need to have a proper home for:
- Computer Workstation or Laptop
- Desktop Sorter or Hanging File
- Files, Files, Files
- School Stuff – projects, reports, homework, supplies
- Office Supplies – paper, labels, ink cartridges, file folders, pens, stapler, hole punch, etc.
- Electronic Accessories
- Books and Magazines
- Binders – committees, courses, etc.
- Photo Albums
Whew, that’s a lot of stuff and that’s what makes this hunting job a bit tough. If I only wanted a gorgeous desk and nothing else I would have hundreds of options but I also need a filing cabinet or two, a bookcase, a storage cabinet, several drawers, and so on.
If you’re one of those lucky people who lives in a larger city, all I have to say is, don’t tell me about all the other awesome places you have to get home office furniture – I’m having enough trouble making up my mind already!
Read Full Post »
Posted in Consulting, Goal Setting, Home Office Organizing, Office Organizing, Planning, Record Keeping, Small Business, Time Management, tagged Annual Planning, Auto Mileage Log, Budget, Control, Home Office, Organizing, Paper, Planning, productivity, Purging, Small Business, Solopreneur, Time Management on December 5, 2010 |
Leave a Comment »
At this time of year I always start to get into what I like to call ‘Clean Up and Get Organized for the New Year’ mode in my business. Somehow, I always look forward to this process. For me it involves several steps which many of you may find it helpful to consider.
- Purging Paper & Electronic Information - like many of you I accumulate a lot of paper and electronic information throughout the year, some of which I never use. There’s no better feeling than going through all the paper files and shredding a bunch, going through my ‘My Documents’ folder and either archiving or deleting a bunch of files and finally going through all my email folders from this year and either archiving or deleting a bunch of that information. Somehow this process always seems to shift the energy around a bit and make room for new and exciting projects each new year.
Getting Ready for Canada Revenue
- I have to say that all of us small business owners certainly do have to be well organized on the financial records side of our business in case our friends at CRA come calling. I firmly believe that if I’m well organized and keep good records there is less likelihood that will happen but if it does I’ll be well prepared. I can pull any piece of information they may require on a moment’s notice including invoices, expense receipts, HST returns, my calendar with all appointments, monthly financial statements and the all important Automobile Mileage Log (to purchase yours go to
) for the past 7 years. The two things that they love to audit us home-based businesses for are ‘office-use-of-home’ expenses and ‘vehicle expenses’, so be sure to have those records in tip top shape and easily accessible. In addition, HST audits are quite common so being able to produce your records in a timely fashion can make this process almost painless.
- Creating A New Budget - I always like to challenge myself to ‘stretch goals’ on the revenue side and then see how little I can get away with spending on the expense side while still growing the business. This year I’m thinking about a few new budget items such as a Smartphone (yeah, yeah, I know I’m so behind on that one), a part-time Personal Assistant (too exciting), and maybe even my dream of a Training Video. Having a monthly budget and reviewing it twice per month is one of the key success factors to any business, large or small.
- Annual Planning - in addition to creating a new budget, I schedule a yearly annual planning session for 1 or 2 days with my mastermind group(s) to brainstorm ideas for the next year or so. This will involve both my personal and professional life and is a chance for some free thinking with no limitations. A chance to review outstanding projects and think of new ones. A chance to dream big and share those dreams with others. And finally the time to put it all in writing, decide my priorities for the next year, and make a committment to others in my mastermind group to work on those priorities or, if I don’t, to have a good reason for changing them.
Whew, aren’t you exhausted just thinking about all this? Now we all have to go and book time in our calendar over the holiday season to get working on #1 to #3. In my business #4 will be happening in two phases, one in January and the other in March. However, you may decide to do something completely different like attend a workshop or hire someone to help you through the process. Remember the adage, “Poor Prior Planning leads to P… Poor Performance”.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Education, Learning, Training, Uncategorized, tagged Centre for Women in Business, Continuing Education, Harold Taylor, Organizing, Professional Organizers in Canada, Small Business, Solopreneur, Training on October 31, 2010 |
4 Comments »
Well, it seems that Conference season has kicked into high gear yet again this fall. As usual I have had the good fortune of being booked by several associations to present workshops at their conferences and be a part of their professional development weeks which is always good fun. I so enjoy being a small part of a much bigger educational opportunity and admire companies and associations who are true learning organizations.
The exciting news this week is that I get to go to my own professional development conference where I’ll be in the audience instead of in front of the room (for the most part). Professional Organizers in Canada has been hosting their annual conference since 2000. So exciting to be attending the 10th annual conference and this year we’re in Montreal - yeah!
Not only will I be continuing my education as an organizer by attending sessions such as ‘Online Tools for Maximum Productivity’, ‘The Impact of Technology on Time Management’ (with time management guru Harold Taylor), and ‘Do I E-Shred This?’ but I will also hear two great keynote speakers. In addition, I’ve got several one-on-one meetings scheduled with specific people I want to learn more from and I’m sitting on the ‘Ask a Senior Organizer’ panel. There’s nothing like being grilled by other organizers about your business – yikes!
I know what you’re thinking, three days with a group of over 100 other organizers, you’ve got to be kidding me. Believe it or not we’re not all Type A personalities (although I think the majority are) and we’re not all suffering from mild OCD (at least I don’t think we are?). Many of our members have transformed their own lives from chaos to order and are now able to teach others how to do it.
I have to admit I’m glad to be picking up a few more CE credits for my certification, but I have to say that my favourite part of the conference is always seeing my organizing friends from across the country and meeting new friends. I do love to socialize and being a ‘solopreneur’ can be tough at times. There’s nothing like sharing business ideas and challenges with a group of your peers who really get it.
Speaking of sharing with peers who really get it, upon my return from Montreal I’m heading to the Centre for Women in Business Conference the next week. This time I’ll be learning about growing my business and sharing with women from all walks of life for one day.
I think I’m going to be all ‘conferenced’ out by that time and ready to get back to work on my business and working with my clients equipped with all the tools to provide even better service than ever.
Read Full Post »
Posted in Contact Management, Office Organizing, Record Keeping, Time Management, tagged communication, Contact Management, CRM, Home Office, Organizing, productivity, Small Business, Time Management, Training on October 24, 2010 |
Leave a Comment »
Last week I taught a class on contact management for Professional Organizers in Canada (POC). Who knew there were so many systems out there? And, we only touched on a few of them.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, as they are often referred to, can be anything from a simple spreadsheet to an extremely robust system such as ACT! Personally I’m a fan of the Outlook contact management system that comes with the software I already have. It seems to do everything I could possibly need it to do. I can enter as much information on a customer as I wish and the system will keep track of every email, appointment and task I have related to that customer without me having to do a darn thing – I like that!
What you need your system to do is obviously the key when choosing a CRM system. If I needed to track conversations and be able to analyze my customer base and print detailed reports then I could see the need for software such as ACT!, Goldmine, Maximizer, etc.
Any organization with a sales force needs to have one of these systems in order to allow multiple users to access customer records and keep detailed information on prospects and opportunities. And, from what I understand, these systems are essential when you need to generate regular reminders that it’s time to contact a customer. Somehow, when I was in sales, I managed to keep track of all this information manually – looking back I have no idea how we did it!
I have a few thoughts on how to choose the right system:
- Keep in mind the complexity of the system and how much time it takes to maintain accurate records.
- Base your decision on what you need the system to do for you.
- Be certain that the system you choose integrates seamlessly with your email management program, calendar and tasks.
- Talk to an expert before making your final choice (check out The Red Group).
All that to say I have now discovered that I am so far from an expert on this subject it’s not even funny. Perhaps something to add to my professional development list for 2011?
Read Full Post »