BossWoman ENews |
Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
My goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about leading a balanced and prosperous life.
In this issue, you'll find:
- Getting Organized - Part II
- BossWoman coaching
- Up and coming workshops
1. Getting Organized - Part II
Last month we covered the first two of six principles to
getting more organized in the New Year:
- How to hook your purpose(s) in life with your
- How to get away from archiving all you own and just
keeping the most important things.
If you were not a subscriber last month or missed the issue,
ask for the back issue (Susan@BossWoman.org).
This month we will continue with our series on tips on
getting organized for the New Year.
More Principles of Getting and Staying Organized
Busy professionals don’t have time to create extensive and
expensive organizational systems. If you are feeling a
need to get better organized, start with the barest
minimum. Small changes can make big differences.
Here is the continuation of organizing principles:
- Sometimes happiness is best attained by subtraction.
The tendency to save something because you “might need it
someday,” is a costly and anxiety ridden way to live.
Don’t order the plastic containers from the catalogues to
store more stuff you will never use until you decide:
- What do you need to store? Do you really need it? Ask
yourself whether you need the papers or objects right now
or in the foreseeable future. Exceptions should be made
for legal and financial documents. Consult your legal and
tax professionals for guidance on how to store and when
to purge those documents.
- How much do you have to store?
- How often do you need it? The answer to this question
determines how accessible to make the files or objects.
For example, your evening wear might go in the back of
your auxiliary closet if you don’t go out very often
while my evening wear needs to be in the front of my
closet because my husband and I go ballroom dancing
- How you will retrieve your stored items when you need
For right now, use what you have and keep noticing what
is not working. Only when you have defined what your
organizing aggravations are is it time to visit the
organizing store nearest you. Then it makes sense to
buy bins, folders, label makers, etc.
- There is no perfect system that will work for
everyone. A coach or an organizational consultant can
help you design a system that will work for the way
your brain works. For example, I am very visual and
kinesthetic in my learning style so an uncluttered
“zone” system works for me. The zone system divides
space into zones based on function. I offer my kitchen
zone system as an example but know that it might not
be the perfect system for you.
- A food preparation zone with mixing bowls, knives,
and mixing tools nearby.
- A stove zone with cooking utensils nearby.
- A serving zone with dishes, glasses, etc.
- A leftover zone right next to the refrigerator with
the plastic wrap, containers, etc. in drawers.
- A home management center with a calendar, phone
message paper, pens/pencils, scotch tape, paper scissors
(the food scissors is located with the knives in the
food preparation zone), rubber bands, staples, etc.
My paper calendar is also divided into zones:
- A philosophy of life section with my mission, purpose,
and vision to remind me how I set priorities on my
- A monthly calendar section to glance at the bigger
- A daily section with the pages of the current 6 weeks
with plenty of room to write the smaller commitments
including appointments and to-do lists.
- A contact information section.
- A project tracking section for following the major
My office has zones as well. I can move to a zone and
everything I need to do for that function is available
in that zone. Even my day has zones: sleeping, eating,
working with clients, with pockets of time for office
work and writing.
If the zone system does not tap the way you work, try
a color coded system or an electronic system. The key
is to develop a system that you will actually use.
Buying an expensive calendar is a waste if you never
open it. If you are on the road in your job as a sales
rep or interior designer, a computer calendar makes no
sense. You need a paper or electronic system that is
- When your life changes, your organizational systems
need to change. The natural times for you to tackle an
aspect of your system is when you have a transition
- A promotion or retirement.
- The arrival of household members (babies, elderly
relatives, etc.) or departure (kids off to college, the
elders moving on to their next stage), etc.
- Seasonal transitions such as a summer break for
college professors, a slow season in your business, a
post-inventory time at your retail store.
- Inclement weather when you spend more time inside
such as during the winter in Minnesota or in the
summer in Phoenix.
- Moving time for your home or place of business.
Here are some tips for dealing with reorganizing
yourself related to a transition.
- Some organizing tasks are best done before the
transition while some tasks can only be done afterward.
If you know that your old dishes won’t match your new
kitchen décor, you can save moving dollars if you sort
and purge before the move. However, if you do not have
all of your furniture planned for the new space bring
along your present stuff and decide later what fits.
- Keep reminding yourself of the status you are moving
towards and organize for that life best as you know it.
Just like the “dress for success” principle of dressing
for the job you would like to be promoted to, this
principle guides you to have ready access to the
equipment and materials you need in your new life. For
example, if you are retiring from a corporate environment
to a golf community, you will not need 85 wool suits but
you will need golf outfits so pack up all but a few of
your suits and donate them to your local women’s business
group that collects suits for women transitioning back
to work from being unemployed or underemployed.
- If you don’t know what you will need, ask others in the
new status what they use. If you are really unsure of
what to discard, keep your current stuff in boxes marked
with an expiration date usually one year from packing
it up. Offices use this tip to archive records so that
every year they get rid of old records from eight or
ten years ago and then have room for the new records.
When the expiration date arrives, resist the temptation
to sort things in “case you might need something in
here.” If you haven’t needed it in a year, you won’t
need it this year.
- Stay organized. Sounds so obvious, right, but if you
don’t schedule maintenance time you won’t maintain.
Waiting “until I have more time” has not worked in the
past, has it? If you do “find more time” let me know
where you found it so that I and all my clients could
have some of your extra time for ourselves. Instead of
waiting until you have more time or finding some extra
time laying around some where, book an appointment with
yourself to straighten the living room, purge your files
or clean out your purse.
- What times of the day or week are most likely to be a
time to check your files, calendar, to-do lists, etc.?
Now write that task into your calendar as if it is a
date with yourself because it is. Without a written
appointment, you won’t think about it.
- Notice how long it takes to clean or straighten. Can
you set a timer and knock a few minutes off that time?
Now book that time into your calendar. Depending on
what needs organizing, you might be able to stay
organized with 15 minutes increments a day or with
one hour on Friday afternoons. You might like to take
a Saturday in the office once a quarter. The
maintenance schedule has to work for you.
I am collecting questions from last month’s and this
month’s newsletters (Susan@BossWoman.org) and will
answer them in a future issue.
Get a system, work a system. Make it
2. BossWoman coaching
About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a
professional coach, speaker, author and seminar
leader. She loves to coach women who want
- work-life balance,
- career transitions,
- building your business or practice,
- time management,
- increasing productivity.
If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal
life, give Susan a call for a complementary
half-hour coaching session.
She provides keynotes and seminars to business
and organizations on the topics of:
- leadership strategies for women,
- work-life balance,
She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching
session because she knows that workshops don’t
Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or
seminar needs at Susan@BossWoman.org or at
3. Up and coming workshops
I have booked a number of work/life balance workshops
for the winter that are not open to the public.
Contact me if your group needs a speaker on any of the
topics listed above.
Title: “Happiness is an Inside Job: Creating Lives
of Joy, Hope & Grace”
Date: March 3, 2006; Soup 6:00; Speaker 7-7:45
Place: St. Joseph Parish (Sykesville, MD)
Registration, fee, and directions: Andrea Springer
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© Copyright 2006 Susan Robison. All rights reserved.
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