Friday, January 18, 2019

You Don't Need a File Cabinet to BE organized!


The other day a client was downsizing and was worrying about where to put the large file cabinet that had dominated their spaces for years.  The dread they felt showed on their face as they looked and realized that there was simply nowhere to put it.  Confidently, I assured them that they didn’t need the old, cumbersome file cabinet.  They protested, wondering aloud just how they could become organized without their trusty file cabinet.  They thought they needed it to have any hope at an orderly life.  However, this person had combined an organized life with an organization tool.  Organization comes from within, not from neat bins, sturdy shelving units, or color-coated labels. 

Certainly, a file cabinet that dominates an office is not a prerequisite for organization in all aspects of life, or even in a room.  For those with limited space, big, heavy file cabinets are not even a viable option, as this person discovered.  In fact, tools meant to keep you organized can even have the opposite effect as people become tempted to store more paper or items as they become more efficient at packing them away.  Sometimes, the answer isn’t a big file cabinet, but fewer papers.  Not more storage space, but less stuff.  Not even better time management, but less on the mind.

All too often, people don’t realize that a professional organizer can only do so much.  Organizers can organize spaces and things, but not necessarily people, not always.  Yes, organizers are working with people, but usually only on moving, arranging, and removing items.  No matter how many appointments or tips people are given, they will not be truly organized and have inner peace within themselves until they realize that organization is not just about the possessions, but the process, the mindset.  Order can lead to disorder rather quickly without the right habits and maintenance.  Organization is a way of operating, a way of life.  This is ultimately a person’s own choice and their choice alone.  As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.

The lesson here is a simple one: organization comes from within, not from a file cabinet.


For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/

978-376-9606

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Financial Routine


Each year, people make New Year’s resolutions, often involving diet, exercise, and money. While organizing can help you achieve your goals in all three areas, this post will focus on addressing money by creating a financial routine to organize your finances and start off the New Year on the right foot.

The keys to success for any resolution are making it automatic and being consistent. In the realm of finances, this means creating a routine that ensures all paperwork and important information is dealt with and retained if necessary. Simple steps each day, week, month, and year will create a consistent and easy to follow financial routine that will relieve you of stress and help avoid confusion and future issues.

Daily

To start, place all receipts, invoices, and payment notifications in a “Bills” folder (or bin) on a daily basis. No matter the importance or amount, doing so will ensure that each piece of paperwork is addressed later and you can get it off your mind for the time being.

Weekly

Pick a day of the week to deal with your paperwork. Some people find it convenient to do so on a Friday to get a good picture of what happened that week, concluding their week by reviewing transactions and paperwork. Others rather deal with these items on Monday so they can relax at the end of the week. Of course, there are then others who prefer to sort through papers on a weekend when they have more time and things are more flexible. No matter which day you choose, stay consistent, and perform the following tasks on the allotted day.

  1. Pay. It is okay if you can’t pay every invoice or bill that week. However, by keeping them all in one place, bills and payments, including partial payments, become easier to track.

  1. Record Payment in a checking register or electronic accounting system such as QuickBooks. Doing so will give you a good overview of accounts and cash flows while ensuring that everything is tracked and accounted for.

  1. File the paper in a “pending” folder. This is a place to store items so that they may be checked later and then either discarded or filed away.

Monthly

On a monthly basis, on the same day as usual during the last week of the month, reconcile the accounts. This means verifying that all receipts are accounted for on statements and ensuring that balances of accounts or amounts owed are accurate. If you need paperwork for taxes, expensing, or returns (especially for large purchases), file it. Otherwise, SHRED the paper!

Yearly

Pull out all of the files and assemble for tax preparation.




For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/

978-376-9606




Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Life Cycle of a Bill


Keeping track of bills and bill payments is often a difficult task.  Managing bills consistently requires a system.  Below is a chart that describes the life cycle of a bill.  This process can be used to ensure that each bill is paid and accounted for properly.


For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/

978-376-9606


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Categorizing Thoughts through Writing


When organizing physical spaces, we focus on categorizing like-items to simplify our lives and make things cleaner, easier to find, and more efficient.  There needs to be a sense of purpose to each space and a clear understanding of what the goal is, which reduces stress and saves time.  Similarly, categorizing thoughts is critical in organizing one’s brain and can have similar benefits as physical organization.

Just like a room can be cluttered, we often find ourselves with cluttered minds.  There are so many duties and obligations to keep track of, but there are also thoughts that are less-task oriented that tend to stick with us, thoughts and feelings that don’t show up on a to-do list or a calendar.  Maybe you have thoughts about your day or feelings about an event or a person that you need to get off your mind.  Something might be bothering your or worrying you, keeping you up at night or distracting you from the task at hand.  The best way to clear head space, to organize your thoughts and free yourself to focus on other aspects of your life, is to write or journal.

There are several benefits to keeping a journal or expressing oneself in other forms of writing.  For starters, writing can be a reflective process that allows you to look back and discover what is going on in your life.  It may help you determine what is truly important to you and help you make sense of your life by allowing you to read your thoughts and feelings and reflect on them.  Or, more simply, writing can give you a new, perhaps more objective, perspective on the world around you.  Emotionally, writing can serve as a tool to internalize events and allow one to come to peace with what has happened to them, positive or negative.  Practically, writing memories can be useful for recalling events and sharing stories with people for years to come and creates room in your mind to take in new information and let go of some of the old, knowing that it is available somewhere for you to come back to if you want it.  Whatever you are writing, the power of putting pen to paper or keyboard to document cannot be underestimated as it has the unique ability of clearing your mind.

Often, people wonder what they should write about.  Well, a great way to get the mental categorization and organization flowing is to start with the physical world.  Something about doing more menial tasks, such as organizing your clothing or cleaning out your garage, can free your mind to wander.  This will often bring different worries, fears, hopes, dreams, and other thoughts to the forefront of you mind, giving you the opportunity to contemplate and maybe write those thoughts down later to address them, confront them, or put them to rest.  Working to organize the physical and mental space in your life can help you to achieve calm and peace while making you happier and more efficient.  Give it a try today, even if you start small, and see the benefits that categorizing your thoughts, in addition to you items, can have on your life.


For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/

978-376-9606

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Processes and People


               Many organizations are successful due to their people, particularly the most specialized and experienced employees or volunteers.  However, there are times when vacations or turnover leave organizations without the knowledge to operate effectively on a day-to-day basis.  Without established processes and procedures for replacements to follow, there is room for confusion and errors that cost time and money.  The key to avoiding the disruption of workflow is to make roles and processes work independently of the personnel as best as possible.
               A great example of the power of processes is what happened this year at Organiz-ER.  When the accountant took an unexpected absence this past year, I was able to step in and carry out some of those duties because of the processes and procedures in place.  Detailed instructions in a procedure manual, in addition to printed instructions in corresponding folders, made it relatively easy for me, and probably anyone familiar with the business, to carry out the basic accounting functions for several weeks.  One tool that made it easy to follow was numbered folders.  Many tasks are complicated and require several steps but numbering the steps in separate folders and leaving detailed instructions on how to perform each step makes even some of the most complicated and foreign tasks manageable to an inexperienced person.
               While there is an initial investment to create policies and procedures, they only need to be written once and revised as needed to be effective in keeping things running smoothly.  It’s an investment that could pay for itself with once absence as processes have the potential to save a replacement worker from spending hours trying to figure out how to perform tasks correctly.  Plus, just one mistake could negatively impact an organization and procedures significantly reduce the chances of error.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/

978-376-9606

Friday, November 2, 2018

Emergency Preparedness



               The recent events of the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions serve as a reminder about how important it is to be prepared for any emergency.  One of our employees happened to be in Andover, Massachusetts the night of the explosions and was stuck in traffic for hours, but he was prepared and had supplies in his car that made the wait manageable.  Whether in your car or in your home, you should be prepared for emergency situations by keeping some basic supplies accessible.

               Due to the chance of car problems or inclement weather, it is a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.  Some items to keep in a kit in your car include:
  • Water – an extra bottle or two ensure that you won’t become dehydrated for the duration of an emergency
  • Food – granola bars or other snacks stave off hunger and can help you survive in a survival situation until help arrives
  • Emergency blankets – offer warmth in cold conditions, especially in the winter, if you have to stay in or near your car for an extended period
  • First aid kit – gives you the ability to tend to minor wounds
  • Battery pack – allows you to recharge your phone to be able to contact people
  • Flashlight – provides light to see or signal during the night or in dark places with headlamps offering hands-free light
  • Whistle – to signal for help
  • Multi-tool – you never know when you could use a knife, screwdriver, or other tool
  • Maps – updated maps of the local area can help you navigate when GPS is unavailable
  • Cash – just in case you need to buy something when cards are unavailable
  • Extra clothes – especially socks, jackets, hats, and gloves for cold and wet conditions
  • Hand sanitizer – allows you to disinfect your hands when running water is unavailable


For homes, emergency kits should be more robust.  You want to have supplies for you and your family that will last for several days in case of power outages or other emergencies.  Your home kit should include:

  • Water – about a gallon per person per day with enough to last several days
  • Food – a supply of canned and other non-perishable food to last several days, including baby formula and pet food if needed
  • A can opener!
  • Mess kits – plates, cups, and utensils for eating, disposable or reusable
  • Prescription medications for several days
  • Multi-tool
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Duct tape – good for fixing anything!
  • Battery packs
  • Sleeping bags – provide warmth and ability to bring anywhere for sleeping
  • Matches – allow you to start your own fires for warmth and light
  • Books and games – gives something to keep people, especially children, busy in extended emergency situations
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra clothes


For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/


978-376-9606

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Why Organization Isn’t (Always) Pretty


       Contrary to popular belief, organizing is not always about looks.  Yes, a byproduct of the organization process is the beautification of spaces, but the primary goal of organizing is to make spaces more functional for people.  Having a good-looking place will not necessarily make your life easier or less frustrating, but having a functional place will.  If the kitchen looks pretty, but you can’t find a knife, what good is the space to you?  While making spaces prettier is always a nice benefit of organization and a desire of an organizer, the main focus will always be on customizing spaces so that the users can be more productive and efficient as clutter is minimized and controlled.  After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s important isn’t making a space appealing to the eyes of others, but to oneself.

       In fact, some people are able to operate in seemingly disorganized environments very efficiently.  Organizing is the process of making things easier to find and keep track of, not necessarily making everything picture-perfect.  Often, those seeking organization help are those who are not able to operate in messy or cluttered conditions because they become overwhelmed at the sight or the thought of their surroundings.  While this is certainly understandable, such conditions do not cause everyone to be disorganized or inefficient.  Just like people, spaces are unique and the job of an organizer is to make sure that spaces work for people instead of people working for spaces.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit
http://www.organiz-er.com/

978-376-9606