Professional Organizing Tips and Resources.
The following post is from a blog post by 'AboutOne.com'
I was happy to be chosen as one of the organizers featured on this site.
If you want to learn more about me, what I do and why it matters to my clients, read on...
How long have you been a Productivity Consultant/Professional Organizer and what inspired you to start?
I started working on my business while I was still employed as a Receptionist/Office Admin back in 2008. By the time I was laid off I was ready to get going and eager to help as many people and professionals as I could. I flew solo and so it was a slow climb to bring the business up, yet with the support of my special man I now look forward to growing my business more and more and helping people achieve their dreams too. I also have used coaching as a way to build up my strengths and confidence. What inspired me to start this business was witnessing tremendous losses in some of the larger companies I was employed for. As they struggled with poor organization my heart was breaking. Although the losses I saw were high I grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of support from owners and managers and so decided that my talent and passion would be better served helping those that saw the value in it and understood that there was a ‘Cost for Disorganization’. There is a real need for the services we provide, especially now in a world where people and organizations are bombarded with information, paper and stuff. It can be hard to keep up and having organizational, office and computer skills really helps me find solutions for clients quickly. I love what I do!
What is your specialty area or focus in your business?
As I really enjoy flexing my 22 years of office and customer service skills, I do have a niche for business organizing. After becoming a Toastmaster and receiving my CC designation I also found I enjoy speaking, although currently I focus on building on my file management products and performing in a hands-on capacity, I have and will continue to seek out opportunities to speak and present.
Have you always been organized or did you have to learn it?
When I was little I suspect I was like most kids that let their rooms get messy. However what I enjoyed doing was whenever it reached a certain point I would perform a ‘clean sweep’. Basically ripping everything out of the corners, doing all the wash, cleaning the counters, organizing and purging my belongings and then very carefully putting it all back perfectly! It took most of the day yet I enjoyed it and felt great when everything was ‘in order’. As for my paper, file and email management skills, I was always good and keeping things in order and even from the early days of working I was always quickly placed in a position of responsibility. I found my passion was always to time myself and try to get better at what I did, never sacrificing details. I am extremely detail orientated, yet I balance it with the knowledge that it’s not always about perfection.
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your organization?
Yes! Following creative urges! As ideas, projects and opportunities come my way, when I see a chance to create something, especially something on the computer, like a spreadsheet or creative piece, I can get wrapped up in it pretty fast. This tendency although not affecting my space or desk can creep up on me and cause me to try to do too many things at once. I am educating myself on ADHD to enable me to help more people deal with ‘Distraction’ and as I learn more I find I can relate to this disorder in many ways. Lucky for me organizing is a compulsive habit and I know many strategies to help me stay on track also, so I do ok to manage these urges and my actions.
What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you or your clients better organized?
Oh that’s such a great question! Thanks for asking. For me I think it really all starts with making decisions fast and getting time and tasks managed. If you don’t have this under control, the rest is hard to commit too. Getting tasks written down into a ‘Time Matrix’ style To Do list and keeping your tasks and time managed on multiple levels, meaning using your To Do lists in conjunction with your calendar, goal lists and breaking down larger tasks, is key in my opinion. Learning to ‘making decisions’ on everything as soon as it crosses your path, goes hand-in-hand of course.
Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you organized, didn’t – or vice versa?
Sometimes with projects I have used certain planning tools that don’t always end up being the right fit for the job. For example on some past projects I started by using a task breakdown form, much like the style I provide as a gift to my readers. Yet on some projects I find that as I get into the details, a Gantt style planner can work better. It’s live and learn sometimes.
What is the most common organizing challenge people have?
Not being able to make decisions, and putting things ‘here for now’. This challenge stems from various reasons, or shall I say ‘Obstacles’ that people may have. Mainly I see it is due to what I will call ‘technical error’ as they don’t have a ‘home’ for the item set up. Sometime the obstacle leading to this challenge can be related to fears or even perfectionism, yet anyway we slice it learning to make objective decisions about what we keep, where we keep it and whether or not we act on it is very important in my opinion.
Are there any books on organizing or productivity that you would recommend?
Some of my favorite reads are; Organizing From the Inside Out – by Julie Morgenstern, Time Management From the Inside Out – by Julie Morgenstern, ON TRACK: Taking Meetings From Good to Great – by Leslie Bendaly, Get Your Act Together, A 7 day get organized program – by Pam Young & Peggy Jones, The Disorganized Mind; Coaching your ADHD brain to take control of your time, tasks & talents – by Nancy A Ratey, Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder – by Susan C. Pinsky, Showing Clutter the Door – by Susan Borax and Heather Knittel.
Anything else you would like to add?
Absolutely. First, thank you for this opportunity. Getting the word out about our industry and what we can do to fulfill the needs of many people suffering, bound by clutter and lacking productivity is very important. I strongly believe that the life we have is valuable and should be enjoyed as much as possible and if ‘stuff’ is in the way, we can help clear it and make room for ‘happy’ instead.
I also wish to share my thoughts on letting go of guilt. I find that some people dealing with clutter and disorganization feel embarrassed, and may think no one else is that disorganized. Yet, the fact is clutter is more common than many believe. Almost everyone I meet knows someone that has an issue with clutter in at least one area of their life. We live in a society that encourages us to shop and buy all sorts of things, even when there is no real need. As professionals we are not here to make anyone feel embarrassed about their clutter. We are there to help them clear it. After all it’s what we love to do.
Need help organizing? Michelle serves the Carleton Place, Lanark County and Ottawa areas.