Power Office

One of the presentations given at the NAPO conference this year was on Creating a Power Office by Judith Lubowicki, CPO. She defines a Power Office as one that: contains systems that are flexible and expandable; contains work areas that are unclogged and easily accessible; contains systems that are clear to everyone; contains processes that can be duplicated easily; and contains tasks, routines, and maintenance that are planned-not left to chance.
The two I would like to discuss are systems that are flexible and expandable and having tasks, routines, maintenance that is planned.
We often set up our office and expect it to stay that way. Well, life happens and things change so our office must be able to change to meet the new circumstances. My business is steadily growing, so each year when I reconfigure my office I have to deal with the past year’s growth and leave room for new growth. As my files grow and get more complicated, I need more file storage. I now file archival materials in another room. Activity and projects are in files and binders in my bookcase. I color code my files so that I can easily refile and if a file is out I know exactly where its home is located. I have finance files, active client files, nonactive client files, activities, projects, reference, and product instructions/manuals/warranties. Items I need everyday I can reach without leaving my chair. I already have plans for January when I revisit my office zone again.
The other challenge is that we often don’t plan and schedule routine and boring tasks and we just leave them to chance. We need to schedule these tasks on our calendar. While not fun to do, it makes the workspace so much more enjoyable to use and will save us time in the long run. I do a yearly reconfiguration but weekly and daily maintenance tasks like clearing the desk, putting away random folders, and filing.
Let me know your office challenge!

Jonda S. BeattieProfessional Organizer

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Tax folder

This month the working zone is the office. Now is the time you clear out and update all of your files in this area. One of the files you should have is a tax file folder. I suggest that it is a bright color or at least a different color than your other folders. I also like this folder to be either the first or last folder in the drawer. All through the year as anything comes into your office that relates to your taxes you just drop it into this folder. If you have a business and keep up with receipts for your business, you might want an envelope for each month to hold the receipts. Other items you might drop in the folder are your monthly mortgage statements (if you get a cumulative one at the end of the year then you can let the others go), Ad Valorem tax receipt, monthly statements for brokerage accounts, bank statements, HUD settlement statement if purchasing or selling a house, receipts for home purchases that may qualify for energy credits or any major home improvement, college tuition and child care receipts, receipts for charitable contributions, and your end of year-last paycheck stub. About now all of your tax statements are arriving so drop them in too.
When it is time to do your taxes or gather the material for your accountant, you pull out your folder and look over last years tax form to see if you have everything. If you start this folder now (and mine already has items in it for 2010 taxes), life will be much simpler next tax season.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Office zone

January is the perfect month to organize your office zone. I organize my office every January. By the time a year has passed, it really needs a new look and feel. First I reflect on how I want my office to look and feel for the coming year. I also reflect on what worked last year and what isn’t working so well now in my space.
Personally, I want an uncluttered yet warm look. I want to see things that remind me of my yearly goals. I want to feel on top of my business and life when I am working in my office. I want my current work to be at my fingertips. I want clear open spaces and uncluttered, uncrowded files.
How am I going to make this happen? This month has 5 weekends. The first weekend I cleared away my Christmas decorations so now I have 4 left. My office has 4 walls. Each weekend I will divide my office into a wall section and analyze and attack that section. This first week I will tackle the wall that has my desk. I will clear everything off and out of my desk and give it a good cleaning. Then I will decide what goes back into the desk and what gets purged. My files will get cleaned out. Many items will be archived elsewhere and therefore my file drawers will have room again for new material. I will celebrate by putting fresh flowers on my desk and next week I will tackle another wall zone. By the end of the month, my office zone will be fresh and ready for the new year.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Toxic Inbox

One of the sessions I attended at the NAPO conference was on “Detox Your Inbox”. I know I have a real problem with my inbox. I found that I was one of those people who use the inbox as a “to do” list. I realized that letting my inbox get in this shape is as bad as letting mail stack up on my table. For some reason I am very good about taking care of my mail each day- but my inbox! – not so much. Just imagine 495 pieces of mail on my table. I learned that my email usually falls into different areas like projects, appointments, contact information, communication, tasks, and archives. Just as I have my clients use action files for their mail I need to set up folders for my email. Just as my clients can be overwhelmed by their backlog of paperwork- I am overwhelmed by my backlog on my computer. So- what to do? I have asked for help from a Professional Organizer. Laura Ray (lauraray@bellsouth.net– 404-630-7212) is scheduled to come work with me. I know I will be able to maintain it once she helps me set it up. She will soothe my fears that I will not lose the information I need to keep. She will help me decide what I can let go. I will feel so much lighter after our session.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Mission Accomplished

The off site office storage problem is now solved. It took two trips to the Container Store to get it right but now all of my tools, little used files, supplies, presentation materials, and NAPO in the Schools materials are neatly stored away. The first go round I had to stack things on top of my drill and knew that would eventually frustrate me so I made another trip back to the store and got another short shelf to go over the drill to hold the items that had been stacked. Now the black drill case will slip our easily and my tool kit, bits, and hardware are on the shelf below. The small hanging bar holds my flip charts. I love to just go into the room and look at it.

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The Challenge

Here is my challenge. I have a closet in the spare bedroom with some clothes and some of my business items that I rarely used stuffed in it as well. Now I have also brought in more items from the office. I want my office to be open and uncluttered so I have purged some items from that room but I still need them. I have chosen items and files that I rarely use as well as extra printed material to also store in this closet. I have also brought some tools that I occasionally use on jobs that have been stored in the coat closet in my living room.
I want this closet to be well organized and easily assessable. I want to be able to pull out my drill without moving other items to get to it. I want to be able to look in my presentation files without bending over. I want my storage boxes to be labeled so that I don’t have to open and look into the brown boxes to see what is in them. I have made a plan and have bought the shelving. This week will be the challenge of making my plan work. I know that the clothes must go elsewhere and I have a plan for that. This closet will just be for my business. Stay tuned for the next update

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Making Room for Growth

My goal by the end of January was to have my office reorganized for the coming year. As business grows and files increase, the office begins to feel crowded. I start to have more file boxes or portable files on the floor. My desk gets harder to keep clear. I have now purged my files. I have taken some and put in a plastic file box for archives. I have deleted or compressed some files. I have taken some items that I use rarely out of this office space. I have rearranged items on my bookcases to make a more current and open look. Some more art work was added.I enjoy coming into my office again. Now one of my goals for next month is to redo a closet in the guest room to become my “off site” storage for some of those items I have removed but still need. I will draw up a plan this weekend and run off to the Container Store while the sale on elfa shelving is still going on. I am now excited about the next step. I’ll keep you posted.

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home office organization

To keep my home organized, decluttered, and inventoried I divide my house up into zones and tackle a zone each month. January is home office month and at this very moment my office looks like a bomb exploded in it. I am tearing things up and moving things around. Because business is growing and because I continue to learn and bring in more idea files my office was busting at the seams. I am in the process of taking some less used material and some archival files and moving them to a closet in the spare bedroom. I plan (when that zone appears on my radar) to redo that closet with Elfa shelving that would be suitable (will buy the shelving soon though to get that 30% discount). My desk and file drawers are complete but the rest is still in flux. I hope to get another big chunk done this weekend. I am pretty excited about the expected results. I need the breathing room.

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mission statements

I developed a mission statement when I began my business and updated it this year. My mission statement simply says that my mission is:
“helping people navigate through life changes by offering a supportive and structures approach to organizing time and space and developing skills to manage the changes in their time and space”
I have not had a lot of experience in developing mission statements and would be interested on comments on my statement or with people sharing their statements.