In with the New – Out with the Old



Christmas is past and if your house is like ours, gifts were received. Some of the items I received were kitchen items I had been wanting. A couple of lovely glass pie plates, a grater, and some measuring spoons are now put away in my kitchen. I also received some CDs and books. My husband received some clothing items as well as books.

Now, here is the idea. The glass pie plates will take the place of some old metal pie tins, the grater replaces the one so old that I should probably donate it to the Smithsonian. In other words as the new items are put away in my kitchen, the old ones disappear. I do not save them “just in case” I will need them someday. I only allow so many CDs and books on my shelves so for each new one in, an old one will leave my home. New clothes  in – some old clothes gone.

My challenge to you is that as you put away your new, wonderful gifts you see what items you can now donate or in my case some were just trashed (who would want a grater that had to be cleaned and oiled before each use?). By New Year you will open up space in your home for the abundance of the upcoming year.

Happy New Year!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

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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Resilience

One of the presentations I attended at the NAPO conference was Boost Your Resilience by Dean M. Becker. I like to share the great ideas from conference with others.
Our constantly changing environment, demands of our jobs, and the tough economy cause stress and anxiety. So what skills do we need to do better and feel better in this environment? Dean’s statement “More than education, more than experience, more than training, it’s resilience that determines who succeeds and who fails.”
He pointed out what resilience is not-(see picture). Doing the same things over and over again and expecting something different is not being resilient. Trying to solve the unsolvable is not resilience. Giving up too soon is not resilience.
He goes on to say that “The scientific research also shows that more than genetics, more than intelligence, more than any other factor, it is the Thinking Style that determines who is resilient and who is not.”
One of the big take aways from all this is that events do not directly impact what we do. It is our thoughts after an event that influence what we do. Your thoughts impact how you feel and react.
My challenge to you is to be aware of your thoughts when you encounter stress. I would love to hear your experiences on this topic.

Jonda S. BeattieProfessional Organizer

Clean out your closet week

The third week in March is “Clean out your closet” week. (The first week in March was National Procrastination week- but I put off too long to talk about that.)
Since this month, my zone is the living room I am going to clean out my living room coat closet. One of the things that bugs me the most is the way the shelf looks. I also don’t like the way my overnight/carry on bags are stored or the backpack on the floor. The box on the floor does not look great either but that is the box the cats retreat to when they want to hide or sulk so it will have to stay. I would like my closet to look neat and well…..organized. I want to feel that all items are at my fingertips and not crowded.
My closet is used to store outerwear– coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves; emergency equipment- a flashlight and my grab and go bag; geocaching materials – the backpack, the walking stick, and GPS; keys- for neighbors and for locked windows; bags- both the 2 good cloth ones I use for travel, a net one for sending items home with friends, and some good paper bags with handles; the cat hiding box; and wrapping paper/ribbon.. I feel that all of these items make sense in this closet and will stay.
Saturday, I plan to take all the items out of the closet, sort like items with like items, and wash the interior of the closet. I plan to look for containers for some of the items on the shelf and perhaps a hook for the backpack. I plan to complete this small project in one day.
As with any organizing project- I have gone through my motivation, my vision, my brainstorm list, my end goal, and the implementation steps. My maintenance on this closet is yearly- when I do my living room zone.
What closet will you tackle this week?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Priorities

There is never enough time. Our days and weeks start off with good intentions but we never seem to get it all done.
I have come to live with that. What I must do is sometime during that day or week or month or year is make some priorities. I will spend so much time on a project and then just let it go. I must have time for other things in my life.
Tonight I stopped working on NAPO business because my brother was in town from Ohio to attend a conference. We had made plans to have supper together and that is what we did. We had a nice, long leisurely supper where we talked about our lives, our dreams, and our future plans-and our priorities.
This coming week, my sister Ann ( in picture) is celebrating a special birthday. Her daughter has arranged for family to get together for a 3 day cruise to celebrate. I am behind in my work but you better believe I am going.
This Sunday I am taking the time to give a birthday party to a special friend of mine who is turning 80. I don’t have time to do a lot of preparation, but the party will happen and her friends will come to my house and we will celebrate.
I love my work. I love my family. I love my friends. I love myself. The list goes on. It is important to have time to honor all the things we care about. It’s hard to keep life balanced and at times some parts of our life demand more than their fair share of our time. That’s OK as long as eventually we get back to a more balanced allocation of our time.
There is never enough time. Let’s make the best use of what we have. It’s all about priorities.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Overdue book


They say it takes as long to birth a book as a baby. Well, I’m about 4 months overdue and feeling the pressure. This baby.. er book has got to be delivered this month. With any luck it will be at the printers by next week. I’m excited about the prospect but nervous as well. I’ll want to look it over carefully to see that all the parts are there and that nothing is wrong. I dream that it will grow up to be useful to a lot of people. I want to watch over it but let it stand on its own as well.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it certainly has taken a village to get this book up and running. My goals group has been with me and encouraging me from the beginning – helping me make decisions about the cover and letting me bounce content ideas off of them. Judith Kolberg has been coaching and teaching me almost from gestation. Sue Clements has been proofing the progress. Brenda Sanders (my graphic designer) has been there for the last months before delivery. Eagle Eye Bookstore is going to give it it’s Christening Party…
I hope all of my friends will welcome it into their homes!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Organizing the Workshop

This past month one of my organizational zones was my workshop. I give it a good sort/purge/clean once a year. I always kind of dread this area because it seems to look so cluttered and disorganized after a year. First you put an item in there after a project-“just for now.” Then you toss in some items that you have been carrying in the trunk of your car because you need the space for a project. Then it is difficult to get the ladder back where it belongs so you just lean it against the wall by the door. I swear to you- clutter breeds in the night.
But, once I get into the project and bring most of the items outside and sort them by type (gardening tools, dirt, potting soil, container mix, planting pots on one side along with house hold repair items like paint and painting tools, caulk, extra tiles nearby and on the other side-carpentry tools and my bike, party supplies like extra chairs and a table in the center) with a heavy duty bag for trash and a box for items to recycle, things start to roll. I knock down the cobwebs, sweep out the floor and start to put things back in. I have a zone in my workshop for each type of activity. I have shelves, pegboard, and hooks and containers. I know where things go. It really only takes a few hours and makes me feel so happy that it’s done.
Maintenance is the key and once a year does keep it from being really out of control.
Next month- the kitchen.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Why are people disorganized?

I specialize in clients who are going through transitions and I find that most, if not all, of my clients have been organized (or at least more organized) at some point in their lives. Some of those organized patterns still are there (one reason I always ask clients, “What’s working for you right now?”) So, what happened? For most clients there have been “life events.” These can be huge like babies, starting new jobs, divorce, major illnesses, deaths of loved ones. They can be a series of smaller events like special projects, inheritances, redecorating, school seasons, holidays. The organizational system they had that worked before the event does not work as well now. Maybe they have less strength or memory. Maybe there are now other people involved. We all move back and forth between being organized and not so organized. The greater the life changes and the longer the problem is not addressed, the harder it is to get organized again. So, what’s the answer to this problem? First, taking an analysis of what is causing the mess or disorganization to happen. Then, finding the simplest system that works for the current set of circumstances. Practicing that system and tweaking it to make it work. Remembering to do constant maintenance. Getting help when you need it. 🙂

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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It’s easier being the Organizer than the Client

Here is a picture of me making progress on my inbox. Laura Ray (lauraray@bellsouth.net) is great. She is so very patient. I learned a couple of neat tricks that really make me feel better about keeping up with emails that I am saving while getting them out of my inbox. I have doable homework. I have managed to drop about 150 emails out of my inbox. I was supposed to spend an hour on Monday working on my homework. It was 8:00 pm before I could even think about it due to a morning meeting and afternoon client. A half hour was all I could manage. But with some tips she gave me I did manage to drop over a 100 during that time. She also gave me good advice about my bookmarking. She followed up with me today and I had to call her back while in the car on the way to a client and report my minimal progress. Like many of my clients, I want it to be much better much faster. This has been a great experience for me in many ways. It puts me in the shoes of many of my clients and while I felt I was always sympathetic and understanding, now I really feel their pain. However, “Slow and steady wins the race”. I do want this done and I know that I can do it. It might take another session with Laura Ray though.

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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