Tag Archive: categorize

Getting Organized in the New Year

February 4th, 2019

I imagine I am not alone in thinking about getting organized in the New Year. My 4th grade teacher told my mom that I was the most organized child she had ever seen (far more organized than most adults she knew, even though she owned a business and was in politics in addition to teaching). Given that endorsement, I knew I better get back to living up to my 4th grade teacher’s praises.  So, after returning from Arizona where my mom and I organized a major portion of the house that required focused attention (since my dad passed away a few years ago) I decided I’d return to organization by early January. I am >90% there!

Why does being organized matter? I have found that you are faster, on top of critical topics and focused when organized. As my mom used to complain about her situation, she would have a piece of paper one minute, walk into another room, and it would disappear. Now she is talking about “everything having a place”. It could save you countless hours over the course of a year. Do you have extra time to look for papers or files? Worse yet, are you satisfied providing less than optimal answers and responses because you can’t find it?

One tip to implement this week:
As much as I enjoy that my 4th grade teacher appreciated my organization, it isn’t rocket science. Do you categorize information so that you can find it later? If it is in the computer, is it searchable by key word? Try using easy systems a 4th grader would understand. Color code so you can find what you need easily. Clean up your area so you don’t have to go through sift through clutter. Get rid of junk. If you haven’t used it for a year, do you really think you’ll use it now? Actually one of my global consulting strategy group members prompted me into action on this topic. His garage was more organized than anything I have ever seen. I figured the least I could do was get my work area into good shape after seeing his garage!

Don’t be afraid to spend wisely. My APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors group has APICS-IE emails; however, they forwarded to our personal emails. One of our key members changed jobs at the end of the year.  That prompted us to decide we should upgrade to Microsoft 365 so that we would have a natural archive (and don’t need to spend hours looking for invoices, class rosters and the like in mountains of emails). Worse yet, if someone was sick or changed jobs and didn’t send the files to another board member, we would lose critical information. We are organizing as well! The same is true for the storage of files. If you can’t easily access files, search and upload/download, is the $16 you save really worth it?  NO!

Start small and find a relevant pile and organize it. These “small things” add up. Soon, you’ll have saved a week. By the end of the year, perhaps you’ll have saved a month! Imagine what you’ll do with the extra time.

 



Organization Essential to Strategic Focus

August 8th, 2013
Order from Chaos with Lisa Anderson, LMA Consulting Group

Bring order to chaos – organize and redefine your priorities.

Organization is one of the key tenets required to be successful with an eagle eye strategic focus so that you can rapidly assess strategic priorities. I’ve yet to run across an organization with just the right amount of priorities – have you? Here are a few strategies to improve your organizational abilities:

1. Keep lists – don’t get caught up in the latest techno gadget on how to track your to-do list; instead, just make sure to keep a simple to-do list. If your list is long, put a star by the items required immediately. I find it to be simple yet invaluable.

2. Keep a calendar – again, it doesn’t matter whether it is a piece of paper or on a cell phone – each will work effectively or become a total waste, depending on how it’s used. I prefer using a calendar on my phone; however, I’ve found it depends completely on the person as to what is most effective.

The most important factor is to keep your calendar updated and accessible. Do not over-schedule your time – add time between appointments, for breaks, etc.

3. Categorize – One way to organize is to find ways to categorize – develop categories and use them as it makes sense for grouping like-items together for quicker and more efficient decision making and follow-up. For example, consider storing your documents by the project, type, follow-up date etc. – choose a method that works for you.

4. Make it visual – one of the concepts of lean is also critical for organization – making it visual. Contrary to popular theory, consider NOT putting all your papers away in files/ drawers. As soon as I put something away, it’s forgotten. Instead, prioritize and keep at least the upcoming, critical priorities with associated paperwork in clear sight. Track progress visually as well.

5. The environment – yes, it is true that a clean and well lit environment is more conducive to success. There is no need to go overboard though – focus on your environment to the degree that you can find what you need when you need it. And, it might be surprising but good lighting can make a huge difference.

6. Accountability – as usual for achieving success, create an environment of accountability.