Getting Organized for Artistics (and everyone else)

January 23, 2008 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Bria, career, life, management, time management, writing | 2 Comments
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The first thing I’d like to clear up is the organization. Being organized does not equal being neat.

I have seen many managers who keep a clean desk and are yet the least organized people in the company. Conversely, sometimes the person with the most chaotic office is the most organized.

Here’s the question: Can you find it or do things get lost or slip through the cracks.

The new year comes and people generally want to do one of three things: Lose weight, Get out of debt, or Get Organized.

OK, STOP! Do not rush out to ikea or Staples to purchase every organizing gadget that catches your eye – Filing systems, organizers, sorters, planners. . . .so many fun things. And yet, just because it sells well and looks nice does not mean it’s your friend.

So, how do you get organized?

The first step is to figure out how you work. Let’s take keeping a planner as our example. I have to versions of work habits to rely on depending on what the company I’m consulting with is like.

The first version is your standard Franklin Covey organizing conventions– this is the one most people are familiar with – prioritize your to do list, put it in order, schedule them.

The second version is something called Do It Now. Sounds like it could never work, right? But I’ve worked in environments where I was doing less project work and more coaching/consulting – things turned at the drop of a hat, people waited until issues became emergencies, the company may be international and you know if you don’t talk to that person in Asia now, you aren’t sure when you’ll get another chance.

So, which works best in your environment?

Now, lets talk about spatial organizing? If you hate filing – filing isn’t going to work for you. Some people stack and need little shelves, others file and need an extra cabinet – one of my friends stole a brilliant idea from his auto shop. He clipped all the pertinent info, contacts, timelines, etc for each project with a large binder clip. Then he put stickpins in the wall and hung each project on a stickpin. The next one in line was the next priority. Nothing was lost, nothing fell through the cracks and he kept with my one simple rule:

The Hit By A Bus rule.

I don’t care if my mangers’ offices look like a tornado hit them – if they’re messy and that’s how they get the most done, fine (as long as clients don’t see it.) BUT, if there’s an emergency, the immediate work or contacts must be easily found. I need to know where things stand, what needs to be done, and who to contact.

OK, but what about all this stuff I’ve bought over the years – I don’t want it to go to waste.

A couple years ago I through a party – sorry, I didn’t know you then or I would have invited you. It was a swap party, with a twist.

Everyone had to do a look at their organizing tools, put aside everything that wasn’t working for them, and make a list of what would work for them.

They all joined me for pizza and tool swapping. You had to leave what wasn’t working and you could only take stuff that was on your list – The party was a hit. The success of the new tools was a hit. Everything left over got donated – WHY? Because trying to work with the wrong organizing tools is as useless as trying to fix a car with a plane tool kit – it slows you down and creates more work than it solves.

So, what issues are you struggling with organizing?

Get them out there, out of the way and then Go Write,




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  1. I guess I’m not as organized as I used to be. Things have started falling through the cracks. I’m a piler and stacker and as soon as anything is out of sight, it’s out of mind. I need to find a nice lateral file, though where I’ll put it I don’t know. I love online billpay through my bank — that solved many issues!

  2. OH, online bill paying is so my friend. I also know someone that joined one of those companies that made all her bills due on the same day – it pays them for her and then she pays in – there’s a percentage thing, but to her it’s worth it

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