The blog

What a Difference a Weekend Can Make!

organizing-paper-at-home-ebI recently received this email from a reader who did more than just read  Less Clutter More Life and Organizing Paper @ Home — she took action!  Here’s what she wrote:

“I had a wonderful weekend, and you were no small part of it. I committed to finishing the paper project that I started, and I did it! Here are the overall highlights, in no particular order:

  • ALL paper throughout the house has been rounded up and processed.
  • I took two lawn & leaf bags of shredding to Staples on Saturday.
  • I eliminated the need for 1 four-drawer filing cabinet. Now, everything fits in one small filing cabinet that holds our printer.
  • The day bed in our office is now entirely clear and is once again a perfect reading spot.
  • Our dining room table and kitchen peninsula are now free from piles of paper.
  • The File Index is great! It helped me so much to organize files in my head. At first, I worked with a draft. As I started processing the papers, it became obvious that I needed to modify the index. Having it on the computer made the process so simple. I was able to print labels for the folders once.
  • And my husband and I both know where things are!”

In the few days since I completed the project, I am already reaping the rewards. Last evening after dinner, I went back to the office to read a book with my little dog. The best part was that I had no guilt about the chaos surrounding me. Do I have things to do around the house? Yes, of course. But I know when I’m going to work on them.

The 7 Information Management Questions

Your ability to accomplish any task or goal is directly related to your ability to find what you need when you need it.  The next time you experience poor customer service, ask yourself “What information was needed that the customer service provider didn’t have?”   This article outlines The 7 Information Management Questions EVERY business needs to answer to provide great customer service.  http://www.articleweekly.com/barbara-hemphill/how-companies-thrive-in-the-digital-age/

 

 

10 Tips to Turn Your Clutter Into Someone Else’s Blessing

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1. Start with your own stuff and don’t tell anyone what you are doing. Be a LeadHer by example.
2. If you don’t feel you can do it alone, invite a friend to join you. As my mother always said, “More hands make lighter work.” Offer to do the same for her. You may even have a child who is naturally organized, and would love the opportunity.
3. Decide whether it would easier for you to do a little at a time – or set aside a larger block of time for sorting. Either works!
4. Identify places that would appreciate having what you don’t need. Our county has a non-profit that helps victims of domestic violence.
5. Before you begin, get a trash bag, for those things no one needs, and paper and marking pens.
6. For every hour of organizing, allow ten minutes for “clean-up.” Set a timer as a reminder!
7. Go through the area you have identified and ask, “Does this ______ help me accomplish my work or enjoy my life?” If your answer is “Not really,” you have an opportunity for a blessing.
8. If you’re still not sure whether to keep something, ask “What’s the worst possible thing that would happen if I got rid of this, and I was wrong?” If you can live with your answer, let it go. If you’re still not sure, don’t stop – just go on to something else, and keep asking.
9. If you find something that belongs somewhere else, don’t go there – just put it in a pile to take when you are finished. Make a sign to indicate destination.
10. Before you go to your next activity, make a date with yourself to tackle the next cluttered area. Once you have gone through all the areas in your home, you can sustain your success by making it an annual event.

Drawing by Myers Taylor

Sometimes clutter comes in small boxes…

IMG_1029This week I was planning a luncheon for my husband’s cousin’s 86th birthday. All of the attendees are women who enjoy food, and especially trying something new — not a thrill for my husband whose philosophy is “Why mess with a good thing?” I thought of all the recipes in my recipe box that I hadn’t tried for years — decades in some cases, so I decided this was a good opportunity to take a look at what I was saving. As I began browsing through the recipe box, I realized that the majority of the recipes I would never make again. A few I could toss easily, but others were more difficult — not because I would use them, but because of the memories…

I frequently tell my clients that I teach what I have learned, or in many cases, am still learning. I realized the recipe box was another great place to apply the principles of Less Clutter More Life. I didn’t actually do the math, but I’m sure it was a great illustration of “80% of what we keep we never use.” I decided to do what I recommend: start by doing what is easy. The first ones to go were the those made with Jello — a popular ingredient of recipes when I was growing up on the farm, but not something I would do today. Then there were the ones I would never make now because I can buy them from the store 10 minutes away, probably for less than it would cost me to make them. (Quite different from the farm where the nearest grocery store was 20 minutes away and not open 24 hours!)

The box is less than half full now. I’m sure there are many that I’ll never use, but I’m not ready to let go yet. I think of my own advice: “You can keep everything you want if you’re willing to pay the price: time, space, money and energy.” And for now, I am. I’m sure that at some point in the future, I’ll be ready to let go of more. In the meantime, I found the recipe for “Summer Corn Casserole” made with fresh kernals of corn, radishes, and scallions. Everyone loved it.

What Message Are You Communicating?

IMG_1955Recently I was talking with a woman who made the difficult decision to leave her corporate job after 20+ years to begin a consulting business of her own.  She was considering joining our training program to become a Certified Productive Environment Specialist (www.BecomeaSpecialist.com). As I was explaining how our program works, I mentioned that my personal passion is “helping leaders create Productive Environments — intentional settings in which everyone can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives.”  I mentioned that in my experience many leaders (especially entrepreneurs!) have messy offices.  As a result they communicate to their employees that organization is not important, and even worse, fail to empower those employees to implement the very systems that would increase profit, productivity, and peace of mind.  She replied, “You’re absolutely right.  My boss’s office was always a mess, and I often wondered how he could run a business if he couldn’t even organize his own desk!”

That’s the bad news.  The good news!  After 30+ years, I have scores of testimonials from clients who have discovered that if they are willing to invest eight hours of focused attention with one of our consultants to implement The 8-Hour Miracle™, not only can they be a role model for organization, but they can empower their employees to do the same.

What message is your office sending to your employees, your team, your family, the world?  Does your office reflect the quality of products and services you provide?
If not, click on this link to schedule a 30-minute phone consultation to see how we can help:  www.vcita.com/v/barbarahemphill

 

 

Clearing = Releasing = Freeing my Soul

Today’s task was clearing the back room of the studio. I have been here four years and it is time to make a move. As happens, the back room has accumulated all manner and assortment of leftovers and duplicates and fragments of projects completed yet needed for future possibilities. How to organize them? How to retain them in a useful manner for future reference and utility? Which ones can simply be tossed? It is so freeing making the decisions. The result, ClearView = releasing=more time for Life and opening to what is Next!
Clearing

Top Layer of Desk Finished: A New Focus Emerges

Now on to decluttering my schedule and focusing on the choices of how I spend my time, my energy and realize my intentions. It has taken a month of consistent focus an hour or two at a time to get through the top layer on my desk.  I am grateful for the progress and the renewed energy and excitement for life I feel and now my camera has a clear home for its time in my life.

Here too, uncovered, are two books loaned to me by my dear friend and covey consultant Andrea Blum Edwards. I took their courses and  a software partnership with Franklin Covey years ago. Now I am continuing along the path of assisting others to realize their leadership  goals. It is time for me to apply myself to help improve what matters for our world to thrive.

Books