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.

Sometimes as a leader we are so focused on others and it is time to do something for yourself. This works!

IBQ0JRFef2wXXO9hapEAF0J0AOnHCEiz9SXeaCISXDYBarbara and I were speaking the other day and she asked me, “Louise, how can I communicate to entrepreneurial leaders that they need to do the 8 hour miracle – I have an easier time getting them to pay for the training than to get them to complete it – what is the block? Can you help me figure it out?“ I am a good example. Barbara and I have known each other for 20 years and for 20 years I thought I understood her approach and that I could do it, but that I just hadn’t taken the time to do it for myself. I had resisted Barbara’s teaching over the years thinking that I understood it and could do it myself anytime that I wanted to, but that other things were simply more important right now. Each successive moment of other things being more important, continuing for years and years on end.

My epiphany came while helping Barbara to create this book, while sitting for hours with her words and my images working on the design and layout and sequence and taking the time to feel which image was needed to reach the emotional block corresponding to each pages’ words and stories. Often accomplished Entrepreneurs and Leaders, we spend so much time in our heads, focusing on solving business problems, helping and guiding others’ work and building others’ systems, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Our offices can be a mess, but our companies can run smoothly. The mess however takes a toll on our psyches…the hidden cost. It wasn’t important enough. Something else was always more important.

Finally, I agreed to experience the 8 hour miracle myself. Barbara and I did it over the phone. I had my assistant, April, here with me, and we tackled the creation of the system that would work for my home office. It isn’t the thinking about it, but the doing it, and having the help of someone to do it with you, that makes the difference. Barbara is able to work with strong-minded individuals to help them see what they didn’t see – that actually we are better together, and that how we care for ourselves and do the things that we need, supports us to do our work better.

I feel a weight lifted to know that everything I had in my papers strewn on my desk, beneath my desk, and across the piles in the house, is now on action and reference lists, and indexed so that I can find and work with anything in seconds. We aren’t done, as I still have a few boxes under the desk to process and take through the system we have established, but each day, or week, I end by completing and taking the ten minutes to put things where they need to go, to maintain the system. I feel lighter, free-er, en-abled and my spirit lifts in joy.

Take the time for you!

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/

 

 

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

Sometimes the Simple System Simply Works

Three days ago I created a new system for the items in my life that need handling and that I am afraid my “over 50” year old brain otherwise will forget; Today I got the first payoff!   I had fashioned a clear protective pouch for my daily tote bag that holds two copies of our book just in case they are needed as I am out in meetings, and also holds the three or four crucial pieces of paper that I need to have to hand depending on where I am during the week.  In the past, I have created stress for myself by worrying about whether I would remember to do a particular task, and so it occurred to me, how can I create a system that does NOT rely on my remembering in the moment, but will ensure that I will still have the item when I need it?  I created the protective pouch by adding sturdy electrical tape to close the long edge of a 8.5×11 plastic sheet protector. I had put the smog renewal in the pocket. I was afraid that even though I would take my car in for the repair I would forget about asking them to do the smog test. I did not remember to ask them, as I had expected, but when it came to my new habit of putting the important papers in the same pouch, I was delighted to discover the smog paper!  Yes, I exclaimed to all there, the system worked!

Working System

Little by Little, The Clutter Clears

Pace yourself.  I have set every Thursday to be the day to clear the next portion.  When it has taken a while to pile up, it takes a little while to work through and release.  But ah, l am so enjoying the peace and clarity of the left side of my desk and the beautiful colors revealed in its place – the right side of my desk is waiting for next thursday.  Check back then:)

Before                                                                                  After

Beforeafter