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A Place for Your Stuff - George Carlin

Getting Organized in the Era of Endless

SQUALL PRESS, the publishing division of FileHeads, is pleased to announce Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not!
Order yours today!

What To Do When You are Overwhelmed and Overloaded: A Get It Done Guide

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 @ 05:06 AM
posted by admin

What To Do When You Are Overwhelmed & Overloaded: A Get It Done Guide | Fileheads.net

These tips originally appeared on ADDitude and were written by Judith Kolberg

You can’t hide from your to-do list forever. Use these 11 strategies for de-cluttering, managing paper, overcoming distractions, and getting things done.

Overcome the Overload

Every day we’re confronted with information, distractions, work and lots of other stuff. Is it a surprise anyone gets anything done, never mind those with attention deficit? People with ADHD are easily overwhelmed by the fast pace and interruptions, so they need some stay-focused strategies to keep them on track. Consider this your “how to get things done” guide.

Capture All That Information

Instead of going crazy trying to write down all those bits of information that come your way, try these solutions:

  • Call important information into your voicemail and leave yourself messages.
  • Convert verbal information into text, using an app like Dragon Dictation.
  • Store your text messages in one place using an app called Treasuremytext.

Finish Something, Anything, Early in the Day

Completing a chore – a small task or something larger that you worked on yesterday – gives you a sense of closure, making the rest of the day meaningful. No matter how the day goes, you can say you got something done, which gives you a sense of satisfaction that will encourage you to keep going the next day.

Get A Grip

If a phone call or a request from your spouse distracts you from a task you’re working on, hold onto a physical artifact to remind you what you were doing. An unopened envelope, for instance, will remind you that you were opening mail before the interruption, and will focus you attention more quickly.

Put It On The Calendar

It’s not enough to write down a task on your to-do list. You have to enter it into your calendar. Assigning a task to a specific day increases your chances of getting it done. With a to-do list only, you have a 40%-50% chance of doing the task. Scheduling the task increases your chances of completing it by 70% or so.

Just Do It

Don’t get overwhelmed about where or when to start a decluttering task. It doesn’t matter where you start; begin at any spot in the room. After you start, continue in some kind of logical order. If you start on the left side of the room, keep going to the left. If you start on the top shelf of a cabinet, work your way down.  There is no ideal way to tack clutter.

Manage the Mail

  • To cut off junk mail at its source, log onto catalogchoice.org and have them alert marketers to stop sending you stuff.
  • Have only one place for the day’s mail to land, maybe the dining room table. Yes, it piles up quickly, but at least you know where it will be when you decide to tackle it.
  • Don’t open junk mail. It can contain four to seven pieces of paper. Junk mail goes, unopened, right into the recycling bin.

Change the Scene

People with ADHD can optimize their focus and attention by doing different tasks in different kind of places. If you have to do your taxes, rent a room in a local hotel for a day or two. You can spread out all the papers and receipts, with fewer distractions that at home. Some people with attention deficit can’t get anything done – studying, writing, reading – in the quiet of a library. Finding a setting like a Starbucks (LINK) with some background noise, will help them be more productive.

Enlist a Support Team

Stop trying to be an ordinary person who keeps it all together in the same way that people without ADHD do. Support might mean another set of hands, someone to keep your morale up or someone to function as a body double. A body double is somebody who is physically present as you do a task but doesn’t to the task with you. Your body double anchors you to the chore at hand.

Switch Up Your Routine Every Quarter

People with ADHD get bored with their routines more quickly than those without the condition. The higher boredom factor keeps them from tackling things they once completed with ease. Routines – whether it’s opening mail, doing dishes or tackling a project at work – can be kept fresh by changing them up every three months. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul, just a tweak.

Play It Loose With Deadlines

Schedule extra time to finish a task. Rather than trying to precisely estimate how lone a task will take, just say, “Screw it. I’m going to need 30 percent more time for everything I plan, no matter what.” Just pick a number: 20% more, 50% more and allot that. The worst that can happen is that you finish it early.

Keep Calm and Carry On

As you start your day, do the first three things that worry you the most to get them off your plate. The internal distraction of worry plays more on people with ADHD than on other people and prevents them from getting things done.  If you do any small part of what is worrying you, chance are you’ll break the anxiety and move forward.


Now available – the revised 2nd edition  ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau which offers the best understanding and solutions for adults with ADD who want to get and stay organized. Readers will enjoy all new content on organizing digital information, managing distractions, organizing finances, and coping with the “black hole” of the Internet. We also offer three levels of strategies and support: self-help, non-professional assistance from family and friends, and professional support; allowing the reader to determine the appropriate level of support. Pick up your copy today.

What To Do When You Are Overwhelmed & Overloaded: A Get It Done Guide | Fileheads.net

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Professional Organizers: The Who, What & Why of the Organizing Industry

Friday, June 2, 2017 @ 05:06 AM
posted by admin

Professional Organizers: The Who, What & Why of the Organizing Industry | Fileheads.net

What Does A Professional Organizer Do?

According to a survey of 1,001 people sponsored by the National Association of Professional Organizers, the public is well-aware of the term “professional organizer”. In fact, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed is familiar with the term*. More than half of those surveyed know professional organizers assisting in both the home and work environments, and the public totally get that they can help reduce clutter, lower stress, and help them find things easier. In fact, 22% of all respondents who’ve never used an organizer’s services would consider hiring one. One of the primary factors that influences this decision is whether their friends or family members saw results when working with a professional organizer.

Why Should You Hire A Professional Organizer?

The tough nuts are those 50% of respondents who have not yet used a professional organizer and are holding back. Why? No, it’s not value. “I think it’s a waste of money” actually comes in fifth place. Is it cost? No, guess again. The number one reason people do not consider hiring a professional organizer is “I can do it myself.” Okay. Have at it. But when your home office explodes or your den has to house your returning adult children, the professional organizer be here for you. The office and den are the most disorganized rooms of a home, according to the survey at 42%, followed by the kitchen (35%), laundry room (33%) and master bedroom (30%).

Who Is Most Likely To Hire A Professional Organizer?

25-34 year olds are most primed to hire a professional organizer, the survey reveals, followed closely by 35-44 year olds. And although the survey does not make it clear what they might need from an organizer that differs from other age groups, we know that these millennials have just surpassed the Baby Boomers in numbers reaching 75.4 million this year. So there’s plenty of organizing business go to around.

Once someone hires an organizer, 73% of respondents with prior use of a professional organizer would hire one again and not just for clutter-control but for the broader benefits of increased safety and security and improved relationships. Who knew? Well, now you know!

Click here for a great infographics with more statistics from this survey.


*Conducted in April, 2016 by NAPO, the first annualPublic Survey is sponsored by the National Association of Professional Organizers. It surveyed 1001 qualified respondents on questions related to residential and office organization, organizing industry awareness, and perceptions of the public to that industry. Qualified respondents are US citizens only, over the age of 25 and who own their own home. For more information about these results, please contact Kahra Buss at kahra.buss@napo.net.

Professional Organizers: The Who, What & Why of the Organizing Industry | Fileheads.net

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What is a Professional Organizer?

Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 05:03 AM
posted by admin

Recently the National Association for Professional Organizers conducted the first annual Public Survey to find out what the public knows about professional organizers and what they think about them.

What they discovered is very interesting. Read more about the results here.

What is a Professional Organizer? | NAPO.net

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Experts Praise ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

Friday, November 18, 2016 @ 06:11 AM
posted by admin

ADD Friendly Ways To Organize Your Life by Professional Organizer Judith Kolberg and Renowned Psychologist Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau

 

 

Recently my co-author Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau and I released a revised addition of our book ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life. With changes in our world since the book was first published in 2002, we felt it was time to update the book to include more information about  organizing digital information, managing distractions, organizing finances, and coping with the “black hole” of the Internet.

We are very honored to have some of the foremost experts in the fields of ADD and ADHD review our book. The response has been overwhelming. Here is what some of the experts are saying about the revised ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life.

“Simply the best book in the field, and not only for people with ADD but for anyone who is overwhelmed.” —Dr. Ned Hallowell, Child & Adult Psychiatrist

 

ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life was a godsend for me when it was first published in 2002…in this new book is the section on getting organized in the digital world. Those chapters alone are worth the price of the book!” —Paul O’Connor, Master Certified ADHD Coach, Secretary, The Professional Association Of ADHD Coaches

Randi Lyman reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhDADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life is a must read for my organizing clients and anyone that faces daily ADHD challenges. This comprehensive, easy to read book is packed full of helpful organizing ideas and strategies.” —Randi Lyman, CPO-CD® and Owner of A Helping Hand

 

 

Sandra Felton reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhD“While reflecting their years of successfully helping ADD clients, [Kolberg and Nadeau] manage to make their up-to-date information not only useful but FUN. Thanks a bunch, you two. It’s good to know somebody understands —and can help. This book does both.” —Sandra Felton The Organizer Lady®, Author of 5 Days to a Clutter Free House, and Founder of Messies Anonymous

 

Hilde Verdijk reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhD“That’s what I love about this book most of all: there is no more ‘waiting to be rescued’, no more excuses to sit back or give up. The simple and attainable strategies will boost our clients’ self-confidence and will help them prosper.” —Hilde Verdijk, CPO-CD®, MRPO®, Yourganize Professional Organizing

 

 

Ellen Delap reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhDADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, 2nd Edition offers even more practical ADHD approaches on paper, digital, and time management situations. The chapter on decision making has especially valuable insights into ways to move into action.” —Ellen R. Delap, CPO®, President-Elect, National Association of Professional Organizers

 

Casey Moore reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhD“Packed with practical solutions and illuminating anecdotes, this new edition of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life is a must-read for those who have ADD and those who work with them.” —Casey Moore, CPO, ACC, The Productivity Coach

 

 

 

Sari Solden reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhD“The new edition of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Kolberg and Nadeau is simply wonderful and I will highly recommend it to all my clients!” —Sari Solden, MS, LMFT, Psychotherapist and Author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys Through ADDulthood

 

 

Kate Varness reviews ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen G. Nadeau, PhD“This is the best book available on organizing with ADD.” —Kate Varness, CPO-CD, COC, MA, Editor of The ICD Guide to Challenging Disorganization: For Professional Organizers

 

 

 

If you would like to see what everyone is talking about especially if you or someone you love struggles with ADD and organizing, pick up your own copy of the ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life book.


The Authors

Professional Organizer and Author Judith KolbergJudith Kolberg formed FileHeads Professional Organizers in 1989. She is the founder of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, the precursor to the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD), a popular international speaker, and is widely recognized as an industry-thought leader. Chronically disorganized people of many stripes have embraced her non-traditional organizing methods as described in her five books, which have sold nearly a half million copies worldwide. Her latest book, Getting Organized in the Era of Endless, addresses the complex area of digital disorganization. Judith has held several leadership positions in the National Association of Professional Organizer (NAPO) and has been awarded the organizing industry’s highest honors. Judith resides in Atlanta, where she takes care of her Mom, sees clients, writes, and blogs.

Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau PhD, ADD Expert and AuthorKathleen G. Nadeau, PhD is a clinical psychologist and director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she continues to practice and provide supervision and training related to ADHD. She has been a leader in the field for the past 20 years, publishing over a dozen books on topics related to ADHD. In 1999, she received the CHADD Hall of Fame Award for her ground-breaking work on women and girls with ADHD. Dr. Nadeau is a frequent lecturer both nationally and internationally and is known for her solution-focused, integrative approach to treating ADHD. She has focused for many years on issues relating to organization, planning, and daily life management challenges faced by individuals with ADHD and first approached professional organizer Judith Kolberg in the late 1990s about the need for an organizing book that specifically addresses the particular challenges faced by adults with ADHD.

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Revised ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life Now Available

Monday, October 31, 2016 @ 05:10 PM
posted by admin

ADD Friendly Ways To Organize Your Life Book | revised edition from Professional Organizer Judith Kolberg and Renowned Psychologist Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau

 

I am so excited to announce that the revised 2nd edition of my book ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, co-authored with Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau is now available.

Our renewed collaboration offers the best understanding and solutions for adults with ADD who want to get and stay organized. Readers will enjoy all new content on organizing digital information, managing distractions, organizing finances, and coping with the “black hole” of the Internet. We also offer three levels of strategies and support: self-help, non-professional assistance from family and friends, and professional support; allowing the reader to determine the appropriate level of support.

Topics covered include:

Part I: Getting Started
1. ADD-Friendly Organizing: A Different Organizing Approach
2. ADD-Friendly Strategies That Work with Your ADD
3. Structure and Support: Creating the Framework for Success

Part II: Taking Charge of ADD
4. Streamline and Simplify: Counteracting Complications
5. ADD Decision Dilemmas
6. B-o- r-i-n-g: Managing Stimulation Hunger and Hyperfocus
7. First Things First: Learning to Prioritize
8. Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Remembering to Remember

Part III: Organizing Things
9. Getting Over Clutter Overwhelm
10. Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome: When You Need to Seek ADD Treatment
11. Packrat Syndrome
12. David’s Garage – When You Need a PO

Part IV: Organizing Time
13. Time Out: Tracking, Estimating and Scheduling Time
14. Overcoming Over- Commitment
15. Plenty-of-Time Thinking: Dealing with Procrastination
16. The State of Rushness

Part V: Organizing Information
17. Hung Up on Hardcopy
18. Backlog Blues

Part VI: Organizing Finances
19. ADD-Friendly Budgeting and Bill Paying
20. ADD-Friendly Long-term Financial Planning

Part VII: Getting Organized in the Digital World
21. Managing Digital Distractions
22. The Internet Black Hole

Part VIII: Conclusion
23. Putting Organizing Ideas into Action

If any of these issues are ones you or a loved one struggles with, I encourage to get your copy today.


The Authors

Judith KolbergProfessional Organizer and Author Judith Kolberg formed FileHeads Professional Organizers in 1989. She is the founder of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, the precursor to the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD), a popular international speaker, and is widely recognized as an industry-thought leader. Chronically disorganized people of many stripes have embraced her non-traditional organizing methods as described in her five books, which have sold nearly a half million copies worldwide. Her latest book, Getting Organized in the Era of Endless, addresses the complex area of digital disorganization. Judith has held several leadership positions in the National Association of Professional Organizer (NAPO) and has been awarded the organizing industry’s highest honors. Judith resides in Atlanta, where she takes care of her Mom, sees clients, writes, and blogs.

 

Dr. Kathleen G. Nadeau PhD, ADD Expert and AuthorKathleen G. Nadeau, PhD is a clinical psychologist and director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she continues to practice and provide supervision and training related to ADHD. She has been a leader in the field for the past 20 years, publishing over a dozen books on topics related to ADHD. In 1999, she received the CHADD Hall of Fame Award for her ground-breaking work on women and girls with ADHD. Dr. Nadeau is a frequent lecturer both nationally and internationally and is known for her solution-focused, integrative approach to treating ADHD. She has focused for many years on issues relating to organization, planning, and daily life management challenges faced by individuals with ADHD and first approached professional organizer Judith Kolberg in the late 1990s about the need for an organizing book that specifically addresses the particular challenges faced by adults with ADHD.

 

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add-book-cover-newThe new edition includes:

  • The latest thinking on executive function
  • New sections on organizing digital information and managing digital distractions
  • Expanded, fresh section on money management
  • ADD-friendly technology tools and apps to organize time, stuff, and information

The expected publication date is September, 2016. To pre-order your signed copy for just $20.00 click here….. You save 20% off the list price!

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The Clutter Tsunami

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 @ 05:02 PM
posted by admin

I recently joined two organizing-industry committees that study organizing trends, and I’ve detected a clutter tsunami coming our way.

  • Aging, first-tier Baby Boomers will continue to downsize now that the housing crisis is over and they are seeking outlets for their excess clutter.
  • Second-tier Baby Boomers, hit hard by economic swings, will cash-in their home equity, shed excess, and become more mobile.
  • Gen Xers, concerned about job security, will want to continue their dominance as home-based business owners in their basements, attics, and rooms left available as their kids go off to college.
  • Gen Y, could well be sandwiched between their Boomer parents and children with all three generations living together in precious space that has no room for clutter.
  • And if you think Gen Z wants to inherit the stuff from other generations, think again. They’re totally into small living quarters, with techy, multi-purpose furnishings unlike their parents or grandparents.

We’ll all need to employ a great number of de-acquisition methods to stop from being carried away in the flood of clutter. That means, not just charitable donations, recycling, and consignment but also using specialty sales sites like moveloot.com for furniture; decluttr.com for games, DVDs, and CDs; thredup.com for clothing; and usell.com for electronics. CraigsList and Freecycle are unbelievably effective in eliminating stuff. Just observe a few common sense safety measures (here and here) before you take advantage of them.

Check out our “Get Rid Of Your Stuff” flashcards to help organize and declutter.

Hey, you don’t need to be great at all these methods. Go to www.napo.net to find a professional organizer who can help you. In Georgia, that would be FileHeads at 404-231-6172, or info@fileheads.net


Digital Estate Planning

It’s a new year. A fresh start. Let’s get your affairs in order. If, God forbid, you suddenly died or became incapacitated, you not only need a Will, a designated Executor and Power of Attorney, and a Living Will, but also a Digital Estate Plan. A Digital Estate Plan:

  • Provides for the safe transference of passwords, user codes and other log-in information to your Executor or other authorized representative.
  • Creates a “paper trail” for online or web-based accounts which often have no statements or paper trail.
  • Accounts for digital assets that might be overlooked by your estate.
  • Records your wishes regarding social media and protects you from unauthorized access by identity thieves and other digital mischief-makers.
  • Centralizes all your digital information in one place.

It’s impossible to put a price on that kind of peace of mind. Let me sit by your side and create your confidential Digital Estate Plan with you for just $250.00*.  On average, it takes about 3 hours to create a Digital Estate Plan if you do a bit of easy preparation before the session (we’ll send you a simple preparation checklist prior to the session.) You can schedule two 1½-hour sessions or one 3-hour session, whatever is convenient for you. Simply shoot me an email to Judith@fileheads.net with ‘DEP’ in the subject line and we’ll nail down a time.

And here’s another benefit. Doing a Digital Estate Plan for yourself positions you to provide Digital Estate Plan services to your clients by becoming a certified Digital Estate Plan Consultant. Contact me at Judith@fileheads.net or 404-226-1381 for more information.

Here is a free Digital Estate Plan checklist to get your new year started right!

*Some Digital Estate Plans are incredibly complex. Some people don’t prepare at all in advance of their session. These factors can result in a higher fee. But you’ll always be informed beforehand if we cannot honor the $250.00 quote.


Getting Kids Organized

Got kids or grandkids that need help with their nascent organizing skills? Start them young! I want to congratulate my colleagues and friends, Diane Quintana and Jonda Beattie, on the publication of their children’s books, Suzie’s Messy Room and Benji’s Messy Room, both available at Amazon.com

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What You Might Forget Before Disaster Strikes

Friday, December 4, 2015 @ 11:12 AM
posted by admin

“When I give disaster preparedness workshops,” says Judith Kolberg, author of “Organize for Disaster,” “I have people write down 10 things they’re going to grab if they have a day’s warning, then narrow it down to five … then narrow it to three. Really know ahead of time what you need to have,” says Kolberg. “If you’re lucky enough to have some warning, you can pull things together … but sometimes you just have seconds or minutes. Knowing ahead of time what’s valuable to you is important.”

It’s important, Kolberg says, to save the details of personal accounts, log-in information, and scanned documents ahead of time. “There’s a whole bunch of stuff on the computer you have to give a little bit of thought to. If you’re a small business owner or work out of your home, you need to have all the [digital files] you would need in order to pick up and start your business again. You can save it with a flash drive.”

Kolberg also recommends uploading important digital collections such as photos or genealogy to the cloud (using sites such as Shutterfly.com for photos or Ancestry.com) and creating a Twitter account if you don’t have one. “It may help you communicate in a disaster.”

Read the full article here.

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Upcoming Events in 2015-2016

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 @ 10:11 AM
posted by admin

Judith Kolberg's Upcoming Events in 2015-2016

The remainder of 2015 and all of 2016 look like they will be busy times here at FilesHeads Professional Organizing and Squall Press. I hope you can join me at some of these upcoming events.

NAPO GA Chapter Meeting

November 10, 2016 – Judith Kolberg will be a panelist at National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Georgia Chapter , ‘Ask The Organizer Panel’ . For more information, contact NAPO GA Professional Development Director, Gigi Miller


Getting Organized in the Era of Endless

January 20, 2016 – Judith Kolberg will present “Getting Organized in the Era of Endless” at ProWin at its 2016 luncheon speakers series. For more information contact Carolyn Briner.


Information Afterlife and the Digital Estate Plan

January 25, 2016 – Judith Kolberg will conduct a webinar for the Professional Organizers of Canada, Cyber Chapter, entitled “Information Afterlife and the Digital Estate Plan”. For more information, contact Julie Stobbe.


Using Self-Talk To Get Organized

April, 2016 – ADDitude Magazine will publish an article called “Using Self-Talk To Get Organized” authored by Judith Kolberg.


NAPO 2016 Annual Conference and Organizing Expo

May 21, 2016, Sheraton Atlanta, Atlanta, GA – Judith Kolberg will present a session entitled “Information Afterlife and the Digital Estate Plan” at the NAPO Annual Conference.


Publish16

Summer, 2016 – Squall Press , a division of FileHeads Professional Organizers, will exhibit at Publish16, sponsored by Booklogix.


ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life – Revised

Sept. 2016 – Squall Press announces the launch of the revised edition of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life premiering at the Decatur Book Festival

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Triage: The New Time Management Skill©

Monday, September 28, 2015 @ 08:09 AM
posted by admin

Triage: The New Time Management Skill © by Judith Kolberg

We live in an era of endless connections, interruptions, distractions and time demands. New tasks come at us at an alarming rate from multiple sources: emails, texts, tweets, calls, friends, fans, family, pings, rings, and vibrations via all sorts of devices. Over the years we’ve developed many ways to cope, capture and conquer the onslaught including urgent and important matrixes , decision-making trees, and prioritization strategies

I would like to propose that the era of endless requires a whole different take on managing our time and tasks, something I call “triaging.”

Triage is a disaster management term. I am a Community Emergency Response Team graduate, which is a civilian disaster preparedness training program. We learn that if adequate resources are available (first responders, medical equipment, trained personnel, etc.), you try to save everyone. But if resources are scarce or limited, ‘triage’ is the process used to quickly sort injured people into groups based on their likely benefit from immediate care. In a hospital emergency room, the people who scream the loudest do not get care first, nor is it allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. A triage nurse quickly assesses who needs urgent care and who can wait because there are never enough resources to treat everyone at the same time.

In the Era of Endless, we need to act like the triage nurse. To some of us triage comes naturally. All day long we’re able to volley the bombardment of incoming messages vying for our attention and mentally shuffle our to-do deck, deciding on the run “do this now,” “this can wait,” or “ok, I was going to do that, but this new thing is more important so now that comes next and I’ll move that other thing lower on the list.” Triaging is based on emotions and intuition. First-responders to a disaster scene will tell you they don’t do a lot of analysis. They simply know how to allocate their resources for maximum effect for the greatest number of people. If you don’t have the triage instincts of a first responder, here are some triaging tips:

Go with your gut

David Allen, the productivity expert, observes, “Prioritize [or in this case, triage – JK] according to energy, mood, intuition, and emotion. Learn to listen to and trust your heart. Or your intuition, or your gut or the seat of your pants or whatever anatomy is the source of that mysteriously wonderful ‘still, small voice’ that somehow knows you better than you do, and knows what is better for you than you do. LISTEN to it…take the risk to move on your best guess, pay attention to the results and course-correct as you keep moving along.”

Verbalize your to-do list

Say what you are thinking out loud. This can be very clarifying. If a task sounds important as you say it aloud, there’s a good chance you’ve made the right call.

Alleviate worry and guilt

“I make a careful To-Do list. I prioritize it every day. I assign A, B, and C to each task and integrate new tasks as soon as I learn of them. Then, when I wake up in the morning, I totally ignore my list and do the two tasks that immediately alleviate worrying whether they’re on my list or not,” a client tells me. Dispelling worry is a great use of your limited time. It clears the head and frees you from emotional drains that will thwart all your other work. Like assuaging worry, doing tasks that free you from guilt will also allow you to focus on other work.

Stop the bleeding and open up the airways

Disaster victims in need of complex medical attention beyond available resources are tagged or located to a special area until more medical help arrives. But first their bleeding is stopped and their airways opened. In organizing terms, stopping the bleeding and opening up the airways means doing the most effective thing possible in the time available to you. You won’t be able to complete a complex project all at once, but there’s always something you can do to be effective. That might mean initiating a meeting, developing an action plan, holding a brainstorming session, or doing something as simple as sending a well-crafted email or making a concise phone call.

Triaging incoming messages, time demands and information is not a perfect analogy to the kind of triaging done in disaster management, but I think it begins to move us to another model of time management better suited for the times we live in.

 

Getting Organized in the Era of Endless by Judith KolbergIf you want to learn more about how our world has changed into one full of infinite information, constant distractions and boundless stuff, I recommend my book Getting Organized in the Era of Endless: What to Do When Information, Interruption, Work and Stuff are Endless But Time is Not.

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Future Sense and the Rise of Time Management: Part I

Time Management and War: Part II

Post-Clock Time Management©: Part III

 

Calendar of Upcoming Organizing Events

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH.

Professional Organizers of Canada, Virtual Chapter, January, 2016

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA

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