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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!
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Archive for the ‘Organize’ Category

Making New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, January 12, 2015 @ 05:01 PM
posted by admin

The word resolve comes from the Latin verb solvere which means to loosen or to dissolve. In modern terms, we’ve stretched this definition to mean taking on a big or tough project and little by little “dissolving” it. Resolve also has a second meaning: to make clear and unambiguous, to bring to conclusion. Here the emphasis is on focusing in on the exact outcome you want. Taking both meanings together, you can craft some pretty potent resolutions.

Let’s say you want to get organized. Focus in on exactly what you mean by get organized. Maybe it’s to dig out of a complex, disorganized physical mess. Maybe you want to develop regular, long-term habits and routines that keep you on top of things. Or perhaps your resolution is to become a better time manager. Focus first; then dissolve it, break it down: Square foot by square foot, habit by habit and daily plan by daily plan.

Realize that many resolutions require behavioral changes over time. Such changes always work best when you get some help. Find a supportive, non-judgmental family member or friend to help you with your resolve, or consider hiring a professional organizer or an organizing coach at www.napo.net.

Resolving to Get Rid of Your Stuff

High on the list of New Year’s resolutions is getting rid of excess stuff. For many disorganized people, this is not as easy as it sounds. Some people lack information about the many options available for getting rid of stuff. Others just can’t seem to get the logistics to line up including finding the time, applying the effort, or preparing stuff to go. Most, I think, get stuck on the decision-making process itself.

I developed a set of Get Rid of Your Stuff flashcards. Because they are colorful, graphic and tactile (as well as informative) the flashcards give disorganized folks a simple tool for making what I call “de-acquisition” decisions.  “The flashcards helped me learn all the different ways to get rid of stuff,” my client said. “Donations, eBay, CraigsList, consignments, yard sales, giving things away for free to family or strangers – the list goes on and on.”

Professional organizers use them out in the field to help sort stuff, improve decision making, discuss de-acquisition options, and plan the logistics. But the flashcards are designed for anybody who wants to reduce clutter. They make excellent gifts and can be ordered at www.squallpress.net.

Resolving to Plan Your Digital Estate

Recently, I addressed the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM). My AADMM colleagues report that estate planning is high up on their clients’ resolution lists. I’m not a money manager, accountant, tax or financial professional of any kind, so it’s not my role to give you specific advice about your estate. But I would like to tell you a story by way of introducing you to digital estate planning.

My client Maxine died suddenly. I was helping organize her digital and tangible documents. Maxine’s executor notified the banks and other financial institutions of her death. But there were passwords and user codes and security questions to answer to access Maxine’s accounts that took weeks of hard work to untangle. And just when the family thought the estate was well on its way being settled, digital assets emerged. There was a web-only checking account Maxine had in the cloud with no paper trail and a PayPal account without any hardcopy statements.

We all have tangible and digital assets and information. I read about a guy who owned a “digital sword” he purchased for $17,000 to play high-stakes, international video games and legally it was considered an estate asset. I’d like to suggest in 2015, that you:

  • Create a password-protected document (like an Excel spreadsheet) of your login information so your executor and family can settle your account with less fuss and muss. In addition to your online accounts, consider “invisible” (web-only) accounts like Emigrant Direct and Voya and other places money might stowed, like PayPal accounts.
  • Next, inventory your digital assets and list how to gain access to them. Include the aforementioned accounts plus Bitcoins, royalties you may have coming in from the sale of eBooks on Kindle and Nook, seller’s accounts you might have with eBay, digital swords – you’d be surprised how many assets you have when you sit down and think about it. Even your domain name might have value to your estate. Find out at sedo.com.
  • Consider the Excel spreadsheet or other document you create a part of your final documents. Lock it down with a password, disclosed only to your executor, of at least 15 mixed characters and numbers. Keep a hardcopy with your Will. Download it to a flash drive and hand it to your executor. Keep a copy for yourself on a flash drive and consider not having a copy on your hard drive at all. Some folks also like to store a copy in the cloud at www.legacylocker or www.finaldeparture.com.

Watch for my Digital Estate Planning Kit at year’s end. Meanwhile, you can download a free Digital Estate Plan checklist at www.squallpress.net

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What Neuroscience tells us about Getting Organized

Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 10:10 AM
posted by admin

Excerpt from the Washington Post

We’ve all heard the conventional wisdom for better managing our time and organizing our professional and personal lives. Don’t try to multitask. Turn the email and Facebook alerts off to help stay focused. Make separate to-do lists for tasks that require a few minutes, a few hours and long-term planning.

But what’s grounded in real evidence and what’s not? In his new book The Organized Mind, Daniel Levitin — a McGill University professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience — explores how having a basic understanding of the way the brain works can help us think about organizing our homes, our businesses, our time and even our schools in an age of information overload.

Click here to read the interview with Levitin about why multi-tasking never works, what images of good leaders’ brains actually look like, and why email and Twitter are so incredibly addicting.

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Getting Organized Podcast

Monday, November 4, 2013 @ 02:11 PM
posted by admin

Judith Kolberg is a pioneer in the field of chronic disorganization and in this interview with Francis Wade she shares the key insights from her book – Getting Organizing in the Era of Endless: What to do when information, interruption, work and stuff are endless but time is not!

Listen in to learn how to manage the excesses and downside of endless information, interruption, work, and stuff, while reclaiming your time.

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An Interview With Judith Kolberg

Friday, September 20, 2013 @ 11:09 AM
posted by admin

BY CLUTTER INTERRUPTED  ·  SEPTEMBER 18, 2013

Did you know…

  • Judith Kolberg’s books have sold over a quarter million copies.
  • There is a sheik in Saudi Arabia who orders many of Judith Kolberg’s books every year.
  • The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) has a “Judith Kolberg” Award.
  • Judith enjoys woods, oceans and mountains far from her computer.

Clutter Interrupted Radio episode #120 is about adults with chronic disorganization and/or ADD. Judith gives fascinating and helpful information that gives us a sense of hope as she reassures us that there is no shame in chronic disorganization and ADD. She shares strategies and little tricks to implement into your daily life that will help your situation.

You are reading this at this time in your life for a reason!

Click here to hear the interview.

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Newly Released Book by Judith Kolberg

Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 01:05 PM
posted by admin

“Getting Organized in the Era of Endless”

We live in the Era of Endless, confronted by infinite information, incessant interruptions, constant distractions, unending work, and boundless stuff. All this ‘endlessness’ butts up against the one thing that remains intractably finite – TIME. In this book you will find brand new, simple, and effective organizing strategies and solutions appropriate to the Era of Endless. Manage the excesses and downside of endless information, interruption, work, and stuff! And reclaim your time!

Order your book today.

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Decision-Making in the Era of Endless

Monday, August 6, 2012 @ 02:08 PM
posted by admin

Decision-making is a great life skill. Decisions move myriad little daily tasks along to accomplishment, allow us to make progress on complex projects, and keep us on the path toward goal achievement.

Chronically disorganized (CD) people love the thrill of the hunt for information to help them make a decision, but the activity of actually making decisions — not so much of a thrill there. And now that we are living in the era of endless information, the hunt for information can undermine decision-making even more. Truly, we can search the bottomless pit of information endlessly and still there would be more.

Information Clutter

“I’ve got to decide what my students need to read each semester,” says “Lisa,” a college professor. Lisa prepares her students’ reading list by reading academic journal articles, reviewing e-books, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and reading blogs.

“I love this part, the actual hunting down of information,” Lisa says. “It’s like being on a safari.” She’s so afraid she’ll miss something vital to her students’ education that she endlessly prepares right up to the deadline when the course curriculum and reading list are due. “I run out of time to decide what to include and exclude because I get so caught up in the search. It’s always so stressful.”

Another woman spends as much time researching a new backpack for her child as she does his summer camp.

Quoting psychologist Kent Berridge in an article on Slate, Emily Yoffe writes, “[Information addicts] become obsessively driven to seek [a] reward [on the Internet], even as the reward itself becomes progressively less rewarding once obtained. … [W]e find ourselves letting one Google search lead to another. … ‘[T]he consumption renews the appetite.’

Just sitting in front of a screen can be a burst of a pleasurable mood for some of our clients (a “dopamine squirt,” I’ve heard it called). And then there is all that wonderful “serendipity information,” the accidental and incidental good stuff our chronically disorganized clients encounter on the way to what it is they are looking for.

Are We Done Yet?

Endless information can also cause some people to freeze altogether when it comes to decisions. Many people, CD or not, often choose the default 401(k) plan at work or automatically renew a health insurance policy without considering alternatives because “there is just too much information.”

Endlessly adding data, more information, and inputs leaves us precious little time to stand back; and it is this standing-back, this bit of pull-back, that allows us a little cognitive space for judgment to be applied so we can tell if we’re “done.” Being done is increasingly a moving target when comprehensive information knows no bounds and there are so many decisions to make.

So what are some organizational moves to enhance your ability to make decisions?

  • Research/search in proportion to the consequences or risk. A wrong decision about a backpack has much less consequence than a summer camp, so devote less time to it and be a little more proportional in time and effort based on the risk involved.
  • Set “done” or “enough” ahead of time. Set a quantitative limit (rather than a qualitative limit) to your informational pursuits (for example, three hours of research, three different brands of backpacks, and five camp selections).
  • Pull-back. After amassing information for a project or assignment, plan time to pull back, assess what you have, figure out what’s missing, and fill in the gaps, rather than just going and going.
  • Decision-making “freeze” and default decision-making can be the result of a deadline’s approach. Add more lead time to your projects. It may be hard to estimate how long it takes to search and digest information.
  • Offload serendipity information and save it to the side to look at later so you won’t be distracted from the main search, research, or informational hunt.

And finally, be at peace with your decisions. Making decisions large and small, living with those decisions, and moving onto the next decision is healthy.

If you are paralyzed by decision-making, live in fear of making a wrong decision, or are obsessed about finding just the right information, seek the advice of an experienced ICD professional organizer or a counselor with anxiety specialization.

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