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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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Posts Tagged ‘organizing’

Ready for Disaster?

Thursday, September 24, 2015 @ 06:09 AM
posted by admin

Are You Ready for a Disaster? What you might be overlooking by Judith Kolberg

Recently I was interviewed by Bonnie McCarthy of the Los Angeles Times for National Preparedness Month. Along with 2 other experts I shared my thoughts on a few things that you might overlook when preparing for an emergency or disaster. You can read the article in its entirety here.

 

Organize for Disaster by Judith Kolberg, fileheads.net

 

If you want to learn more ways to protect your family and home in the event of a disaster, I recommend my book, Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home for Any Natural or Unnatural Disaster.

 

 

Other articles you may enjoy

What We Are Most Likely To Forget During A Disaster

Creating Your Digital Estate Plan

 

 

 

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Information Junkies

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 @ 03:07 PM
posted by admin

My client, Ann client calls her husband Joe “an information junkie.” Ann needed a new car and Joe was eager to help her find one. He researched consumer reports. Joe asked his online friends, fans and followers what they thought of particular vehicles. He watched Youtube videos of the cars in action and set up Google alerts. Joe amassed an enormous amount of information. Ann says “Joe keeps thinking there is just a little bit more information out there to find and we’ll know exactly which car to buy.” He’s right. There is a little bit more information, in fact, there is no end to the information that can be found to answer a question, solve a problem, make a point or satisfy a curiosity.  The problem for Ann is that Joe’s “help” delays her car purchase. “He doesn’t know how to stop”, Ann says.

And as if endless information were not enough, it turns out that Joe is turned-on by information. What do I mean? Information turn-on is like gambling. My mother loves to gamble. On her 91st birthday, we went to Harrah’s Cherokee casino. They play a sound track of coins tumbling out of the machines: ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching. Just the sound of money plopping out entices Mom to sit at that machine. She’s hooked. When a person gambles, the brain releases dopamine, a neurochemical that the brain loves like your tongue likes sugar. Turns out that the tendency to pursue new information has a similar effect. The ping of a text or bing of an incoming email can light up parts of the brain once thought only to be ignited by drugs, sex and gambling.

If you don’t know when to stop or tend to fall into the black hole of the Internet, here are some tips for you:

Tips for Information Junkies

  • Learn how to search more efficiently. Go to www.google.com/insidesearch/tipstricks/basics.html to brush up.
  • Your social network will be full of opinions so limit this kind of input.
  • Choose two or three professional sources and/or experts (who are not paid for their opinion.)
  • Make your search well-rounded and then STOP. Well-rounded might include several live experts, up to three authoritative blogs or podcasts, and a few choice YouTube videos plus your Internet search.
  • Set a time limit for your research/search.

And remember, since there is no end to the amount of information, points of view, perspectives, arguments, “facts” and claims you can gather from others, at some point, you need to draw your own conclusion, formulate an opinion, or make a decision. These are great stopping points.

A professional organizer can help you organize your search, set goals, and manage your time. You can find one at www.napo.net .

If you cannot stop, are neglecting your time with your live family and friends, or have a high dose of perfectionism, consult a professional counselor.

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Reining in Information Turn-on Teleclass

Thursday, January 30, 2014 @ 03:01 PM
posted by allisoncarter

Wednesday March 19, 2014, 8pm-9pm ET       Price: $79.00

We are overwhelmed by information and yet many of us can’t seem to get enough of it!  In this teleclass, you’ll hear the latest research about why information turns us on and makes us seek even more. Information turn-on can be especially harmful in the era of endless information in which we live because it can diminish productivity, steal precious time away from other activities, and overwhelm us. You’ll learn how to assess information turn-on in your life, methods to help filter information, who to determine when ‘enough is enough’, how to implement ‘the new stopping points’, and social media rules of engagement. These new skills are practical and easy to implement.  (For those in the organizing trade, assessing and addressing information turn-on can be directly transferred to your clients, increasing your service offerings, and enhancing your unique value.)

** Classes are recorded. Registrants have access to mp3 audio recordings of each class in case you miss one!

Add Class to Cart – click HERE

View Cart – click HERE

See other classes

Coping with Endless Connectivity, March 20, 2014

Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning, April 17, 2014

We’re All Time Managers, April 23, 2014

Organizing in the Era of Endless, 4 Teleclass Series

Any questions, please contact our Teleclass Techie, Allison Carter, at theorganizer@gmail.com, or call (678) 439-8866

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Endless Connectivity

Thursday, January 30, 2014 @ 03:01 PM
posted by admin

Coping with Endless Connectivity Teleclass
Thursday March 20, 2014, 8pm – 9pm ET       Price: $79.00

We are wirelessly tethered 24/7 to family, friends, fans, co-workers, customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, and perfect and imperfect strangers. The overall effect of endless connectivity is to blur the line between work and leisure. Even leisure-like activities like sharing family videos on Facebook, commenting on blogs, and following people on Twitter all take time. Time lost to endless connectivity includes family time, face-time, and real-time leisure. A Family Technology Policy helps you balance digital activities with non-digital activities, sets boundaries for the use of the devices inside of family life, and reclaims real-time activities. Every family is different. These guidelines will enable you to custom-build a Family Technology Policy.  (For those in the organizing trade, creating a family technology policy can be directly transferred to your clients, increasing your service offerings, and enhancing your unique value.)

** Classes are recorded. Registrants have access to mp3 audio recordings of each class in case you miss one!

Register for Coping with Endless Connectivity Teleclass

Add to Cart

View Cart

See all other classes:

Reining in Information Turn-on, March 19, 2014

Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning, April 17, 2014

We’re All Time Managers, April 23, 2014

Organizing in the Era of Endless, 4 Teleclass Series

Any questions, please contact our Teleclass Techie, Allison Carter, at theorganizer@gmail.com,
or call (678) 439-8866

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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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How To ‘Stop’ In an Era of Endless

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 @ 06:04 AM
posted by admin

My client, Lisa does not know how to stop. Lisa is a 39-year old university professor.  Like most professors, when it is time to prepare her student’s reading list, she reviews hundreds of books and academic journal articles. That was overwhelming enough, but to ‘keep up’ now, she also has to go through videos, podcasts, and blogs. “I’m afraid I’ll miss something really vital to their education”, Lisa says. She researches and prepares, prepares and researches until the final deadline for submitting the reading list looms close and large. “I have no idea when to stop because I have no idea when I’m done,” Lisa confesses.

It’s a common complaint these days. In the era of endless, information is infinite, but time is not. Time is finite. So at some point quantity has to be qualified.  What is a sufficient quantity to sift thru? How much is enough to qualitatively satisfy a need? It’s increasingly difficult to know.  Too Big To Know by David Weinberger traces the history of facts as they evolved from scarce, isolated foundations of finite bodies of knowledge to the present day where knowledge and facts are common, group-oriented, and readily available.  The concept of rare has gone away in an era of endless when things are equally and endlessly available.

If you find it difficult to stop, here are some tactics you can use:

  • Practice the Law of Diminishing Returns which is the tendency for a continuing effort toward a particular goal to decline in effectiveness after a certain level of result has been achieved. Or, as a client in Houston once put it, Stop when the lemonade ain’t worth the squeeze.

My client Debra is an HR director for a law firm. Her job is to find qualified prospective attorneys to work for the firm. The longer she keeps looking, the more the open post continues to go unfulfilled. The other attorneys have to add more work to their plate to cover for the unfulfilled position, and the as-yet unhired attorney’s contributions are forestalled. Debra says, “It’s just not worth it to the company for me to keep going and going and going with my recruitment efforts.”

  • Spell ‘done’ out ahead of time. Debra decided to prospect the 10 best candidates as a result of her best efforts exerted over 30 days. Any more effort applied actually diminishes the return.
  • Keep in mind that progress towards closure is a quality of life issue. It is good for your mental health to complete things. David Allen, of Getting Things Done fame rightly observes that, “When we spend a lot of psychic energy on half-closed loops, on things left undone, we waste time and energy that could be put to better use elsewhere.”
  • Ask yourself, outloud, what are the 2 things I can do right now to bring this task/project to closure, to get it off my to do list? It might be to make a call, find something on the web, get a question answered, or take even a small action towards closure.
  • Close before you open especially in the morning.  Finishing something early in the day builds a “meaning reservoir”, an expert on obsessive behavior once told me. Completing just one thing early in the day can give meaning to the entire day.
  • Focus on one or two big wins for the day.
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Work Creep

Friday, January 27, 2012 @ 12:01 PM
posted by admin

A day is still 24 hours long yet there are features of modern work that seem to bend a day a little bit farther over its natural edges, a phenomena I call ‘work creep.” In the name of greater productivity, there are out-of-office conference calls, weekend team building trips, shifts to cover, and time zone differences. ‘ Technology has made it possible to work without an office, without a supervisor, and without regard for time of day. In the absence of absolute clarity about the boundaries of work, the line between our working lives and our non-working life is blurred, and discretionary time is disappearing altogether. 62% of at-work email users check work email over the weekend. 50% check email on vacation. In 2009 Americans threw away 465 million vacation days. And 40-hours is rapidly becoming the new part-time. Add to this mix, the fact that we are in a deep recession where the expectation of working longer hours is the norm, and its no wonder we find it hard to find the time to anything but work.

As a professional organizer and time management expert, I tell my clients that I will find them more time, but not to invest into more work. Instead it will be leisure time that we will actually put into their schedule to rest, relax and recreate. Here is where that time can be found:

  • Use Skpe, web-based meeting programs, and phone to limit face-to-face meetings.
  • Agendize business phone calls, all meetings, and interactions. Write a teeny agenda of what to cover, ask, solve or do at those interactions.
  • Delegate to the machines. Taking time to learn how to optimally use your smartphone, tablet, web tools, software and apps can be a huge return on investment in terms of time you save.
  • Limit social media usage to a hour at a time. Set an alarm. Get up, walk, and then before setting the alarm for the next hour, decide if you can knock off.
  • Schedule leisure, rest, relaxation, and every other kind of downtime. It may sound counter-intuitive to your sense of spontaneity and fun but you’ll find you have the best of both worlds: spontaneity and planned non-work time.

Need more help? Contact a professional organizer who can show you how to manage your time to combat work creep.

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Closure

Friday, November 25, 2011 @ 11:11 AM
posted by admin

In a world of endlessly available, unlimited information, it is not so easy to know when a job has been completed and has come to closure. If you’re doing research, how do you know when you’re done especially when there is so much more information ‘out there’ that could be incorporated into your findings? How in-depth or thorough does a report need to be before it can be considered done? Unlike other kinds of work, knowledge work requires judgment and experience to determine when you have reached the point of diminishing returns where additional work will not add enough value to justify the cost, effort and time. Closure has come to mean not so much when something is ‘finished” as when the tendency for a continuing effort toward a particular goal actually causes effectiveness to decline after a certain level of result has been achieved.

My client Marsha is in HR, charged with ‘prospecting for the best legal talent available’, one of those knowledge work kind of assignments that can go on forever. “I never knew when enough was enough. I attended recruitment fairs, interacted on social media, prospected at law school events…there just seemed no end to the work.” Meanwhile, all that time prospecting for a new attorney meant the open post continued to go unfilled, the other attorneys had to add more work to their plate, and the yet unhired attorney’s contributions was forestalled. “It’s just not worth it to the company for me to keep trying to find the perfect candidates. I’m done when I prospect what I think are the best 25 candidates a month.”

Another factor that affects closure (finishing or completing something) is the extent to which one is taken off task by an interruption or distraction Each day a typical office employee checks e-mail 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to RescueTime, a firm that develops time-management and tracking software. So defend your right to concentrate. If you truly need to close the door, turn off the cell, and leave email unattended for 3 hours, do it. A recent Harvard University study of 600 managers found that the most significant factor in their perception of their best work days were the days when they made progress, the days they were able to move work forward to closure. Their findings are in a new book called The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer. I have a client who puts yellow crime scene tape across her cubby office opening. She doesn’t have a door but the message is clear. Don’t disturb her till the tape comes down. Many companies have a “no devices in this meetings” policy. Find a place to hide where you can concentrate.

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“I Was Here” – A Universal Organizing Principle

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 @ 12:03 PM
posted by admin

I recently traveled to The Netherlands to address organizers from throughout the region. In Amsterdam, a city crisscrossed by small bridges over canals, I saw graffiti, in particular the ubiquitous “I was here” post written in Dutch. I’ve seen that graffiti expression in every city I have ever been in. One day I was organizing with Mary, a chronically disorganized retired teacher. Teachers have lots of excess stuff, especially older teachers who entered their careers before the internet was commonly utilized. Like many disorganized people, Mary has a lot of incomplete projects. She has kept a great deal of teaching materials now obsolete. She has saved student essays and writing projects, and hundreds of magazines about teachers.  While we were rummaging through her stuff,  I was reminded of that graffiti.

I believe that some people with lots of clutter find it difficult to discard because tossing it out undermines the sentiment “I was here.” I believe they are saying, “I was here. I became a teacher. I influenced all these kids. I did not finish everything I set out to do, but I had dreams.” I believe what looks like simple stacks of papers and piles of stuff to others, is actually the human need to be acknowledged, to say “I was here.” At the conference in The Netherlands, I presented this idea and it was received very well. Perhaps this is a universal organizing principle, that we keep stuff that is representative of our hopes and dreams, efforts and even failures out of a human need to chronicle being here.

If you are similar to Mary, someone whose disorganization is tied up with memories and the past with no room for the future, let this idea sink in. Realize that your clutter makes perfect sense as an attempt to be acknowledged. Then, when you are ready, I encourage you to find a way to honor your dreams and efforts and achievements without drowning yourself in the remnants of them. For instance, Mary and I gathered a few items from her teaching career: a photo of her students, her “best teacher” award, and a framed essay from a favorite student. We put them together on a pretty table with fresh flowers. Then we tossed out all the obsolete materials, and made room for the next chapter in her life. It was not easy. It took time. We had to stop now and then for Mary to process the emotional reactions she had to opening up not just boxes, but memories. She needed to tell stories and relive the past a bit. And retirement, the ending of a an entire career can be tough. But it was worth it. “I can move on now. I’m ready for the next chapter of my life”, Mary observed when we’d gotten things in better order.

You can find more organizing methods like this one that are compassionate and non-judgmental in Conquering Chronic Disorganization . And I look forward to hearing from you on what you might think about the relationship between universal needs and organization/disorganization.

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