Free Me From Chaos!

What happens when you can’t find your glasses, keys or those important phone numbers?

You may experience immediate panic, anxiety and noticeable stress, frantically digging through stacks of paperwork and belongings, opening every drawer in sight. You may be talking to yourself as if you would hear an answer! “They were here … I saw them yesterday. Now, I’ll be late …”.

More than ever before, products (tools) are available to help you become “more organized,” but once purchased, who will teach you the “right” way to use them? TV shows, newspapers and magazine articles and the Yellow Pages have introduced an innovative service — the Professional Organizer.

During my 20 years in the corporate world, it became apparent that my organizational skills were beneficial to others. Co-workers and the companies, as well, often needed assistance with filing systems, procedures, space and time management.

Since 1984, as a Professional Organizing Consultant, I have applied intuitive and learned skills to perform hands-on organizing and coach individuals, small businesses and corporate offices. With a passion to make a difference and a goal to empower clients, I guide those who are overwhelmed, or say they weren’t “taught” precise methods, to become and stay organized, even though parents, teachers and friends may have tried.

Every person is unique, with distinctive talents, styles and learning abilities. We need to discover exactly what works – and doesn’t work – for you. It is vital to change habits that are not effective or productive.

Our clients range from the artistic, creative type (right-brain thinkers) to those who are more linear (left-brain thinkers). Most people are a little of both, yet lean to one type or the other. Some tend toward extremes. If all of us were the same, it’d be a unimaginative world, right?

Everyone can benefit from being more orderly — from the fairly-organized (in some/most areas) to the organizationally-impaired, or from the corporate executive to the entrepreneur, who must wear many “hats” in their own business.

Now you may ask, “What can a Professional Organizer do for me?” Our objective is to show you how “getting organized” can be fun. Learning your goals and obstacles is the first step, then we provide personalized assistance with informative tips, suggestions, procedures, and precise “systems.”

Increasing productivity and reducing stress lead to more control and better management of your time, space and information, whether it’s paperwork or computerized documents. My theory is, “If you can’t find something in 30 seconds, it’s in the wrong place and it needs a ‘home’.” When you’re finished using an item, you’ll take it back home. (Sounds like something mother used to say!)

For more productive information management, I developed “The 4-D’s Principle” — Do It, Delay It, Delegate It, or Dump It. Quite often clients say they don’t know where to start, so I teach them to first sort paperwork into “Hot Action Files,” including To Call, To Reply, To Pay, etc. Applying assorted color-coded labels onto folders speeds up the filing-and-finding process and efficiency.

In space planning, functional furniture is critical. Feng Shui experts teach us that our desks and beds should face the door (power position) for maximum control, concentration and authority. Also, my “Near-Far Rule” defines the space within arm’s length as being reserved for items used daily and weekly. Files and supplies accessed monthly or less frequently are stored further away.

Whether you use a calendar, daily planner or electronic organizer, block off time to keep appointments, perform tasks, and play, too. Your priorities must always be in the timetable and, in project management, tasks should be divided into stages or milestones. By working backward from the due dates, you can schedule time to complete these smaller stages of a large project.

To quote Barbara Hemphill, Professional Organizer and author of Taming the Paper Tiger, “The key to organization is accessibility. We all need an environment that suits our individual personality and habits.” This is a fact! So, who are you going to call?

The original article was published in New Woman Spirit Magazine — Fall 1996

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Reprinted with permission from Donna D. McMillan
Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant
McMillan & Company Professional Organizing

Donna D. McMillan
Productivity Consultant
Efficiency Trainer/Coach

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Hawaii location, co-founders Donna D. McMillan and Karen L. Simon