18 July 2011

Easy Steps To Cleaning Up The Mess!

Does your desk breed paper every time you turn your back on it? Layer upon layer of miscellaneous paper, magazines, newsletters, invitations to this and that, reports, files and vital tasks you mustn’t forget to attend to? Every couple of weeks, with grim determination and fired by a sense of desperation, do you approach this monstrosity supposed to be a desk, ‘I’m not doing a single thing today until I clean up this mess,‘ you mutter through clenched teeth.

You spend an hour or two of your most productive time (if you’re lucky) shuffling pieces of paper across the surface of the desk, and eventually it’s all sorted out. New and reorganised piles decorate the perimeter of your working space, and you sit back with a sigh of satisfaction, saying to yourself, ‘That’s better. I won’t let that happen again.’

Guess what? For many folk, within a couple of weeks, the pattern is repeated!

Let me tell you about school teacher Roz, whom I met some years ago. She was halfway through my very first course on Getting A Grip On The Paper War. She taught a class, was in charge of the music department, the maths department, had library responsibilities, two desks, a pigeonhole in the staff-room, two diaries, and often two bags! She hardly knew where she was, let alone anyone else knowing where to find her! And most of her paperwork systems were a disaster.

Following is the note she waved proudly when she came back for the second session, written by her principal. (True story – I’ve still got the letter!)

Dear Roz

The staff and myself are very impressed with the area to the north of the foyer. We can now recognise it as your office, and not a second-hand dealer’s yard containing a treasure trove for bargain hunters. The organisation is awesome, and the definite spin-off is, in the process of organisation we found that caretaker from 1987 whom we thought had travelled overseas!”
It was people like Roz who motivated me to write ‘Getting a Grip on the Paper War’, and people are constantly telling me how it has changed their lives.

Once while in Germany at the Frankfurt Book with my publisher, Reeds, a bright young woman approached me and greeted me like a long-lost friend. I was soon to learn that Regina wass a Rights Executive for Harcourt Education UK, one of Reed’s sister companies.

She grabbed ‘Getting a Grip on the Paper War’ off the display shelf.

‘I was taking this to Warsaw to promote at a Book Fair recently, and decided to look at it on the plane. Within moments I was hooked – it’s so easy to read. I got so excited I began taking notes on all the scraps of paper I could find in the seat pocket. When I got to the hotel, instead of going out for dinner I decided to stay in and continue reading – by that time I had my notepaper from my luggage. Screeds of notes later, I finished – Warsaw had to wait!

‘It’s all so commonsense! As I read it I kept thinking, “of course” but somehow I had to see it written down to realise the logic. Thank you so much – my desk is so much better now. I have my odd moments of regression, but what a difference!’

 Sometimes it’s a lonely road being an author, but it’s stories like these that make it all worthwhile. Thank you, Roz, Regina, and all the many others who’ve shared their successes. Keep up the good work!

For those of you who struggle, it breaks down to three main areas:

  1.  Have you got the right equipment and layout?
  2. How to sort out the clutter and set up good systems
  3. How to maintain the systems (I guess you could say that’s the self-discipline side of things, but once the simple systems are set up it becomes far more self-perpetuating and easy).

If you’d like more explanation, check out the book.

From our readers  – On managing emails

From Phyl Goodwin, Waiariki, Rotorua, who attended a course with me. We’d been talking about chunking emails for more control. She now puts a footnote at the bottom of all mails – ‘I clear emails at 9am and 3:30pm daily’.

This smart little phrase helps manage expectations, leaving her free to get on with her work through the day, instead of knee-jerking in and out of her email programme ‘because there might be something urgent’.

I personally believe that if something is critical, email is almost always the wrong medium. Instead, use the phone if you want to be sure of a connection. For all you know, the recipient of the email might be on leave or out of the office for the day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Are your days too short, workload too large and work-life balance a pipe dream?

Take a look at these Books, E-books, CDs/Teleseminars, Online Courses/Webinars and Tools. They provide practical, effective and easy to implement ways for you to free up your time, improve your productivity and reduce stress from overload.

Webmasters/Ezine Publishers: Would you like to use this article?
You are invited to use any of our articles in your publication or website. The only requirements are that we are included on your mailing list, and that you include the following, after each article you use...

Robyn Pearce CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the Time Queen. She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire.

Get your free report 'How To Master Time In Only 90 Seconds' and ongoing time tips at gettingagrip.com.

© All Rights Reserved to Robyn Pearce, GettingAGrip.com, R.D.4, Pukekohe, South Auckland 2679, New Zealand Ph. +64 275 846 348

If you'd like Robyn to write something specific for your industry, please email us with your request.

Get Your Free
'How To Master Time'


Plus your FREE Time Resources Pack (Valued at $227)


Client Testimonials

Catalyst For Efficiency ImprovementsIt was great to introduce our two job-share receptionists to Robyn’s Getting a Grip on The Paper War text.  It became a catalyst for us to improve our administration proce..." Marie Collins, Business Manager, The NZ Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

Enhanced Efficiency Thank you for all the tips and words of advice you and your team have sent through.I have been constantly reading it and it does wonders to my line of work and also being a wife and mot..." Anaseini Liku, Communication & Media Coordinator, Ministry of Education, Cook Islands

Clear Directions Enhance Use Of TimeI have just finished reading 'Getting a Grip on Time' and 'Getting a Grip on the Paper War'.  Particularly your book on 'Time' got me back on track, and during the day I catc..." Ingrid Geerlings, Owner, www.houseofmilk.com

Leadership Book Helps To find the Real Me‘I’ve just been reading ‘Getting a grip on Leadership’.  It is very good and has had an impact on me.  I realised I’d lost my way a bit re who I am ..." Heather Millar, Manager, Professional Practice, Central North Island Kindergarten Association, New Zealand

Additional $120,000 Billed After Time Management CourseI have personally known Robyn Pearce for around 16 years. From time to time my firm has contracted Robyn on a project basis to work with our professional staff as well as partners in the fi..." John Hackett, Partner, A J Park, New Zealand

The Librarian Who Got Her Life Back!The kick-start that I needed was delivered by a velvet glove, but make no mistake the iron hand within the glove ensured that the message was received and understood. If you are going to spend some..." Heather Jenks, Associate University Librarian (Research and Learning Services), University of Canterbury

Increasing Personal Confidence And Job ManagementHaving worked already very successfully with our NZ Team, Robyn's support of the Australian Team over a 12-month period was fundamental to helping us cope with increased day to day workload - espec..." Julia Braun, General Manager - Marketing, Beiersdorf Australia

A Great Empathy And Affinity With PeopleI have used Robyn as an Executive Coach for key Senior Staff for a number of years now and couldn't recommend her more highly. I've found as people step up in the organisation they often struggle t..." Merilyn Havler, Then General Manager, Beiersdorf New Zealand

An Increase of 30% In Gross Turnover Due To Better SystemsWhen we reviewed the progress made as a result of your concepts, a staggering number of them had become an integral part of our day to day business, collectively making a huge difference to our eff..." Wayne & Lisa Hughes, Occupational Therapy Helping Children, NSW, Australia

Motivational And Thought Provoking SessionI'd like to highlight the benefits felt both by the staff members attending your sessions, and the motivational flow-on effects experienced throughout the Hotel.In the developmental sta..." Human Resources Manager, Wentworth Hotel (part of the Rydges chain)

Successful Paper Management Seminar Thank you for your interesting and indeed challenging speech. I could see all the people who've ..." Australian Institute of Credit Managers, Sydney Branch

Personalised Seminar For Long-term Results On behalf of the team at Strategic Lifestyle Management and our client Lend Lease I would..." SLM Conference and Incentive Manager, for client Lend Lease

Excellent Skilful Presenter "Thank you for the practical and informative Time Management seminar you recently gave to our senior m..." HR Manager, ANA Hotel, Sydney

Improve Your Organisation And Productivity The response to the program was extremely positive, with an average rating of 4.4 out of ..." Noel Cook, GM, Outdoor Network, Australia

Organisational Skills Improve To Lift Productivity Your time management seminars are one of the best things we've ever done. Weeks l..." Centrelink, Dubbo, New South Wales

Productivity Increased 50% Now several months later and my productivity has increased between 30% and 50%. I'm seeing more and bette..." Senior financial planner, IPAC, Australia

Timesaving Techniques Learned A wonderful surprise to learn how much I had improved since the first programme with you nine months a..." National Sales Manager, Personal Insurance, GIO Australia

Control Gained In Managing Time Feedback from the staff was very positive... all felt they had gained a great deal of control and di..." MD, C.Y. O'Connor College of TAFE, Northam, WA

Immediate Action For Change A lot of great new ideas and some very good new tools that I shall start implementing immediately. Group Services Trainer, Adecco

Increased Efficiency Saves 20-25 Minutes A Day "Many practical hints which helped me reorganise my office, to operate efficiently." ..." Senior Partner, Baldwins (Patent Attorneys)

Invaluable Resources In Time Management Books I would like to take this opportunity to commend you on the flexibility of your approach, and..." Human Resources Manager, Professional Services Review, Canberra

Self Management Crucial In Time Management You presented a most informative and challenging training session. Your ability to gain q..." Human Resources Manager, Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal of NSW

'Time Management Guru'! Once again you combine an enthusiastic presentation style with useful tips and techniques. Succinct and fun ..." Manager - Training & Development, Real Estate Institute of NSW

Beneficial Time Management Ideas Your presentation was brilliant, and your thoughts on how to make time management beneficial to eve..." Barbara McCarthy, President, Chatswood Chamber of Commerce, Sydney

Informative And Energising Speech We could not have chosen better. Your contribution was just what we wanted and needed, and I was t..." Raewyn James, Tamaki Teachers' Conference

Positive Feedback For Speech Robyn, you gave a fantastic speech, and I am still having positive feedback about your talk to this day..." Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator, Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi, and co-ordinator of Eastern Suburbs Women's Breakfast

Work Life Balance Put Into Practice I know everyone who attended was fascinated by all your planning tips and I know many have put t..." Solo Home Business Network, Sydney

IT Company Gains Insight Into Effective Time Management We were very impressed... everyone gained considerable insight to effective ..." MD, IT software company, Auckland

Professional Approach Reinforces Time Management Principles Following a number of very positive reference checks we invited Robyn Pe..." Godfrey Pembroke National Conference, Hobart, Tasmania

Staff Queue For Time Management Tips! "Thank you! I'm sure you could tell from everyone's enthusiasm that they enjoyed your presenta..." Programme Director, Pioneer SWAP

Specific Personalised Advice Benefits Group Robyn gave much more than the professional information imparted in this kind of session...." Principal Heritage Officer, Heritage Council NSW

They're 'screaming for more'! Thanks for your wonderful presentation. I've had a lot of positive feedback from our staff, and they c..." GM's assistant, Austereo, Australia

L.J. Hooker Predicts Great Success In Using Their Time Your down-to-earth common sense certainly hit home to a lot of people, and the feedba..." Lyn McDermott, Ass. Director, Marketing and Communication, L.J. Hooker Ltd

5 Stars For Time Management Course Robyn, in light of this morning's session (and comments about short emails!) I could leave it the..." Wilf Marley, Principal, Marley Loft Systems (Accountants)

Simple Practical Action Steps For Work Life Balance We've had great feedback since your last session with the NZ Institute of Charte..." Denise Bovaird, Past President, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

Improved Focus And Concentration After Time Management Course Since your time management course our managers have found that they ca..." John Moore, Then-HR Manager, International Cricket Council, Dubai

Jam-packed Personalised Seminar Very Effective   Robyn spoke to four of my Academy groups in the space of 11 days. I wa..." Barrie Barrett, Chairman, Academy for Chief Executives, United Kingdom

Awesome says Law Clerk, Bell Gully I just thought I'd spend a few minutes in the Proactive/Value-adding quadrant and let you know ho..." Law Clerk, Bell Gully, New Zealand

Excellent 'Management' Course, As Well As 'Time Management' I would like to extend a huge thank you for making your valuable time av..." David Greenslade, Managing Director, Strategi, New Zealand

We've Regained 30% Of The Time We Used to Lose! Since we worked with Robyn 5 months ago our team of 12 underwriters and support staf..." Senior Underwriter, QBE Insurance, New Zealand

Fantastic Course - Team Feedback Extremely Positive! Thanks very much for the Time Management programme you have conducted over the ..." Gareth McCulloch, National Sales Manager, Southern Hospitality Limited

View More