Linda's Professional Journey

An Academic Librarian's experiences and notes

NYLA 2008 – Keeping Up Keeping Organized

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I mentioned to the presenter Diane Campion, that I will be posting up my perception with the notes/annotations, I took about this program. The program was held on Friday at 8AM to 9:15AM, and was very popular.

The presentation was made to a packed over heated room, left with many people standing. I was surprised to see that many people, and had not foreseen, running out of copies – so I went out twice to get more copies made.

I can only assume that in spite of the room’s environment, that many people may found this program very useful. Diane had used a powerpoint slide as her method of delivering the presentation. 10 Principles for Being Better Organized

(1)”The less you have the less you have to organize”

Less is simpler!!!
If you don’t love it get rid of it
Give it to someone who will pit it to good use
Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I get rid of this?”

(2)”Every piece of clutter in your home, office or life represents a decision not made.”

What is your decision making strategy?
What does your home/office say about you?

(Hoarding can lead to social isolation….because you might not invite visitors.)

(3)”Giving a right-brainer space is like giving your dog a laptop.”

Know yourself:

  • Your style
    • Right brain (artistic, intuitive)/ you will like visual
    • Left brain (analytical, methodical)
  • Visual/auditory/tactile
  • How you work best (morning/evening, music/no music)
  • When you work best
  • What works/what doesn’t?
  • Your strengths/weaknesses

If you’re a visual person (right brainer) perhaps it is clear storage boxes, or color folders

Small pieces, rather than the bigger picture – to prevent yourself from getting depress

(4)”Some people are going to be creative if you put them in a packing crate. Other need the stimulation that a good environment produces.”
-Art Fry, Inventor of the Post It

So, why live and work in an organized environment…
The Wall Street Journal estimates the average US executive wastes 6 weeks a year looking for stuff.

  • Working in an organized environment unlocks your true potential
  • Saves time
  • You’re not confronted with the “stuff” of your indecision
  • Other people can navigate your environment
  • Containment is the most important element in maintaining an organized environment
  • The 2nd most important element – everything must have a home

You must force yourself to create a home, because it would be clutter, a circular way of thinking

(5)”Einstein had a messy desk so I must be a genius too!”

The paperless office (life) is about as likely as the paperless bathroom” – The Wall Street Journal


  • Everything needs a system for paper whether at home or work
  • It starts with an IN box – the single point of entry

Handling Paper

  • Contain everything that comes into your office or home in an IN BOX
  • Trash absolutely everything you don’t need to keep immediately
  • Pull out all the reading material and keep it in your reading basket
  • File everything that doesn’t need any action but must be kept
  • Create systems for items requiring action so you are reminded to do them on time

(6) “Even firefighters need a plan”
(7) “My brain is an airport without air-traffic control”

We need a system to conquer “mental muddle”
It’s impossible to learn new things or to stop and smell the roses when you’re expending so much energy keeping those plates spinning
Maintain a schedule, lists & systems to organize your to dos”
Start a practice of taking 10 min to write down everything that’s spinning around in your head
Every time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed

  • Every night before you go to bed
  • Every morning when you get to work

Learn mind mapping

Not knowing what you don’t know or don’t remember is a risky thing, especially at work or home.

(8) “It’s always sumthin…”

Approach everything that takes more than 1 step as a PROJECT
It’s all about taking a big seemingly overwhelming job and breaking it down into small pieces
Learn Project Management Skills
Having a goal
Determining the quality of outcome you desire
Formulating a time line
Committing the necessary resources
Because everything has a beginning, a middle & most importantly, an end
Practice them relentlessly

(9)Treat time as you would the $ in your wallet.
Practice self-management (not time management)
Defined as accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself in the time you have
Learn to be a good judge of time
Answer the question: “Does this move me closer to my goals?” in all that you do

(10) “You don’t have to be a Flying Wallenda to achieve balance”

-Schedule down time as meticulously as you schedule work time
Make “balance” a goal

For filing e-files, structure it as you would for a paper system. Go with a system, that would outline

Everything is specific and different in various settings/company.

-Topic based system -system that can reflect the organizational structure
-Real Estate filing – step process system

If you were to have 15 minute on Monday.

  • Set up reading box/in box
  • Set up a shredder/wastebasket
  • Envision projects to complete
  • Meditate and thing about things from a broad prospective

Responsibility is endless
Task or an assignment is a one shot deal

Reality check
Where am I now, and Where I am going.
For couples – go to the same class, and expose them to the same principles.

Schedule a time or deadline – to complete tasks.

Organize This! 518-435-9948

Containing you, don’t have to have things be loose

Things of Interest – put in a three ring binder.

Posts it is good for flagging things as you organize.

Time line folders – meaning put papers into labeled folders that shows month, so that in the end you can see what progress is done.


Written by Linda

November 16, 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in Events/Conferences

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