Category Archives: Office

The Cost of Disorganization At Work

It’s so easy to say “I’ll get organized when I have the time.”When you’re at the end of the day and all you want to do is leave, it’s all too easy to forget about closing the loop on work and physically tidying up your space.

But being disorganized at work goes deeper than just a messy desk. Do you find yourself scrambling to meet deadlines, misplacing communication from colleagues and not achieving your goals? These are the effects of disorganization at work – and they don’t just cause frustration, they cost money. Don’t be a drain on your organization – emotionally or fiscally.

Here are some things that you or your employees may be doing at work that are costing the business financially and professionally. Review the list and ask yourself if there’s anything here you could be doing better.

  • Paying more for training and conferences because you miss the Early Bird Registration
  • Late payments for loans and credit cards
  • Storage fees – you pay when you don’t purge, either in the office or off-site
  • Supplier billing errors – you missed them, and the deadline passed to correct them
  • Personally eating reimbursements because you can’t find receipts to get you money back
  • Going to lunch because you forgot yours at home
  • Going on coffee runs because you forgot to bring coffee from home, or keep tea at your desk
  • Parking tickets – from not allowing time to find parking before meetings or forgetting to feed the meter
  • Late fees for income tax
  • Not claiming all your health plan benefits because you can’t find receipts
  • Missed meetings
  • Missed deadlines
  • Missed opportunities – not following up with clients
  • Missed revenue – missing out on new clients because you’re too busy trying to keep the current ones
  • Replacing lost items – from small things like staplers to larger items boxes of files
  • Searching for misplaced documents
  • Interruptions – you have to work longer hours to make up for lost time
    Credibility is shot – colleagues know they can’t count on you
    Missed advancement opportunities – passed over for promotions because you can’t reach targets
  • Increased stress – you’re constantly worried about what you’re missing and how that will affect you

If you, or one of your employees is suffering from chronic disorganization at work, and it’s affecting their performance, consider hiring a professional organizer or productivity coach. A trained professional will work with you to overcome your disorganization obstacles, helping you develop patterns and work habits that bring you in line with the vision of your organization. And yes- save money too!


Where’s your launch pad?

Do you have a launch pad? You may not be Cape Canaveral but your home and office should not be without one.


How many items are lying around your office that belong elsewhere and often take weeks and months to get back where they belong? There is a coffee cup that needs to go to the staff kitchen. A stack of photos from your vacation you brought in to show your colleagues. A gift you were given that you plan to take home. All these items create clutter in your office.

Find a shelf in your office or an area near the door that you can use for your launch pad. Move all those items that need to be returned to others or those items you want to remember to take home. It will lessen the clutter in your office and keep you from forgetting things you planned to bring home or return. Remember to take a peak at the launch pad when leaving the office to see what can be taken with you.


In your home you can create several launch pads. Perhaps you already have your own launch pad and don’t realize it. Often the bottom steps of your staircase are already serving this purpose. Place items that need to go upstairs in the corner of the step so you take them up every time you go. Make sure it is not a hazard for those coming down the stairs.

You can also create a launch pad for yourself and your family near the main entrance. Place a small table or shelving unit near the entrance to collect items that need to be returned like library books or videos or errands that need to be run. Don’t forget to include things that are going to be picked up.

Your launch pad will help trigger your memory to things that need to go out of your home and office. It will cut down the clutter and help you to save some steps and manage tasks more efficiently. Unlike NASA’s, your launch pad won’t take you to space, but it will help you make better use of your space.

Being Organized Takes the Sting Out of Tax Time

A few simple reminders to save you money:

  • If you plan to seek expert advice during the tax season, look early
  • If using an expert, bring everything related to your taxes, including last year’s information   
  • Have a system to separate all your paperwork- this could be envelopes, an accordion file or file folders
  • After you have organized your papers and receipts in categories, flatten them out and have them upright to save time for you or the expert.


Professional Organizers Canada Guest Post – Tips to Tame Tax Time Terror

Tax Prep is Nothing to Fear!

One of the chief reasons we delay filing our taxes relates to being disorganized. We don’t know where the papers are located; and we don’t know what we need.  We dread the search and process, and putting it off is a common reaction.

Collecting and organizing documents for taxes is really not that difficult, it just requires a designated system be in place every year. Otherwise the volume of this paper clutter gets out of control, we become overwhelmed.

Sorting Systems

Separate your documents into three major categories:

  • Income, Expenses and Taxes
  • Only keep the documents of the current year and the previous year close to where you work. Reduce clutter by putting archival and aging documentation elsewhere in your home, labeled appropriately.
  • Have a clear understanding of what needs to be saved and for how long. If in doubt, ask your accountant, lawyer or other advisor for a retention policy to follow.
  • Schedule a block of quiet time to undertake this work – arrange for child care if necessary and keep your concentration instead of doing it piecemeal over a period of time.
  • Teenagers can help you with the work. It’s a great experience as they enter the working world.  Have them match receipts to statements or enter gas bills into a spreadsheet. They’ll be managing their own finances in a few years.

Small Business Owner?

  • You must keep receipts for 7 years (scan or photograph them with your smart phone). Jot notes on them if you’re going to deduct them as business expenses.
  • Use debit and credit cards – no cash – to better track your expenses and then combine statements with receipts.
  • Keep zippered plastic bags and a pen in your car, briefcase or handbag. Each month, label a fresh bag with the date, then collect and transfer any appropriate receipts. It will be easier to sort through 30 or 40 receipts at a time than 500 at the end of the year.

Getting Help

  • Use software programs like QuickBooks or Quicken (non-business); that way you can look up payments by name, date, amount, or number; balance your cheque book without doing any math; never forget to enter a purchase in your manual bookkeeping system, and have automatic tax reports generated at the end of the year.
  • There is plenty of help out there, and it’s definitely worth the investment. A reliable bookkeeper or accountant can help you find ways to save money.

They Can Do That? A Guest Post from the National Association of Professional Organizers

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

When people think of the services professional organizers provide, de-cluttering closets, setting up filing systems, creating time management strategies, or designing custom garage storage systems typically come to mind. But professional organizers specialize in many different areas, and can help overcome a variety of organizing challenges faced at home or at work. Here is a list of some lesser-known services they offer:

  1. Specialty Moving & Relocation: Need help packing the kids up for summer camp or moving your college student into his or her dorm?  There’s an organizer for that! Hiring a pro lets parents stress less and spend more quality time with their kids before they go away, and helps college students get off to an organized start when living away from home for the first time.
  2. Organizing and Cataloging Collections: From photographs to memorabilia to wine, if you need to manage the items in your collection for insurance purposes, display, or simply for easy access, a professional organizer who specializes in collections can help you keep track of the items you have so carefully curated.
  3. Blending Households: A professional organizer can help preserve household harmony when new spouses, stepfamilies, roommates, or parents find themselves sharing living space, and need to find places for everyone’s stuff.
  4. EcoConscious Organizing: Everyone is more aware of humans’ effect on our environment, and for those consumers who actively try to reduce their overall impact, there are organizing professionals who specialize in sustainable ways to reduce clutter, organize and recycle unwanted items.
  5. Technology Organizing: Need someone to help set up your new smartphone?  Need help keeping track of documents and files on your home and work mobile devices? Need help figuring which apps to use to help you stay organized?  Tech-savvy professional organizers can help you get the most out of your electronic devices.
  6. Personal Assistant/Concierge Services: If staying organized means you need a helping hand running errands, scheduling appointments, or fulfilling other commitments, professional organizers who also provide assistant or concierge services will keep you in control of all the aspects of your busy life.
  7. Medical/Legal Office Organizing: Establishing effective filing systems, chain-of-custody protocols, and document retention policies is vital to successful case management and protecting sensitive and confidential information. A professional organizer experienced in medical or legal organizing can help improve office efficiency and maintain client privacy.
  8. Estate Sales: When a person passes away leaving behind a home full of possessions, sorting through a lifetime of memories may be too much for grieving loved ones to handle.  Professional organizers who offer estate sale services coordinate the sale or donation of unwanted items, taking the burden off family or friends at a difficult time.
  9. Working with People with ADHD or ADD: For people who struggle with attention-deficit disorders, routines and systems can dramatically help them maintain focus so they can be more productive at home, school, and work. Organizing experts who specialize in working with those living with ADHD or ADD understand their everyday challenges, and help them develop habits to minimize frustration and become more successful in all aspects of their lives.
  10. Emergency Preparedness: Disasters can strike home or work at any time, and a good emergency plan can keep you, your family, or your colleagues safe, and get you back on your feet sooner. Professional organizers can help you create a plan to keep your vital documents safe, create an emergency kit, put together disaster evacuation and communications plans, and develop recovery  procedures, so your life is disrupted as little as possible in the face of disaster.

These are just some of the specialized services that professional organizers can provide, so if you feel overwhelmed by an organizing dilemma, you don’t have to tackle it alone.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO’s Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Mindful Behaviour vs Resolutions – From Professional Organizers of Canada

It can be daunting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions is depressing.

The New Year is often seen as a catalyst for wanting to make new changes in behaviour and lifestyle. Although most people feel they want to start positively – a fresh start can begin at any time of the year.  Change the term of resolutions to mindful behaviours.

Recognize a lifestyle change is important and working towards it happens one step at a time. Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year – instead of a a singular overwhelming change – is usually more successful. Perhaps your frustrations are with:

  • Clothes piled up on the floor or a chair
  • Paper scattered all over the dining table
  • Stacks of unread magazines
  • Overflowing counters

Choose a habit or area that bothers you the mostThen:

  1. Assign a time in your calendar to deal with it.
  2. Make the dreaded task as pleasant as possible.
  • Put on some enjoyable music
  • Get a favourite beverage
  • Bring in a friend to keep you motivated
  1. Resolve to finish it.
  2. Reward yourself.
  3. If you’re pleased, schedule another task

Be Realistic and Reasonable

By making your expectations realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep your goals throughout the year, incorporating healthy behaviour into your everyday life.

Replacing unhealthy behaviours with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

Perfection is unattainable. Don’t give up completely because you still have a pile of papers, the closet is still full or the decorations are still scattered because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes.

Find Fiscal Success with Financial Organization

Find Fiscal Success with Financial Organization

The holidays are over and a new year has started. Traditionally a time for reflection and goal setting, it’s also a time to take control of your personal and business finances.  On the home front the holiday bills will be coming fast and furious. And at the office it’s a good time take the chill out of that first quarter by creating habits to warm the hearts of bosses and accountants alike.

The experts at Organize Anything have put together a great list of 10 tips to help you on your way to an organized and productive 2015. Have questions or got stuck? You can always contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

1. Set up a receipts system. Great for tracking household and business expenses. It’s a perfect way to keep your receipts all in one place so you can easily reconcile at end of month, and at tax time It can be as simple as 12 marked envelopes – 1 for each month. This will help you truly grasp your monthly spending.

2. Gift cards- don’t tuck away in the drawer and forget about them. No longer allowed to expire in Canada, gift cards are an ideal way to tide you over in the slower quarter of the fiscal year. From groceries to clothes to office supplies, don’t discount the usefulness of a great gift card.

3. Update your monthly budget. Take a hard look at last quarter’s spending and adjust your monthly spending. This is the perfect time to set new financial goals for your business and home as well.

4. Get ‘appy’. There’s so many neat productivity and finance driven apps out there for Androids and Apple products. Think about the things you could be doing on the fly if you had the tech, and search out apps that will help. We love Freshbooks for on-the-go invoicing!

5. Get a heads start on, your income taxes. Why wait?? Get the jump on your taxes in the slower months of January and February. This way you avoid the panic of the last minute crunch. And if you’re getting money back, the sooner the better!

6. Business plan. Do you have a strategic plan for your business? Do you know where you’d like to be in five years? 10 years? Take this time of renewed productivity and focus to lay out some goals for the next five years. Don’t forget to include steps to achieve these goals and markers on how you’ll you know when you’ve been successful. You can do this for your home and family as well – make goals as a group and find ways to achieve them.

7. Return it. Did you get “stuff” for Christmas? Return it if you don’t like it – there’s no sense in keeping a gift that’s just going to take up space in your home and clutter your life. Use the money you get from the return to “pay it forward” – either donate it to a charity of your choice, or tuck it away in the rainy day fund.

8. Take inventory. Stop buying unnecessary office supplies or things for your home. Do a quick inventory of what you actually have in the office and keep an inventory sheet so you know what you’re about to run out. This cuts down on unnecessary spending and keeps your storage space tidy and easy to manage.

9. Keep your bank account healthy with quick returns of medical receipts. Does your employer provide health care? Review your policy and figure out what treatments are included. Be sure to keep your direct billing receipts and don’t forget to claim your expenses on your income tax! That monthly massage isn’t just relaxing, it can help on your tax return as well.

10. Download Quicken (or some other money management program). Quicken will make your financial life a million times easier to manage. It costs around $50, but its well worth the investment. From Quicken you can pay bills, download transactions from banks and credit card accounts, plan, budget and see what you are spending and what your overall financial picture looks like.

If you haven’t been doing these things regularly, don’t worry about it – NOW is the perfect time to start. Lean into new challenges this year and adopt routines that make sense to you. By taking the time to identify areas of your life that are not as productive as they could be, you will be able to find solutions.

Start the New Year Right

It’s a new year, and a time when people like to start fresh and sample some new approaches to areas in your life you would like to improve. You have seen the development of the organizing and redesign shows take over our television stations. It’s been called the latest trend, the new dieting, but finding improved ways to organize your life is here to stay. Why? There’s just so much return on investment.

One thing we often forget when making changes and it’s especially true this time of year is the importance of starting slow and making small goals:

1. Your desk is a workplace- remove other non- work related items and place them clean deskelsewhere. Hang photos on the wall and place awards, personal objects and knickknacks on a shelf or credenza.

2. Keep the things you use the most close by and within reach, and items that you require only occasionally further away. This includes files, supplies and personal items.

3. Get rid of the extras- how many of one item do you really need-157 pens, 4 coffee mugs- give away, throw away or return to the stationary/supply area.

Speaking of extras, we usually have between 5-10 extra pounds that we have put on over the holidays. Looking for healthy time saving ways to get back on track? Here’s a few tips:

1. Plan your meals and grocery list ahead of time. You can save time and money. Eating healthier during your day will keep your energy up and your waistline down.

produce isle2. Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery stores. This is where we find our core foods, like fruits and vegetables. It’s a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables. Think of these as a healthy snacking alternative. Try a fruit you’ve never had before.

3. Cut back on your portion sizes- especially when eating out. Order half portions or ask for a to-go container for the remainder of your meal. This also gives you another meal you don’t have to prepare.


Have a Hassle Free Holiday

It’s the holiday season.  A time for buying gifts, throwing parties and decorating your home.  All that work can leave little time for enjoying what should be the most wonderful time of the year.  So here are some quick tips to help make your holiday season merry and bright.

  • Make a list of all the people you plan to shop for with gift ideas that match their tastes. Consider gift certificates, which are easy to wrap and create less clutter.  Be sure to set a gift budget for everyone on your list.
  • Check weekly flyers for sales to plan your trip to the mall. The best times to shop are weekday mornings when there are fewer people shopping.  Some stores have personal shoppers who can assist you in finding the right gift.  And many stores have websites that allow you to save time by shopping from home online.
  • Set yourself a deadline to complete your gift buying so you have more time to enjoy the holiday season.
  • Planning a successful holiday party is much like planning any party. Start by selecting a date, preferably one that doesn’t conflict with other holiday gatherings.  Once done, determine where you want to host your party – at home, the office or at a favourite spot – and make reservations if necessary.  Now you’re ready to draw up your guest list!
  • Make a plan. Before you drag out boxes of lights and tinsel, visualize how you want your home to look. A good plan covers everything from your theme – such as An Old-fashioned Christmas – and colour scheme to the decorations you want to use and where you’ll place them.
  • Toss it. Sift through your holiday decorations and donate or purge any outdated or unwanted items. Be sure to test your lights to make sure they work properly. Replace all burnt-out bulbs and frayed cords.  If you need to buy new outdoor lights, consider strings with built-in timers.  They’ll save you time and energy costs.
  • Make a party of it! Invite family and friends to help you decorate, with the promise of eggnog and other holiday treats.  You could even purchase some craft supplies and have your friends over to create some memorable tree decorations. (And a few holiday season memories!)

Follow these simple ideas and enjoy the holidays the ways you were meant to – relaxing with friends and family.


Holiday Office Survival Guide

Holiday office parties can be a chance for you to shine in front of your employer and peers. You can take advantage of the casual setting to have some fun and advance your career, or misbehave and cripple your career. Follow these tips to make sure you adhere to the highest standard of office party etiquette:

1) Don’t pass up the opportunity! It’s not every day that you get the chance to have a one-on-one personal conversation with the boss. Even if you can’t stay the whole evening don’t be a no-show. Arrive, mingle, and then make your exit.

2) Always ask before bringing a guest. Bringing your spouse or partner is a great way to meet new people in the office and showcase a bit of your personal life. However, not all office parties are open to families.

3) Don’t overindulge. Just because there’s a buffet or an open bar doesn’t mean that you should help yourself all night. You never know whose eyes are on you.

Businesspeople at Christmas party

Businesspeople at Christmas party

4) Dress appropriately. Dress more festively than you would for a day at the office, but more conservative than you would for a night out on the town.

5) Get involved. Don’t be afraid to take part in activities at the party. You’ll stick out more if you refuse to be a team player and participate.

6) Don’t forget it’s still a business event. Be sure to take the time to chat with your colleagues and superiors. Get to know the people you work with, but maintain your professional image.

7) Be gracious to the hosts, and send a thank you note to management and the personnel who organized the event the next day for inviting you.

Office parties are a great chance to network and have some fun with your co-workers. Enjoy yourself, meet some new people and expand your contacts in the organization. By following our simple do’s and don’ts you’ll avoid making any embarrassing missteps.

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