I learned a long time ago that there has to be a system for working with each client. I have several areas we address, and not all clients need to address all areas. We focus on what makes sense to their situation. That being said, it’s kind of simple. As I ask in my keynote address, I pose the question, “What’s going on here?” What is happening is not always as obvious as they think it might be. In posing the question, we begin to dig deeper to ultimately identify root causes. The question registers in their mind that something’s not working.

Then we go about “checking in” by using assessment tools. Once they check in with themselves, we are able to identify the problem or problems. In my book Lost In Your Own Office, I give tips for focusing on some main areas common to most of my clients:

·         Space
An inefficient work-space can significantly impact your productivity. Studies show that each year 1.8 million workers develop injuries related to ergonomic factors. That translates into an annual productivity cost of more than $60 billion. 

·         Paper and files
o    Pilers and filers
Everyone has their own work style, and these work styles have now expanded to virtual workspaces. Creating systems to store information—paper and electronic—and make it easily accessible are an ever-increasing demand for all businesses. As I mentioned previously, the average person spends 150 hours retrieving or redoing misplaced information. 
o    Contact information
When I wrote my book, social media hadn’t really been in everyday conversations, so I focused primarily on managing business cards and creating systems to maintain relationships. Today, however, contacts and depositories for their data are multiplying. People not only have business cards, customer databases, such as Outlook, they also have LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+.  Managing relationships is probably one of the most critical parts of running a business. So, having systems to manage contacts is part of being well organized.

·         Time management
This area is more about priorities. We all have the same amount of time, so it really can’t be managed. Most clients can benefit by evaluating their life passions and looking at what they really want out of life. I can then help them address their commitment to focus their time on what really matters.

·         The stuff
This means clearing the clutter. “Containerizing” what is essential along with simplifying or eliminating what’s not necessary.

·         Email
This pertains to synchronization to a central location, such as your smart phones. It also involves making decisions on how and when to address email along with learning how to use email as a tool rather than the driver of your daily business.

·         Maintenance
How are you going to do your business and your life differently so that you can stay on the path of organization and improved personal productivity? My coaching programs may kick in at this point to set up a long-term relationship of accountability and address new goals as my client’s life priorities and interests change.

My experience with clients is that each of these areas are common denominators and once we assess them, then we get the right key (tool or process) to improve that area of inefficiency. Hotel keys come in all sizes and styles—some are simple manual keys, some are more sophisticated electronic card keys. It’s the same with organization and productivity solutions. Depending on the sophistication or style of your environment, you’ll need a key that is best for you. 

Once my clients have the right key, then they can freely open the door to the opportunity for relaxation (or at the very least, the opportunity for better efficiency). Finding the right solution for each of the main areas allows the client to move forward and get the relief they need so they can check out at times. In the business sense, it means checking out of the office for a break. 

This article is an excerpt from my book, Concrete Jungle, co-authored by Bob Proctor.

Visit http://www.strategizeandorganize.com to learn more about consulting services or to book Anne as a speaker.

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