Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Janet M. Taylor, @OrganizerJanet. In 1994 Janet took her natural ability and started Totally Organized. For 3 consecutive years Totally Organized, LLC was recognized as one of the top minority firms by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Janet appeared on the Rachael Ray Show where she was crowned the Clutter-Free Queen. For more information, visit: www.JanetMTaylor.com
SmallBizLady: Janet, could you please give us some information on your background such as previous work history and where you grew up?
Janet M. Taylor: I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, the city of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, Cheesesteaks and Rocky. After college, I worked in retail with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. From there I worked in banking, and my last job before I started my business was in transportation, working in the customer service department. All of these jobs have helped me in my career as a professional organizer.
SmallBizLady: How did you get into the world of organization? What drives you to work in this area?
Janet M. Taylor: I started in the business because I was laid off from the last full-time job I worked. I wanted to have control over my future and finances. Someone mentioned how organized I was, and I started doing research and discovered the National Association of Professional Organizers, and then connected with the local chapter. I love helping people create space to attract more money, love, and happiness.
SmallBizLady: The National Association of Professional Organizers records at its website that, on average, American executives waste as much as six weeks of time searching for important documents. What keeps executives from being more organized?
Janet M. Taylor: Today executives and other workers are balancing various daily tasks, meetings, voicemail, and emails. Furthermore, some executives don’t have an assistant to help them with day-to-day administrative tasks, like maintaining their files and paperwork. Executives who do have an assistant may have to share their assistant with one or more other managers. I’m often called in to help executives see the top of their desk. Many clients I work with have spent over 50 percent of the day searching for documents, etc.
SmallBizLady: Outside of money, what key disadvantages do being disorganized cost individuals and businesses every day?
Janet M. Taylor: Being disorganized is a big time waster. Looking for documents that are buried beneath piles of paperwork wastes time. Disorganization also creates stress, especially when it causes workers to miss deadlines. You could also find yourself buying things you already have, wasting gas, wasting time and wasting more money as you travel to stores and fill up more space with things you don’t need, adding more clutter to your office.
SmallBizLady: Give us a few signs that reveal we’re disorganized.
Janet M. Taylor: The signs to know you are disorganized are:
- Missed deadlines
- Bills are paid late simply because you misplaced them
- You buy additional office supplies ( i.e., batteries, ink) needlessly because you can’t find what you already own
SmallBizLady: Have you seen an increased interest in your services since Marie Kondo’s show about Tidying Up?
Janet M. Taylor: Yes, I have seen an increase in the requests for my services. Her show is bringing awareness to the benefits organization gives a person in their home and space.
SmallBizLady: To date, what’s the most challenging organizing job you’ve taken on?
Janet M. Taylor: The most challenging job I’ve taken so far was when I worked for a client who showed me to a room that had boxes and boxes of paperwork and documents dumped on the floor. There were enough boxes of documents to fill an average-size living room. This was before scanners become popular and people could create electronic files. I was given the task of categorizing and organizing the documents but was not given direction as to what was in the files, how to organize the files, etc. When I finished the job nearly two weeks later, six departments at the firm had organized and labeled archive files.
SmallBizLady: My listeners typically work in small offices and cubicles. Do you have any tips for people who occupy small offices in their homes or at work?
Janet M. Taylor: The challenge for some people who work in small offices can be paper piles. I believe we can do simple things to conquer them, and the following are a few ways to tackle those piles:
- Unsubscribe to publications you don’t have time to read.
- Create an archive of old financial, contract and client documents—scan them.
- Establish a retention schedule to yearly purge documents.
- Schedule time weekly to maintain order.
- Clear your workspace at the end of the day and week.
SmallBizLady: What solutions do you provide for someone that has an office in their home?
Janet M. Taylor: Establish a designated space in the home, whether it is a room or a corner of a room. The set-up should look and feel like an office with a desk, chair, etc.
SmallBizLady: How do you incorporate equipment and technology into staying organized?
Janet M. Taylor: Use a scanner to reduce the need for filing cabinets or at least the amount you have, and use a shredder to protect your identity. New mousepads are created to extend the life of the wireless mouse, which means fewer batteries to purchase.
SmallBizLady: How do you stay organized?
Janet M. Taylor: I toss junk mail. I take something out, I put it back. I establish a time weekly to clear off my desk so that each day and week I start off with a clear desk. Clutter is distracting.
SmallBizLady: In closing is there anything you would like to add?
Janet M. Taylor: 80 percent of the stuff we keep, we never reference again.
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