Looking for a holiday gift that subtracts from, instead of adds to, clutter? Check out my e-book, DECIDE to be Organized: An Empowering Process for Change.

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Often, people complain that gifts given for the holidays, although well-intentioned, just add to their clutter. E-books make gift-giving easy, as they can be sent to anyone on your gift list by email instantly. And they don’t cause physical clutter!

DECIDE is an empowering process that leads to change. It will assist readers in achieving results at home, at work, and in life in general. The DECIDE® e-book is less about the “stuff” and more about the thinking behind the “stuff.” The DECIDE® process examines the connection between decision-making and disorganization.  It looks at the way people think and act with regard to organization, and offers an opportunity for an empowering change to occur.  So, although this may be a small book (it is a tidy 58 pages long), it is a powerful one!

Give the gift of organizing to someone on your list this holiday season. Or treat yourself!

“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

By now, you have probably heard the term “Coopetition.” Coopetition is a contraction of the words cooperation and competition, meaning essentially cooperative competition. In the business world, coopetition means collaborating or partnering with your competitors in an innovative way so that both parties benefit. The most successful entrepreneurs realize early on that the old military adage, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy … Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer” applies just as well to the business world. Of course, we all know that your competitors are not truly your enemies (at least I hope they aren’t!), but the idea of keeping them close is the point. A creative collaboration with your biggest competitor in the same industry may be the best opportunity for boosting your business.

Many of you are already familiar with the idea of collaborating with your competitors through membership in an industry specific professional association. For example, I am a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the premiere association for my industry. I attend the annual conference every year as a participant or presenter, belong to a local organizers’ neighborhood (an informal chapter), frequently engage in discussion on the organizers’ email list, and serve as a mentor and business coach to new organizers and organizers-to-be. I have partnered with other organizers in various ways, as well as share referrals back and forth. This coopetition with other organizers has enriched my business in ways that are immeasurable. I’ve benefited greatly from these relationships and from keeping an open mind in my approach to dealing with my competitors.

It is smart business to capitalize on the positive aspects of a competitive situation. However, for coopetition to work effectively, both parties need to clearly define their roles, making sure not to overstep boundaries. The goal is to find a way to partner with your competitor (read: colleague!) so that both parties can substantially benefit from the collaboration. Look around at your competition, and identify competitors that share the same zest for business and success that you do. You want to make sure that you align yourself with a competitor that you respect and admire, and that exudes the same sense of professionalism and level of expertise.

What are some ways that you can engage in coopetition that will boost your business? Here are some examples of strategic alliances between competitors that are innovative, creative, and effective: 

  • Develop a joint venture project together. Some of the best business ideas are born out of competitors joining together. For example, in my industry, organizers are collaborating together to offer certification prep courses, train new organizers, design organizing products, etc.
  • Share a booth at an expo, tradeshow or business showcase. Not only will this help each party keep costs down, but as we all know, two minds are often better than one. You may come up with great new ideas to market your industry and businesses, offer more products, and gain more attention from participants and the media.
  • Co-present with a competitor. Co-presenting is a wonderful tool when done well. I have had the opportunity to present with colleagues to offer workshops that I may not have been able to do on my own. The participants benefit from hearing two different presenters, which helps keep the workshop fresh and interesting. Each presenter only has to do half the work, which makes your job easier overall.
  • Advertise with a competitor. Advertising is expensive. Sharing that expense with a colleague or competitor to promote types of service, your industry, or an event you are doing together is a great way to maximize advertising costs. 
  • Refer leads to each other. This is probably the most common form of coopetition. But don’t lose sight of how powerful it is! What you give out almost always comes back. If you cannot service a prospective client, find a colleague or competitor that can. The potential client will view you as a true professional and resource-provider, and the competitor will be grateful and will usually reciprocate in the future.
  • Co-author an article or book together. Writing does not come easy to many people. Consider sharing writing responsibility by co-authoring an article or book with a competitor. This may be the most effective way to get published in your industry. For example, if you teamed up with 9 competitors in your industry and all wrote one chapter, voila, a 10-chapter book is born!
  • Offer a teleclass or webinar together. You’ve probably seen this many times where two business experts team up to offer a teleclass or webinar together. Many times they are in complementary industries, such as an interior designer (or life coach, or wardrobe consultant, etc.) and professional organizer, or a financial planner and accountant. Again, two minds are better than one, work is shared among the presenters, and the participants get to hear from two experts. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.

Think broadly, keep an open mind, and seek out collaborative opportunities to boost your business with coopetition. Used wisely, it is a fantastic tool to add to your business.

For most people these days, keeping up with the daily onslaught of email is a major challenge.  In fact, experts estimate that e-mail has added an extra 1.23 hours to the average person’s workday (E-Writing: 21st Century Tools for Effective Communication by Diana Booher; Managing Your E-Mail by Christina Cavanagh).  If you multiply 1.23 hours by 5 days for 52 weeks, the average person is spending 320 hours per year of extra time handling e-mail.  Wow! That is a lot of time spent on email. And experts estimate that the time lost to email has caused workers to shave time elsewhere, causing a productivity crunch.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average U.S. worker spends up to four hours a day sending and receiving e-mail. Of that four hours, it is estimated that one hour each day is spent on the 36 percent of e-mail messages that are either irrelevant, or relevant but do not require a response.

So how do your survive the daily email attack? The following tips will help you manage the flow of email:

  • Turn off e-mail alarms and prompts through your e-mail preferences tool. Many people have alarms and prompts set to go off every few minutes upon the arrival of e-mail in their inbox.  These continual interruptions make people respond like Pavlov’s dogs every time they hear the “you’ve got mail” chime. Turning off the chime will keep you from interrupting what you were doing to read e-mail in the midst of other projects.
  • Plan for the reading and response of e-mail in your daily schedule. Create a proactive method of managing e-mail by setting up time in your day dedicated to e-mail.  Do not check e-mail the first thing in the morning, or you risk becoming reactive.  Instead, spend the first hour working on the most important project or planning your day out.
  • Estimate the amount of time you are spending on e-mail now, and cut that time in half. Deadlines usually make most people more efficient.  You may want to spend half of your allocated email time in the morning, and the other half after lunch or before you finish working for the day.  The time constraint forces you to prioritize.  The e-mails that do not get answered are probably not that important and, thus, deleted, or archived in file folders for future use.
  • Create e-mail folders, and direct the flow of e-mail. Create folders in your e-mail system that mirror your paper filing system to reinforce storage and retrieval of important information.  In addition, create the folders to reflects your active projects and change your e-mail settings to direct e-mail that contains project-related language to those folders within your inbox. Added bonus: many e-mail systems impose limits on inbox size, but not in a folder.
  • Use computer storage folders. For e-mails that need to be kept for a longer period of time, create an electronic filing cabinet, with electronic folders for category names that match the physical files.  Use Word or any system your company utilizes and backs up often.
  • Save the most recent only. Delete the earlier string of emails and just keep the most current one to avoid saving redundant emails.
  • Just save the attachment. If e-mail has an attachment and that is all you need, only save the attachment.
  • Control the flow of the e-mail exchange. People often feel they must respond to email instantly. Take time to consider your response and slow the flow of email when an immediate response if unnecessary.
  • Refrain from sending irrelevant e-mail. Be careful not to send e-mail just because it’s quick and convenient.  The same rules apply to e-mail as regular correspondence – if it doesn’t have to be said, don’t say it.
  • Create templates. If you frequently send the same types of emails, create templates that you can use over and over (changing only the specifics each time).
  • Create an e-mail ritual. Every Friday before you leave the office, be ruthless about deleting e-mails no longer needed, saving those you need for a week or longer to personal folders, saving those you need longer to Word, and reviewing those in the personal folders to delete any no longer necessary.  Make this a weekly habit and your e-mail will be a lot more manageable. You can also do the same thing at the end of every day if you so choose.

Many people are familiar with the above tips, but few actually implement them, leaving them to be reactive instead of proactive.  Organizing your e-mail, like any other organizing behavior, allows you to be more productive and better utilize your time and energy.  So stop the madness, and do what it takes to take control of your email. Remember, e-mail is supposed to be an electronic communications tool to assist you, not drive you crazy.

Good luck!

Have you always wanted to get organized but can’t afford to hire a professional organizer on a one-on-one basis? Well, now is your chance!

Come join me for the DECIDE® to be Organized Online Group Coaching Program, a 6-week program designed to be comprehensive, but easy to digest. You’ll have time to work on your organizing projects — in fact, the whole goal of this program is for you to achieve results on an individual basis while working in a group environment! The program is a combination of information, exercises, and support. 

There will be 6 (six) 90-minute calls in a row on Tuesday evenings from October 6 to November 10, 2009, each starting at 7:30pm EST. (If you miss a class, no worries! All classes are recorded for your convenience.)

Due to the interactive and intimate nature of this program, space is limited! So, if you know this program is for you, act now. Registration is only $199 if you register before Tuesday, September 22nd. You have nothing to lose — except maybe some clutter, overwhelm, and stress! Click here for details and registration.

Who Is the Perfect Candidate for this Group Coaching Program?

  • Those that learn well in a group environment.  Participants will have the opportunity to interact with each other, realize they are not alone, and share challenges and solutions with the group.
  • Those outside of my geographical area that cannot work with me one-on-one.
  • Those that are on a budget and cannot afford one-on-one organizing services.
  • Those that need structure in order to reach their organizing goals. The program includes weekly homework assignments for those that want to work on their own between sessions.
  • Those that benefit from an accountability aspect. You have the opportunity to report your progress each week, as well as have access to me and other participants by email and social media.

Want to learn more about the DECIDE® process? Click here to listen to a 10 minute audio presentation about it!

So join me for DECIDE. I promise it will be the best decision you’ve made toward your goal of getting organized all year!

Are you ready to make positive changes in your life, home and work environments, and need help with organizing and time management projects? Then it is time for DECIDE®!

Many people say they want to get better organized, but in order to act upon that wish, you must deeply examine your motives for wanting to do so. Your motives must be strong enough to sustain you through the change process. DECIDE is an empowering process that leads to change. It will assist you in achieving results at home, at work, and in life in general. While the process guides a person in making decisions that lead to a more organized state, it is itself a decision; a decision to take control. How do you do that?

Announcing the

 DECIDE to Be Organized Online Group Coaching Program

  • Dates: Tuesday evenings, October 6 to November 10, 2009
  • Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST
  • Investment: Early Bird Special – $199 if register before Sept. 22nd
  • Bonuses: Includes MP3 recordings, an ebook, email access to me, a laser coaching session, and more!
  • Click here for details and to register

If you are ready to change and need help with any of your organizing or time management projects, then join me for the DECIDE to Be Organized Online Group Coaching Program, a 6-week teleclass program that allows participants to be guided through the entire DECIDE process in a group coaching environment.

During these teleclasses, I will offer guidance, support, and expertise as you embark on this empowering process for change. Through DECIDE, you will learn the tools needed to get better organized, take control, and make positive changes.

Go to this page to listen to a message from me about this exciting program AND a free 10 minute audio about the DECIDE process. 

What the DECIDE to be Organized Group Coaching Program Includes:

  • Time, motivation, and inspiration to work on your organizing projects.
  • A fun, supportive environment made up of individuals that also want to get better organized. You don’t have to go it alone.
  • Lasting tools to help you learn your own organizing style, change your mindset, and maintain your organizing systems long after the program is over.
  • Decluttered physical space and clarity of mind so that you can focus on the things you really want, love, and need in your home, life, and work.

If you are interesting in having your very own organizing coach, but aren’t able to invest a lot of money to work on a one-on-one basis with an organizing expert, this affordable program is the answer!

Take a look at the program details and “decide” for yourself!

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