So, you are searching for a new job?  Perhaps you are making a voluntary career transition.  Maybe you have been laid off, or worse, fired.  Regardless of the reason for your job search, one fact remains true: if you are conducting a job search, it is vital that you take an organized approach.  Managing your job search is just like managing any other major project.  You must create an infrastructure that allows you to operate in an efficient and productive manner.  A successful job search requires forethought and action.  Here are some tips for conducting an organized job search.

1. Declutter and Pre-Purge – If you are embarking on a job search, it will be difficult to do so if your physical space is covered in clutter with piles of papers everywhere.  Take some time to declutter.  Purge any unnecessary items, file papers that you need to keep, recycle junk mail, and get some order back into that space!  It will be easier for you to concentrate on your job search without all of that chaos and clutter around you.  Just be careful that you don’t spend too much time decluttering that you start using it as an excuse to procrastinate with regard to your job search.  A few days should suffice.  

2. Create a Job Search Schedule– Let’s face it – searching for a job is hard work!  If you are still employed while you are conducting your new job search, be prepared to have an extremely busy schedule.  If you are currently unemployed, realize that you do, indeed, have a job – conducting a job search!  Create a job search schedule that gives you ample time for all of the activities you need to focus on in order to succeed: resume and cover letter preparation, surfing the web for jobs, networking, interviewing, follow-up, etc.  Block out time in your calendar for job search activities and treat that time as you would any traditional work commitment.  Be consistent in the amount of time you spend each day and week on job search activities so that you keep your momentum going, and don’t lose focus and miss valuable opportunities.

3. Get Your Gear in Order– Update your resume, cover letter, references, and writing sample (if applicable).  Ask for letters of recommendation and testimonials from previous or current supervisors, co-workers, and professional colleagues.  Get some nice new stationery, and stock up on print cartridges for your printer.  If you want to use an outside source for printing, some local printing shops will copy resumes for free during an economic downturn, so ask around!  Be sure to have a computer with high-speed Internet access.  An all-in-one machine for printing, copying, faxing and scanning will also come in handy during a job search.

4. Create Job Search Central– Set aside space at home (or wherever you will be conducting your job search activities) and make it job search central.  Keep all of your job-search related supplies in that location, which will make it easy for you to find them when you need them.  This will also help you to get into job search mode when you are in that space.

5. Create a Job Search Paper Management System– You may be acquiring a lot of paper in your job search: resources, articles, sample resumes and cover letters, business cards of networking contacts, contact-us-later or rejection letters, etc.  To the extent that you can maintain these items in a paperless fashion, go for it.  But if you have to maintain hard copy paper, be sure to create a job search paper management or filing system, to be stored in your job search center.  Keep it simple and use whatever system makes the most sense to you for ease of use (binder, portable filing bin, traditional filing cabinet, etc).

6. Plan Job Search Activities– Plan out job search activities on a daily basis, such as phone calls to make, resumes to send, online applications to fill out, informational interviews to conduct, etc.  Write down your job search activities as calendar items, to-do’s, or tasks so that you take them seriously and treat them as measurable goals.  Be realistic with regard to what you can reasonably accomplish in one day, but also challenge yourself!

7. Track Job Search Activities – Organizing your job search involves keeping track of all information and communications.  Keep a record of where you sent your resume and when, whom you have spoken to, when interviews took place, etc.  This information will prove vital when deciding when to follow-up with leads.  You can track all of this information using a calendar such as Outlook or Google, or an online tool such as JobFiler.com.  Whatever tools you use, it is important that you be able to track the status of your job search.

8. Manage Job Search Email – In today’s world, much of your job search will likely be conducted by email.  Therefore, before you even start your search, whittle down the amount of email in your inbox so that you can hyper-focus on your job search emails, which will add up quickly.  Create folders within your email system using categories that make sense to you, such as Companies Applied To, Contacts Submitted Resumes To, etc.

9. Polish Your Online Profiles – If you are conducting a job search in today’s market, you would be remiss not to develop an online presence on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, which is the most “professional” of the social media sites and can essentially serve as your online resume.  But also consider other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  The opportunities are endless for employers and contacts to find you online.  You may even have your own website, e-zine, or blog.  Maybe you post articles on various article-marketing sites, or serve as a guest blogger on other blogs.  If you maintain profiles on any of social media sites, or have any type of online presence, be sure to polish your profiles so that they promote the image you want potential employers and contacts to see.

10.  Change Your Greetings – Change the message that greets callers for any phone number that you plan to use for your job search so that it sounds professional, and conveys the information you want callers to hear.  Be prepared, not embarrassed!

11.  Stay Positive – The longer a job search takes, the more chance you have of becoming negative about it.  Try to maintain a positive attitude to the extent you can by monitoring your progress and staying active in your search.  When the going gets rough during a job search, many people take a back seat and give up, which is counter-productive.  Try to stay focused and make valuable contacts that are likely to lead to a job.  However, don’t be all consumed by your search for a job!  Maintaining some balance in your life at this time will serve you well.  Get adequate sleep, eat well, see family and friends for pleasure, and make time for exercise.

Organization is one of the single most important things you can do to keep your job search manageable.  Just like being organized helps you improve any other area of your life, home, or work, it will also help move along your job search in quick and efficient fashion and with less stress.  It may even wind up being the key to finding that dream job you always wanted.

Overwhelmed just thinking about the upcoming holiday season? Relax. If you take a little time to plan your holiday season, it will be more enjoyable for you and your family! Focus on practicing good organizational techniques and time management principles.  Here are some tips to make the holidays enjoyable and the new year start off in a positive manner.

Setting Your Goals for the Holiday Season

  • Christmas_treeWe are pulled in so many different directions during the holidays: travel, family gatherings, parties and social events, shopping, baking, decorating, etc. As yourself: What do I want? This question is an invaluable guide for the holiday season. Think about what you want to do, as opposed to what you think others expect of you. Decide on your goals for the holiday season. Do you want to spend quality time with family? Do you want to try your hand at hosting or baking? Or, do you want to relax and enjoy quiet time? Achieving your goals and creating a meaningful holiday season requires that you have smart plans in place, especially if you want to enjoy the season without overindulging or stressing out.
  • It is difficult to keep all of the mental clutter associated with the holidays in our head! Keep a ‘holiday central’ notebook or create a memo in your handheld device. List items you want to do (notice I didn’t say need to do!), gifts to be purchased, people to send cards to, etc. Create a holiday budget so you know what you want to spend and stick to it.

Dealing with Holiday Schedule Overload

  • holiday_stressorsAll the things you want to do over the holiday season can bring pressure if you don’t bring your wants and needs into alignment and into a manageable schedule. Holiday joy comes from balance and choosing the activities that are fulfilling for you. Avoid taking on too much at this time of year. If you’re feeling too pressured, look for activities that you can reschedule until after the holidays, delegate, or say no to. Recognize that you can’t do everything, especially if you want to enjoy your holiday season!  Ask yourself: What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t do this?
  • Identify and avoid triggers. If going to certain events or seeing certain family or friends stresses you out and always ruins your holiday experience, avoid that activity. If you must attend, shorten your visit. If you are watching what you eat, plan ahead by eating a small healthy meal at home, so you won’t be as hungry at the event. Or plan out what you will eat at the event, allowing yourself a few treats that you only get to have once per year and stick to your plan.
  • If you regularly exercise, don’t stop over the holidays! Carve out time for exercise, even if it is not as much time as you usually do. The holidays are stressful enough – don’t miss out on a great form of natural stress relief!

The payoff to all of this planning? You won’t have post-holiday regret syndrome! You’ll be calmer and more available to enjoy the company of your family and friends, and you’ll start the new year feeling empowered.

calendarA few weeks ago, I presented at the National Association of Professional Organizers San Francisco Bay Area Regional Conference. My topic was Make Time for This: Effective Time Management. As I was putting the finishes touches on my slides and handout prior to the conference, I started thinking about the many different systems, tools and strategies people use to manage their time. Specifically, I started thinking about how far we have come with regard to digital/electronic systems compared to years ago. Yet, every time I speak to an audience about time management and survey the participants, it amazes me how many people are still using paper-based systems (paper, pen, notebooks, post-it notes, folders, etc.) compared to digital (software, apps, tablets, smart phones, etc.). And yes, even in a room full of professional organizers and productivity consultants, there were more than a handful that admitted to still using a paper-based system.

So which is better? That’s not an easy question to answer, even for a productivity expert because the winner is in the eyes of the user.

checkmarkA paper-based system has a certain solidness to it. You get to touch your system and hold it in your hands. For people that are very tactile focused, this concreteness can make all the difference. Being able to write with your own hand, feel the pen move across the paper, turn the page, tab it, shuffle paper, put a post-it note on it, etc. can make all the difference. The act of being able to physically manipulate the system is what helps the paper-based user to stay in control of the system and perhaps even enjoy using it. The disadvantages to this “ol d fashioned” type system include a limited/finite amount of space/storage, inconvenient size if the system is too large to fit into a small purse or pocket for example, and the fear that your system can be easily lost or destroyed with no back up.

People that are digital focused tend to do better with an electronic system. There are many advantages, including the ability to set reminders and alarms, an amazing amount of storage (especially if your digital system is in the cloud), portability and often a small size if you use your system on a handheld device, and the ability to share and synchronize with other’s calendars in workplace. Some disadvantages are that you can’t always see the full month view (a real pet peeve for those that are strong visual learners), and it’s not satisfying for tactile individuals who love the feel of pen to paper.

I used a Filofax day planner for years when I was still practicing law. I absolutely loved it! The smell o f the leather, the feel of the paper, the way my pen filled up the pages with appointments, and the fact that it was always with me ready to serve me at a moment’s notice. I was very careful about the way I handled it, and was adamant about not losing it. Some lawyers were so fearful that they may lose their daily planner that they offered a hefty financial reward to anyone that found it and returned it to them! I knew someone that left his planner on a plane and got it back and did indeed send a large check to the finder.

I fought the digital revolution tooth and nail for a long time, as I loved my Filofax and it served me well in the sense that I used it religiously and had great time management skills. But when the Palm Pilot was created (yes, I am dating myself!), I thought I had died and gone to Heaven, which is surprising for such a tactile person (I love to write by hand… even to this day!). I think it was the fact that it looked like a Filofax (leather bound, small size with the device inside) and you could “write” with a stylus. So it was a great transition piece as it mimicked many of the attributes of a paper system, but was the beginning of the digital overthrow — at least for me!

asanaThe Palm was the first in line of many digital time management systems. I am now fully digital using Asana as my digital task/project management system (if you haven’t checked it out, go to Asana.com — it is free and pretty amazing!), and iCal as my digital calendar system on all of my Mac devices (iPhone, iPad and iMac). BUT I still often make a daily to-do list on good old fashioned paper, and sometimes I even do a Brain Dump on paper when I have a lot of mental clutter in my head and need to get it out. There is still something so satisfying to me about running th at pen across the paper and watching the words appear. And there is nothing like the feeling of physically crossing an item off your to-do list!

If you are still struggling with whether to go fully-digital or continue using your tried-and-true-but-outdated paper system, realize that you can use both. Just be careful not to duplicate your efforts (by using two systems for the exact same purpose) or create systems that conflict and compete with each other.

In the end, there is no “perfect” system. The ultimate goal of any productivity or time management system should be to capture and complete the tasks and responsibilities that make up your personal and professional life, not necessarily HOW that is accomplished. The system doesn’t have to be pretty or stylish (unless aesthetics are important to you), or the latest and greatest digital marvel (unless being a techie is fun for you and you love being an early adopter). The system just has to do its job, which is to help you manage your time and tasks better. Free yourself from the mindset that one is better than the other, and ask yourself which is better for you at this particular time in your life. And if you absolutely can’t choose one or the other, feel free to create a system that incorporates both the paper and digital worlds. Heck, you never know… it just may become the next big thing!

When you put in so much time and effort to get organized, the last thing you want is to backslide and wind up back where you started. The good news is that you can stay organized once you reach an organized state of bliss (or even a semi-organized, “it’s better than it was and I can live with it state”!). All that is required is active maintenance. Oh no, you think – more work! Yes, but remember, it is a lot easier to stay organized than it is to get organized.

Maintenance Should Become Second Nature

Organizing is a way of life that requires maintenance and ongoing effort until it becomes second nature. Think about something you do everyday, like brushing your teeth, for example. You just do it, right? It is a habit, something that comes naturally to you. You don’t need reminders, checklists, alarms and prompts. But imagine you just started brushing your teeth today. It is an entirely new grooming activity that you are now required to do. You may need a prompt to remind you to do this new activity. But after a reasonable amount of time, you would naturally incorporate this new activity into your routine and would no longer need reminders. You would just do the activity automatically. In order to stay organized, you need to slowly incorporate maintenance of organizing systems into your daily routines. After awhile, you don’t even think about it anymore, you just naturally maintain your systems.

Develop Simple Maintenance Routines

Integrate a daily and periodic maintenance program into your routine, but keep it simple. You’ve heard the old adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Well, it goes a long way if your goal is to maintain organizing systems. Put things away at the end of each day at home, and at the office. If you start something, complete it if possible. If not, put the project items off to the side so that they do not become clutter in your way. If you use up the last of an item in the house, replenish it (at work, give notice to whoever stocks the supply cabinet). If you open something, close it. If you take something out to use it, put it away when you are done. Make this “finish it” policy a rule that all users of the organizing systems follow.

15 Minutes a Day Keeps Clutter at Bay

Want to maintain an organizing system? 15 minutes a day keeps clutter at bay! Once you’ve created an organizing system that works, take 15 minutes a day to keep it that way. If it needs much longer than that, chances are it is too complex of a system, or you are still in backlog mode with too much clutter. If so, then you need to focus on continuing to declutter and setting up simple, user-friendly organizing systems.

It is entirely possible that some areas of your life will be in maintenance mode while others will still be in the process of getting organized. That is expected. While you are getting organized, you will naturally finish some areas before others. For the areas that are already organized, use your maintenance routines. For the rest, keep plugging away! You will get to maintenance mode if you hang in there, I promise.

Don’t get caught up in the actual amount of time. 15 minutes at work, and 15 minutes at home, is an average. Some people need much more time to maintain their organizing systems, some need much less. It depends how many organizing systems need to be maintained, how complex they are, how many users are involved, whether someone is sabotaging the system by not cooperating in maintenance efforts, etc. Use 15 minutes as a benchmark to measure your maintenance efforts against.

Some people do their maintenance in the morning (washing dishes from last night’s dinner, choosing outfits for day, planning their schedule on their calendar, putting away files no longer working with, etc.), while others do it at the end of the day before they leave work and before they retire for the evening at home. The right time to maintain organizing systems is when it is easiest for you and you will actually do it. If you decide to maintain systems at the end of the day, be sure to finish activities at home and at work 15 minutes before you close shop, in order to leave enough time for maintenance.

Exercise: Schedule 15 Minutes a Day

Schedule in a recurring appointment on your calendar that prompts you to do 15 minutes per day of maintenance of organizing systems at home and at work. Remember, maintaining an organizing system should become second nature, like brushing your teeth everyday. But it may take time for it to become a habit, so be patient. Meanwhile, 15 minutes a day will help keep clutter at bay, and maintain your orderly new life!

Copyright © 2010 Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, LLC.

Want to Use This Article in Your E-zine or Website?

You can, as long as you use this complete statement:

Copyright 2010. Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and operate productive and profitable businesses. Lisa publishes the monthly “DECIDE® to be Organized” e-zine for success-minded individuals, and “Next Level Business Success” e-zine for entrepreneurs. Subscribe today at www.LMOrganizingSolutions.com. Lisa is the author of The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful & More Organized Life, published by Peter Pauper Press. Lisa also publishes the DECIDE® to be Organized blog at www.DecideToBeOrganized.com. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help take your business to the next level, contact Lisa at (845) 988-0183 or by e-mail at .

use_technology_wiselyWith all of the technology devices at our fingertips these days, it is easier than ever to stay connected 24-7. But, how do we balance the need and desire to stay connected with the danger of technology taking over? By continuing to be the master of technology, not the servant!

I travel a lot for business in my role as a productivity consultant and professional speaker. Indeed, I am writing this column on my IPad at an airport, and will then email it to my online business manager (how’s that for 21st century technology?). When on the road, it is vital for me to be able to stay connected. But it is a constant balance between using technology to stay connected and get my work done, save time and be more productive, while not letting technology take over my life. To that end, here are some tips to help you stay connected, but maybe not exactly 24-7. Just because you can b e glued to your device doesn’t mean you should be!

Protect Yourself – Consider allowing only select people to break through to the inner sanctum. Just because you can be reached 24-7 doesn’t mean everyone needs to have access to you. Don’t share your itinerary and contact information with everyone. Use voice mail and email wisely to protect yourself by choosing when and how to reply back to people (see next point!).

Choose Times to Check In – Instead of constantly checking your email and voice mail messages, choose times of the day to check in. That way, you do not interrupt the flow of work (or play). This will help you be more proactive and less reactive. Studies show that email is a huge time bandit. It also creates an unnecessary need to continuously check it, which is a major interrupter in most people’s day. Plan your check-ins so that you are not reacting like Pavlov’s dog, salivating whenever you get an email.

appsThere’s an App for That – Choose which applications you will use on a regular basis and download only those apps to your smart phone or tablet. Yes, there are a multitude of apps available today, but the average person only uses 5 on a regular basis. Choose wisely, as apps can become electronic clutter and use an enormous amount of memory space on your device.

Use “the Cloud” – With today’s cloud-based technology, it is so easy to maintain information in a safe and easily accessible location so that you can access it when you need it on-the-go. From your contacts and client database, to your calendar and documents, everything can be stored in the cloud. Take a good, hard look at Google. It offers a lot more than people realize and can be your best friend when you need to stay connected away from home or the office. I also personally love Dropbox and Evernote, both great cloud-based tools for accessing notes, documents, and other data.

Be Courteous – You may be a technology junkie and love the idea of not only being accessible 24-7, but using your devices constantly to make phone calls, dictate reports, etc. If you are in a business setting, this is perfectly acceptable in this day and age. In fact, many commuter trains look like a technology explosion took place! But if you are in a quiet setting, or perhaps one that is not focused on business (some restaurants for example), be courteous to others and do not over-use your tech tools to the dismay of everyone around you. There is a time and place for using our technology to stay connected, and sometimes abstaining is the polite thing to do!

Coaching Challenge: Try to use the above tips to practice staying connected in a way that allows you to be more productive without feeling like you are addicted to technology. Let technology be the servant, not the master!

Conquer Your Paper Clutter

conquer Your Paper Clutter

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Recommended Books

Lisa Montanaro Books

The Ultimate Life Organizer: An Interactive Guide to a Simpler, Less Stressful, and More Organized Life

Here is your very own portable personal organizer and life coach, offering easy-to-follow steps on the way to an organized, empowered life! Written by Lisa Montanaro

Get on the VIP list to be the first to know when the book is launched & to join the Ultimate Life Organizer Book Club!!

Click to Learn More

Thrive in Your Career

Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur that wants to Thrive in Your Career? Then this amazing little pint-size powerful tips booklet is for you! Featuring 14 expert authors, including Lisa Montanaro, the tips cover all aspects of thriving in your business. The booklet includes tips on organizing, networking, marketing, social media, web presence, writing, and more! So grab your copy and get ready to easily digest information from a collection of experts that can serve as your virtual Board of Advisors and help you succeed in your business and career!

DECIDE® to be Organized E-Book

An Empowering Process for Change

I am thrilled to officially launch my first E-Book, DECIDE® to be Organized: An Empowering Process for Change. Yes, there are many fantastic books and resources that will help you get better organized and stay that way. But, DECIDE® differs in its approach in that it is less about the “stuff” and more about the thinking behind the “stuff.” The DECIDE® process allows you to go deep and examine the connection between decision-making and disorganization. It looks at the way you think and act with regard to organization, and offers an opportunity for an empowering change to occur.

Click to Learn More

Many of these products and services are part of official affiliate programs which pay a referral commission to LMOS based on any purchases you make through these links. However, that is not the reason I recommend them. I only recommend products and services that I believe are of high quality, value, and will benefit you in a tangible way as you improve your home, office, and life.

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Organizing Books

Organizing from the Inside Out — The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
by Julie Morgenstern
A comprehensive organizing book offering tips and tools for organizing your home, office, and life, Organized from the Inside Out has helped hundreds of thousands of people clean up the clutter in their life. Considered by many to be THE organizing book on the market.

10 Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home by Shannon McGinnis
My colleague and friend, Shannon McGinnis, a professional organizer based in California, wrote this great little organizing book. At 200 pages and cleverly broken up into categories for ease of use, the 10-Minute Tidy is a manageable resource for those of you looking for some guidance (other than a live professional organizer, of course!) as you try to get better organized at home.

It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized
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This book delves into the underlying causes of chronic disorganization. Though it offers some concrete advice, it mainly targets the sources of disorganization, while offering meaningful paths to tackling everything from dirty dishes and filing problems to time management and inner spirituality.

Organizing Plain & Simple – A Ready Reference Guide with Hundreds of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges by Donna Smallin
Donna Smallin offers organizing advice with room-by-room, tried and true organizational techniques to ease the burden of managing your money, family, house, time – and life’s big changes.

Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui
by Karen Kingston
Drawing on the success of her first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, Karen Kingston has expanded on the indispensable activity of clearing clutter. Kingston reminds us that clutter is stuck energy that keeps you stuck in undesirable life patterns. Kingston covers the reasons we keep things as well as the amazing stories of people who have cleared their clutter away. More than just junk, clutter is all those things that have negative symbology and that collect stagnant energy. In an age of accumulation, it’s good to see a book that frees up life again.


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Life Coaching Books

Take Time for Your Life
by Cheryl Richardson
Life coach Cheryl Richardson helps people create the lives they want. In Take Time for Your Life, Richardson shows you how to switch from being stressed, unfulfilled, and overworked, to “living a life you love” by using a seven-step process. Through seven progressive strategies, Richardson shows you how to live an authentic, high-quality life, embracing your spiritual, emotional, and financial well-being. Richardson recommends enlisting a friend to work through the book with you: a fine idea to help you benefit from all the guidance that this book offers. I read this book years ago and go back to it time and again.

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Career Counseling Books

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar
No More Monday Morning Blues…

If you are dissatisfied with your career and want to break free, you’re about to be liberated! This book offers a-step-by-step guide to finding the “work” that expresses and fulfills your needs, talents, and passions. Using dozens of real-life examples, Marsha Sinetar shows you how to overcome your fears, take the little risks that make big risks possible, and become a person whose work means self-expression, growth, and love! I devoured this book as I was leaving my law career and starting down my path to professional organizing.

Finding Your North StarFinding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck
Martha Beck’s book is the ultimate guide for helping you figure out the answer to the question, “What do I want to do with my life?” Beck is a life coach with a fun, witty, and intelligent style of writing that jumped ship to do what she loves and her book is a wonderful platform for her to help others do the same. When I was struggling with leaving the practice of law and becoming an entrepreneur, I found this book to be pivotal in my decision. There are handy exercises that dig deep and help you really think about your skills, talents, and the type of life and employment that you want. I still have my book to this day with all of my notes in it and use it as a constant reminder that I made the right choice!

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Financial Planning Books

2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound by Suze Orman
The credit crunch, the stock market freefall, the staggering toll of home foreclosures and job losses: The economic crisis that struck in 2008 has left no one untouched and everybody reeling. Seemingly overnight, the financial landscape has undergone seismic changes that suddenly have you asking all kinds of questions: Are your savings safe? Should you continue to invest in your retirement account? Should you keep your home if it’s worth less than what you owe or should you sell it? How do you pay your bills if you’ve just been laid off? The nation’s go-to expert on financial matters, Suze Orman, believes that 2009 is a critical year for your money. There are safeguards to put in place, actions to take, costly mistakes to avoid, and even opportunities to be had, so that you are protected during the bad times and prepared to prosper when things take a turn for the better. No matter what situation you’re in, you will find a plan of action and the answers to your questions about credit, retirement, savings and spending, real estate, paying for college, and protecting your family.SUZE ORMAN’S 2009 ACTION PLAN delivers honest, straightforward guidance—what to do, when to do it, and how to do it—as only Suze Orman can.

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Business Books

Thrive in Your Career
Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur that wants to Thrive in Your Career? Then this amazing little pint-size powerful tips booklet is for you! Featuring 14 expert authors, including Lisa Montanaro of LM Organizing Solutions, the tips cover all aspects of thriving in your business. The booklet includes tips on organizing, networking, marketing, social media, web presence, writing, and more! So grab your copy and get ready to easily digest information from a collection of experts that can serve as your virtual Board of Advisors and help you succeed in your business and career! Investment: $5.00

Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice (by Alan Weiss) Million Dollar Consulting:
The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice by Alan Weiss
The acclaimed Million Dollar Consulting gives consultants the tools and advice they need to grow a firm that rakes in at least $1 million per year. Alan Weiss, “the consultant’s consultant,” shows step-by-step how to raise capital, reel in new clients, set fees, accelerate growth, and more. This updated and expanded edition will appeal to both Weiss’s many current fans and a whole new generation of readers looking for the best advice available for anyone who wants to build a million-dollar consulting/speaking career.

  The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
In this first new and totally revised edition of the over two million copy bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. Next, he walks you through the steps in the life of a business — from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed — and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether it is a franchise or not. Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

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Here’s everything included in the Toolkit: “Achieve Powerhouse Success with Purpose, Passion, and Productivity”

  • Create Your Purpose, Live Your Passion – ebook
  • How to Juggle Being a Multi-Passionate Person & Entrepreneur – audio program
  • How to Overcome the 3 Most Common Blocks to Living a Productive Life – audio program

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Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer? Are you an organizer who strives to take your business to the next level? Do you need assistance with business planning, marketing, and other issues that entrepreneurs struggle with?

A large percentage of my client base over years has been, and continues to be, professional organizers. I provide coaching to those who aspire to become professional organizers, and for organizers at every level.  I LOVE coaching, consulting and training my peer organizing colleagues throughout the US and beyond. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds, and has become more “professional” than ever before. It is an exciting time to run an organizing business.

As an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), a Golden Circle member of NAPO, the moderator of the Ask the Organizer Panel for three years at the annual conference, and a frequent speaker at NAPO annual, regional and chapter events, I am blessed to be a leader in the organizing industry.  I know what it takes to be a successful professional organizer, and to be a thriving entrepreneur.  I still run an organizing business and use team members that are independent contractors to service my hands-on clients.  I am open about my journey as a business owner and professional organizer, and share my lessons learned freely with my professional organizer colleagues, many of whom are my clients.

As a professional organizer, decade-long successful business owner, trainer of entrepreneurs, and former practicing attorney, I am uniquely qualified to offer high-level business coaching and consulting to professional organizers.


Cena_Black-200x300“I’m proud to say that Lisa is someone I consider to be a role model and mentor in the professional organizing/productivity consulting industry. She has been instrumental in my business decision making and growth. Her background in law and running her own solo-preneur business is incredibly valuable. She is extremely intelligent, very experienced in all areas that organizers/productivity consultants need to attend to, and she is an incredibly conscientious and generous listener.

When I was new to the industry, I felt a conflict and hesitation in paying for someone to answer my questions – but I have grown to shift my paradigm. The guidance of a mentor and professional saves an incredible amount of time and energy in the long run. After hiring several coaches for myself – I can only say that I wish I had invested sooner into a coach/mentor relationship. Lisa’s guidance is treasured and I have no reservations recommending her and paying her for her expertise. It will be some of the best investment dollars you can spend on yourself and your business!”~ Cena Block, The Mom-preneur Clarity Catalyst, Owner of Sane Spaces, NAPO-NNJ Chapter President 2011-2012

Read more testimonials here

Here are some examples of the type of coaching/consulting I provide for organizers:

Business Topics

  • Business start-up and planning
  • Structuring your business
  • Goal setting
  • Drafting agreements or proposals
  • Package or project pricing and dealing with price negotiations
  • Marketing, networking & branding
  • Establishing a strong online presence
  • Leveraging your content and expertise by developing multiple streams of income
  • Classifying employees or independent contractors
  • Business processes/systems
  • Creating an Operations Manual
  • Protecting your business financially and legally
  • Setting up a Board of Advisors
  • Assisting with choice of professional advisors
  • Preparing your business for sale

Organizing Topics

  • Residential Organizing
  • Small Business Organizing
  • Corporate Organizing
  • Record Retention/Paper Organizing
  • Studying for the CPO Examination
  • Difficult client situations/ethical dilemmas

“Lisa, I am so grateful for your business coaching.  Your background, experience and skills are very powerful and have been so beneficial for me and my business.

Your flexibility allowed for a flow where you followed me as I mapped out the projects that I wanted us to work on, as well as lead me through the process.  Due to your diverse background, you have an amazing ability to wear many hats as we worked to streamline decisions on the various situations discussed.

You are able to be Business Coach, Attorney, Mentor, Cheerleader…and more. You wear all your hats so well! Thank You.”~ Jane Carroo CPO® CRTS®, www.cluttercoach.com

Ready to build an organizing business that serves you on your terms? Great! Let’s get started!

Take Action

If you want to just dive in and rent my brain for a Strategy Session, then click here to purchase online. Coaching & Training of Professional Organizers is generally done in the form of one-on-one coaching via phone or Skype (or in person if we are close enough geographically).

Coaching slots are available on a first come, first serve basis. When I receive your payment, I will email you a pre-session questionnaire (Coaching Profile) so that I can become more familiar with what you want to work on and we can jump right in.

If you think you may want longer term support, let’s set up a to chat first and see if a VIP Intensive or Platinum Level Coaching Program may be a better fit.

I can’t wait to get my hands on you and your business! We are going to kick some butt (in a good way, I promise).

Productivity Consulting

“Life takes on meaning when you become motivated,
set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.”

~ Les Brown

Creating order and balance in today’s fast-paced, over-stuffed society is an ongoing challenge for many people and organizations. Improving productivity can decrease stress, help you find what you need faster, and save time! I have helped hundreds of corporations, small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and individuals garner measurable increases in productivity and gain time to participate more fully in business, career, and life. And I’d love to put my training, knowledge and experience to work to help you too!

I help clients with productivity challenges such as:

    • Time Management

  • Procrastination
  • Calendar/Software/App Choices
  • Over-Scheduling
  • Dealing with Interruptions
  • Saying No
  • Delegation
  • Prioritization, etc.
    • Email Management
    • Project Management
    • Paper Management
    • Filing Systems/Records Management
    • Systems/Workflow Improvement
    • Evaluation of Office Procedures
    • Creation of Operations Manual


Let me help you boost your productivity in your work and your life today!

The DECIDE to be Organized® Methodology

In my years of experience working with clients to improve their organizing systems, I have noticed a trend. Disorganized people and organizations often have difficulty making decisions. Indeed, these people and organizations get stuck in decision-making mode, causing delay and stress, which in turn leads to physical and mental clutter.

We are bombarded with decisions on a daily basis; some vital, some trivial. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid decision-making if we want to function in today’s busy world. What we can control is our ability to make decisions in a manner that ultimately frees us from all of the clutter.

I empower people and organizations to DECIDE to be Organized®, which is a unique 6-step organizing methodology that I created based on my many years of experience organizing and coaching clients. Through the implementation of the DECIDE process, I co-create customized systems with my clients designed to achieve results at home, in business, and in life. Considered by my clients to be an “intellectual organizer and problem-solver,” I am skillful at asking questions in a non-judgmental manner that help people and organizations find the answers to create a system tailored to their individual needs.

DECIDE is an empowering process that leads to change. While the process guides a person or organization in making decisions that lead to a more organized state, it is itself a decision; a decision to take control. Therefore, in order for it to be effective, you must decide to DECIDE — exercise the power that you have to move forward, and make changes.

My DECIDE methodology is facilitative and intuitive, and I am passionate in my dedication to coaching clients in how to create more space in their lives for the things they most value.

How to Get Started

Productivity Consulting slots are available on a first come, first serve basis. When I receive your payment, I will email you a pre-session questionnaire (Coaching Profile) so that I can become more familiar with what you want to work on and we can jump right in.

If you want to explore longer term options, such as VIP Intensives or my Platinum Level Coaching Programs, then let’s set up a to see what is the best match for you at this time.

The sooner you get started, the quicker those organizing systems will appear. Take the first step and ask for help! I’m here waiting for you, ready to tackle your organizing projects!

“I wanted to write and thank you for the help you have given me in our recent telephone coaching sessions!  I’ve had various time management and organizational problems for some time now, but I never quite knew where to begin with solving them.  I thought about formal classes, but of course, I didn’t want to take time out to attend them!  So when I realized that you were available for phone coaching, I thought I would give it a try!  After the brief time it took for you to assess my situation, I was very pleased with the number of easy and practical steps that you suggested to help me to become more organized, prioritized and effective.  I was especially pleased with the tips you gave me to help bridge my paper and electronic information, which is essential to the way I live and work.  Since I’ve worked on the steps you suggested to use my paper system to support my electronic system, and rely on a single source for my information and prioritized actions, I have been able to more effectively get my task lists completed on time and with much less stress!!! 

I must say that the phone coaching sessions were effective and very helpful for me, and since that time I have been reading your e-zine/newsletter when it comes out for more tips and insights.  Also, now that I have seen the value of having a subject matter expert help me with organizing and setting priorities, I am considered getting some more formal assistance.  So, I strongly recommend to anyone that is struggling with organizing, time management, or prioritization issues, to get some help!  No one should go it alone, especially when expert help is available to cut through all of their confusion and give them a new perspective!  And I strongly recommend you, Lisa, as the expert they should choose!” ~ Mark A. Baker, Orchard Park, NY