Clutter busters An organized office space makes good first impression

By Jeanine Matlow
Legal News
Organization might not be a priority for everyone, but it can make a difference in our lives. Although it takes some effort to get started and to stay that way, you’ll save so much time in the end. 
Yoav Zohar, known as the "chaos buster," created The YtoZ Approach, a coaching method designed to help others deal with the mental burden caused by piles of digital data and unmet commitments. 
“I find that there is a direct correlation between scattered stuff and issues that fall into the ‘unmet commitments cracks,’” says Zohar whose approach is geared toward but not limited to those who are self-employed. 
His experience has shown him that most small business owners gladly create and deliver their core product (the “A to X” of their business) but are frustrated with their administrative “back office” operations (the “Y to Z” of their business).
Zohar begins his process by creating and organizing a client’s digital systems (i.e. structured file system, contact list, calendar and password vault). He then creates a visual tracking system that gently forces his clients to face their financial numbers.
“To jumpstart the process, we usually pick an unmet commitment that needs to be addressed,” says Zohar, who offers what he calls a judgment-free observation where he watches how clients work in their own space, noting what works best for them.
“My role is to facilitate without judgment using the principles that apply,” he says. 
Zohar, who is also available for presentations, combines years of startup experience and a passion for order and simplicity to maximize small business effectiveness. 
He believes entrepreneurs are frustrated by the disorganization of their digital life, such as files and e-mail, underutilization of powerful tools like smart phones and computer systems, and the lack of a secured digital vault for passwords and log-ins. 
Following his personalized analysis and creation of a unique system for each individual, Zohafr and his clients create a personalized system to streamline tasks.
“The result is that you have more time and energy for the work that you actually enjoy,” says Zohar. 
Betty Huotari, professional organizer and owner of Logical Placement in Fenton, addresses some other organizational challenges. 
“You have to be willing to make the change and do the work,” she says. “It’s not enough for an employer to want an employee or colleague to be neat and tidy.”
Most importantly, she says clients want a professional atmosphere. 
“They make their decision based on your professionalism and your office,” Huotari says.  “It’s the first impression.”
Huotari cites a former University of Michigan study that showed a disorganized office sends the message that you cannot handle any more responsibility.
On the other hand, a clean desk implies that a person can take on more work.
As Huotari explains, there is a natural work space for your computer and storage. She suggests making room for supplies and reference materials, like magazines and binders. 
“Have the tools that you use every day within your fingertips,” says Huotari, who suggests setting up zones in and around your desk. “If there is a manual you refer to on a regular basis, keep it within arm’s reach.”
For those who bring work home, she suggests keeping a mobile briefcase or a file for everything that goes back and forth.
“At home, it’s important to have a dedicated space for work materials. It’s easy to get distracted by answering a call or doing a load of laundry. Get into the habit of making sure everything is in your briefcase versus waiting until the next morning when the alarm doesn’t go off and the children are screaming. You never know what the next morning will entail,” she says. 
Huotari has found that most workplaces have a lot of duplication. You don’t have to keep a copy of something if you have a reference area with the same material, she says. 
Perhaps the biggest issue is that we don’t try to stay one step ahead of ourselves. 
“We’re not proactive with our time,” says Huotari. “Going through a file doesn’t seem important. But, if they’re half the size, we can find things faster.” 


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