Cape Cod Parent and Child
February • March 2007
By Nicole Gabai
President of B. Organized!
Do you tend to
collect “little papers” throughout the day? (and who doesn’t?)
Did you get the phone number for a great plumber and just don’t
remember where you wrote it? I have created a solution that has
worked for me for the last 17 years...
“portability.” This is a term I created to describe a system to
remain organized whether at home, in the office or on the road. This
means anything from being out all day at work, on errands or
carpools. The first item you’ll want to have at your fingertips is
a catch-all notebook preferably with tab sections. This can be
spiral bound or a 3-ring binder. Make sure to use separate
categories for each tab. For example: one tab for each child and
member of your household. One for any special project you are
working on, perhaps a renovation, decorating ideas or planning an
upcoming trip. You might want a section for Health & Dr.’s for
all the recommendations you get.
creating your daily schedule, remember to allot time for all
of your activities including:
• Kids after-school activities
• Your personal time!
For keeping track of your kids schedules, keep all schedules
in clear plastic sleeves and hold them together with a metal
ring. Hang these in the most visible place, such as the
kitchen. Remember to jot down all pick-up and drop off times
in your schedule to keep yourself on track!
The basic idea
here is to provide a home for all the notes and papers we accumulate
during the day. You can tape in some of this information that might
have landed on a handwritten note or any other reminders you want to
hang on to. The key here is the categories, so that you can refer to
and retrieve information easily; much more efficient than flipping
through pages and pages of random notes. This special notebook I
affectionately call the “halfway house,” since the information
stored in it is halfway between your ever important “bible”
(more on that below) and your permanent files or perhaps it remains
as fleeting tidbits of information to live in the “halfway
house.” It’s very important to date the notebook in the front,
say January 2007 through April 2007 and you’ll want to hang on to
these notebooks for approximately 5 years.
So, now the
“bible!” The “bible” is a datebook and address book all in
one. This very important item can be either electronic or paper. For
a paper system, Filofax and the Franklin Planner, as well as other
similar brands, are still very popular and every bit as efficient. A
Palm Pilot or other electronic device is excellent too, just be sure
to think through which one you will commit to and remember to use it
works together with the halfway house, preferably using the bible to
note the time of an appointment and then using the halfway house for
all expanded notes about the appointment. Use at least a
“day-on-a-page” layout if you’re on a paper system to note
appointments in the corresponding time slot, and then refer to it
throughout the day. In addition, use the “month-at-a-glance”
layout for better planning. This is 2 pages where you can see the
whole month at once. Use this to clearly mark, in simple notation,
when you have appointments. Now, in one glance, you can see how best
to manage your time within the context of the whole month.
In the Palm
Pilot system, this is easily maintained as you regularly input new
entries. For the busier times when quick input isn’t possible,
tuck the information away in your “halfway house” until you have
more time for updating. In a paper system, it’s important to input
all entries on your computer using a program like “Outlook.”
This way you can print it out for your book and it is always backed
up on your computer, just in case.
time-saving tip is to “maximize your A-Z.” Basically this means
to add an entry in your address book, for example, under “B” for
books. How many times do you get recommendations and just don’t
know where to store that information? Your phonebook is the perfect
place. The same is true for Movies to rent, Babysitters, etc…
have these 2 items with you at all times. Whenever you leave the
house, check to see that you have your “halfway house” and your
“bible” with you, just like you would make sure you have your
cell phone with you.
keeping a current ‘TO DO” list is essential for your daily
tasks, as well as weekly and monthly tasks. These can easily be
updated if you store them in your computer. A classic index card is
another helpful tool to keep track of daily tasks. Also, make a
“CALL LIST” and a “THINGS TO BUY LIST.” As you move through
town, frequently check your lists to stay on track. You’ll be
breezing through life in an efficient way and you’ll realize how
wonderful it is to B. Organized!
Gabai is the president and founder of B. Organized!, a company
specializing in innovative solutions for your home, office
(especially paper intensive environments) and children’s rooms.
The company also handles moves and relocations. She has owned the
company for seven years and was previously based in New York City.
She is now based in Falmouth and can be reached at email@example.com or
508.532.2715. She is offering a class on organizing at the
Falmouth night school in the fall. In addition to working closely
with her clients, providing customized solutions, Nicole also
presents workshops and seminars on how to get yourself organized.
Her work is widely recognized throughout the northeast, from Maine
to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to Tennessee and Miami and
internationally in Peru and Mexico.
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