Monday, January 22, 2007

Organizing Your Business for Success

Report From the Women's Power Summit - Part 3

In my first two articles on the Women’s Power Summit, I summarized presentations from Jeanette Cates, the Technology Tamer and Loral Langmeier, the Millionaire Maker. I consider both of these women to be my mentors, since I have taken their courses, read their books, and heard them speak before, though I had never met them in person. So of course I was looking forward to meeting these two very successful women that I continue to learn from. But the presentation that I really needed to hear at the Women’s Power Summit was “How to Play to Win with Your Business,” given by Barbara Hamphill.

Barbara Hamphill is a nationally renowned professional organizer. She is a past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers and has appeared on many television shows including Today, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning. She is a sought after speaker and who counsels major corporations on organizing for efficiency. She is the creator of Taming the Paper Tiger Software and the Author of Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and Taming the Paper Tiger at Work. Her presentation, “How to Play to Win with Your Business,” was all about how to organize your business for success.

Her organizing SYSTEM is an acronym for Saves You Space, Time, Energy, and Money. According to Ms. Hamphill there are three essential components to any system of organization. Your individual methodology, or a way to think about organizing that works for you. Tools that you will need to get organized. And maintenance, which is the actual system that you will use to stay organized. Ms. Hamphill argues that there is no one organizing system or method that works for everybody, but that you have to find a method that works for you.

Start with a productive setting or environment. A productive environment is one in which everything around you supports who you would like to be. One of her favorite statements in her organizing seminars is “have nothing which you do not know to be useful, think to be beautiful, or love.” You know that you have a productive setting when there is no clutter, there is a place for everything, you can find anything you need, and you have a beautiful environment.

Although there is no one “system” that works for everyone, there are six tools that everyone needs to have in order to get organized. Barbara calls them the “magic six.” These consist of: your desk top tools, she recommends a 3 tired box consisting of an in box, an out box and a “to file” box; your waste basket; your calendar, which is actually three different calendars – a planner pad, your personal calendar and your family calendar; your database; your action files; and your reference files.

Barbara teaches the FAT system to get rid of clutter. FAT stands for File it, Act on it, or Toss it. She says that when it comes to clutter, these are the only choices that you have. One of the skills that you need have in order to deal with the clutter in your home or office is something that she calls “the art of wastbasketry.” When you go through the mail or anything that comes into your inbox, ask yourself these questions:

Does it require action?
Is it recent?
Is it difficult to get again?
Does it have legal or tax implications?
Does it have a specific use?

If you answer yes to any of these questions either file it or act on it. If you answered no to all of these questions, then ask yourself what is the worst possible thing that could happen if you tossed it out. If you and your organization can live with the consequences, then toss it, if not, file it.

For more help in the clearing clutter and getting your home or office organized, you can read one of Barbara Hamphill books. Her books are also available on CD and she also has a Taming the Paper Tiger software program.

This is the third article in a series about the Women’s Power Summit that was held in Atlanta in October of 2006. If you missed the previous articles, you can read them on this blog.

Joanne Musa is a tax lien investing consultant and creator of, an educational web site to help people that want to learn how to invest in tax lien certificates and tax deeds. To find out more about tax lien investing, go to

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