Organization Tips for In-house Success: 4 Ways to Harness the Power of One

A few years ago, I hired professional organizer and owner of Organize for Success Emily Parks to advise me and my team on how to get our in-house offices in order. In part one of this six part series, Emily shared ideas on how to tame the avalanche of paper flowing through our offices. In part two of this six part series, Emily will share four tips on how to harness the power of one. Not sure what the power of one is? Take a few moments to read about the concept and learn how Emily’s four organization tips could help you and your in-house team.

EdI’ve been in strategic planning sessions lately making decisions on the coordination of resources to execute our annual report. This is a high stakes assignment with a very hard deadline; as you can imagine, everything must fall into place effortlessly and on time.

My entire team is currently operating at full throttle in an effort to complete their individual assignments. The annual report is one of those projects I personally enjoy producing because of all the converging components. It’s also a great deal of responsibility for one person and I actually welcome the challenge and opportunity.

I do have and use a great workflow management system but not every in-house team has one. Plus, there are several in-house teams comprised of just one person! Do you have any simple tips for all of us to improve our project processes, keeping us organized as we run from one planning session to executing final deliverables?

emily parksGreat question, Ed! As Three Dog Night sang in the lyrics of their 1969 hit, “One is the Loneliest Number.” There are times when great power can be harnessed by a group, however, the power of one can also be extremely impactful when using certain tools for organization. Here are a few tips to put the power of one to good use for yourself and each member of your in-house team:

Tip 1: One Data Dump
Our brains get filled with more and more information each day, making it difficult to focus on the big picture and strategic planning. Documenting all that information in one place ensures meeting notes, ideas, phone messages, inspirations, research and the like are not lost and are easily accessible, regardless of whether that one place is the paper option of a spiral notebook, Moleskin sketchbook or an electronic option like Evernote, Springpad, Note Taker HD, Awesome Note, Google Keep or Microsoft OneNote.

Tip 2: One Calendar
Whether paper or electronic, a single planner solution enables tracking all personal and professional commitments in one place, making it less likely that appointments will be forgotten or you double-book yourself. Sometimes, writing commitments in a paper planner like a Franklin Covey option or a Planner Pad can aid in remembering those appointments; other times, it’s more helpful to have reminders and the option for recurrences that are available with electronic calendars, like iCal and Outlook.

Tip 3: One To-Do List
Are you jotting down reminders on multiple sheets of paper in various different notebooks or on sticky notes posted all around your office? If so, how many of those tasks actually get completed? Keeping all the action items you need to attend to in one place makes it more likely that you’ll prioritize and complete them. While there are plenty of notepads offering a paper option, some of my favorite tech tools for task management include Wunderlist, Remember the Milk and Any.Do.

Tip 4: One Address Book
For contacts’ names, phone numbers, emails and snail mail addresses as well as any notes related to that connection, keeping everyone’s information centralized within one system. Doing so will make it easier to keep your contacts’ information up-to-date and quickly accessible whenever needed. While many computers, tablets, smartphones and calendars come with a built-in option for managing your contacts, useful substitutes include Contacts+, Brewster and Xobni Smartr Contacts. Check them out!

Awesome tips as usual, Emily! I especially like tip 1. I take my little red journal “Data Dump” with me everywhere. I love it because when I’m entering information in our workflow management system it helps me recall the most minute details from client meetings.

In-house managers and team members, do you have any helpful tips to share that can be added to Emily’s list? Please share those with us.


Additional Resource
Need some new strategies and techniques for managing your in-house team? Get ready to tackle your team’s in-house issues with these exceptional presentations from the 2013 InHOWse Managers Conference, which includes nearly 14 hours of professional advice!


About Emily Parks
Emily Parks, owner of Organize for Success, is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers & the Institute for Challenging Disorganization as well as a graduate of the Institute for Professional Organizers. With a background in automotive marketing and college sports operations, Emily provides confidential, one-on-one consulting (in-person or via Skype) and team training, helping you increase efficiency, boost productivity, accomplish more in less time, quickly locate what you need when you need it and maximize your physical space for optimal output.