Lanna Nakone is a professional organizer and consultant. Her business, Organized World, boasts clients from corporations and busy executives to homemakers. A member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), she runs workshops and does extensive lecturing for The Executive Committee Worldwide (T.E.C.). She lives in St. Helena, California.
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center Observe degree, priority, and place, Insisture, course, proportion, season, form, Office, and custom, in all line of order.
--William Shakespeare, Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida, 1.3. 85-88
Let's start by stroking your ego. You deserve it! You see, your natural style matches societal expectations for the desirable organizational solution and the rest of us have been trying to emulate you throughout the ages. It's true, you are the epitome of efficiency, meticulous systematization, and clarity. Your work environment and home reflect a sense of reasonable order. No clutter. No piles. A place for everything and everything in its place. You are the technique specialist and like to keep yourself up to date with the latest approaches to ensure that you are doing your job well. So join me as you learn how to maximize your strengths and shed some light on new and proven ways to generate more energy, develop more skills, and increase your personal success.
Now, take a deep breath. For those of you who scored low in this section, you still use some of this type of methodical thinking for basic survival and efficiency. Although you may not feel comfortable using these skills for too long at a time, take solace in realizing that some of these techniques could give you a leg up, so it's a good idea to get to know this brain type. If a coworker, spouse, child, or friend is one of these amazing organizational types, reading this chapter will help you figure out what makes them tick and how you two can work better together.
Okay, Maintaining Style, you tend to prefer having specific steps you can follow, right down to the letter. I assure you, a custom-mademethodology is coming! (Lots of bulleted points are right around the corner. You will be able to easily check them off, one by one, so you can incorporate them immediately into your daily routine.) However, let's first explore the way you do things, and see if we can better understand how you could manage your environment effectively.
Relinquish a bit of control and let me support you. I know that that isn't your style. You prefer to have the directions, your car all tuned up, your lunch beside you, a map open, and know exactly what is expected of you once you arrive. Here is your agenda for this chapter:
• How your brain type works
• Why do you need help?
• How to manage your environment in your own style
• The details
• The strengths and challenges of your brain
• Organizing your time
• Organizing your home
• Organizing your office
• Overview of the Maintaining Style
I will help you set up a structure for organizing that will be easy for you to understand, maintain, and--most important--enjoy. Don't worry about how to implement any of these ideas right away. You are likely already a highly productive worker and you may only need to tweak a little of this and that. Ultimately, all of these insights and tools will strengthen your belief in your inherent talents.
Even though you like to work alone, we will work together in dissecting some of your daily actions. This will give us insight into how you can shift your perception of what you are doing in order to achieve more ease and calm. This new relaxation will actually enhance your ability to achieve even more in a way that makes you feel confident and powerful.
HOW YOUR BRAIN TYPE WORKS
Order and simplification are the first steps toward the master of the subject.
--Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
Your brain is blessed with the ability to understand work, activities, and life in general by following proven routines. With your linear, structured style, you focus on details and develop effective methods that allow you to manage tasks and complete assignments, checking them off one by one. Your work style isn't about speed, but reflects a methodical approach that usually requires uninterrupted time to get the job done. Being slow-paced, deliberate, and sequential, your brain type prefers doing things in a way that can appear to others as somewhat boring. But who cares, you do it right the first time and would rather take the time to be right than the first one done! Since you tend to be traditional and a somewhat conservative planner, you follow the rules. But that's your innate way, and it works just fine, combined with doing things in the same order, preferably at the same time of day. To you, routine is the proper and precise way to work. As you say, "If you are going to do it, do it right." Which way is right? Your way, of course!
You prefer to classify information in either chronological or alphabetical order. You may even have your own organizational system that you've developed and always use. (For example, A, B, C ... 1, 2, 3 ... I, II, III ... . ) You then typically store that information in a neat and conscientious way--since you are the "maintainer of info"--that still provides you with easy, stress-free retrieval when it is urgently requested for a meeting. Being the implementer of planned agendas and guidance, you don't like to just wing it. That would feel very uncomfortable and may even cause you to panic.
The tasks you need to perform on any given day are typically listed in your day planner. Being incredibly specific about your time commitments, even weekend time is included, and notes are structured in a step-by-step, timely fashion. You are able to schedule with accuracy,since you've done the same procedures a hundred times and know just how long they take.
Uniformity brings you consistency and accuracy--time and time again. Where you feel most comfortable many others feel stifled, or uninspired. By doing what has been previously done, your brain finds comfort and success as you continually use proven techniques. Others see you as productive because you don't waste time trying to reinvent the wheel. You tend to work methodically and are very thorough in all that you do. You find it easier to begin a project when you know how it was done in the past. And depending on your sensory preference, you would either prefer to see it done (visual), read or hear about it (auditory), or participate in a hands-on demonstration (kinesthetic).
The two biggest enemies to your comfort zone are interruption and surprise. As a result, change, in any shape or form, can cause stress and may even make you so confused that you find it difficult to get back on track. Your schedule may turn upside down if one thing gets out of place. In managing time, the crux of your dilemma is trying to complete tasks when things around you are hectic and present frequent interruptions. Take a deep breath. And then another. Remember, you are always willing to spend the time to get organized and that you are in control of your surroundings.
New things and new approaches can cause you discomfort. You overcome your fear of change when you see that a new procedure has proven effective. It takes a lot for you to move into unknown territory. Therefore, when you are asked to do something new, you may want to ask specific questions that you have written down first. You need first to understand why you are doing it that way, process it, and then do it. You think before you move. That way you are able to gather your wits, get the details straight, and plan a face-to-face meeting.
You receive recognition from your family or coworkers most often when you are able to integrate facts and figures with procedures that are already in place. By being able to report sequentially, in projects and correspondence, you can help your superiors "look good" at work. By maintaining and retrieving documents, you help them to make quick and accurate decisions. You offer good value wherever you go. Youmay not appear flashy, but you are the reliable behind-the-scenes person who systematizes routine tasks easily and effortlessly.
You also tend to be the quintessential keeper of all the paperwork, facts, figures, and policies in your organization. Thank God, someone knows the rules! When in doubt or need of something, your coworkers or family members always ask you, "Where is the ... ?" And you always know! Your tax returns are filed on time; kids are picked up from school; and Christmas presents arrive before December 25. All of us owe a lot to you. Our world and families depend on you. When I lecture to various CEOs around the world, most of them crave working with someone like you, and other than their intimate partner, you may be the most important asset in their lives.
WHY DO YOU NEED HELP?
Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt
During the past few years, 60 percent of my clients have been people like you--people who are very well organized but who are very stressed out keeping it all together. We work side by side and enjoy the process of discussing organizational skills. When I work with the rest of my client base, it's a different story. They normally disappear the moment I arrive. They want me to "take care of it" and are unnerved by the process of organizing, period.
Why do I work with your type the most? First, you are aware of the fact that so many people depend on you and you need to have everything in good order and easily accessible. Second, you, more than anyone, know the value of organizing, how beneficial it can be to your life, and are therefore willing to spend the time and the money to do it. Third, you are likely to stick to a new set of daily routines if they are explained to you and you see the value in them. You ...
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.