Hi, this is Jack Canfield. You may know me as the co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and the author of the book The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.
Well, in this last year I started working with a coach named Marsha Wieder, who really helped me see that one of the main things in my life was that I was absolutely drowning in papers on my desk, on my conference table, and on another 8-foot table I brought into my office, and I was just not doing very well in terms of the effectiveness of getting things done…afraid to file stuff, for fear that I would never find it again. Well, one day Marsha got me to make a commitment that I would find an organizational consultant that would come in and help me “get it together.” So, I contacted Kathy Paauw, whom I’d met several times. I was keynote speaker at the National Association of Professional Organizers conference and Kathy has also taken some workshops of mine. I have come to really respect her as a professional in the field. I knew she could help me out.
What’s happened since Kathy came into my life is that she has taught me a process that helps me to make decisions about all the things that come into my life, whether they are in the form of paper, email (which I once had over a 1000 piled up), voice mail, verbal request from others, or thoughts in my head about things I need to take action on.
I can now see how using this process that Kathy has taught me has given me peace-of-mind, knowing that I have a plan to handle what’s most important because having clear priorities is the foundation for this work that I do. We began our working session by talking about my priorities, and it has really helped me and helped Kathy help me get clear about what it is I need to get done and in what order.
Before working with Kathy, I had a fear that if I put something away I would forget to follow up on it. And so I had everything in my field and vision, so I’d know what I needed to do next. But the problem was, everywhere I looked there were piles and piles and piles. Now that Kathy has taught me this process, it helps me quickly find what I need when I need it and remember important follow up at the appropriate time. Now that I have this system in place, it literally has vastly reduced my fear and the stress level, and it has freed me up to be more clear and focus on what’s most important in my life right now.
It has also helped my secretary and my assistants who are working with the same system with me now, to achieve the kind of clarity that I needed and support that I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t allowing them to give me. Now that we have a common system that includes a tickler file system, that includes The Paper Tiger–a program that I have on my computer, and a number of systems that we put into place–I now get things done on time and I have the support I need. My desk is clear and it’s really exciting.
One of the things that I have come to realize is that the phrase “when I get around to it” is no longer on the list of my options. What that did was create piles and piles of the results of indecision. Now, if action is required, I decide what the next action will be and when I will do it or who will do it for me. Then it gets filed away in the tickler system until I need to see it again.
As I mentioned, another the tool that Kathy introduced me to is a really terrific software program called The Paper Tiger. Taming this Paper Tiger is what it’s all about, and this software has enabled me to file or store something in my physical environment and be able to instantly retrieve it later. I have a keyword search program in the software that points me to where the item is physically located–whether it’s a book, CD, DVD, a three-ring binder, a file, or a piece of paper in my filing cabinets.
Now I can find anything I file or store in a just a few seconds. And that has not been the case up until now; I’ve spent way too long moving through piles and piles of paper that were piled up on my desk. So now, not only can I find the things that I need quickly, but my staff can do the same, regardless of who filed it or who stored it.
I can also enter an action date and the Paper Tiger program reminds me when it’s time to take action. So, for example, if I file some paper away in my file cabinet and put May 1st as the action date, the system will automatically remind me next May 1st that I need to pull that file and do something with it. And I can indicate the action required right in the action date field that’s provided in the software. So, it has really helped me, my assistants and my secretary move to a whole new level of efficiency.
As much as I teach all this stuff in my seminars, I wasn’t walking my talk and it had gotten so out of hand that I really needed help to get it back under control. I want to thank Kathy for helping me do that and I recommend her and her systems to you.
If you are wanting to significantly increase your productivity and feel a greater sense of inner peace in your life, I recommend that you get one of Kathy’s Paper Tiger Productivity Packages, which include all of the components you will need to move you to a whole new level of efficiency and effectiveness.