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Posted By IslOrgs Team

by Donna D. McMillan, Island Organizers

DecoFlex  What happens when loose papers and small notes are buried in piles? We don't know what's there and can't do what we need to do. My longtime mantra is: "Paperwork that is lying down is sleeping or hiding. When it's standing up, it can communicate with you."

The Decoflex® box by Oxford® and Pendaflex® has been my favorite organizing tool for many years. A desktop file storage box with hanging folders and labeled tabs creates a highly-effective Paperwork Management System. Each tab designates a specific category or task and identifies folders' contents. This handy solution eliminates piles, wasted time and stress related to lost notes and vital documents. Learn more

"HOT ACTION FILES" -- This is the perfect tool to hold "active" documents, unpaid bills and other important To-Do's.  Once they're separated into categories: To Call, To Pay, To Input, Waiting For Reply, etc., the appropriate actions can be taken in a timely manner.  This is a temporary "home" for paperwork; it is not for storage.

PROJECTS --  Create a mailbox for your office staff, manage info for a client's project, store details while planning a move or a party, and save notes for an organization's committee.

FILING SYSTEMS -- In limited space, filing systems can be created using several of these portable containers. Each holds a different category of files and is labeled on the end of box, ie: 2012 Income, Paid Bills, Investments, Medical Records. They fit nicely on a bookcase or on shelves in a closet. 

Other versions are available in acrylic, plastic, mesh, metal & cardboard. Buy online at Office Depot, Office Max and the Container Store.  In Honolulu, visit local stores: Simply Organized and Fisher Hawaii. NOTE: Organizing products don't usually come with instructions!

We'd love your feedback. Comment below!

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 Tabletop_File_Metal  Tabletop_File_Mesh  Acrylic Desktop File

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Posted By IslOrgs Team

by Karen Simon, Island Organizers

     Keeping the Email Inbox uncluttered is one of the biggest challenges my clients face. They keep all of their email in the Inbox because they don’t want to forget to do things. But then, it gets out of hand because there’s just too much and it comes too fast! Here’s one method I teach to help them to organize and manage their email to get things done. At Island Organizers, we call it the Hot Action File method.

1)   Create a set of Action Folders with Action Labels. For example: To Call, To Reply, To Buy, To Attend, To Read, To Pay, Waiting for Reply (Hint: putting a “1” in front of each folder name will sort the folders together and at the top of your folder list – e.g. 1Waiting)

2)   Immediately delete unwanted email or spam

3)   As you review each item in your Inbox, put any appointments or events on your calendar. If you need to keep the email with the details, file it in the To Attend folder; otherwise, just delete it. Tickets or receipts for events go in To Attend also (they’ll never be lost again!)

4)   Put any bills into To Pay folder, Email subscriptions go into To Read. Discount Coupons or items to order go in To Buy. Anything requiring a call or response goes into To Call or To Reply.

5)   Orders waiting for items to arrive, email threads waiting for a response from others, keep those items in Waiting for Reply.

     Now you’re ready to work. Psychologists say that completing like-tasks together is much more efficient than hopping from one task to another. Open your To Call folder and make the calls. Open the To Reply folder and do all your replies at once. You’ll be surprised at how much you get done by doing similar tasks together!

     The Hot Action File method helps you to manage your email in smaller time slices, too. You can break up the process by setting aside time just to "Clear the Box."  Later, when you have a bit more time and are ready to tackle the To-do's, you don't have to deal with the Inbox, you can just go straight to your Calls folder or your Reply folder and get those done.

     Be sure to review each folder each day. Open the To Pay and Waiting folders to see what needs attention there. Once tasks have been completed, e.g. bills have been paid, decide whether you need to keep those emails in a Paid Bills folder otherwise, delete them. 

     As you’re working, more email will come in, try not to get distracted by them, finish your task at hand and then address the new arrivals. For more details on this method and how it also works for paperwork, check out our booklet, “Information Overload: from Piles to Actions to Results” at

     I invite you to give our Hot Action Method a try, then come back and post a comment about how it worked (or didn't work) for you.

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