long-term organizing success

By Patty Kreamer, CPO®

Welcome to January 2020! Did you know that January is National Get Organized Month? That’s right! What better way to start a new year than to have yourself completely organized and feeling totally in control of your time and space? If you’re like a lot of other financial advisors that we coach, being organized and feeling in control seems like a beautiful idea but also seems like an impassable ravine.

Picture the scene. You walk into your office and you’re not sure which paper-covered object is your desk. Just last week you cleared all of the papers from your desk (and you were so proud of yourself!), and now it looks like a cyclone has hit. What happened in seven days? Does this sound familiar?

As productivity coaches for financial advisors, we know a thing or two about how to not only get organized but also how to stay there, too. To start with, there’s a big myth regarding organizing that warrants some clarification. Most financial advisors have come to believe that being organized means being neat and tidy. The truth is, being organized really means being able to find things when you need them.

For example, imagine that you get a phone call at 2pm from your biggest client. She’s in the neighborhood and wants to stop by to see you in 10 minutes…in your office!  What do you do first?  Most likely, you shove those piles of papers into any hidden, available space (under the desk, in the file cabinet, in the credenza—you know the routine).  In 9 ½ minutes, your office looks pristine. No traces of clutter anywhere.  (Just pray that nobody has to open anything with a door on it.) Now your office looks neat, but is it organized? Get the point?


We’d like to introduce you to Patty’s 3-step process to getting organized.

  1. Get Ready.

Perhaps it’s time to take a good, hard look into yourself.  This means asking yourself why you are the way you are and why you do the things you do. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself to get ready. What are your trouble spots? How does your daily life flow? What are some of your office habits? Why are those piles getting bigger? Do you keep things because you might need them someday?

  1. Get Set.

This is simple but rarely done. Look around your office to see if it is set up logically for how you work. What is hindering you? What do you want to accomplish? How do you think and process information? What systems are working now?

Now it’s time to dig in and get organized! But remember, it will get ugly before it gets pretty. This step is all about making quick decisions and putting your personal system into place that’s in alignment with how you think, how you process information and cooperates with your natural workflow.

Remember the day you stormed in and cleaned up your office in 9 ½ minutes?  You went right to step 3 and skipped steps 1 and 2.  Skipping any of these steps makes long-term organizing success less likely.

If you’re looking for long-term organizing results, follow all three steps in this order: Get Ready. Get Set. Go! And if you need help, Patty is a quick phone call away. She can be reached at 412-352-2888 or by email at Patty@ProductivityUncorked.com. Her book called But I Might Need It Someday! is also available here.

As a Productivity Coach, Patty Kreamer, CPO® coaches financial advisors to take control of their time, brain clutter, priorities, overwhelm, to-do list, inbox, interruptions, distractions and anything getting in the way of productivity. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and Productivity Coach and co-owner of Productivity Uncorked, LLC where they work exclusively with financial advisors. If you need to get unstuck, clear your brain clutter, take control of your time or build the practice and life you crave, Patty can get you there. Productivity is the result of everything she does. Explore our website at www.ProductivityUncorked.com.