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Chapter 5. Organization: How To Get Your Act Together

Chapter 5. Organization: How To Get Your Act Together

The legendary blues singer Pearl Bailey once said, “I've been rich and I've been poor—rich is better.” Well as far as we are concerned, we've been organized and we've been disorganized—organized is much, much better.

Organization is the nylon cord that holds both your home office and your home life together. It is pure chaos trying to run a home office without being organized. It's like trying to climb up a mountain of sand. Establishing a reliable system of organization under one roof is one of the most important acts of kindness you can do for yourself because a good system will change your life. Creating a dependable system is much easier than you may realize—and a whole lot faster.

So what does it take to make this amazing transition happen? We'd recommend that you change your mindset about who you are in this picture. You already are your own boss in a home office. Now it's time to imagine that you are also your own executive assistant. Every successful CEO has his or her own personal assistant working behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Each one of these assistants (many are well paid, by the way) has his or her own system of organization.

During our professional careers working from home offices, we each had embarrassing moments when we were caught being badly disorganized. Neither one of us had control over our home offices because there was no system in place. Yes, we both wanted to be our own CEOs but we neglected to also be executive assistants. As survivors of zineptitude, we can tell you that you do pay a high price for it. The lack of a sensible system of organization in your life will cost you in inconvenience, wasted time, lost dollars, stress, and embarrassment.

The Way We Were

Taking into consideration that we are asking you to take a hard look at bad habits, it is only fair that we fess up and share some of our more humiliating moments before we decided to get organized.


  • A check worth $6,000 was lost in the house. It lay on the kitchen counter for a week before it disappeared. My husband and I turned the house upside down looking for it. Months later it was found inside a dog supply catalog in the laundry room.

  • The water was turned off not once but twice because the water bills were buried deep in the back of a junk mail box. What's worse is that the bills had to be paid in person at a walk-up window.

  • I never noticed the reminders sent in the mail that my Florida driver's license was expiring. As a result, I not only had to pay all kinds of fees, but I also had to retake the written part of the driver's exam. Talk about looking stupid and wasting valuable time.


  • I didn't file my taxes for three years. Uncle Sam was definitely not happy about this and gave me more than a quick smack on the head.

  • At one point, I hadn't filed a single piece of paper, in either my personal files or business files, for one full year. I just had enormous heaps of mail, bills, and receipts stacked precariously high on top of my filing cabinets. Every time I looked at them, I got so ill, I couldn't make myself tackle the piles.

  • I forgot a scheduled radio interview and literally was woken up by the phone ringing in my ear. The DJ was live when I answered the phone in a sleepy haze with no notes to refer to, along with two cocktails to my credit.



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