Lives of the organised: How being organised became Denise Childs’ business
In the second edition of ‘Lives of the organised’, Denise explains how important it is to declutter your workspace and implement strict organisation systems to keep on top of your work.
As a mum of three who was helping her husband run his IT business, Denise faced the challenges of balancing family commitments with the demands of small business. She realised the never-ending flow of invoices to pay and school newsletters to read could be overwhelming for some. Over the past four years, she’s built Systems For Order to help time-poor working parents organise their home and small business offices.
“[Organisation] came naturally to me, [but I wanted to] put in into a process to teach those for whom it didn’t come naturally,” Denise says.
De-cluttering an office is the first step to becoming organised but the task that stresses her clients the most. As well as being overwhelmed by how to reduce clutter, Denise’s clients are concerned about creating a new organising system that works for them long-term. She works with them in their office spaces to understand how they like to work so she can tailor a long-term solution for them. “It’s not just filing, it’s how you manage the paperwork that crosses your desk, it’s how you physically manage your spaces, your storage and your time.
“I work one-on-one to see how they work and then make recommendations accordingly.”
She learns quickly what her client needs to work efficiently.
“Some people like to have pin boards, post-it notes, everything in front of them. Other people don’t need that – they just have a folder system and know to look in the folder every day for reminders. If people really need a pile in front of them and that works and they’re efficient, then we leave that.”
Unlike project management consultant Colin Ellis who runs a paperless office, Denise has found most of her clients have a fair amount of paperwork to regularly manage.
Mail and paperwork including bills, receipts, paper diaries, contracts, formal letters or invitations, and information from childcare and schools often cause mess in her client’s offices. Denise says paperwork often also spills into other rooms of people’s homes, which creates issues with finding them later.
Though Denise puts in the hard work to sort out her clients’ offices, she ensures that her clients learn how to maintain the system. And she checks up on them to make sure they haven’t slipped into old habits.
“I hold them accountable and follow up over the next few weeks.”
Denise instills her clients with the mantra that organising their offices is a daily discipline.
“If you find a system that works for you, it becomes a habit. Maintenance is a huge thing.”