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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #29: February, 2006

Organizational Secrets

Organizational Secrets:

  1. In your calendar, place a note 30 days in advance of any event (speech, client visit, deadline, etc.) to prepare for it adequately. This may entail a 10-minute chat with a client, or a full day organizing a presentation.
  2. Have everything you need in your immediate work area. The obvious includes postage meter, copier, fax, computer, etc. But the not-so-obvious includes cassette/CD/video playback, photo printer, credit card machine, music system, and so forth.
  3. If you don't read a publication within one week of its receipt, throw it out and cancel the subscription.
  4. Keep a "hot file" on your desk of outstanding follow-up, support, and related issues. Review it every day to ensure that the items within are moving forward. This is especially useful for things you don't control (e.g., a subcontractor providing a report, a confirmation for a speaking engagement, a return phone call from the credit card company).
  5. Keep your phone forwarded if you're not expecting critical or promised calls, and call for messages during your "down" time. This enables you to remain productive during "up" times.
  6. Combine your professional and personal errands into one trip.
  7. Never argue with someone who can't help you or has no power. Find the person who can change your situation, and go argue with them. The latter may remediate the situation and will definitely vent your frustration. The former can't help you and will only increase stress.
  8. Create a series of filters for junk email that relegates all of it to a special folder. Once a day, review the folder to make sure there are no important messages (you can quickly scan source or subject, for example) and then delete the entire thing.
  9. Learn to type. It's an eminently learnable skill, and will save you weeks during a typical year.
  10. Learn to say this calmly, gracefully, but firmly: "I'm sorry, but this is a bad time and I can't do your request justice. Try me again tomorrow (or next week or next month)."

Don't forget that all SAC members are automatically members of Alan's Forums (normal registration is $395) and you can get research help, explore options to client situations, engage in case studies, find kindred spirits, calibrate how your business is really doing, etc. There are occasional "live" chats, and I'm there every day contributing. Just register on my site if you haven't already, then go to for your password and ID.

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