Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Will Be More Organized in 2017! - A New Year’s Resolution We Can Help With

Happy 2017!  

“Don’t count the days; make the days count.” ~Muhamad Ali

Being  more organized is one of the most common New Year’ resolutions. Is it on your list?
Better organization refers to a desire for this at home, as well as at work.  Let’s talk work life. How can we be more organized in our own spaces to increase our productivity and decrease stress?

There are several helpful articles below that may be beneficial to you and your team.

Debi Clark, of Go To Girl Organizing Solutions, a local Baltimore business, says:
"Sometimes we feel guilty organizing our offices because that’s time we could be spending on 'actual work', right?  Investing the time to organize your office will pay you back many times over in increased productivity and decreased stress levels."  
"Everything has a place and there is a place for everything.  An organized office does not have to look like a Martha Stewart photo shoot. Being able to put your hands on a file or piece of information within seconds should be the goal of any organizing system."

KS Solutions' Favorite Tips:

  1. Have a scratch pad on-hand - As things pop in your head, a co-worker shares information, etc., have one place to jot things down throughout the day. This offers less to remember and less time spent on trying to find “that” sticky note.
  2. De-clutter - Move things to drawers that you don’t use regularly, hide cords, have a physical in-box. This is good for your focus and organization.
  3. Take a picture – In lieu of having items on your desk that are simply for reference (like an ink cartridge or article) that take a picture with your smartphone.
  4. Use  email organization system -  As we know, email can be a huge time suck.  There are many systems out there to use email more efficiently  (see #5 below for one idea).
  5. To organize papers, Debi of Go To Girl Organizing Solutions suggests:

  • Set-up files into 3 separate categories: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary files are the ones you need to access on a regular basis. Secondary files are ones you go to occasionally and tertiary files are seldom accessed. 
  • Use vertical file sorter and a few manila folders to get active papers up and off the desk, yet still within reach. She describes that a vertical file is just a pile, turned on its end. When labeled into folders, they are easier to see and to access.  
  •  Take 10 minutes before leaving the office each day to tidy up your desk.  It can really kick-start your motivation the next morning!  

There are times when you have too much to do regardless of how organized you are. KS Solutions offers support to mission-based organizations offering expertise and takes work off of your plate. We offer project management, organizational development, volunteer engagement, strategic planning and facilitated learning opportunities.  Contact us to see how we can assist you.

A Few Articles for You and Your Team:

  1. Five Simple Steps That Apply Order to Chaos -  Getting Things Done, David Allen
5. A Super-Efficient Email Process - Harvard Business Review  

~ Contact Kate for questions about how KS Solutions can help you and your team.
~ Check out Got To Girl to learn more about the organizing solutions offered.

Cheers to a productive 2017!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Learning to LOVE Your Organization's Database-- Tips for You

It is hard to even think about! What is the condition of your organization's database?  We have  one,  we need one, but they sure can easily get unwieldy. 

Gail Robinson of Generosity Data Solutions, a local company, offers these tips to keep your database maintained.  Her contact information is below if you want to know more about how Generosity can help your organization.

Your Personal Database Checklist
We don’t have to tell you how important it is to make sure your database is up and working properly. But we also know that keeping up with your database maintenance needs can seem overwhelming.

That’s why we created a checklist that will help you to stay organized when it comes to monitoring the most important part of your business.
  • Do you have a dedicated person in charge of your database? 
    When it comes to running a database, you need someone who can constantly monitor it. Make sure that person is available enough to ensure that operations run smoothly. There should never be confusion on who runs the database.
  • Do you have documentation for your data entry policies & procedures?
    Everyone in your company has to be on the same page when it comes to the database. You need to make sure that your data entry policies and procedures are documented and readily available.
  •  Is your data backed up and updated? 
    You aren’t going to get a warning before your database crashes and you lose everything. You need to establish a schedule to make sure that your data is backed up, and you also need to make sure that it's being updated. We tell companies to make sure they update NCOA, email and phone appends, deceased suppression data, and much more.
  •  Are permissions for all of your users set correctly?
    Every employee obviously doesn’t need access to every security level within your database. But we find that companies often forget to provide some of their key employees with the right permissions to perform their jobs effectively.
  •  Do you have the latest software installed?
    Collaborative projects can become a headache if staff members are using different software. Make sure that everyone has the latest software update installed to access key features and keep operations running smoothly.
  •  Do you have strong passwords?
    Stress the importance of password strength with your staff. With password hacking tools becoming even more sophisticated, a weak password can leave your entire company vulnerable.
  •  Is your staff properly trained?
    Is your staff properly trained on how to use your software and communication tools? Remember, you aren’t always going to be there when a problem occurs.
  •  What support levels are covered through your CRM Company?
    Do your customer relationship management programs have enough support? Are you able to accurately analyze customer data and interactions? Is your data migrated into one CRM program? It’s great if you are utilizing CRM technology, but a lot of businesses don’t have the support levels they need on the platform.

If you would like to learn more about Generosity Data Solutions and how we can help you today, please visit us at

Generosity is a software and data solutions company that implements, integrate and customize software platforms so business processes can run smoothly, effectively and save time.
Gail Robinson
Chief Data Officer/Owner
Generosity, LLC

Thanks, Gail, for sharing your expertise!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vacation- A Time to Unplug

Your vacation, so relaxing, or at least supposed to be! This is important and timely, since we are getting into vacation season, so I am sharing this again in 2016 with some updates.

People are STRESSED!  In many cases folks are not truly relaxing when they are on vacation. Technology is lovely but does not help us relax when we see email, Google Drive and  Linked In notifications on our phone constantly.  And when you are doing the job of two people, there is never a good time to be away!  But alas, we are human and to rejuvenate, enjoy life, and to come back fresh, creative  and energetic, we need a break.  

The two articles below have some great pointers.  Below the articles are a few favorite ideas gleaned from these. Take a minute to reflect on what you can do to improve your vacation this year and maybe take a few hints to share with your team.


The Right Way to Unplug When You Are on Vacation

Favorite Suggestions

  • Turn off notifications. Disable any work-related notifications on your phone and computer for the length of your vacation.  How can you relax when things are beeping and lights are flashing?!
  • What do I and my fellow travelers expect from one another? Your work colleagues aren’t the only ones you need to consider. If you’re traveling with friends or family, get clear up front about your technology game plan. Avoid the family fight with this tip…
  • Set up a check-in schedule. If you are planning to check your business email,  set up a schedule in advance.  Talk with your traveling companions about this schedule so they know when you’re going to be in work mode. And share your game plan with your colleagues, so that they know if and when you will be checking work-related email. It would be better to not do this, but if you must...
  • Look at what's happening work wise a month after your vacation so that you can anticipate things clients or colleagues may need and may come looking for right in the middle of your vacation. Preparation is key to you getting to chill!
  • If you are in a leadership position, vacation is the perfect time to practice letting go and trusting your team or key individuals with more responsibility.  They will love that you trusted them and it is a win-win.

Follow KS Solutions on Facebook for other tips and resources to support you in your work for good.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Retain Your Employees with the Help of Your Team

What I love about consulting is getting to interact with so many organizations.  I get to see such dedicated people in action and support important work.

The one constant theme is that everyone is at capacity or feeling pushed beyond.  People are working very hard, in multiple roles and for extra hours to get the job done.  This is the case at all levels in the organization.

We know it is more cost effective (for mission and dollars) to keep a good employee than have to replace her/him. So, we want our hard-working staff to know they are valued by us (supervisors) and by their peers so they continue to stay motivated to work with us.

How do you recognize your staff?  Consider carving out some time to think about how you show appreciation to your team and consider where you can improve.  A good way to think of it is 3 levels: day to day, informal and formal recognition.  

One article I read is titled, "Recognition is like exercise... the more often you do it, the more results you will see."   Maybe they are on to something!

There are some good suggestions in the articles below to help you get started.

A TIP- Peer-to-peer recognition is very meaningful to people.  It instills a sense of respect, team spirit, motivates employees to do great work, feels genuine and promotes openness and transparency. More about this below.  

KS Solutions provides advising and professional development sessions on this topic if you or your team would like additional support.

Articles on Employee and Peer-to Peer Recognition:

Keep up the great work!