Organizing information is as important as organizing the items in your home and office. You need to be able to access information on any given day for a variety of reasons. This requires that you have information systems. Organized systems aren’t random lists and notes with pieces of information. Systems are structured, readable, and categorical. As Professional Organizer consider questions such as:
- What types information do you need?
- What is the best way for you to store it, paper and/or digital?
- Do you have the information backed up?
- How often do you update the information?
Recently I’ve been blogging about organizing before surgery because in that particular circumstance you and your support team will need to have access to current and important information. The types of information that you want to include are: important documents, contact information, and medical information.
Organizing information | Important documents
Organizing information such as important documents will be invaluable. It will enable you to share the information with a friend, family member, and your medical providers. Let a friend or family member know where your Will, Advanced Care Directive, passwords and account information are kept. Ideally, give them a copy of each of these documents if you are going to have surgery, traveling for an extended period of time, or live in an area that may be prone to natural disasters (assuming they don’t live in the same area).
Organizing information | Contact information
Organizing information also includes your contact information. Likely you have all or most of it on your smartphone. It’s helpful to create a separate list of the names, emails and/or phone numbers of your family members and close friends. Share this list, with permission, with everyone on it. After organizing contact information I set up a phone tree. Following surgery 1 person contacted a small group of designated people with the results. Each of those people agreed to contact 1-2 other designated people on the list and so on. The benefits of organizing information in this way were efficiency, time management, and stress reduction for all of us.
Organizing information | Medical information
Organizing information before travel or surgery should include current medical information. Do this for yourself as well as your family members (especially aging parents). Creating and maintaining a medical information/history binder will be invaluable. Disseminate a printed list of the names and phone numbers of your surgeon, primary care physician, dentist, and the name and address of the hospital where your surgery will be performed. The more information that you organize beforehand will lessen what you need to remember when under stress or time constraints. As your Professional Organizer I wish you an organized, clutter-free life!