A Guest Blog Post
by Deb’s Design Director Michelle Truett

I’ve been working with Deb since the very beginning – way back in 2009 it all started with a Christmas gift and a mutual friend. (That’s another story for another time!) Like Deb, I go at 200 mph every day juggling my own company, raising a 16 year old, teaching a Young Entrepreneurs Academy class and many board and community responsibilities. And oh yeah… training for that Syracuse Half Marathon in March.

Modern workflow has information thrown at us at an almost impossible rate and we need to find ways to filter it, be efficient, stay awesome and
be the envy of others as we skillfully cruise through our day!  I wanted to share one tip I use to keep it all together. It’s so simple. It’s… COLOR!

Gauge responsibilities and life balance at a glance

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a tremendous pen snob and have been using extra fine black Pilot pens religiously since the 90s. I use a variety of colors now for my printed (yes, printed!) calendar and assign one to each part of my life. Black or red is for work, orange for my son, blue for teaching, pink for personal appointments and running, green for my volunteer work, etc. I can easily glance at my month and see if I have too much or too little of one thing going on and readjust (Or just say NO to the next call that comes in for a committee!). I’ve also used the same calendar for about 10 years – familiarity and habit also leads to better organization. A good month has a solid mix of color and is pretty “balanced”. A bad month may start being taken over by green, so I know right away I’m overcommitted on my volunteer/pro bono work.

January, 2017 has been a pretty balanced month…

August, 2011 was not…

Colored folders 

I buy folders in colors that correspond with my stellar pen collection and if possible, mirror my clients’ corporate colors. It makes things very easy to find in my work space and helps keep my mind in the “mode” of what I’m doing. If I have a few pink folders out, I’m in “DeClutter Coach” mode. If I’m working on my new committee for the Erie Canal Bicentennial Conference that I’m donating services to, I have green folders out. It helps tremendously with compartmentalizing tasks and creative work and achieving that thing we all crave – FOCUS. You can buy colored folders right on Deb’s website.

Digital Organizing with Color
If you have a Mac (and I hope you DO – they rock!), there’s a great feature that let’s you assign color to your folders and files. Keeping the same color codes as my calendar and folders, I assign the files that I look at on screen every day. If you’re a Photoshop user, you can also assign color to layers within your document – extra bonus! iCalendar also uses color if you keep your schedule on the computer/iPhone.

It sounds so simple.
Sometimes it is the most simple things that work the best. Color has been one of the most powerful tools I have used to keep my hefty schedule and looming deadlines at bay. To get started, decide how you need to segment your work responsibilities – by client, by type of project, or even by deadlines (i.e. urgent, yearlong, etc.) and try introducing a few colors into your work flow. There are great products to help you out and I know you’ll enjoy the benefits of knowing where you stand at a glance and in relieving stress.