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GETTING ORGANIZED: Contest To Help You Start

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Getting organized is one of the top resolutions for the New Year. Experts say clearing the clutter doesn't have to take a lot of time or money. You just need to start. And, a new contest could help.

Cleaning the clutter isn't anything new for strategic property planning and project management firm Proximity. Kevin Schlueter says, "We realize productivity and creativity and those types of things in an evolving business world are very important for us."

The small business works with organization and productivity consultant Lori Vande Krol and her company Life Made Simple. She says, "I help individuals and businesses be more productive and organized, more efficient by managing time, space and information."

Vande Krol says you should start by putting papers into one pile or your desk, then sort into three groups: one to file for future information, the second to act on right away and the third should be tossed or shredded.

Vande Krol says spend about thirty minutes every day doing the same with your e-mail in-box. She says, "What's important I think about e-mail is to have that system in place for those action items so they don't just sit in your inbox and get lost down along the way, having a place to put those so you make sure you're going to take action on them when you need them to take action."

Local businesses have a chance to help employees get organized this year with the first Productive Environment Day Contest. "The Productive Environment Day is a day for the company, where you have the permission as a team or a company to just clear the clutter and start setting up those organizational systems."

Life Made Simple is partnering with Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa to offer the day. Small businesses or corporate teams just need to show why the group needs to be organized in a 250 word essay and three minute video.

Vande Krol will spend a day in February helping the winning organization be more productive. She says, "And then Goodwill will provide a truck so employees can donate computers, office equipment, anything from their offices as well as bring in anything from home."

At Proximity, workers say getting organized helped them. Schlueter says, "I can see how it individually helps me, and I've seen how it helps our organization. I think it's critically important."

Your small business or corporate team can apply for the Productive Environment Day Contest at The deadline is January 17th.