From the July 1999 issue of Startups

Whether you like it or not, when you're dealing with a spouse, associate or subcontractor, his or her organizational style (or lack thereof) can affect your productivity. Because we all know you catch more bees with honey, crank up the charm and try these ways to help someone get organized.

  • Use positive reinforcement. Instead of focusing on other people's disorganization, praise them when they make an attempt to get organized. They knows they're disorganized and don't need to hear your criticism.
  • Teach by example. You can't expect someone to listen to you extol the virtues of organization when you make Oscar Madison look orderly. If you've changed your style from disorganized to organized, be willing to share the secrets behind your transformation.
  • Be patient and realize everyone is organized to a different degree. Keep in mind that if someone changes one bad organizing habit, his or her productivity will start to increase. Give that person time to make changes and offer encouragement when he or she makes an effort to get organized.

Lisa Kanarek (http://www.everythingsorganized.com) is a home office organizing expert and author of several books, including Organizing Your Home Office For Success (Blakely Press) and 101 Home Office Success Secrets (Career Press).