practical solutions to everyday problems

Office organisation

The home office

Many of us run a home office these days. As more households acquire computers (do you need help with yours?), we've all become our own accountants, designers, secretaries and lawyers... and, of course, there's the paperwork which is generated by the rest of the world! Legal certificates, insurance documents, utility bills, tax returns, school reports, bank statements... how do you deal with yours? How long do you need to keep these things? Could you find them if you needed to?

Cassie is just brilliant. She came to mine to help me declutter, and where I'd thought that'd just mean throwing lots of things away, it actually meant finding a home for things that had never quite had a home. And not just flinging them in a cupboard, but actually thinking about how often I use them, and therefore where they should be stored.

Emily, Norfolk

The ministry

One area of organisation that I'm well aware of is the office of the minister of religion (because I'm married to one). Your local vicar or rector (and yes, they are both the same thing), priest, pastor or minister (depending on what the tradition of their faith calls them) were trained at theological college in bible studies, in preaching, in the conduct of worship, in pastoral skills of all kinds. However, they are often required to be much more: managing director, secretary, magazine editor, treasurer, legal advisor - the list is endless. The pressure of these requirements can leave the clergy struggling.

Does this describe you? I can help you to streamline processes, master the computer and make it work for you, conquer the paperwork, see clear ways to delegation - leaving you free to focus on the role you were actually ordained for. You may be able to claim some financial assistance from your Diocese under the heading of CMD [Continuing Ministerial Development].

I have benefitted greatly from the advice and support you gave during your stay here. Further to the work we did together I have reordered my study by taking out some surplus shelves, moved the desks and created a sitting area which is calm and restful – perfect for seeing people for conversation, saying the Office or reading. There have been periods when the paperwork has looked menacing, but now I am beginning to learn that if you allow a little time for the new system to do its work, the volume is broken down into manageable chunks. It also reveals when there is simply too much asking to be done – far better to acknowledge this and do what one can than harbour an unrealistic expectation that somehow it can be done. All of this has happened since you came – change which is both physical and psychological, so thank you.

Fr Louis, Essex

The small business

Many people (like me) are finding opportunities for running their own businesses. However, if your talents lie in (say) furniture upholstery, hypnotherapy or beauty treatments, you won't necessarily have the training and experience for running your office! It can be a shock if you've left behind the support of a larger company, with its IT specialists, secretaries and accountants, to find how many new skills are involved.

Cassie helped me to reinstate my business filing system and joy of joys, this has saved me at least half an hour a day, allowing me to keep on top of my admin for the first time in years and now generate more work...

Surbala, Cambridge

The larger business

I've spent many years working in a wide variety of industries, am well accustomed to public speaking, and also have run courses and presentations for varying needs (ranging from the clergy to a relief agency in Sarajevo!). I spent five years working part-time in local government, and there acquired wide experience of designing processes to ensure the efficient running of services to the public. If your needs lie in this area, please contact me to discuss your specific requirements.

Cassie helped us see how much more efficient we could be through simple but effective organizational strategies. Cassie brought a fresh and energetic approach into our traditional and somewhat change resistant organization. Particularly impressive was her ability to get her ideas across in an environment which was culturally diverse and very different from that of her normal work assignments.

Simon Hughes, Head of Intellectual Property Services, Novartis International, Basel

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