5 February 2013

Is It Good For You? – Your Environment, I Mean!

Some years ago I realised that ‘how to manage the paper war’ had to be another book – the silent scream on people’s faces, the empty laugh, the embarrassed shrug of shoulders when the topic of paper and how our offices look was raised – all this cried ‘HELP’! And the lift of shoulders, the huge increase in energy, the excitement when people learn they can control the darned stuff, learn they can create a smoothly functioning environment (and more importantly, maintain it!) – all these were prompts.

I still have a copy of the hand-written note from an Auckland principal to one of his senior teachers. She’d waved it like a bright flag as she walked proudly into the second half of a Win the Paper War course with me, way back in 1994!

Dear Roz

The staff and myself are very impressed with the area to the North of the foyer, as we can now recognise it as your office and not a second hand dealers yard containing a treasure trove for bargain hunters. The organisation is awesome, and the definite spin off is in the process of organisation we found that caretaker from 1987 whom we thought had travelled overseas.

Did you know your teaching style affects how you work your paper and run your office?

I know many of you know about VAKOG, but let’s recap in case there’s a beginning teacher or anyone unfamiliar with it.

Human beings have many ways of accessing and processing information, using a variety of filters or methods. One of these is known as our representational system. We have five ways of processing information neurologically, at both internal and external levels. Three of them are very common as dominant preferences – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. The other two are very unusual as our primary processing method, but they underpin many of our actions as secondary processing tools. They are olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste).

Almost all of us have one dominant sensory preference, and most of us experience elements of the others to a lesser degree. If we’re blocked from processing our experiences in our preferred sensory style it dramatically inhibits our ability to function, hence the impact on how we manage our paperwork. Ask a visual to remember something and they’ll see a mental picture before they answer you. An auditory will mentally recap what they heard or read, and kinaesthetics will connect with their feelings to bring back the meaning and sense of the matter.

Let me explain.

Visual

This includes what we see or even the way someone looks at us. A sterile environment closes down a visual processor. They need colour and interesting pictures. Their thinking is stimulated and expanded by colour, movement, shapes, and what they can see. They learn by observation. Neither visual nor kinaesthetic processors like having to study a manual to discover new information – faced with lots of tightly written material their eyes glaze over, their brain shuts down, and most of them go ‘this is too hard’.

So, if you’re visual, make sure you’ve got your ‘Action’ items where you can see them. That doesn’t mean a messy litter. Try coloured folders, attractive upright periodicals boxes, lists in coloured pen on a whiteboard, flowers and plants in and around your desk, photos of your loved ones or artwork of your kids or whanau where your eyes rest. You might like ornaments around you (but be careful they don’t take over!).

Notice how good you feel when everything looks tidy – and work to keep it that way.

Auditory

Auditory processors seek logic and understanding through what they hear and/or read, and learn best by reading or listening, and/or writing things down. When they stand in your foyer they look for something to read. When they walk into your office they look at the books on your shelves and read the titles. Sounds influence them – they’ll eavesdrop on your receptionist’s conversations without realising what they’re doing. Some auditory people read computer manuals to understand them (and the rest of the world shake their heads in amazement!). Others need to talk through a problem – they don’t know what they mean until they hear themselves say it.

This sense breaks into two sub-sets – auditory tonal and auditory digital.

Auditory tonal involves sounds and hearing – the words we hear and the way people say those words to us. Broadcasters, theatre and television people sculpt sound to weave magic.

Auditory digital is more internal. It includes reading – what we read, the words in our heads, the logic behind the words, and the way they look on the page. Many writers, journalists, and publicists would describe themselves as wordsmiths. They’re just as much craftspeople as a sculptor, a weaver or an artist. Their medium is words, sentences and paragraphs – the shape, look, sound and meaning. They need to see something written down in order to make meaning and logic of it, to remember it.

If you’re an auditory worker you’ll find other people’s noise distracting – you work best in quiet and calm (unless you’ve chosen the sounds or are making the noise!). If you’re a classroom teacher you can’t eliminate the daily noise of children, but make sure you have quiet times to do your concentrated work. Have music around you – it can also help to block out unwanted sound. You might find a headset with your choice of music a helpful signal to others that you’re in ‘concentration mode’, as well as a sound filter. Notice the times, places and people around you who help or hinder your focus and find tactful ways to create your choice of sounds and your level of quietness.

One of my clients, an outgoing and quite enthusiastic man, found his desk near the front entrance of the building was way too distracting. He was lucky enough to source another location, at the back of the office away from passers-by. He was troubled with two issues – his outgoing nature as well as his auditory style.

Kinaesthetic or Tactile

Touch is the external, and feelings the internal methods of learning for a kinaesthetic processor. A kinaesthetic will walk into your environment and immediately ‘feel’ comfortable or uncomfortable, depending on how it looks and the unspoken atmosphere. Their tactile sense enjoys the texture of items in their workspace. They often fiddle with their hair or their clothes, often without awareness of what they do. They need to doodle, or play with a stress ball or toy on their desk whilst they listen or think. Other people mistakenly assume they’re not listening because their heads are down and their pen busy. If you force them to keep their hands still their eyes may look at you … but – their minds are travelling the world. If you teach a kinaesthetic something their fingers need to be involved. If it’s a task, their body needs to discover it. They learn through experience – a handbook or demonstration leaves them cold. If they can watch others do something and practice immediately they will model their teacher with great success.

Many kinaesthetic children are regarded, quite unfairly and inaccurately, as slow. This is because the western education systems, especially in the higher grades, don’t cater for kinaesthetic learners. However, many of these people, when they can (literally) ‘get their hands into something’, become very wealthy and successful business people. They just need the chance to learn in a different way, without being rushed. Once they’ve ‘got’ something, they’re really anchored it.

In my training courses I place koosh balls (colourful rubber pom-poms) on the tables. Not everyone uses them, but one woman spoke for all the tactile learners when she said, ‘Robyn, I usually find it very difficult to sit still in a training course. But today I had no trouble.’ (She’d played with a koosh ball non-stop for four hours!).

Another of my students told of working for a man who wouldn’t let her doodle in meetings. She found it incredibly difficult to concentrate on what he was saying, and left his employment quite quickly. (Through a whole day of training she doodled non-stop, and gave an enthusiastic evaluation about how much she’d learnt).

If you’re kinaesthetic, make sure that you and your environment feel comfortable. At a gut level you’ll know what you have to do – it will certainly include a pad to doodle on, and some stress balls for when you’re on the phone or listening to someone. You may have to be quite firm with yourself about clutter – it’s easy to slide into a mess, but you’ll find it annoying as you struggle to get your hands on things quickly.

The look of your environment matters. Make it work for you and you’ll be far more efficient than if those who wallow around in a paper-cluttered imitation of a pigsty.

A caution – consider the VAKOG needs of your fellow workers

The boss of one of my client companies, a very auditory man, has a very low tolerance to extraneous ‘stuff’ in his office. Neatness and uniformity are paramount to him. This even extended to the pictures on the company walls – in the main office all he allowed were posters of company product information. The staff were not allowed personal pictures or even plants on their desks. His visual workers found it a very difficult environment in which to flourish. My advice – clutter is not OK, but appropriate visual stimulus is.





Are your days too short, workload too large and work-life balance a pipe dream?

Take a look at these Books, E-books, CDs/Teleseminars, Online Courses/Webinars and Tools. They provide practical, effective and easy to implement ways for you to free up your time, improve your productivity and reduce stress from overload.



Webmasters/Ezine Publishers: Would you like to use this article?
You are invited to use any of our articles in your publication or website. The only requirements are that we are included on your mailing list, and that you include the following, after each article you use...

Robyn Pearce CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is the Time Queen. She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire.

Get your free report 'How To Master Time In Only 90 Seconds' and ongoing time tips at gettingagrip.com.

© All Rights Reserved to Robyn Pearce, GettingAGrip.com, 25 Keven Road, R.D.4, Pukekohe, South Auckland 2679, New Zealand Ph.+ 64 9 232 0523


If you'd like Robyn to write something specific for your industry, please email us with your request.

Planning & Prioritising Online Course, $100 introductory price

Get Your Free
'How To Master Time'
Report

Image

Plus your FREE Time Resources Pack (Valued at $227)




Image

Client Testimonials

Catalyst For Efficiency ImprovementsIt was great to introduce our two job-share receptionists to Robyn’s Getting a Grip on The Paper War text.  It became a catalyst for us to improve our administration proce..." Marie Collins, Business Manager, The NZ Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery

Enhanced Efficiency Thank you for all the tips and words of advice you and your team have sent through.I have been constantly reading it and it does wonders to my line of work and also being a wife and mot..." Anaseini Liku, Communication & Media Coordinator, Ministry of Education, Cook Islands

Clear Directions Enhance Use Of TimeI have just finished reading 'Getting a Grip on Time' and 'Getting a Grip on the Paper War'.  Particularly your book on 'Time' got me back on track, and during the day I catc..." Ingrid Geerlings, Owner, www.houseofmilk.com

Leadership Book Helps To find the Real Me‘I’ve just been reading ‘Getting a grip on Leadership’.  It is very good and has had an impact on me.  I realised I’d lost my way a bit re who I am ..." Heather Millar, Manager, Professional Practice, Central North Island Kindergarten Association, New Zealand

Additional $120,000 Billed After Time Management CourseI have personally known Robyn Pearce for around 16 years. From time to time my firm has contracted Robyn on a project basis to work with our professional staff as well as partners in the fi..." John Hackett, Partner, A J Park, New Zealand

The Librarian Who Got Her Life Back!The kick-start that I needed was delivered by a velvet glove, but make no mistake the iron hand within the glove ensured that the message was received and understood. If you are going to spend some..." Heather Jenks, Associate University Librarian (Research and Learning Services), University of Canterbury

Increasing Personal Confidence And Job ManagementHaving worked already very successfully with our NZ Team, Robyn's support of the Australian Team over a 12-month period was fundamental to helping us cope with increased day to day workload - espec..." Julia Braun, General Manager - Marketing, Beiersdorf Australia

A Great Empathy And Affinity With PeopleI have used Robyn as an Executive Coach for key Senior Staff for a number of years now and couldn't recommend her more highly. I've found as people step up in the organisation they often struggle t..." Merilyn Havler, Then General Manager, Beiersdorf New Zealand

An Increase of 30% In Gross Turnover Due To Better SystemsWhen we reviewed the progress made as a result of your concepts, a staggering number of them had become an integral part of our day to day business, collectively making a huge difference to our eff..." Wayne & Lisa Hughes, Occupational Therapy Helping Children, NSW, Australia

Motivational And Thought Provoking SessionI'd like to highlight the benefits felt both by the staff members attending your sessions, and the motivational flow-on effects experienced throughout the Hotel.In the developmental sta..." Human Resources Manager, Wentworth Hotel (part of the Rydges chain)

Successful Paper Management Seminar Thank you for your interesting and indeed challenging speech. I could see all the people who've ..." Australian Institute of Credit Managers, Sydney Branch

Personalised Seminar For Long-term Results On behalf of the team at Strategic Lifestyle Management and our client Lend Lease I would..." SLM Conference and Incentive Manager, for client Lend Lease

Excellent Skilful Presenter "Thank you for the practical and informative Time Management seminar you recently gave to our senior m..." HR Manager, ANA Hotel, Sydney

Improve Your Organisation And Productivity The response to the program was extremely positive, with an average rating of 4.4 out of ..." Noel Cook, GM, Outdoor Network, Australia

Organisational Skills Improve To Lift Productivity Your time management seminars are one of the best things we've ever done. Weeks l..." Centrelink, Dubbo, New South Wales

Productivity Increased 50% Now several months later and my productivity has increased between 30% and 50%. I'm seeing more and bette..." Senior financial planner, IPAC, Australia

Timesaving Techniques Learned A wonderful surprise to learn how much I had improved since the first programme with you nine months a..." National Sales Manager, Personal Insurance, GIO Australia

Control Gained In Managing Time Feedback from the staff was very positive... all felt they had gained a great deal of control and di..." MD, C.Y. O'Connor College of TAFE, Northam, WA

Immediate Action For Change A lot of great new ideas and some very good new tools that I shall start implementing immediately. Group Services Trainer, Adecco

Increased Efficiency Saves 20-25 Minutes A Day "Many practical hints which helped me reorganise my office, to operate efficiently." ..." Senior Partner, Baldwins (Patent Attorneys)

Invaluable Resources In Time Management Books I would like to take this opportunity to commend you on the flexibility of your approach, and..." Human Resources Manager, Professional Services Review, Canberra

Self Management Crucial In Time Management You presented a most informative and challenging training session. Your ability to gain q..." Human Resources Manager, Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal of NSW

'Time Management Guru'! Once again you combine an enthusiastic presentation style with useful tips and techniques. Succinct and fun ..." Manager - Training & Development, Real Estate Institute of NSW

Beneficial Time Management Ideas Your presentation was brilliant, and your thoughts on how to make time management beneficial to eve..." Barbara McCarthy, President, Chatswood Chamber of Commerce, Sydney

Informative And Energising Speech We could not have chosen better. Your contribution was just what we wanted and needed, and I was t..." Raewyn James, Tamaki Teachers' Conference

Positive Feedback For Speech Robyn, you gave a fantastic speech, and I am still having positive feedback about your talk to this day..." Sales and Marketing Co-ordinator, Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi, and co-ordinator of Eastern Suburbs Women's Breakfast

Work Life Balance Put Into Practice I know everyone who attended was fascinated by all your planning tips and I know many have put t..." Solo Home Business Network, Sydney

IT Company Gains Insight Into Effective Time Management We were very impressed... everyone gained considerable insight to effective ..." MD, IT software company, Auckland

Professional Approach Reinforces Time Management Principles Following a number of very positive reference checks we invited Robyn Pe..." Godfrey Pembroke National Conference, Hobart, Tasmania

Staff Queue For Time Management Tips! "Thank you! I'm sure you could tell from everyone's enthusiasm that they enjoyed your presenta..." Programme Director, Pioneer SWAP

Specific Personalised Advice Benefits Group Robyn gave much more than the professional information imparted in this kind of session...." Principal Heritage Officer, Heritage Council NSW

They're 'screaming for more'! Thanks for your wonderful presentation. I've had a lot of positive feedback from our staff, and they c..." GM's assistant, Austereo, Australia

L.J. Hooker Predicts Great Success In Using Their Time Your down-to-earth common sense certainly hit home to a lot of people, and the feedba..." Lyn McDermott, Ass. Director, Marketing and Communication, L.J. Hooker Ltd

5 Stars For Time Management Course Robyn, in light of this morning's session (and comments about short emails!) I could leave it the..." Wilf Marley, Principal, Marley Loft Systems (Accountants)

Simple Practical Action Steps For Work Life Balance We've had great feedback since your last session with the NZ Institute of Charte..." Denise Bovaird, Past President, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants

Improved Focus And Concentration After Time Management Course Since your time management course our managers have found that they ca..." John Moore, Then-HR Manager, International Cricket Council, Dubai

Jam-packed Personalised Seminar Very Effective   Robyn spoke to four of my Academy groups in the space of 11 days. I wa..." Barrie Barrett, Chairman, Academy for Chief Executives, United Kingdom

Awesome says Law Clerk, Bell Gully I just thought I'd spend a few minutes in the Proactive/Value-adding quadrant and let you know ho..." Law Clerk, Bell Gully, New Zealand

Excellent 'Management' Course, As Well As 'Time Management' I would like to extend a huge thank you for making your valuable time av..." David Greenslade, Managing Director, Strategi, New Zealand

We've Regained 30% Of The Time We Used to Lose! Since we worked with Robyn 5 months ago our team of 12 underwriters and support staf..." Senior Underwriter, QBE Insurance, New Zealand

Fantastic Course - Team Feedback Extremely Positive! Thanks very much for the Time Management programme you have conducted over the ..." Gareth McCulloch, National Sales Manager, Southern Hospitality Limited

 
Timely appointment scheduling system