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Measuring the results of time & organization training

Getting Organized Action Plan - Personal Organization Quiz

The closest instrument that I have developed to a quantifiable measurement of results obtained from a time management and personal organization workshop is the Personal Organization Self-Analysis Quiz. It attempts to evaluate the individual’s current state of organization (or disorganization) by applying point values to each component. For instance, under the area of Procrastination, it makes the statement, “I feel pressured because of all the things I have to do.” If the individual feels this is true, she or he gives it 2 points, if only partially true, 1 point, and if not true, 0 points. After completing the entire quiz and calculating the total point value, the clients have a quantifiable indication of their current degree of personal organization.

The higher the number of points, the more disorganized they are. Then I issue a companion instrument, the Getting Organized Action Plan, which provides 15 suggestions in each of the same eight key areas being measured – for a total 120 suggestions. A month or so after putting into practice the ideas that workshop participants feel will help them, they can take the quiz again and see whether their total score has dropped. Just seeing a measurable improvement motivates them to continue to make further changes.

I recall one attendee coming into my office a few years after attending my workshop and excitedly telling me that he initially had a score of over 300 and that it had dropped to close to 200 a few months later after he had introduced some changes into his life. His goal was to get it below 100. Another client told me she repeated the test every few months, after applying a few more ideas from the Getting Organized Action Plan, and saw an improvement each time. This is the type of feedback that is rewarding.

The eight areas measured by the Personal Organization Self-Analysis Quiz are setting goals and prioritizing, planning and scheduling, writing things down, procrastination, packrat tendencies, environmental organization, work habits, and the tyranny of the urgent.

The companion Getting Organized Action Plan is simply a listing of 120 suggestions broken down into 15 suggestions for each of the eight key areas being measured. Many of my clients have used only the Action Plan to issue to their employees so they can put it into use immediately.

Everyone wants to be able to measure the results of training. Corporations are reluctant to spend thousands of dollars on training without knowing whether they are getting an adequate return on investment. They want to be assured that the new skills are being applied on the job with resulting increases in productivity.

Individuals in a home environment also want to get their money’s worth, but they are less concerned with return on investment than they are with realizing an improvement in their current situation. If one of your recommendations results in more free time or less stress or a greater feeling of control—or anything positive—they will be motivated to try more of the suggestions and to stick with them.

As a trainer, you obviously want to be able to measure results because that’s your job—to get results. You want to know that you are truly helping people to gain control of their time and their lives. It also results in more enthusiastic testimonials, referrals, higher ratings on evaluation sheets, and ultimately more business. And there’s nothing more rewarding than having someone tell you that your presentation saved their marriage or prompted a change to a more rewarding vocation or helped them discover their true passion.

It is not easy to quantify the results of time-management training. But you should do everything in your power to do so. It will set you head and shoulders above those who deliver a workshop or spend a half-day with a client and then disappear.

Effective 2018, I am offering organizations and individuals the rights to reproduce both instruments in unlimited quantities for a one-time fee of $149. They are available for immediate download at our website, in the “Shop” area of our drop down menu items.



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Time management training: communicating your worldview.

“Worldview” is a term that Seth Godin uses in his book, “All marketers tell stories,” to refer to a consumer’s rules, values, beliefs and biases. Something is true in the mind of an individual because the person believes it’s true.

That is the basis of a placebo. It works because you really believe it will work. It could also be the reason why some people insist on buying expensive notebooks instead of Dollar Store scratch pads. Or insist on using an electronic device for everything possible – even though it might be easier and more effective in some cases to simply write things down.

That’s why you can’t please everyone. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to change a person’s worldview. The truth can’t do it. Facts can’t do it. They will simply rationalize anything that doesn’t appear to support their worldview.

If you are attempting to help someone get organized or manage their time or buy a car or whatever, you may stand a better chance of succeeding by approaching it on an emotional level rather than a logical one. How many people actually use logic, facts and common sense when purchasing a car?

Seth Godin, a successful author, blogger and marketer, suggests you can influence a person by telling a story – one that fits their worldview. Dr. Joe Dispenza, author and neuroscientist, in his book, “You are the placebo,” explains how emotions can act as a catalyst that enhances the process of healing through believing.

I attribute my success as a novice time management speaker and trainer some 40 years ago to telling stories, laced with self-deprecating humor, about how my disorganization hindered my career, caused friction in my marriage, and eventually sent me to the hospital with bleeding ulcers. Most people could relate to some of my experiences. It fit their worldview. It communicated at an emotional level.

But not everyone. You have to accept the fact that people all have their own worldviews. I made it a point in all my training programs to admit that my suggestions may not work for them. They did work for me. But the only time management system that will work for them is a system that they develop themselves or adapt to their own needs.

Don’t be discouraged if your ideas are rejected or even ridiculed. It is only necessary that what you say or recommend does not conflict with your own worldview – the truth as you know it.

If you try to please everyone, you will please no one.