Tip of the Week from Claire Keeling | Sort It Out, Inc.® Sunday, Apr 26 2009 

phrenologyOrganizational expert and regular guest contributor here, Claire Keeling, president of Sort It Out, asks,

“Do you now what kind of learner you are?”

Clair writes, Are you visual, auditory, reading-writing, kinesthetic or multi-modal? An interim between employment and unemployment might be a good time for you to find out.

Research shows that you will forget 64% of what you learned in 24 hours and 98% of what you learned in one week. Wow, that’s staggering. It almost makes you wonder why we make the effort to write things down at all.

When it comes to listening to new information, I’ve learned that for me to learn that information and put the new ideas into action, I have to listen to the material over and over (I’m an aural learner). I love downloading books and educational workshops to my iPod. I find myself listening when I’m out for a walk with the dog, doing chores around the house or driving in the car.

jack-canfieldI used to think that I was the kind of person that learned from viewing and reviewing notes, but the more I’m learning about myself, the more I don’t think that’s true. Author and personal coach> Jack Canfield <talks about “spaced repetition” in his book, The Success Principles, which is the action of looking at or listening to something over and over to learn something new.

Ready to determine your own learning style?

If you click on this link > VARK <, you can take a quiz to find out if you’re an aural, verbal, reading/writing or kinesthetic learner.

I often encourage people I work with to take this quiz, if they’re not sure.

Editor’s note: Hopefully, we are learning every day through our entire lives, and knowing one’s learning style is a good way to be organized (and efficient) in your knowledge intake.

ipod-geek-culture-silhouetteFor example, if you are an aural learning, why load up on books, if there are podcasts with the same material?

Or, if you are a kinesthetic learning, there’s no reason to think that sitting at a desk with a book is the only “right” way to learn—even though that may be what we were told in school. So it’s important self-knowledge to understand your learning style.

I just took the quiz–it’s free, BTW, and here is my score:

  • Visual: 3
  • Aural: 6
  • Read/Write: 6
  • Kinesthetic: 1

That puts me in the multi-modal style of learner, with aural and read-write as my dominant preferences. I studied a lot about this in getting my BA in psychology, and I agree with the outcome here.

The study guide says about 60% of us are multi-modal. I’m about to copy the Study Strategies Tip Sheet to see if I can use the information to help me with my studies for Accreditation in Public Relations (APR.)

Image of phrenology diagram from hammet.tumblr.com
Image of Jack Canfield/The Success Principles from thesuccessprinciples.com via the Web
Image of iPod silhouette from geekculture.com via the Web


Tip of the Week from Claire Keeling | Sort It Out, Inc.® Monday, Apr 13 2009 




Many thanks to Claire Keeling, organizational expert, for putting together these tips for the readers here each week. Claire is president of Sort it Out, a St. Louis-based company specializing in time and e-mail management, project management, paper flow, procrastination, and related things that can overwhelm us. Claire has a profile on > LinkedIn <, and you can sign in to your own LinkedIn profile to see hers, ask her a specific question about your situation, request to connect to her, etc.

clairebiopicture5Claire says,

Managing interviews, contacts and appointments during a job search can get overwhelming to even the most organized people. Utilizing a system like the > Levenger® Circa <  notebook system, is a great way to keep everything in one place. If you’re not familiar with Levenger, it’s an amazing company with some great product offerings to help get and keep you organized.

This particular notebook is unique because the paper is designed to go into the book and pull right out of the book, so it’s an inexhaustible book. Many individuals use a notebook to store their information, but get frustrated when the book fills up and then they find themselves going back and forth between the new book and the older one. This notebook solves that problem.

It’s also effective as a tool to manage multiple tasks/projects because of the tab option (packages come with 5 tabbed sections). It’s easy to purchase additional tabs so that you can separate each section and use the notebook as a total project management tool. You could have tabs for To-Do’s, Projects, Contacts, etc. It’s just a great way to keep all of your papers all together. I would also recommend purchasing the hole-punch so that you can even print out your Outlook calendar and stick it in there if you so wish.

These products are a bit of an investment, but well worth the money. If you use a label maker to make tabs for each of the sections, you can use and reuse forever. The only upkeep is just adding additional paper when you need it.

Circa Starter Kit

Circa Starter Kit

Editor’s note: The > Circa Starter Kit <  is available for $14.

I have been a Levenger lover for years. I first got their paper catalog a decade ago, at least. The company’s tag line, “Tools for serious readers,” had me as an immediate fan.

The Circa system looks nice. You can start with the basic notebook and then add pieces and accessories to design exactly what you need and want. There’s a > video demonstration < on the Web site of Circa in action to show you some of the options.

The Levenger Web page says,

The flexibility of electronic organization meets the satisfaction of fine paper. Experience the pleasure of working with paper again. With Circa, pages can be added and rearranged, quickly and easily, again and again. The system evolves with you and changes with your needs, providing the flexibility of an electronic organizer with the added benefit of instant hard copy. Circa paper is rewardingly strong, enticingly bright and exceedingly smooth, so you can let your ink—and your ideas—flow freely.

There definitely is something generative about the combination of fine paper and a good pen.

Silk paper-making in China, Middle Ages

Paper-making in China, Middle Ages


Image from > Invention of Paper <

Tip of the Week from Claire Keeling | Sort It Out, Inc.® Sunday, Apr 5 2009 





Claire Keeling, organizational expert, is sharing ideas to help us keep organized while we go about our searches for work. Today’s tip deals with a philosophical issue.

Philosophy of Simplicity

Acom’s razor: The simplest solution tends to be the correct one.

Life always seems to somehow complicate itself. Below are three tips to keeping your job search simple:

1. Use bullets and numbers in e-mails instead of long rambling sentences.

2. Write out voice-mail messages before you call so that you are clear and concise rather than vague and confusing.

3. Move all piles off of your immediate workspace and only focus on one item at a time.

Editor’s note:  Thanks, Claire! I feel like you have actually seen my workspace and are trying to save me from myself!

*Alternative spellings: Occam’s and Ockam’s; and for all the non-philosophy major brainiacs here is more on Acom’s / Occam’s razor:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam’s_razor

Tip of the Week from Claire Keeling | Sort It Out, Inc.® Thursday, Apr 2 2009 


Claire Keeling is a local creative, who specializes in organization. Her St. Louis-based company, Sort it Out, has helped an impressive list of local companies be more productive through improvements in organization.

Claire is available for consulting, training and if you would like her to make a presentation at the company where you work, here is a contact form on her Web site > Sort it Out <.

She’s providing weekly tips for this blog’s readers to help us manage our stress.

clairebiopicture1Claire writes,

I often hear from my clients that they don’t have time to read.


Articles, newsletters, and books stack up because we think we don’t have time. The reality is that we don’t take the time. Using the time you are searching for a job is a really good opportunity to tackle your reading.


Whether it’s e-newsletters, journals, or books you have had every intention of getting to but haven’t, this is a good time to categorize all of the reading you’d like to tackle, get caught up on, or finally get to.


If you don’t have a list of “someday” books, this is a good time to create one, for both personal and work-related topics. Valuable resources include your local library, buying used books online, and downloading books on iTunes. Not only will you feel productive, you will be more up-to-date on items you’ve been putting off because you thought there just wasn’t time.


If you’re not a book reader, just tackle articles, magazines, and newsletters you’ve been putting off. Blogs are also an effective way to update your knowledge in short bursts of information. Clicking on Alltop Business News http://small-business.alltop.com/ will provide you with a large list of business blogs to choose from.


Editor’s note: Thanks, Claire! I always learn something from your tips!

Tip of the Week from Claire Keeling | Sort It Out, Inc.® Wednesday, Apr 1 2009 





clairebiopictureNew readers, who don’t know Claire yet, here is the scoop: Claire Keeling is a local creative, who specializes in organization. Her St. Louis-based company, Sort it Out, has a nice list of clients.


Visit her Web site > Sort it Out < to see who’s on the list and read the client testimonials. 


Now, dig this: She’s sending weekly tips to St. Louis Design Community Connections readers for free to help reduce our stress. All of us are probably pretty high-stress people, anyway, but throw in the uncertainty of the workplace, poor cash flow, business slow-downs, furloughs, lay-offs, pay reductions, colleagues here today/gone tomorrow, and we’re beyond stressed: We’re freaking out, man!


Claire is here to help us reduce our stress by giving us tips on staying organized. If you’re doing a job search, it’s important. If you’re just overloaded at work, because of staff cuts, it’s important. Okay: When is it not important?!?


So, show Claire some love and appreciation.  Send her an e-mail and thank her for taking the time to do this for us. Let her know if you’ve used one of her tips and how it helped you.


Claire Keeling <claire@sortitoutconsulting.com>


This week Claire writes:


Employees are overwhelmed by their lack of organizational skills, growing piles of paperwork and e-mail overload. Sort It Out is a consulting company that can help. We team up with businesses to educate, motivate, and challenge employees to take a risk by stepping out of old, inefficient ways of working and to move forward—towards more efficient and productive ways.


Claire writes,


Paper comes at us all the time through many forms, mail, bills, e-mail, kids school work, etc. Many people struggle with where to put it all. Utilizing the extra time that you might have on your hands during a job search to deal with your reference papers at home, is a great idea. The biggest step is to implement a system for organizing your reference documents, like the FreedomFiler (www.freedomfiler.com).


The FreedomFiler tells you what and how long to keep documents. It is relatively inexpensive to purchase, around $45, and only needs to be set up one time. The only supplies you would need are a two or four drawer file cabinet, and around 100 hanging files. The average time it takes to put it together is around four hours, which usually includes going through all of your piles and documents and figuring out what stays and goes.


Editor’s note: This sounds good to me. Anyone who has ever seen my office may think this tip was put together just for me!

Tip of the Week from Claire Keeling | Sort It Out, Inc.® Thursday, Mar 26 2009 




Claire writes,

While you find yourself in transition, you will send many e-mails.

This tip is a great Claire Keelingway to make the most out of these e-mails.

According to Guy Kawasaki on his blog, > How to Change the World <,  the optimal length of an e-mail message is five sentences.
The email should explain:
Who you are (in two sentences or less)
What you want
Why you should get it
When you need it by
If you are already known to your sender, you can skip the introduction, and limit your e-mail to three sentences.


Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki


Guy Kawasaki blogs from Palo Alto, California. He describes himself this way on his visual CV,

“I am a founding partner and entrepreneur-in-residence at Garage Technology Ventures and co-founder of Nononina (the owner of Alltop.com and Truemors.com). I am also a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Previously, I was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc. I’ve authored eight books including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. I have a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.”

His blog is How to Change the World, a Practical Guide for Impractical People.