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Disorganized? Get back to basics, advises a pro

By Doug Snover

Sept 9, 2006

Where does the time go? You sit down at your desk with a cup of coffee and all good intentions, the start of another workday and a project to get started. You have a pretty good idea what it will take to get the work done.

But it doesn’t work out that way … does it? The phone rings. You spend too much time tapping emails on your Blackberry. You can’t find a file you know was in the bottom drawer of your desk just yesterday. The computer insists the printer needs a new cartridge. Someone stops by to chat and derails your train of thought.

The work is going slowly and your mind begins to drift.

Sandra Kindred knows what it’s like and she’s trying to do something about it.

Kindred, a long-time Kyrene Corridor resident, and two partners in 2005 created a small business they call Back on Track! Solutions to help businesses get organized.

In the vernacular of earlier times, Kindred might have been called an “efficiency expert.” On the Back on Track! website, however, she's  a “productivity trainer” and consultant.

The answer to today's myriad challenges of staying organized, Kindred says, is not more technology. Instead, it is a back-to-basics common sense way of organizing your work.

“And the discipline to stick to the simple things,” she adds. “When you’re not having interruptions, you can get way more done.”

Back on Track! uses an organizational plan called the GO System that was developed by Chris Crouch, author of a book called “Getting Organized.”

A member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, Kindred is a certified GO Systems trainer.

The GO System looks at six areas that Crouch believes cause disorganization in people’s lives: Time Management; Project Management; Handling Incoming Items; Prioritization Issues; Personality Issues and Psychological Issues

Kindred says the system does not dictate to clients how to organize their work.

“I work with your style and give you things to do,” she said.

“I also call back and see how you’re doing.”

“I’m trying to get you to do simple, easier things that you’re going to follow through with,” she explained. “It’s the simple habits of the things you used to do. Let’s get back to the essence.”

It takes about a month of practice to create new organizational habits, she said.

The end result, she said, should be better productivity and reduced stress.

Stress seems foreign to Sandra Kindred. She has soft jazz music playing in the background as she talks. Several times a week, she hits the courts as a competitive tennis player. She uses her marketing degree from Arizona State University to help promote her husband Willie’s chiropractic practice.

She started a family before beginning her professional career. In fact, she and her daughter started school in the same year – daughter, Cheryl, entering kindergarten and Sandra enrolling at Mesa Community College before transferring to ASU to complete her bachelor of science degree.

“You market yourself every day. It’s about how to get ‘em and how to keep ‘em,” she said. “You have to get your name to stand out.”

Kindred is not a foe of technology. She, too, has a Blackberry on her desk.

“It’s there to enhance (productivity)”, she said. “But it’s not going to be a magic pill to help you organize.”

Kindred likes to tell a story about the early days of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both nations learned that standard pens would not write in zero gravity, she said.

The U.S. space program spent a lot of money developing a pen that would write in space, Kindred said.

The Soviets used a pencil.

“We’re not saying throw your Palm Pilot away,’ she emphasized.

But it might be a good idea to keep some sharpened pencils in the top desk drawer. For more information, visit


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