Productivity advice from professional organizer Geralin Thomas

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Geralin Thomas is a professional organizer at Metropolitan Organizing in Raleigh, North Carolina (and a long-time user of the Quo Vadis Minister weekly planner!). She has been on television shows including Hoarders and has helped her clients get control of their time and belongings. We have featured her several times here on Quo Vadis blog, and we always appreciate her professional advice!

Recently I interviewed Geralin to ask her advice on managing time, tasks, and objects:

What are some of your clients’ biggest challenges?

Most clients contact Metropolitan Organizing, LLC for help streamlining and simplifying their thoughts, objects, and data. Some need help with productivity procedures. And a handful of clients ask for help curating their closets.

  • Thoughts: brainstorming, mind-mapping, emptying their “thought-buckets” or creating to-do lists especially those starting their own businesses.
  • Objects: ordinary stuff in people’s drawers, cabinets, closets, cars, offices and homes.
  • Data: digital or hard copy photos, contacts, files, resource materials, reference materials, etc.
  • Productivity: creating or improving systems and processes for repetitive tasks.

We are thrilled that you are a fan of the Quo Vadis Minister weekly planner! In general, how is your productivity affected by planning on paper vs planning electronically?

The act of putting pen to paper is an opportunity to practice mindfulness and creativity. I enjoy looking back at my old notes and appointments in past calendars. It’s a snapshot in time; a barometer of what was going on not only in my day, but, in my mind.  

Productivity is about having a system in place for performing repetitive tasks. Creativity is about meandering; finding unique, different solutions.

When planning on paper, the choices are unlimited; spacing between letters, white spacing between lines, colors and type of writing utensils, entering info on an angle vs. entering it straight across the line.

I’m much more productive if I have opportunities to be mindful and creative.

In the past you have described your ABC method of weekly planning. What is one other time management trick you use in your paper planner?

I create a lot of checklists in my planner.  I even have a list of my lists! 

A few of my favorite lists are on pages 154 – 169 of my second book, Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets

Free lists on my website:

What are your top recommendations for helping people become more effective with their calendaring?

Start with the basics. Determine which type of calendar is best for you.

  • A calendar that kept on the wall or desk: paper, dry-erase, chalkboard
  • A calendar that’s portable: diary, download-and-print, electronic that syncs to smartphone
  • Layout Options: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly

And, consider the amount of space available for writing in relation to how much information you typically record. Do you need separate sections for various member of the household?

Thank you so much Geralin!

The planner Geralin uses is the Quo Vadis Minister weekly planner. For more information about the Minister weekly planner click here, and to see where to buy the Minister planner click here.

Minister weekly planner

One thought on “Productivity advice from professional organizer Geralin Thomas

  1. Although I’ve been using digital lists for several years now I’ve recently found myself going back to paper and pen more and more – I had not made the connection to mindfulness and creativity, but perhaps that’s what is drawing me back to that process. I love that you have a list of your lists, and I think now I need one too!

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