Getting Organized

Every year we all make New Year’s resolutions.  The sad
thing is we rarely keep them.  Many years ago my resolution was to get organized and
stay organized in my work space.  Keeping your office free of clutter and neat is one of
Activity Professionals biggest challenge.  I was successful (well, for the most part) and
want to share what I did with others.  

Notebooks were my answer.   I have a notebook for all the important aspects of my job.   
I have a notebook for my documentation, it holds all the forms I need, the care
conference schedule, a list of medical abbreviations, a few examples of approaches
and  goals, a pouch with a yellow marker and black ink pen.  I have a form for
disseminating information so if I am unable to attend the care conference my input is
still given.  Everything I need for documentation and care planning is in that notebook,
just grab and go.  

I have a notebook for face sheets and other information gathered about the resident
and or their family.  When a new resident is admitted I ask the family to fill out a form
that includes such things as the residents name, their name, hobbies, collections,
talents, organizations they belong to, occupation, talent, or their children/grand children
ages.  You will be surprised how many activities and programs will come from this
information.  

Another notebook is for booking entertainment, I use the month at a glance calendar on
two pages for this.  When I book an entertainer I write in pencil his name, time, talent,
phone number, and the payment amount on the day in the calendar.  I use pencil so
changes can be made easily.  I book several months ahead so I call the entertainer in
the middle of the preceding month to confirm before the calendar is printed.  When this
is done I put a red check mark and then I call (or have a volunteer call) the week before
to reconfirm and put a second red check mark.  You can also write in anything special
or extra that the entertainer(s) might need such as 3 microphones, the dance floor
down, chairs without arms, etc.  In this note book I have a listing of all those who
entertain on a regular basis with their phone numbers.  In yet another notebook I have
an alphabetical list of all entertainers including groups that send me flyers, CDs, letters,
etc.   I go there when I need a different type of entertainment.    

One important notebook is for special events, those that need the services of another
department such as dietary, housekeeping and even janitorial assistance. All the
information is on one sheet and they are filed by date.  Things in this book are the
monthly birthday party, the weekly happy hour, choir performances,   dances, carnivals,
special luncheons, etc.   Each department gets a copy of the page for each event.

If you are also the Volunteer Coordinator a notebook is ideal to keep the applications,
job descriptions, and lists for pet visits, readers, friendly visitors, copies of reference
letters written on behalf of the volunteer, etc.

The last “notebook” I would suggest is one for phone messages. I use a spiral 7”X9”
size as it fits well next to my phone. Every call in and out of my office with the exception
of in-house routine calls is documented.  This is a big help with voice mail.  I write down
each call with the date and time of the call, phone number, name and message.  When
I have returned that call and everything is completed regarding that call I yellow it out
with a highlighter. I use a highlighter so I can still read what is written in case I need to
refer back to it. I also log the calls I make with the information, which is helpful.    I date
the book when I start and finish it and keep them for about 3 years. More than once I
have found a phone number or name that I need in the “old” books.

With the exception of the phone log the notebooks are on a shelf near my desk.  When I
am not available any activity staff person has access to the information.  The contents
are on the spine of the notebook so all they need to do is reach for the right notebook.   I
make sure that all new information is in the notebooks before leaving for the day.  It only
takes a few minutes and gives me satisfaction.


This is how I am able to stay organized in the office.   Get those notebooks and
calendar.  Take the time to get them organized and you will be surprised how easy it is
to keep everything you need at your finger-tips.  Let this year be the year that you obtain
the goal to be better organized.  


Brenda Scott ADC
NAAP Education Trustee
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