Structure Your Chaos! Top Three Ways Professionals Undercut Their Potential

Posted on October 2, 2014 by Tanya

Next Thursday I will be speaking at the New Bern Breakfast Rotary Club on the Top Three Ways Professionals Undercut Their Potential. Even highly successful people can and often do learn new ways to become more productive and increase their successes. This topic will address the following three ways I believe all professionals can do better:

  1. Lack of organization
  2. Lost productivity
  3. Neglecting networking and collaboration

By getting your organization under control so you can increase your productivity allows for more time to network and collaborate. You will also be ready to accept that new client or contract and be able to do so efficiently so you can move on to the next project with ease.

A chronic lack of organization is systemic and though your clients may not see it, they will subconsciously react to it. As will your peers. Perhaps they would have referred a client to you but were not certain you were “ready and able” to respond. Or a client really enjoyed working with you but were hesitant to refer others to you because of this one quality they knew others would not react well to.

Once you get a handle on your clutter and you are able to produce more better, you are in a position to fully engage with others to truly reach your potential. For some this is not easy, but it can be accomplished and with the proper systems in place, it can be maintained. Come out next Thursday the 9th and learn much more about this topic!

If you are interested in having me speak with your group, please check out my signature speaking topics here.

Calculate YOUR Chaos – What is the Cost?

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Tanya

Are You Ready to Die?

Posted on July 16, 2014 by Tanya

I realize this is a difficult question to hear much less to think about, but it IS a reality. The unfortunate thing is no one plans for it. Truthfully, it will not affect us. We will be dead. It is our loved ones who will have to deal with all the repercussions of our unwillingness to face the obvious.

This became so clear to me as I was going through my parent’s things with my Mom. Thankfully, she is highly organized! I asked her to show me where things are kept – wills, powers of attorney, extra checks, log in information, statements, keys… Since she handles all this for her and my Dad, if something happened to her first, he would not know where these things are. My sisters and I will need to step in to help him.

The conversation is not easy to initiate, but wow what a great feeling it is to have and it. I know where my Mom keeps all their important papers and how to access her accounts when needed. The last thing I care to be concerned about when she is either ill or dying is how to pay her cable bill. I want to spend that time caring for her and loving on her. And, I want to feel free to enjoy both my parents for as long as I can.

Thanks to my Mom, my sisters and I can do just this. What an amazing a selfless gift she has given us! Now, that is true love.

Nine months from today is National Healthcare Decisions Day. This day, April 16th, is about having these conversations and getting your advance directives completed. Consider marking your calendar for an event near you.

Once you complete your advance directives, plan to get all your other important papers together for your loved ones by using The HAINES System™ This is a simple yet comprehensive system to guide you through collecting all your important documents and detailed information associated with them in one place. You can then tell your family, friends, professionals that you have completed your system and it is all easy to see and follow. It takes the worry out of the process.

Retire the Worry, Not Your Life!™

Alzheimer’s Disease – Prepare Now

Posted on July 3, 2014 by Tanya

The Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s, Aging and Community Health is looking toward our future. With the aging Baby Boomer’s there will be a “silver tsunami” coming. Through a grant from Merck, NC A&T State University’s College of Arts and Sciences is working to address the concerns about this debilitating and devastating disease through education, advocacy, and research.


Alz Warning Signs     Alz Warning Signs P2

It is important that we all complete our advance directives before we need them. My Grandmother died with Alzheimer’s and I am so glad she had our GG to care for her and she had her paperwork completed. This allowed us all to focus on her care, loving her, supporting GG, and then grieving her when she died. It was a wonderful gift for my Mom and the rest of us.

Visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website for ideas on how to start this conversation with those you love.

Visit The HAINES System on my website for help with gathering, organizing, and maintaining your documents or call (252) 665-3424.

A Life – Retired!

Posted on June 24, 2014 by Tanya

“I want to live in a world where people can enjoy each other and not worry about paperwork, so I created The HAINES System™”. My sister and I together organized a comprehensive system in a simple format that guides people through the process of gathering and organizing their important papers. This is something we all must take seriously and complete, though most do not.

No one wants to think about or talk about illness or death, but the reality is that life happens! So, let’s be as prepared as possible for this and then relax knowing it is done.

THS Logo Small

The HAINES System™ refers to Having All Important Notes Executed and Secured. Everyone needs a Will, Durable/Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Living Will completed and those named in the documents need to know they are named. We guide you through the collection of your personal, household, legal, financial, and medical documents. If you don’t know how to begin the process, check out our free download here.

If you are interested in purchasing the system, please be sure to contact me! I would love to help you Retire the Worry, Not Your Life!™

Communicate and Facilitate – NOT Obligate!

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Tanya

As a professional organizer and Productive Environment Specialist, my role is to ask the questions and offer options. Much as my training to be a social worker encouraged, we are here to listen to YOU. It is not our job to come in and decide what you need to do, how you need to do it, and what to throw away. Many fear that having an organizer means having someone dictate to you. This could not be farther from the truth. We are here to help facilitate the process.

We like to ask some basic questions:



And, to create that productive environment, or intentional setting, you need to:

  1. State your vision
  2. Identify your obstacles
  3. Commit your resources
  4. Create your plan
  5. Maintain your success


This art of organizing is all about finding out what will work for you and then making that happen. The goal is to establish a process or system that makes sense to you and you can and will maintain. We can help to facilitate this process through communication and NOT obligation! What works for you may not work for someone else and that’s OK; this process is about you and your interest in living and working in an environment that allows you to be less stressed, more productive, and enjoy your life.

The motto for Structured Chaos is clear:

SC-tagline copy

Enjoy the journey and then live yours! Let me know your thoughts on these questions and the idea of having the support to do what you want and need without judgement, condemnation, or pressure. Everyone is different and I thank God for that and for each of my individual clients!

Records Retention Policy

Posted on June 5, 2014 by Tanya

Chances are, if you work for a company there is a Records Retention Policy. If not, ask about it. Having one will assist you greatly should you ever be audited. By having a policy and showing that you follow it consistently, you show good faith effort. Any policy needs to be reviewed at least annually to ensure the method of retention is still valid and up-to-date.

But, what about at home or your own small business? On a lesser scale, you still need to have some system for how  you maintain your records. Do you keep everything in shoe boxes shoved in closets and under the bed? Do you not keep anything assuming you can always retrieve it digitally? Neither of these extremes is good practice, so what is?

Epic - Shoebox and Receipts

Start small and write out some basics that you can live by, just to get a framework going. This can be changed at any time, but start with something. It may be as simple as having a file system where you mark it by year and each year you add the new file for the new year, you get rid of the oldest year by scanning it and then trashing or shredding it.

None of this has to be overwhelming if you just begin with ONE thing, no matter how small. Go ahead – start today!


Needed for All: Advance Directives!

Posted on June 3, 2014 by Tanya

It has been a month since National Healthcare Decisions Day – a national movement to encourage people to take personal responsibility for completing their advance directives (healthcare powers of attorney, living will…). We all know that we will not get out of this life alive. I don’t mean to sound negative or morose, just realistic. We really need to plan a little better and here is some help to start.


Many people will spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars to pay an attorney to draft legal documents like a will, powers of attorney and so forth, and an accountant to complete taxes. None of this is really very good if we don’t have these documents in a format others can get to when they are needed. And, this is not something just older people should do. Regardless of our age, we are all susceptible to the unknown. Once you commit to making your plans, you can then move forward with living your life.


Consider using my new system, The HAINES System™. It is named after my GG who died in November at the age of 93. GG was a highly organized man who had only a few files of paper for us to sort through. That is it! He had everything completed and filed so that when he died, my Mother had only to follow the paperwork. This was a tremendous gift for her and the rest of our family. The immediate aftermath of dealing with all the emotions of someone’s death is powerful and can be overwhelming. He gave us the ultimate gift of peace.


The HAINES System™ is named for GG as he and his death truly did inspire my sister, Julie, and I to put this workbook together. We want others to benefit from his legacy. Haines was his middle name and we use it as HAINES – Having All Important Notes Executed and Secured. We guide you through the process of gathering all the information and documents you need to consider should something happen to you. This allows your loved ones the opportunity to truly deal with your illness or death and not to be concerned about calling the credit card companies or searching for your marriage certificate or wondering if you really did want life support. You will already have this compiled for them.


Share your thoughts on this idea as well as your suggestions to make the process easier. Thanks for reading and considering what your legacy will be!

Paying all Bills

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Tanya

SC - MailBox or InBox?

So we all get mail whether it comes in our mail box outside or our email box inside. As a military kid, I LOVED mail day! Living overseas in the ’80s meant the best communication was every two weeks when our Dad would come home from work and have a stack of mail. It took at least one week for a letter to get from our home in England to a friend’s home in the U.S.A. That was impressive and we just never thought twice about having to wait for a letter or card.

Now that I am an adult with a house, husband, children, cars, and dogs I am not always so excited to get the mail (either version of it) because it is either junk mail or bills. Either way, the experience does not hold the same allure it did when I was a kid.

Recently I received an email from the online account I have been using to schedule all my bill paying, Manilla. At this site, I could log in and see all of my bills that are paid electronically, the balances, when the next bill is due (they send me email reminders before a bill is paid), any documents/notices the companies have sent to me, and a link to go directly to that site to amend any bills. Well, Manilla is closing this summer and they suggest their users download documents and delete the account.

This got me to thinking about all the digital tools I recommend to my readers. How secure are these electronic records? Why not just keep using the paper bills? Well, just like with paper, you must keep your own records in a format that you are comfortable with, makes sense to you, and will allow for any tax implications you may need to address.

As I went through my account, I realized that I was using Manilla as a staging ground, or gathering place to see most of my bills in one place. The reality is that I am already signed up for paperless billing with all the companies and therefore will be just fine without Manilla. Plus, I have reduced the number of accounts we have as a means to better manage our finances. This helped as well.

Now, I can go back to looking forward to getting the mail and know that most of what comes to my house will be something other than bills and maybe, just maybe someone will send me a card!

Videos (Barbara Hemphill and Tanya) are Live!

Posted on May 14, 2014 by Tanya

On April 29th Barbara Hemphill joined Tanya in New Bern to hold a seminar about home organizing and more. You can now see the videos here to learn more:

Barbara Hemphill Barbara Hemphill – talks about basic organizing and how a Productive Environment Specialist can help you through the process of implementing a system that will work for you! We use proven methods to implement simple yet effective systems you are then able to manage. This allows you to accomplish your work and enjoy your life.

BQ4A0244-LowRez Tanya Roberts – shares her new book, The HAINES System™,  as co-written with her sister, Julie. Together they have researched and pulled together resources and then put them all in one simple yet comprehensive format that guides you through the process of gathering all your important documents in one place. What a gift for your loved ones!

How productive are you? Are you interested in seeing what your productivity score is? Click for a link to both:

Scorecard for Individuals – allows you to see what is enhancing or impeding your personal productivity.

Scorecard for Organizations – measure your satisfaction with your current work environment.

If you have any questions, please just let me know! Thanks for watching and reading!

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