STYLE Savvy: Being Flexible


One of the things I like best about organizing by STYLE is its flexibility. Don’t like binders? Try an accordion folder. Not a fan of the file cabinet? Use individual standing files. Have a tendency to cram and jam or put things in a “safe place”? Choose storage that supports what you do naturally — flexible and/or see-through containers — instead of “shoulding” yourself into using a traditional tool that frustrates you.

Another benefit of the flexibility of this method is that it automatically lends itself to change. No matter how perfect the system, it needs to be dynamic in order to meet changing demands, uses and time constraints.

Case in point: my school stuff. Each semester, I have things to sort, store, and carry back and forth. Old faithful tools — my planner, which doubles as a lesson-plan book, my pencil case loaded with writing implements and office supplies, my pocket folder that houses reference materials for each class — form the foundation. From there, I add tweaks and tools to fill any gaps that arise.

"STYLE Savvy: Being Flexible" by Lisa Hess (

Image credit: (2016), CC0 Public Domain

A few semesters ago, I added a clipboard to my arsenal of supplies. It came in handy during the first few weeks of class, providing a place to house rosters and seating charts as I learned my students’ names, and then I set it aside. This semester, the clipboard has earned its keep, playing a role in my attendance-taking, thanks to a new online system. In addition, I added a single sheet of paper to my clipboard, one that summarizes my schedule and appointments for the week. It’s amazing what a big difference that small change has made in bridging the gap between my school schedule and my home schedule. One piece of paper has combined my to-do lists and appointments for two parts of my life, uniting two separate pieces of the same puzzle.

Finding a tool that works is wonderful. Finding one that will grow with the demands and changes of daily life is even better. While it’s tempting to wish for a permanent solution to our organizational needs, finding ways to adapt and adjust not only refines our systems, but our overall organizational skills as well. And, since a stagnant life would be a boring life, we might just have to adjust to the one true rule of organization.

It’s a process.

Copyright 2018 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


  1. I have used clipboards to hold projects for some time, especially writing projects. When I get to the stage of reading aloud or having someone else edit, the printed manuscript goes on a clipboard. One of my proofreaders is my husband and he appreciates having the clipboard to steady his hand when writing comments as he sits in his recliner. I may have several clipboards going at once with manuscripts at different stages of completion. I like the idea of putting my schedule and to-dos on a clipboard instead of the notebook I use. Thank you.

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