How to make smarter decisions and prepare for anything: tips from a professional organiser

From making tough decisions to being prepared for action, office professionals and administrative assistants should always be one step ahead. With so much to do, where do you begin?

We enlisted the help of Lissanne Oliver, professional organiser, TV Presenter and bestselling author of ‘Sorted! The Ultimate Guide to Organising Your Life – Once and for All’. For the past 20 years, Lissanne has helped people from all walks of life better manage their space and time.

The benefits of effective decision-making

“Before you’re able to make smart and informed decisions, it’s important to consider all your options,” says Lissanne.

Employees are most committed when they believe decisions are made using a logical, informed, and fair process and if you step logically through a proven process, you waste less time and make use of the right resources at the right time.1

Create a visual decision board

“A visual board is a great way to help with the decision-making process. It’s also scalable, giving you as an individual or your entire team the freedom to add new ideas and move content around as your decision progresses,” says Lissanne.

Visual decision boards can be made from almost any surface – a pinboard or whiteboard are ideal, but even a large sheet of cardboard works.

Materials you’ll need


  1. Brainstorm ideas and how you can bring them to life. Keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish and why.
  2. Write down ideas in the form of key headings on a piece of paper, laminate and cut out your key headings. Attach them to your decision board, leaving room beneath each for information, steps and any other thoughts.
  3. As new solutions and ideas come to mind, write them down, laminate them and place them under the relevant key headings or create new key headings.
  4. Shuffle ideas as needed. The great thing about a decision board is you are able move things around as you wish!
  5. Don’t forget to include a bin icon on the side where you can dump ideas that are no longer needed.
  6. Make sure you leave space for your final decision and next steps. List out what action is required or what your final result is.

Watch our ‘how to’ video below to see a decision board in action!

Prepare with an event kit

With the current COVID situation, events and gatherings have been put on hold across the country. When we’ve reached a sense of normalcy and events return, a ‘grab and go kit’ is the perfect companion after the decision and planning stages for events like tradeshows, conferences, gala dinners, product launches and more. It’s a great idea to list out everything you need for your event kit using your decision board, so you don’t forget anything important.

“An event kit contains everything you need in one place, including seating charts, place cards, guest tags, menus, run sheet, presentations, brochures and more – making it easier for you and everyone involved. No wasting time looking for things you forgot to bring. Fortune favours a prepared mind!”

You can use the same formula and steps for whatever event or project you are organising, from a training session to a product launch or conference. Just switch out the things you don’t need and add in the things you do.

Materials you’ll need


  1. Use your expanding file to store key documents. Create a project cover sheet outlining all the details. This will include information like the name of your event, dates and times, participants, location, contact numbers, etc.
  2. Label key sections clearly using your label maker. These sections might include:
    • invites, RSVPs, name tags and registration forms
    • distribution of info, lesson materials, assessment/feedback or product handouts.
    • venue details
    • signage
    • checklists for any AV equipment you will need such as microphones, speakers and projectors
    • catering information and notes on dietary requirements
    • supplier and vendor invoices and contact details.
  3. Organise your documents into their appropriate categories by neatly storing in letter files.
  4. Create an index so you can easily find all the documents you need. Store this in the front pocket of your expanding file.

Get your workspace projects done right with a range of workplace products, machines, filing and other essentials.


1Latham, A., 2015, ‘12 Reasons Why How You Make Decisions Is More Important Than What You Decide’, <>