Tales of a Highly Organized Person

Margaret Dolsen

“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”
Julie Andrews

I enjoy having an organized workspace. From the kitchen to the office, I like things in their place. But, do not confuse organized with tidy. No, I’m a stacker. A pile-maker. My chaos is uniquely mine, and I know it intimately. But, as a newly elected Toastmasters officer, it’s a priority to organize all the tips, strategies and hand-me-downs I’ve already accumulated. I need a Barney Book!

At work, we have a lot of new people who rotate in and out of our team. To help them get up to speed quickly, we created a Barney Book, transforming a 1-inch binder filled with examples of our reports, processes, and daily activities into a lifeline. It’s called the Barney Book, because “any dinosaur can use it.” It’s a safety net for new and old members of the team, ensuring accurate reports and allowing seamless knowledge transfer regardless of the time of day (or night!).

Our Barney Book is a living book. The more we update it, the more valuable it becomes.  

In my Toastmasters Barney Book, I’ll include copies of newsletters & agendas I come across, with personal comments, a de-brief of sorts, on the highs and lows of each. It’s a good place to store business cards acquired from networking, contacts for the company-sponsored webpage, and official correspondence, too. Creating a Barney Book is going to give me structure for success and give tradition to next year’s PR officer.  

Admittedly, getting it off the ground will be the hardest part. But I’m certain if I turn my highly organized stacks of Toastmaster material into a Barney Book, as Julie Andrews says, I will be free to fly.

Margaret Dolsen
Vice President Public Relations
BNSF Toastmasters Club


By Jodie Sanders