motivation browsing by tag


Book, Friend, Foe?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Don’t you love checking out the bookshelves when you visit a home? The books that make the cut to “keepers” tell you a lot about their owner. When you recognize a book you love, there is an immediate feeling of connection to the other person! That makes for a great conversation starter.

With the Kindle and Nook, the day may come when we can’t be nosy anymore! Until then, you may struggle as I do with letting go of books you have collected along the way.

The approach I use at home and with clients is from Judith Kolberg’s book Conquering Chronic Disorganization. She advocates sorting books into three piles:

  1. Best Friends – Those books you love, refer to often, or plan on reading again (and again) are definite keepers.
  2. Acquaintances – These are the books you enjoyed at one time, but have no ongoing desire to revisit. Let a friend enjoy these?
  3. Strangers – Non-fiction you read half-way; fiction that one reading was enough. You have no problem saying goodbye and letting these go to another owner.

For book lovers, this personification of inanimate objects makes perfect sense!

Options for the books you don’t keep:

  • Share with friends
  • Sell at Half-Price Books
  • Donate to Better World Books   (shipping is prepaid)
  • In Columbus, OH area, call Rodger Williams of Crestview Books. He comes to you, makes an offer, then carts away the books you no longer need.

Now you are ready to put your friends back on your newly cleared shelves. Organize by size, subject matter, or author. A designer friend suggests shelving like-colored jackets as a group. Add photos or colorful accent pieces for eye appeal. Nice!

February Freedom

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Did You Know…?? February 1st is observed as National Freedom Day.  On this day in 1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.  This Amendment was ratified on December 18th, 1865.

I am amazed that a separate amendment was needed to declare that men and women who came from another continent and who had a different color of skin were people who merited the freedoms our U.S. Constitution guarantees to “every man”.  Then another amendment giving women the right to vote as “equals” to men was not ratified until August 26, 1920 after a 72 year struggle! Wow!

Today I am standing, rejoicing in the freedom I enjoy as a result of tremendous sacrifice by so many others – military, civilian, parent, child, man and woman. Why, then, do I not always feel free?

In my life, the answer goes like this: “I have met the enemy and he is… Me!”  Perhaps you have experienced your world constricting and choking you as well.

  • You have a hard time saying, “No”, so volunteer for more than you can do well and on time.
  • The possessions you own really possess you in maintenance, repair, and space consumed.
  • Paper piles up faster than you can sort and make decisions on.
  • You fill your days until there is hardly time to breathe between the “must do’s”.
  • Mind clutter resulting from physical clutter around you is paralyzing; making it impossible to know where to start, what to do next.
  • You feel defeated in one area of physical well-being – health, finances – and it affects you daily.
  • Tyranny of the urgent crowds out the freedom you want to enjoy and use to make a difference.

The ironic thing is, to enjoy more freedom we have to impose limits… on ourselves!

To make this practical, choose one area you struggle with and feel stuck in:

  1. Physical surroundings
  2. Time schedule
  3. Health
  4. Finances
  5. Information management (paper or online)
  6. Other

As your personal organizer, I challenge you to write down 10 enemy actions you habitually commit in this area.

Now, next to each of your 10 self-defeating actions, write a limit you will impose as MANAGER OF (your name)’S LIFE. If a limit doesn’t make sense, name the exact opposite action to perform as your goal.

For example, the area you feel stuck in is Health, and specifically lack of exercise. A self-defeating action you recognize is spending more time driving than walking. You purpose as MANAGER to park at the far end of the lot at work so you will traverse that distance at least 4 times per day.

I will ask you to limit yourself to working only on that one area for the next month. Then take your freedom pulse again.

Email me and ask me what my area is. Accountability is a good thing!

Benefits of Organizing: A Baker’s Dozen

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Organizing isn’t only about downsizing possessions, developing filing systems, and creating easily-accessible storage.
Getting out from under visual clutter and overwhelm can have a much deeper impact in our lives, both physically and emotionally.

When I started listing the life-changing results I see as an organizer, I couldn’t stop at an even 10 as I had planned, so you get a baker’s dozen.

Clearing the clutter and organizing those things you need/use or love/find beautiful will…

  1. Give you hope for the future; you don’t have to stay stuck in chaos and defeat.
  2. Set you free from the burden of clutter (of things, their past, negative emotions) so you are able to move on.
  3. Let you know you are capable of maintaining order with the system that matches your personal bent.
  4. Give you a safe and healthy environment so you can thrive.
  5. Allow you to pass on a legacy of order to your children.
  6. Affirm your competence on the job when you can find info quickly, get started on today’s projects, and reach for tomorrow’s opportunities.
  7. Empower you to take back control of life and your environment, one area at a time.
  8. Make you feel valued for the unique individual you are, not based on some preconceived notion of what you should be or do.
  9. Boost your self confidence knowing you will remember appointments, be on time, and have what is needed at that moment.
  10. Allow you to experience a calm retreat at the end of a fast-paced day.
  11. Enable you to accept less than perfection, while striving for “good enough.”
  12. Free up time for you to fulfill your dreams.
  13. Underline the truth that we each fail at times, but that each mistake is a new chance to start over.

The great thing about organizing is, when you clear a path in one area of your life, the positive feelings ripple outward and you are energized to repeat the process for even greater success.   That is what my clients see and experience.  Love it!

Knowing What You Really Want is Key to Success

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Book Review: Write It Down, Make It Happen

In December, my sister and I met to exchange Christmas presents and to just BE together. That doesn’t happen nearly often enough.

I told her, ”I’m not sure what I really want!” She said, “I’ll send you a copy of the book I’m reading,” and gave me a notebook to write my thoughts in. The funny part: the book’s tag line is Knowing What You Want – and Getting It!

Author, Henriette Ann Klauser, has a PhD in English Literature and teaches writing techniques in U.S. and Canadian universities.  As she taught her students how to practice “rapidwriting, writing fast, lickety-split, past the Critic”, her students began to share with her the positive, life-changing results they experienced. Those stories became the catalyst for her book, Write It Down, Make It Happen.

Write It Down, Make It Happen

Klauser uses illustrations from real people who found once they wrote dreams down, the resources and contacts came to them, rather than their having to seek out either. Well known examples are Lou Holtz, Notre Dame coach and Jim Carrey, comedian.

As a Christian believer, I don’t ascribe to “name it, claim it” type thinking.  I see something else at work here. Once you and I identify what we really want, we will see opportunities that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Marian’s story of building a state-of-the-art retirement home in a small Nevada town inspires me. Not only did writing clarify her thoughts, but she states,

That’s another benefit of writing  – it helps me to recognize what is happening and to appreciate it. When I don’t write it down, sometimes I overlook… small victories and forget to be grateful.

What is it you really want? Start to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings in 2011. From organizing, to losing weight, to getting finances in order… it is key to know what you want as an end result. You may be surprised at the strange “coincidences” that help you along the way.

Better yet, find someone with whom to share your goals and desires, and who will cheer you on/hold you up during tough times. That is exactly the role my wonderful sister fills for me. I am grateful.

What is your WHY?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

In case you haven’t guessed by now, organizing is not an end in itself. There is always a “WHY?” that must be in place. Who wants to even get started on this thankless job otherwise? (Besides the organizer who loves it!)

Fill in the blanks to find your WHY.

I want/need to organize my _______________________ so I can _________________________.

These are some compelling reasons to organize my clients have expressed:
“… home office, so I can attract and keep more clients”;
“… closet, so I can get dressed quickly and get to work on time feeling confident”;
“… kitchen command center, so I can better keep track of my family’s activities”;
“… basement, so I can get rid of non-essentials and find what I have stored quickly”.

Think of the pain that your disorganization is causing. Then imagine what your space would be like if you could have your ideal solution come true. How would that solution make a difference in your life? THAT is your WHY!

Only when your WHY is big enough will you take action. The most common results that will stir folks to action are:

  • Save time
  • Benefit my family
  • Save money
  • Be more productive with less effort
  • Avoid physical pain, be more healthy
  • Gain emotional freedom

The best part for me is, when someone figures out their WHY and is ready to take action, I get to help – with written encouragement, group support classes, show-you-how eBooks, and 1-on-1 organizing sessions. Gotta love this job!

When you know your WHY, the pieces fall in place and you will move forward with purpose and resolve.

Please feel free to share your “why” with us, leave a comment.

Is Your ADD Showing at Work or at School?

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The tickler for the latest ADDitude magazine article  caught my eye: “When the System is Against You, Overcome ADD Obstacles at Work and at School.” Some of the best people I know have ADD.  I often work with folks who have organizational problems as a result. This was information I wanted to have in my tool kit.

The article gives strategies for working through ADD, how to manage with and without medication, and highlights the hidden benefits of a limiting condition.  Better still, this advice comes from five top executives who persevered despite being labeled as losers in school. I couldn’t stop reading the personal stories of  David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways; Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s; Diane Swonk, economist and author; Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia; and Charles Schwab, founder and chairman of Charles Schwab & Co.   Each overcame their ADD obstacles to make a difference.

Very inspiring stuff!  Read the entire article here:

Making Clutter Decisions – Swing, Batter!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The Paper Tiger lady, Barbara Hemphill, wrote, “Clutter is postponed decisions.”  That is a profound four word sentence that sums up the reason clutter happens. Does that statement resonate with you as it does for me? These are decisions that I struggle with that – left unanswered – clutter up my life and the surfaces in my home / office!

  • How should I answer that email?
  • What is the best place to keep this so I can find it again?
  • Where can I put this so I will not forget to RSVP?
  • Which of these projects should I work on first?
  • Should I mail this now or wait?
  • Who can I give this to who might appreciate it or actually use it?

The pile of things to do grows each time I don’t make a decision on how to deal with that item, email, or piece of paper. That is clutter, the result of my postponed decisions. In addition to physical clutter, my brain sends messages reminding me of those things still to take care of , producing mental clutter!

It helps to envision myself as a baseball player up to bat. The ball (a decision to make) comes my way. I can choose to do something with that pitch or let it go by for “ball one.”

The team manager (me again) reminds me that I get three strikes before I am OUT. I encourage myself to take a stab at the next ball (decision.) I may connect the first time. I tell myself to do it NOW!

I may make a few mistakes. I may flub a few decisions the first time. But I  learn more from the mistakes than from making no decisions at all. The best part is – the piles of clutter are disappearing little by little. Hooray!