Archive for the ‘Chronic Disorganization’ Category

Free To Be …

July 6, 2016

In light of recent Independence Day celebrations I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how thankful I am to be a citizen of the United States of America.

Yes, I was born here. However; I am very aware of the freedoms that we have as I spent a number of years living overseas in Asia. We are able to travel freely across the continental United States and to Alaska and Hawaii. We can speak our minds and not be worried we might be overheard, misunderstood, and taken off to jail or worse. We can practice our own religions or not – it’s our choice. We can change religions or not. We are free to do as we choose – as long as we are not disrupting the peace or breaking any stated law. We are very lucky.

I do not take these freedoms for granted and am very thankful and appreciative of all those men and women who choose to serve in our armed forces to insure that we in the United States continue to enjoy these freedoms.

I choose to celebrate these freedoms by mindfully acknowledging that if I am awarded these freedoms by living here in the United States of America then all those living here with me are also awarded the same freedoms.

I believe that by acknowledging and celebrating the differences between us, learning about the ways in which we are the same and the ways in which we differ, brings a wealth to each one of us. We can learn about other customs, other ways of dress, different religions, other foods and let our lives be enriched through these discoveries.

These are the things that make our country great. Letting each of us be free to be who we are not forcing anyone of us to follow a certain path just because that’s the way it is – without the freedom to choose.

I am a Christian, a mother to two children, a certified professional organizer, a certified professional organizer in chronic disorganization, an author, a speaker, a gardener, a ballroom dancer, an animal lover, a nature lover, a baker and more. These are some of the things that define me. Things I love about me.

Who are you free to be? IMG_0754

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“Focus on What’s Strong, Not What’s Wrong”

September 25, 2013

I attended a conference last week hosted by The Institute for Challenging Disorganization in Denver, Colorado. I go to this conference every year. This group, of which I’m a member, always gets fantastic speakers and this year was no exception. One of the speakers, Lee Shuer, gave us all the above quote during his presentation.

Don’t you think that if people in general would focus on what’s good and strong and think less about what’s wrong we’d all be a little more content? Think about it. As a student teacher I learned that if I wanted to get a classroom of six year olds to lower their voices I would have greater success if I complemented the children who were using ‘inside voices’. Using positive reinforcement worked like a charm! This technique works equally well with teenagers and adults. My mom used to say “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. I, in turn, used to tell my children “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’. I still believe this to be true and practice what I preach!

 It all boils down to the same thing, doesn’t it?  Saying something nice is just as easy as saying something nasty. It might take a little more thought and creativity to come up with the nicer comment as, it seems, the negative comments come so quickly to our lips.

Since this conference was attended by many professional organizers, therapists, coaches and related professionals this quote resonated with us all. It was good to be reminded to bring focus onto our clients’ strengths. Point out to them the things they are doing well. Teach them how to focus on their strengths. For anyone, focusing on what is done wrong only serves to depress or dishearten the individual. This is not to say that things don’t go wrong sometimes but dwelling on those things is counter-productive.  Learning to move on, letting the negative things be over and done, is a powerful skill.

When a client wants to work with me to de-clutter their home I ask them to describe how they want their home to look and feel. Then we review  their priorities. Finally, we create a plan and work methodically through the different spaces – celebrating each and every accomplishment. Together we focus on my client’s accomplishments, even the smallest step toward a stated goal. This enables the de-cluttering to move forward all the while positively reinforcing and teaching organizing skills.

 

Small Steps

June 11, 2013

This morning The Institute for Challenging Disorganization posted a comment on Facebook about setting a goal for the week and then breaking that goal down into small steps. One step to accomplish each day so that by the end of the week the goal will be reached.

I love this concept! It’s one of my favorites and one that I regularly teach my clients. Are you thinking to yourself that this is a very simple concept? Well, you are right. It is a simple concept but it’s also one that people tend to forget when faced with a goal that they’d like to reach but don’t have the time for it today.

Start by making your calendar your best friend. Think about the goal you have in mind. Then work backwards. What is the step you have to do just before reaching your goal? What is the step before that.. and so on until you arrive at the first step to take. Write the individual steps down. Then plot the steps into your calendar, actually schedule them into your day. If some of the steps take only a few minutes to complete you may be able to do more than one step in a session.

This process can be applied to just about any goal or project you can think up. Do you have summer reading to complete? I do. I’m studying for an exam which I’ll take in September at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization Conference. I have 5 books to read in order to prepare. I’ve already taken all the required classes. To get these books read, take notes and study them I have to plan ahead. Taking small steps, setting aside small amounts of time each day to read a few chapters at a time enables me to reach my goal.

Maybe you have a room in your house you’d like to reorganize. Take a look at the space. Decide how you want to use the room. The remove the items that don’t support your vision for the room. You can probably tell that a project like this will also involve decisions about what to keep and where to keep these things, what to donate and what to trash or recycle.

Maybe you have a smaller project like organizing a drawer. Whatever your project may be breaking it into small steps will help you reach your goal.

Blinders?

April 3, 2013

Do you wear blinders in your house? So many of my clients admit that they are so bothered by the chaos and clutter in their homes that they intentionally pretend it’s not there. Do they actually wear blinders? They do not. However; the fact remains that they pretend the piles of paper or clothes or empty boxes aren’t there.

This is where I come in. As a Certified Professional Organizer who specializes in Chronic Disorganization I help my clients remove these blinders and devise strategies for clearing the chaos and removing the clutter. 

This means that I work closely with each of my clients to figure out what they want to keep and how they want to be able to find their belongings. We talk about their priorities and make a plan to tackle each area of their home.

 This is not an overnight easy fix. Creating organization out of chaos is time consuming and requires scheduled organizing sessions. I even assign homework! The goal is to teach basic organizing skills and to develop maintenance routines so that  home becomes a place my clients want to be.

Even those who do not have chaos reigning in their home sometimes wear blinders as they travel through their home. Really open your eyes and look to see if there are things out of place. Maybe there is a pair of shoes beside a chair because you kicked your shoes off and curled up in a comfy chair last night while you were watching TV. There’s nothing wrong with that! Just open your eyes, see the shoes, and take them with you to your room as you pass by that chair.

It’s the daily looking around, noticing what’s out of place, and putting it away that keeps the clutter from gathering in your home.

 

Brain Dump?

September 25, 2012

Does your brain ever spin? You know, when you have so many thoughts and ideas swimming around inside that you haven’t a clue which one to attend to first? Well, that’s the way my brain feels today. I’ve just returned from a conference in Chicago sponsored by the Insitute for Challenging Disorganization. The speakers were simply outstanding!  Thankfully, the program book with the presenters’ handouts had room for me to take notes. Over the course of 4 days I attended the presentations, met with friends and reviewed the material presented. Now, it’s time for me to think about how this information applies to me and my business. Some of the material is simply awesome information to have and review from time to time. Other information can be directly applied to help me guide some of my clients (current and future) be better organized.

What do you do when your head is full of so many ideas? The routine I follow is to make a brain dump. That’s when I take out a pad of paper and a pen and write down all the ideas as they occur to me – in no particular order. Then when I’ve finished with this list I review the list and combine like ideas. This allows me to organize my thoughts. I can see which ideas naturally fit together and further see what I need to do to implement them. I’m thinking that I may need to tweak some of the forms I use and perhaps upgrade some of my methodologies.

Once I have an organized list I take out my calendar and start scheduling appointments with myself to work on these new ideas and skills. The good news is that I know if I follow my calendar these new ideas will be slowly incorporated into my business and will have a great impact!

If you have lots of ideas swirling in your mind… if your brain is spinning why don’t you try this strategy? I bet it will work for you as it does for me.

Overcoming Obstacles

September 19, 2012

I’m going to a conference in Chicago this week sponsored by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. The title of the conference is: Overcoming Obstacles. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the ICD and I am on the conference planning committee. My job as a member of the conference planning committee was to proof read the conference program book. So, I have read all the handouts from the various speakers! I am really looking forward to attending the presentations. The speakers are covering a fairly wide range of topics but each topic relates to an obstacle that many of us encounter daily. Here’s the presentation line up (courtesy of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization)

1. End Procrastination Now: Pause Ponder, Plan , Produce

2. Brain Injury and ADHD

3. Baby Steps – Radically Reducing Your Clients’ Time Clutter

4. Forgive For Good

5. Don’t Call Me Nuts! Beating the Stigma of Mental Illness

6. Walk in Their Shoes! (an experiential workshop that will give you new tools and a new appreciation of your elderly clients)

7. ADHD: What the Science Says

As a certified professional organizer specializing in chronic disorganization I am positive that each one of these presentations will provide me with new ways of approaching my work with clients. Are you wondering about the presentation on forgiveness? Well, think about this… many people blame themselves for the state of clutter or disorganization in their home and have a hard time moving past the blame. I am not a therapist but if I can have a few tips to present a client – different ways to look at the issue, perhaps I can refocus the client on the items to be organized.

Another huge benefit in attending this conference is networking with other professional organizers from around the world! Yes, I did say ‘around the world’. Last year, we had organizers from Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the United States. It’s fascinating to hear (and learn) what obstacles organizers in different parts of the US encounter as organizing challenges as well as those from other countries.

My Journey

September 15, 2011

The journey I am going to tell you about is my experience in the Level III program to earn the designation CPO-CD with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. You see, for the past year and a half I have been reading books, writing papers and studying to enhance my understanding of chronic disorganization. This knowldege serves to improve my ability to provide great organizational assistance to my clients challenged by chronic disorganization. Today my journey ended with a final exam. It was an oral exam. The people administering the exam were wonderful – friendly and encouraging. However; I am not at my best in situations like this. I’ll find out later if I passed the exam.

As I left the conference room and had a chance to think about it I realized that, no matter what the result, the past 18 months have provided me with an invaluable experience. The homework combined with work, family, and my volunteer activities taught me even better time management and prioritizing skills. The vast amount of learning which took place during the sessions with my program coach is priceless.

Many people  have written that often it is not as much about the result as the journey and what you learn during the process. Whether or not I receive that passing grade this journey is one I am so thankful to have taken.