Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Out the Door On Time

Today is a rainy, dreary day and thank goodness my family's morning routine went picture perfect this morning. A lot of it is due to my planning ritual that takes place at night...clothes laid out for the next day, check; lunches made, check; homework done, check; in-bed on time, double check!! Sometimes the last thing I feel like doing at night is making lunches, but the next morning I'm always grateful that I did.

I'm a big believer in raising independent, self-sufficient kids and to that end, I will usually have my 8 year old help with cleaning up after dinner and making his lunch with me. I notice that my 4 year old daughter is so eager to pitch in so I gladly accept her efforts of assistance...some better than others. She is amazingly capable of picking out her own outfit to lay out the night before...sometimes with a little guidance on matching.

I find too, if I can impose the same planning ritual on my work schedule, I am much more effective the next day. I am in a much better position to work on my most important action, if I've already identified it the night before. I won't get side-tracked as easily checking e-mails and figuring out my top priority because I'll already know it.

I hope the rest of my day goes as well as my early morning. Here's to having a great, productive day...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gaining Insight

What an exhilarating and motivating weekend I had! I attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for Organizers in Bethesda. I always enjoy going to this conference to meet up with other organizers and to learn new ideas that can help me be a better organizer, and ultimately help my clients.

I attended motivating presentations, breakouts on specific topics such as providing green services, processing and management strategies for e-mail and working with the boomer generation. The highlight of the conference for me was listening to Julie Morgenstern's presentation on becoming a better organizer through the process of "shedding". Her latest book, When Organizing Isn't Enough SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life, focuses on self discovery through the process of shedding both mental and physical clutter to achieve personal and professional success and happiness. Her Shed acronym is: separate the treasures; heave the trash; embrace your identity and drive yourself forward. I see this technique not only helping clients, but also helping me redefine my organizing practice.

Attending this conference confirmed for me that organizing and simplifying are really about change. Removing clutter in our minds, environments and schedules moves us towards positive change and allows us to focus on the priorities that we have determined are the most important to us now. This change allows us to live our lives as we have determined, without the distractions and roadblocks that clutter and being disorganized can sometimes cause.

Of course, there are many ideas I want to implement, books I purchased that I want to read, and now I have to make it happen. I figure it I implement two ideas I learned from conference, it will be well worth my time, energy and money.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Procrastinating Again...

I know we all procrastinate, but as an organizer, I feel like I shouldn't procrastinate as much as it ends up happening! In my defense, I feel like the past few months have been jam-packed with additional work and personal obligations that have stretched my normal schedule into the crazed-busy zone. Even still, I laughed when I saw that I had written my first blog in July, but because I wanted to edit it, and make it better, I didn't post it until this week. The funny thing is I really didn't edit it that much. I think I let my anxiety of blogging get in the way of my goal, which was to just start my blog and let it evolve.

I work with many clients on their paperwork and it is a common issue after we have a system set up that seems to work, the paper coming in the home or office still piles up. Some of it may be that the client needs to change a habit or behavior that relates to the paperwork, but sometimes it is just due to procrastination. The paper may not be processed because the client feels that it is going to take longer than it will, or that it will be harder to do than it actually is, or that he can't do it because of other priorities.

I recommend doing the task you dislike most (maybe it is processing mail) first and then start working on your most important task/project for the day. If you can try this for a week, I guarantee that your stress level will go down and you will be able to face whatever you need to react to each day because your major priority will at least have been addressed.

Now that I have started blogging, I actually like it and I wish I hadn't stressed about it as much as I did these last few months.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Getting Stuck With Packing Tape

I have a new client who is in a business where he receives and sends out many packages. Our first appointment centered around getting his supplies centralized and figuring out how to store all of his necessary shipping materials. We were both laughing after awhile because by the time we had all of the supplies corraled from underneath piles, in other rooms and other places in his office, he must have had 50 rolls of packing tape!

I learned a big lesson that had me thinking of him, one I thought I already knew in the UPS store last week....the value of my time. As I lugged a way too heavy defective garbage disposal into the UPS store to be shipped back, shipping paid for by the disposal company, I was shocked to find out that it would cost me $15.00 for the box, stuffing and service to prepare the box. I struggled with the decision to pay the $15.00 or just buy the box for $5.00 and slap the label on the box myself. I opted to save the $10.00 and I lugged the box and disposal out feeling I had saved some money. Low and behold, after coming home, I came to discover I had no packing tape, to prepare the box and no time to run to the office supply store. And so it sat in my office and then living room for a week.

Of course, I now have stocked up on packing tape, and I will share with my client how he never would find himself in my predicament. I also relearned the lesson of how valuable my time is and that sometimes it does make sense to just pay a little extra to get the job done!

10 Minutes to Bliss

The countdown was on as I found out that the kick-off activity of the Cub Scouts year would be a bike rodeo. My husband is the den leader and my son, who is 8 had not mastered riding a bike. Our son informed us that he wouldn't go and I explained to him that if he was willing to give me 10 minutes a day, he would be riding his bike by the event. Lots of grumbling and reluctance ensued, but I did get a half-hearted commitment.

I blame it on not having a garage and his bike not being easily accessible, but there wasn't time to diagnosis why. I had two weeks to get him feeling confident on his bike, and I truly believed it would happen. Each day after school and on the weekends, I would pile his bike in my car and we'd drive down to the Belle Haven Marina along the parkway. He practiced on the grass and it took him a few days before he started to get excited about his progress. We had a few bumps along the way, but within a week he felt confident enough to start riding his bike up and down our street.

Of course, like I hoped, many days our practice time stretched on to close to an hour because he was having fun. It was so great to see him excited about his progress. When the bike rodeo came he meshed right in there with the other boys.

The bike rodeo has come and gone, but most days after school, and at least one weekend day, he'll be out there riding his bike. One Sunday recently, he and I were riding through the neighborhood, and he turned to me and said, "we should do this more often, Mom." He totally made my day saying that, and I have him to thank as I sped down the hill with the wind rushing in my face.