Perfectionism or Death

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Originally posted 2007-12-05 15:52:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What’s the biggest problem with perfectionists? It’s that they don’t know they have a problem!

Perfectionism is a habit that people are proud of, even when it causes them anxiety and trouble. This New York Times article describes how being a perfectionist can lead to mental health problems and even suicide, not to mention garden variety unhappiness and stress.

In the areas of time management and organizing, I see people abandoning or not taking on projects at all because they don’t believe they can do them perfectly. Or spending disproportionate amounts of time on tasks that are very low priority, but capable of being "perfected," while avoiding more important, unperfectable tasks.

The article mentions several aphorisms that perfectionists live by, such as, "Never accept second best." Another one I hear a lot that I disagree with is, "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." Baloney! Plenty of things are worth doing just adequately so you can get on with the really important stuff.

Not Ready to Get Organized?

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Originally posted 2007-02-08 10:17:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are you using "I need to get organized" as a smoke screen? You could be doing that without even Picture1 realizing it. 

Think about this: what would your life be like if you were already organized? If those boxes were all cleared out of the back closet, if all the Christmas gear were not still on the guest room bed, if those shopping bags of paper weren’t crowding your knees under the desk? After you finish basking in the wonderful feeling of accomplishment, you would realize that you now have no excuse not to start on … The Big Project.

Many of us have a Big Project (and sometimes getting organized IS the Big Project) that we should do, even want to do, but are putting off for some reason. Maybe it’s too big or too scary or too hard. Maybe it will make us realize something that we don’t really want to know. Maybe we will have to make some changes that will be difficult.

Relax, nobody’s going to make you do anything. If you’re not ready, that’s fine. Just don’t let the smoke get in your eyes.

What is being organized worth to you?

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What is being organized worth to you?More time for fun. More time with family. More time with friends. More time to read. More time to relax.

More time to make a dress. More time to drink your morning coffee. More time to be outdoors. More time to smell the roses. More time to take a road trip. More time to cuddle up.

More time to pet the cat. More time to dance. More time to send a card. More time to give a compliment. More time to remember a dream. More time to go to the beach. More time to gaze out the window.

More time to hold hands. More time to go down a slide. More time for yoga. More time to laugh. More time to rub someone’s back. More time to travel.

More time to write a letter. More time to bake a cake. More time to write a screenplay. More time to watch the sunset. More time to learn to paint.

More time to eat bacon. More time to meditate. More time to feed the ducks. More time to volunteer. More time to kiss. More time to ride on a ferris wheel. More time to sit by the fire.

More time to savor life.

More time to live your dreams.

More time for you.

 

Why Multitasking Sucks

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Originally posted 2011-07-19 09:41:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Multitasking has the same effect on your productivity that drinking too much has on your wittiness at a party. You think it’s increasing, but it’s actually decreasing. In both cases, people seem happily unaware of this fact.

By now, you must’ve heard that multitasking is a boondoggle. It doesn’t make you more productive. In fact, it makes you less productive. Just look online for studies galore showing this, going back more than ten years.

I don’t want to harangue you about why it’s a bad thing to do. At least, not in the traditional productivity ways. This is the real reason you shouldn’t do it: it’s really bad for your relationships with people.

People can tell when you’re not listening to them. And they don’t like it.

I get compliments all the time on my listening skills. When people come up with something specific about me that they like, it’s usually that I’m a good listener. That’s delightful, since it’s a big part of my work.

Some things that make me a good listener:

  • I am not thinking about something else when I listen
  • I am not doing something else when I listen
  • I am not planning what I’m going to say next when I listen.

Shall I be more specific? I’m not looking at email, reading text messages, checking voicemail, tweeting, Facebooking, watching TV, having a simultaneous conversation with someone else, planning my weekend, doing a craft project or shopping on eBay.

Here’s a test. How many times have you misunderstood or not heard something, which then caused delays, mistakes, glitches and other time consuming problems?

That pretty much ate up any time you might have saved by multitasking.

When I give my full attention to the person who’s speaking, I’m also giving them other things. Respect, attention, compassion, support and understanding. Everyone deserves those things. People crave those things too.

Truly listening to someone is a gift that’s deeply appreciated.

Your relationships with colleagues, employees, clients, family and friends will all improve when you stop doing nine million things at once and start really listening.

I know it can be hard to resist distractions to listening well. How do you do it?

Home office clutter management

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Originally posted 2012-10-01 20:13:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

home office in the living roomIf you’re not lucky enough to have a separate room for your home office, you’ll make do on the dining table, or setting up a desk in a corner of the living room.

This poses a special challenge because any clutter you leave on your desk is also now in the common living area for all to see. If you live with others this can be, well, a problem.

A former client of mine had her desk in what would’ve been the kitchen dining nook. She needed lots of stuff out and around her when she worked, but her partner was less than thrilled to come home and make dinner in a cluttered office.

Like many creative types, my client balked at being orderly and cleaning up.

It went against her desire for inspiration and freedom and felt confining. Yet she wanted to keep harmony in the household so was open to looking at it a new way.

I came up with the idea of expanding and contracting. When she started her work day, she expanded. Stacks of paper came out and the extra leaf of her desk went up to allow her to spread out. Everything she might need was at hand for her to be productive.

At the end of her workday, she contracted the home office.

The leaf went down, making the desktop smaller. Piles went back into drawers and cabinets. The keyboard tray slid back under the desk. The taboret rolled under the desk. The home office disappeared.

The image of contraction was an effective metaphor. It didn’t have to do with tidying. It felt like an organic response to her shift in focus from work to personal time. The work area contracted so that the kitchen could expand and she and her partner could enjoy preparing food together.

If you avoid cleaning up, can you think of a metaphor that would inspire you?

In the photo above, the shelves are open and could look cluttered if anything was on them. A simple solution would be to install bamboo roll up shades. That was, all the shelves could be opened at once for easy home office productivity, instead of having a set of doors on each one. And the rolled down shade would create a streamlined look after hours.

Unclutter that table

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unclutter that table

I forgot my sunglasses this morning. What a drag! I hate when that happens.

As I was driving, I saw my front entry table in my mind’s eye and I knew what happened.

I had let it pile up with things, so the sunglasses didn’t call my attention. Usually, this table hold my purse, keys, sunglasses and a small box containing dog poop bags, extra keys, business cards and other occasional necessities.

This morning, there was a brochure I wanted to read, a handful of receipts to look over, some items I dumped out of a tote bag to put away and a handful of napkins from take out food. The sunglasses were under there somewhere. They weren’t even totally hidden, but in the visual chaos of the table, I didn’t see them.

Those extraneous items popped up in two days. That’s how fast a spot can get cluttered to the point where bad things happen, like forgetting your sunglasses. Or wasting time feeling around for the keys.

So, now you know! My front hall table isn’t always perfectly organized. The good news is that I can get it back in shape quickly.

Here’s how:

  1. Read the brochure. There’s something I want to research so I note it on my to do list. Then I toss the brochure
  2. Look at the receipts. They’re mostly from my trip to LA which was partly for business, so I’ll put them with my business receipts. The rest are for groceries and other purchases. They go in the recycling.
  3. The tote bag stuff is pens (to the container on my desk), a lipstick (to the box in my bathroom storage area), an empty keyring (to the table top box where I keep keys) and a handkerchief (to the laundry. I have a collection of vintage hankies; love them!)
  4. Handful of napkins: dirty ones go in the trash and the rest go into my glove compartment because, like everyone else I know, I eat in my car.

That took less than five minutes. You can spend more time than that just looking for your keys.

Donations bag for easy decluttering

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Originally posted 2013-06-14 12:13:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Donation bagYou know that pile of clothes on a shelf in your closet that you’re going to give to the Goodwill? But it keeps staying on your shelf? It needs an easier, simpler way to get out of the house.

Here’s your tip: 

Keep a shopping bag in your closet, clearly labelled Goodwill or Donation. Every time you come across something you want to get rid of, drop it in the bag. When the bag is full, take it to the donation center. Voila.

I recommend keeping this bag in your clothes closet because that’s where you’re going to encounter items to donate. Plus, you will see it everyday and not forget about it.

Important point: 

Label the bag! Remember that bag in the garage you had to look in three times because you kept forgetting it was stuff for the Goodwill? Or the one in your closet that you took to the dry cleaners, and then once you were there you realized it was full of clothes you were going to get rid of? Or worse, you realized it after you paid to have them cleaned.

Labeling is ultra important! Do eet!

Hi, glad you're here! How can I help you?

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Originally posted 2010-07-27 14:31:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Come in we're open XSmall There’s a ton of info in my posts about overcoming procrastination, getting things done and reducing clutter. All the things that get in the way of you living the life you truly want to live. Because that’s really what it’s all about. The point of organizing your time and your stuff is to make your life easier, to do things that are important to you and to eliminate the obstacles that are currently preventing that.

Don’t miss my free ecourse that will take you through the seven steps to getting organized at home or at work. The ecourse gets you started at the beginning, defining why you want to get organized, so that you’ll have the motivation to see it through.

Hiring me as a coach is a great way to keep yourself on track and get customized help. Short phone sessions are amazingly effective for your focus and incentive.

My audio program, Five Ways to Seriously Get Things Done, is the first one of a new series I’m creating. This recording gives you practical, specific ideas to be more productive and effective and it comes with worksheets to help you plan.

I’m excited to announce that I’ve published my first ebook, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized! This book is filled with my very best tips and strategies for getting it all under control and keeping it there. You can use it as a once a week inspiration for your ongoing project, or dip into it when you are feeling stuck and need instant motivation.

Finally, I send out a very short (fast read!) monthly ezine with quick tips, product recommendations and spontaneous, helpful ideas.

Hope you enjoy your stay! Let me know what you think in the comments section, or contact me with the “Email Me” link on the right. Thanks!

Clutter is Tiring

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Originally posted 2012-01-17 15:58:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

It’s exhausting, actually.

It’s hard on the eyes.

It hems you in.

Sometimes it feels like it’s just in the background, just there in case you need it. But then you remember how relieved and calm you felt last time you cleared out that clutter, as if a weight had been lifted.

Clutter niggles at you, subtly draining your energy.

Old magazines whisper “read me!” Piles of clothes coax “come sort me!” Your crafts bag says “come play with me!” This creates a low level of background chatter in your brain that’s more distracting than you realize.

One of my clients has a lot of clothing. More than will fit in her closets. The last time I saw her, the ironing board in the bedroom and the chair next to it were piled high with clothes. We’ve made progress, but it’s a big project.

It seemed to me that she was feeling worn down by constantly seeing the piles and waking up to them every morning. So, we moved them to her office. Now, that’s not a solution, it’s just an interim step in this long project.

Her mood lightened up right away.

She took a big breath and stretched her arms out. The room suddenly felt bigger and more restful to the eyes. I predict she’s sleeping better at night too.

If you have a lot of sorting to do, try to keep it contained or covered in between sessions. You’re not hiding the truth, you’re letting yourself focus on other parts of your life instead of being nagged all the time by this undone project.

Here are a couple of sorting techniques to try: triage and quick declutter.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Organizer

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Originally posted 2011-08-09 10:40:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Is getting organized on your to-do list? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, for most folks, it just stays on the to-do list, year after year.

See if any of these scenarios sounds familiar. If they do, I can help.

  1. You want to have guests over without stashing things in the bathtub and praying no one looks behind the shower curtain
  2. You moved in two months ago and are sick and tired of pawing through those unpacked boxes to find your stuff
  3. You want to know what’s inside a drawer, before you even open it! What a concept
  4. Your child is a tireless art-making machine and the refrigerator door is getting saggy under the weight of it
  5. You started a home business and your desk is being taken over by folded laundry, stuffed animals and stacks of magazines
  6. You’re getting ready to move and the enormity (and expense) of packing up ten years worth of stuff you haven’t gotten around to getting rid of yet is beginning to sink in
  7. You can’t use your dining table because it’s the official mail sorting center
  8. You’re frustrated by continually paying late fees for bills that got lost in a pile somewhere
  9. Your guests sleep on the pull-out couch in the living room because the guest room is your storage unit
  10. You’re embarrassed by being late to appointments because you couldn’t find your keys

All these situations are painful and stressful. They’re also totally fixable! Find out how you can get relief by clicking here.