Podcast 044: What’s the worst case scenario?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about how asking yourself what the worst that can happen is can help you make decisions.

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Photo: tom_bullock

Overcoming resistance

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

I am happy to announce that the interview Mike Vardy did with me for The Productivityist podcast is now available. We had a terrific conversation about productivity, of course, and also habits, how to start, what clutter is, and today’s topic, resistance. You can listen here.

What is resistance? It’s when you don’t do the thing you said you wanted to do. It’s caused by many different things, but mainly fear of failure and feeling that you’re not good enough.

If you resist decluttering it may be because you don’t believe you will ever finish, or that the clutter will just come back again, or that you feel so ashamed of the clutter that you can’t bring yourself to deal with it.

One of my favorite books on this topic is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He presents resistance as an enemy that needs to be battled continually. But behind that, there’s something else: compassion.

Pressfield says everyone suffers from resistance. That means it’s part of the human condition. We humans have failings, some overcome-able and some that need simply to be accepted.

And that requires compassion.

Making the shift from blaming yourself and feeling like a failure to allowing yourself not to be perfect and accepting that is not always easy, but it’s very worthwhile. You may feel that you’re a compassionate person to everyone but yourself but that’s not real compassion. Once you start extending it to yourself, what you can give others is so much deeper and richer.

This may seem like heavy talk for dealing with clutter. But you probably already realize that your stuff isn’t just stuff. It’s imbued with emotions and regrets and worries and hopes. Accepting that is a great first step in overcoming resistance to decluttering.

Podcast 042: Options are illusions

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about how keeping your options open is not always a good strategy, plus, it can make you unhappy. Here are some highlights:

  • But I could make a mistake
  • Isn’t it better to have options?
  • It’s scary not to have them!


Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Photo: tom_bullock

Podcast 041: Make decisions, then take action

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about the gap between making a decision and taking action on it and how you can get across it. Here are some highlights:

  • How do I know if I’m right?
  • What happens if I don’t take action?
  • I want to be safe.

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Photo: tom_bullock

Podcast 040: Pump your decision making muscles

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about how you can improve your decision making skill. Hint: it’s like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Here are some highlights:

  • But what if I get it wrong?
  • I need to know more first
  • I’d rather wait!

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Space clearing expert Karen Kingston on clutter

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

I heard Karen Kingston, author of Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, speak at a NAPO conference years ago. I was familiar with her work, but hadn’t read her book so I went and bought it after the conference.  

Although she’s not an organizer, her work ties in quite well with organizing. One of the skills she practices is space clearing, which means cleaning out stagnant energy and replacing it with new vital energy. This clearing can help get you “unstuck,” aid with healing and enhance your spiritual development, to name a few benefits.  

However, before you can perform space clearing, Karen advises that you clear out the clutter. “Clutter is stuck energy,” says she, and no amount of space clearing or bell ringing will get rid of it. Clutter is not only in your way physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

It can make you tired and also prevent you from living in the present since it ties you to the past or prescribes a future that can seem oppressive (an example of this is holding on to clothing that fit years ago in hopes that it will again). 

To those who keep things because they may need them someday, she says that attitude tells the universe you don’t trust it will provide for you. So instead of providing comfort, all those “necessary” objects actually insure that you’ll feel uneasy about your future.

Although she doesn’t consider herself a neat person, Karen puts things away when they are not in use. I have also advised this to my clients because it gives them more room to work (on the desk, for example), it reinforces their memory for where things are so they don’t lose things as much, and it cuts down on the mental clutter induced by being in a space where too many things are competing for their visual attention. 

I know that people with ADD are often advised to keep things out and even move them regularly because they forget about them when they’re hidden, and stop seeing them if they’re in the same place for too long. This may work for some people, but then to compensate it would be a good idea to keep the decor clean and streamlined.  

Karen mentions another reason for putting things away. It “creates space for the next thing to happen.” What a wonderful idea! This again relates to the idea of being able to live in the present. In order to effectively use and manage your time, you need to prioritize tasks (imagine the future) and then give them the attention they need to get done in the here and now.  

You can help yourself a great deal by setting the stage for what needs to be done. This means having the tools and supplies handy when you need them.

But the next task is likely to need other tools and different supplies, mental ones as well as physical ones. By putting away the things associated with one task before starting the next you also allow yourself time and space to mentally adjust to a different task.  

Most clutter, boxes of photos, special collections, even quantities of books, have a way of keeping you from moving forward. Sometimes this can be appropriate.

When I first moved to the Bay Area I was very determined to make a home for myself. My family had moved around a lot when I was young and neither parent then lived in a place I could call home. So I found an apartment and furnished it and then stayed there for the next sixteen years! It was by far the longest time I’d lived anywhere and I relished it.  

About halfway through that time I realized that I was hanging onto a lot of things, and I knew I’d be devastated if I had to get rid of any of it. It was part of me and it grounded me. It created my nest.

There is no dramatic ending to this story, but over the years I have become less and less attached to my things and I now realize that my identity and security doesn’t derive from them. I enjoy my things but I use them to create a happy atmosphere rather than giving them power over me. (And, yes, I too collect stuff over time and have to set aside time to purge it.)

If this is your situation, you can try getting rid of some clutter and see how it feels. If it’s uncomfortable, it might be worthwhile for you to think about what it means that you are so attached to your things. The more light you can shed on your own situation, the closer you’ll be to understanding it and releasing that energy.

Some physical clutter directly stagnates energy by being in hallways, foyers and doorways where you have to step over or around it. Not only does it impede your passage around your home, it impedes energy movement.

Karen writes that clutter on the floor is more energy depressing than clutter up high. So, until you can get rid of the clutter, see if you can get it off the floor and out of doorways and hallways.

According to Karen, clutter can take the form of unresolved relationships, unreliable friends and undone tasks. This is what I call mental clutter. She recommends being clear in your communication to resolve issues with others and to stop associating with people who bring you down or make you feel powerless.  

Undone tasks clutter up your mind and your date book and to do list. If tasks stay on your list for months on end, try to figure out why you’re not doing them and reassess whether they are worth doing at all. If you decide they really have to be done, see if you can get someone else to do them for you (even if you have to pay them). 

Or try to get a friend to help you, even if just to keep you company while you do it. Or tell a friend you are going to do it by a certain time and ask them to check up on you. These are all tried and true tricks for getting that clutter off your to do list.

As the title suggests, Karen’s book shows you how to create sacred space in your home and office so you’ll have “happiness and abundance in every area of your life.” But the first step is dealing with clutter.  

The result of getting rid of clutter, Karen and I agree, is that you will “release huge amounts of energy for other purposes.” You have better things to do than providing warehouse space for material objects. Life is short! Don’t let clutter stop the energy flowing in your life. 

Podcast 039: Make the most of your productive time

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about what productive time is, and how to manage your work so you use it best. Here are some highlights:

  • What if I’m a night owl?
  • What should I NOT do?
  • How do I get more productive time?

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Help from the Procrastination Research Group

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Yes, this group really exists!

On the web I discovered a site for the Procrastination Research Group. One researcher has identified five “cognitive distortions,” which are

  1. overestimation of time left to perform tasks, 
  2. underestimation of time required to complete tasks, 
  3. overestimation of future motivational states, 
  4. misreliance on the necessity of emotional congruence to succeed at task, and 
  5. belief that working when not in the mood to work is suboptimal.

The first two are pretty commonly known. The remaining three were a bit surprising to me, especially the last one. Although I intuitively knew them, I’ve never seen them spelled out so clearly.  

Number three refers to putting things off with the belief that you’ll be in the mood to do them later. This presupposes that the obstacles currently in your way—being tired, distracted, depressed, overwhelmed—will be gone in time for you to complete the work. 

Number four elaborates on that concept by asserting that you don’t really have to be perky, focused, happy and carefree to get work done, and the last point says that the work you do can be good work even when you’re not up for it.  

It’s common to have a romantic hope that the muse of report writing, sales calling, house cleaning, sculpting or tax preparing will descend on you and will cause you to happily devote your energies to the appointed task and emerge with a masterpiece.  

But let’s be realistic. For one thing, most great artists and other accomplished folk didn’t sit around waiting for inspiration, they just got down to business. Hard-working Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”  

Here are some strategies from the same website for handling procrastination: 

  1. Make a list of everything you have to do. 
  2. Write an intention statement. 
  3. Set realistic goals. 
  4. Break it down. 
  5. Make your task meaningful.
  6. Promise yourself a reward. 
  7. Eliminate tasks you never plan to do. 
  8. Estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to complete a task, then increase that amount by 100%. 

Again, most of this is pretty self evident. 

The fifth point is one that sometimes escapes our attention and it can help you decrease reliance on being in the mood to get things done. It means remembering why you’re doing something. What is meaningful to one person may not be to another, so you have to find a meaning that will motivate you.  

What’s the reason to write a report? Because it’s due? Because you owe it to the other people working on the project with you? Because you may get a promotion out of it? Because it will advance your standing as an expert in your field?

Any of these can be good reasons, but they need to have meaning for you. If they do, they can help you stay on task and discount your excuses.  

For a more arcane discussion of the relation of feelings to action, I visited the ToDo Institute web site for the following insights

Feelings are uncontrollable directly by the will. You can’t simply make yourself feel what you want to feel. You can’t make yourself fall in love with someone or feel grateful to someone who has just hurt you. You can’t willfully and reliably change your feelings when you’re feeling depressed or lonely.

Feelings can be indirectly influenced by behavior. Though we can’t control our feelings directly by our will, we can often influence them by what we do. Taking action often causes us to feel differently. A lonely person who asks someone out on a date or organizes a dinner party is likely to affect his or her feelings of loneliness. Feelings of depression or lethargy are often influenced by vigorous exercise.

To the last statement I would add that completing a report can change feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy to feelings of accomplishment and validation. The next time you’re faced with a task you want to put off, try substituting your emotional reaction with a meaningful reason to complete it. Or be honest and follow strategy seven: eliminate tasks you never plan to do.

Podcast 038: Time is short

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about how time is short. That means, use it carefully and thoughtfully. Here are some highlights:

  • If time is short, shouldn’t I speed up?
  • I have so much to do!
  • How do I prevent overwhelm?

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Podcast 037: The power of checklists

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

You can leave a review here!

In this episode, I’ll talk about how how valuable checklists are and why you should use them. Here are some highlights:

  • Why should I write down little mundane tasks?
  • How will it help me?
  • What’s the best way to use a checklist?

Subscribe:  iTunes  ⋅  Stitcher  ⋅  Soundcloud ⋅  YouTube  ⋅  Google Play

This podcast is based on my book, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized, available on my website. Each week I go into greater depth about one of the 52 ways. Some weeks I’ll take on different organizing topics and reader suggestions.

If you’d like to comment on the podcast, you can leave a review on iTunes. I read all your reviews, and  your positive, creative comments help others find my podcast.

If you have a question for me that you’d like me to address on the podcast, please post it on my Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.