Are You Always Running Late?

Do you often find yourself asking, “Why am I always running late, although I think I am leaving on time?” Running late creates Mind Clutter and negative mind chatter.

The solution is to understand The Gap. Planning for The Gap will get you to work and to business meetings on time. Plan for The Gap any time you have a set time you need to arrive somewhere.

You are probably wondering, “What is the Gap?” The Gap is the difference between when you think you are leaving and when you actually leave. Standing in your kitchen and telling yourself it is time to leave for work is not planning for The Gap. The time you actually leave is when you pull out of the driveway and go on your way.

The Gap includes the time it takes you to go out the door, get into the car, and pull out of the driveway.
The Gap may also include going back to the house for something you forgot, such as a bottle of water or feeding the cat. If you allow 10 minutes for The Gap, you’re probably safe. If you have children, 15 minutes may be more realistic.

Once you are at work, planning for The Gap will also help you get to meetings or appointments on time. Just as when you are leaving your house, The Gap includes the time it takes to gather materials for a meeting and tie up any loose ends.

Work through these steps while planning for The Gap:
– What time are you expected to be at your desk? What time is your appointment or meeting?
– Decide what time you could arrive and have a few minutes to breathe and be calm.
– Take into consideration what time you need to plan to leave if traffic is heavy or if you need to gather materials for your meeting or do one-more-thing.
– Determine the time you normally would plan to leave for work or for your meeting.
– Now add 10-15 minutes so you can arrive on time and stress-free.

Another thing to be aware of is “one-more-thing-itis”. This also can make you late for work or for a meeting. You could leave now but that means you might arrive a few minutes early so you think, “ I can do one more thing”. That is what gets many of us, including me, in trouble because the one-more-thing takes longer than you thought or it leads to another one-more-thing.

The key is to be okay with leaving a few minutes early. For those of us who fear that we might end up wasting 10 minutes with nothing to do if we get somewhere early, keep a book or an unread magazine in your car or spend the time reviewing your calendar.

Changing our departure habits takes focusing on the clock and being realistic. Planning for The Gap will get you to work and to business meetings on time. Once I started planning for The Gap, I was no longer pulling out of my driveway stressed or leaving my office uptight. In fact, my whole day went much better. See if you don’t feel the same positive effects.

Learning a Lesson from Fall and the Leaves

Ever wish that a strong autumn wind would blow all your clutter away? Let’s take a few minutes and see what we can learn from falling leaves. It might help you change your thinking.

Trees shed leaves. Is it time for you to shed your clutter?

Winter is a time for trees to rest. Would you rest better with reduced items in your space?

When the leaves are shed, the lovely graceful shapes of the branches stand out. Would your favorite items stand out if the clutter surrounding them was reduced?

Leaves become mulch that helps protect plant roots. Our unneeded items can be donated to help others.

It is exciting to see the color on the leaves as they start to fall and it can be just as exciting to see items boxed or bagged to be donated. A calm house or home office can make our lives more enjoyable as we nest in our homes during winter.

Some good questions to ask yourself as you decide what to keep or donate:
– Does it make me smile?
– Is it close to my heart, or have I just had it a long time?
– Is this still useful to me or am I keeping because I have always kept it?

Henry David Thoreau once wrote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or
believe to be beautiful.”

Cleaning Out the Garage

My oldest son came and we purged the garage. You could really call it a carriage house
because in the past that is all it would hold. Thankfully, it is not attached to my 100-year-old
farm house, because it has become the storage space for everything besides a carriage.

So on this day that the cleaning out took place, if you could have been a mouse in the corner, I
am sure you would have had lots of laughs. This went like one of the TV organizing shows –
he wanted to discard what I felt was important. For instance, I came out of my office to see
him sawing long poles in half. To him it was trash – to me, great stakes for my tomato plants.

As some of you know, when I work with clients, I ask questions and they make decisions. My
typical request is “Tell me about this” and depending on the response, I will ask more
questions but clients make all their own decisions.

I am a sentimental person and want people to keep what is meaningful or useful to them. That is not how this went that day  . . . Son: “You don’t need this!” Me: “ I like to garden and I want it.” Son: “It is just taking up room! Get rid of it.”

Well, 6 hours later we were still speaking and had not killed each other and the garage was purged of 35 years of stuff. I put my foot down on major remodeling projects like “Let’s saw this bookcase in half and hang the pieces up here.” I reminded him I couldn’t reach “up here”.

One big stack was made for his brother to come and claim anything he wanted. A mountain
of discarded stuff is waiting for a big trash day. I really do appreciate all his help, and now all
my gardening things are where I can get at them.

This was a good reminder to me not to ever take over my client’s decision making. To
each of us our stuff is important.

So if you are doing a family garage project here are some pointers…
Organizing Tip 1. Working on a big project with a partner helps. (Really, it does!)
Organizing Tip 2. Purging equals freedom and space. Go for it!
Organizing Tip 3. Offer unneeded items to a family member, friend or neighbor. Check with
local charities to see if you can contribute useful but no longer needed items.

The Real Life of a Professional Organizer

The business life of a professional organizer is that they help organize homes and offices, as
well as time management and productivity issues.

Many professional organizers are born with an organizing sense, but take that ability and continue education for certification in the field. Some, like myself, focus on also becoming certified in ADD/ADHD management and what affects a person with it
The majority of professional organizers are not hyper-organized, with every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed – we are real people. I was reminded of that as I looked around my office
today and realized it was totally cluttered. I had left a major office reorganization project midway through as I moved onto a huge home re-modeling project, and I had not disassembled my tools from a recent class.

So today the professional organizer has to follow her own rules, and organize her own office. Using the CFO system, and working while standing, I am going to reduce my clutter by
working on my visual clutter – what I can see.

I will use the CFO (Clear-Fast-Organized) system in two places:
1. I have a lots of different things piled on my desk, so I will be doing a desk rescue to get things sorted and back where they belong.
2. I will be going around the perimeter of a room, picking things up and asking “Why is this here, and where should it be?”

Though a professional organizer may look as if they never have a hair out of place, they are actual people who can get overwhelmed and let organizing fall to the wayside. That is one of the reasons a professional organizer can be helpful – they can relate to clutter getting out of hand

Organizing My Closet and Letting the Light Shine

Does the thought of organizing your entire wardrobe make you groan and feel light-headed?
What to do?

Break it up into sections. For example:
I’ll put away my sandals and bring out my fall/winter shoes.
Next I’ll move the summer jackets out to make room for the year-round ones.
Then I’ll switch my summer pajamas with my winter ones. You get the idea.

A client who recently had me organize her closet for her was thrilled to discover a pair of
earrings purchased during a trip to Europe. She was sure they were lost forever…but they
were just waiting for rediscovery in the depths of her closet! I always say that instead of
thinking of it as tackling your clutter, go on a treasure hunt. My clients always find treasures
they thought were lost forever.

Let there be light!
That could be the motto for every closet organizing project.
Light equals energy. Let me repeat that. Light equals energy.
For some reason, good closet lighting is often overlooked, even in a walk-in closet.
Last week I decided to apply this rule to my own closet by adding another light. What a change!

Good light lets you see whether your slacks are blue or black. It eliminates “dark holes” that contain clothes you don’t choose to wear because you can’t see them back in their dingy corners. It motivates you to hang things up after wearing them.

Closet Organizing Tips:
Organizing Tip 1. Break closet organizing into sections.
Organizing Tip 2. Go on treasure hunts when doing projects.
Organizing Tip 3. Light is energy for all areas of the home.

Don’t Let Car Clutter/Cleaning Drive You Crazy!

Has your car become your second office and dining room?

Are you embarrassed if someone needs to ride with you?

Here are some quick types to get the car back in control!

I spent a long time vacuuming up the crumbs remaining from my many “dashboard dining” meals. I remember a cartoon where cleaning up from a meal means getting all the fast-food bags out of the car!

Over the years I have done TV segments on car organizing, so I hope these tips help. In my real life, I have to do this also!

• I spend a few minutes when I get in my driveway and get all the trash together
• Organize what I need for tomorrow
• Gather what needs to go in my office and separate what goes into the house.

If you have children, they can be doing the same with their stuff while you do yours.

It also helps to…
• Think of your car as another room of your house
• Pick up regularly
• Plan a few minutes once a week to purge anything you don’t want in the car for the next week.

You will feel like a new person when your car is Clutter-free & Organized!

Summer Is Meant to be Enjoyed

Is this the right time to do summer organizing projects?

Questions to ask yourself:
• While my children home, do I want to spend time with them?
• Do I have company coming to stay?
• Isn’t summer my time to take a vacation, relax, and enjoy the outdoors?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, maybe it would be better to scratch summer organizing projects off your To-Do List and put them on your calendar for fall. Sometimes telling yourself “I am just going to work on maintaining the house” is more realistic and takes the pressure off so you can enjoy the summer.

If you do have a summer organizing project that you really want to get done so you can mark it off your list, give us a call – we can help you do it quickly so summer can still be yours to enjoy.

Working with us takes the overwhelming out of projects!

Conquer That Overwhelmed Feeling

Does your To-Do List make you feel overwhelmed?

If so, make a list of what you need to do.  Then for each item, ask yourself: “What is the Next Step?”

We can usually conquer the “Next Step” without being overwhelmed.  It is when we think of all the steps to be done on a project that we get paralyzed and then do nothing.

Doing the Next Step will get you started.  A very appropriate quote puts it nicely: “A job begun is a job half done.”

What is the Next Step?

Often when we think of a project, we think of all the steps, get overwhelmed and then do nothing.

When I ask my coaching clients: “What is the next step?”, that frees them up to move forward.  The next step is usually do-able.  It is when we think of the next 20 steps involved that we get stuck.

That is how I am tacking my yard this spring – one step at a time.

It Is Closet Organizing Time

I am going to take my own advice and do one section at a time.  In fact, I recently did my shoes, and next I will be getting out my lightweight jackets.  I am also working hard to eliminate the excess.

When I am not sure whether to keep something or not, I ask myself the Golden Question: “If I saw it in a store today, would I buy it?”  When I work with clients organizing their closets, 90% of the time I get an instant “NO”.

Remember to WOW yourself after you complete each section of your closet!