Anyone who knows me knows I’m a paint-by-number, checklist-and-clear-steps kinda gal. I don’t do well with ambiguity or blank canvases. And I’m happy to report that learning to embrace uncertainty is becoming easier, and it’s opening up horizons previously unexplored.
Recently my cleaning team and I did a painting party with Gypsy Canvas – and were pleasantly surprised to be interviewed by Lakeland Public TV.
My lessons from the event? Sometimes you have to embrace the blank canvas. You can't always predict the scene that will unfold - and uncertainty can sometimes lead to beautiful things!
Big or little....decisions are everywhere in our lives. They can haunt the back of our minds as we move through the day or be one of a million we make subconsciously.
The ones that drive me crazy are the little ones that become big and cause angst and churning. Personally speaking, when I have a big decision I'm grappling with I find myself getting bogged down in little ones - like what to wear, or what to make for supper. Easy enough, right? Yes, unless indecision is weighing me down.
My solution? It always comes down to a list (What did you expect? I'm an organizer - I thrive on lists!). In this case, a brain dump of all my thoughts regarding the decision at hand. Paper, white board, post it notes (these are really my favorite), word doc - whatever tool appeals to you - and then dump all your thoughts regarding the decision. Actually, all thoughts in general - the "to do" tasks and thoughts of daily living - need to come out, too!
Then I divide the list into pros and cons - which is why post its are my favorite method - they can just be moved around on a wall and, voila! You have a visual of the struggle going on behind the scenes in your brain. Highlighters can also be helpful to distinguish pros and cons - color adds another dimension to the visual decision making process.
"It doesn't matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions." - Jim Rohn
How do you make weighty decisions? Do you have a tool or process that works for you? I'd love to know more - please share in the comments below!
We live in what is considered a “throw away culture” yet storage units are everywhere! Is it quantity over quality? I estimate that 95% of the client storage units I’ve been in have been delayed decisions – the clients all knew what needed to happen with the items inside, but they couldn’t bring themselves to take the next step.
I'm not the only one who sees this throw away culture. Jim Gaffigan gives us some spot-on insight into this trap we've set for ourselves. Take two minutes (actually 1 minute 58 seconds) to watch his views on the subject.
Are you holding on to a storage unit? What’s inside? Have you ever figured out what the unit is costing per year and then salivated over what could be done with that money instead? What’s keeping you from taking action on emptying the unit? Inquiring minds want to know – please share below!
We keep searching for things that fit. The right shoes. A comfy pair of jeans. Maybe even a career or relationship. It is the struggle to right-size - make decisions based on the life we are living today - and preparing for changes we might encounter in the future.
A great example is the baby boom generation - they've raised their kids, had careers, and are now retiring and moving on to the next "life chapter". This phase can mean a smaller house with less maintenance, more free time to spend with the grandkids and for traveling, or even launching a new, entirely different, career.
A Closer Look at Right-Sizing
Right-sizing our homes doesn't have to involve grand, dramatic changes. In fact, right-sizing can often be a series of related steps that work together to make sense for your personal situation.
For a baby boomer, right-sizing might look like moving from a four bedroom where we raised our kids, to a one or two bedroom just for us. We let the space itself define what we keep - 2 beds instead of 4 mean we "need" fewer sheets, blankets and pillow cases. These simpler, smaller decisions that can be made right now pave the way for the harder, more emotionally laden ones we might face later.
The less we have to maintain the more free time we have to spend with loved ones, or pursuing new interests. Those big lawns, gardens, and driveways and the machines that helped us maintain them can be right-sized as well.
Remember: Just because we've always done it one way doesn't mean we can't ask ourselves what it would look and feel like if we changed our strategy - perhaps doing less of something - letting go of a time and energy-taker. The answer can, and often does, surprise us!
What have you right-sized in your life that has freed you up to spend time and energy elsewhere? Do you wish you would have done so sooner or was the timing just right?
So, there's these slippers. Slippers that are well loved and worn thru on the soles. I knit them about 7 years ago, and then felted them. If you've ever seen me knit you know it's a painful process...shoulders hunched, pure concentration. What should be a relaxing hobby gives me a neck cramp. I've since given up knitting. But that's a story for another blog post....
My daughter keeps telling me I need to give the slippers up, too. They've served me well, and are quite past their prime. I keep meaning to throw them out. And, I....just cannot let them go. I think, "just one more wear" or "tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow".
What it boils down to is the heart and soul, sweat and tears I put in to them. Throwing them out, even after they've served me well, just isn't that easy. They are one of the few material things to which I'm actually attached.
I've learned over the years that often clients need the opportunity to tell the story of an item before they can release it. I feel the same way - now I've shared the story and they can go. Letting go is a process - whether it's material things, emotions, relationships - it doesn't matter. Telling the story helps validate the process and keep us moving forward.
Have a letting go story to share? Please share in the comments below - I'd love to hear about it!
It was a mess. And yes, we do love messes, but....the floor in my office had "perimeter piles" for several months. I cringed going in there, and had taken to spreading my grad school homework out on the kitchen table instead of working in the office, as the space was intended.
A few weeks ago I couldn't take it any longer; feeling completely overwhelmed and in over my head, I reached out to one of my co-workers to see if she could spend a couple hours with me in the office. She was all over it, and the process began.
I was stressed about having her there, mortified by the state of my office, overwhelmed by the feeling that I "should" be able to do it all and the awareness that....I wasn't! I heard the same things come out of my mouth that clients say during almost every organizing session.
My point? Every now and then things just get to be too much, and it's not only OK, but GOOD to call in some support - whether it's a friend, neighbor, kid, spouse or professional organizer! At the end of the day what we all want is for the person we are helping to feel better!
Guest Post by Suzie Kolber
Appropriate Ways to Offer Condolences in the Workplace
You only know Jane to talk to her in the hall between your offices. You may send her an email occasionally about a job-related question or say “hello” in a company-wide meeting once a month. Just last week you heard her father died and you’re scheduled to have a meeting with her in a few days. You’re already feeling uncomfortable because you’re not sure what to say or how to act with someone who just suffered a loss.
Should you bring up the subject at all? Should you offer condolences? Should you get a card or buy flowers? Dealing with such a serious subject with a co-worker can be complicated.
Consider Your Relationship
If you only see Jane in passing and never have one-on-one conversations with her, it’s perfectly acceptable to not make mention of the situation at all. In fact, it may make her feel just as awkward as you. She doesn’t know you well and may not feel comfortable discussing such a personal subject.
On the other hand, if the co-worker is someone you know well and eat lunch with or have regular meetings, you should broach the subject at an appropriate time. Avoiding it will be all too obvious, and it may make it awkward for both of you to talk to each other.
Consider the Situation
If you won’t see the person other than passing in the hall for a few weeks, it may be fine not to bring up the topic. However, if you are scheduled to have a meeting with them a week after the funeral, you may want to offer quick condolences. It could be a simple “How are you doing?” which the person will understand the underlying meaning.
If you arrive at the meeting early, you could say something short and sincere like “I heard about your dad, and I just want to say I’m sorry.” That’s it. No need to say more, but Jane will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Consider the Method of Offering Condolences
You probably don’t want to talk about the person’s loss in a group situation. If you never talk to the person alone, it’s probably best not to bring up the loved one’s death. On the other hand, you will want to say something if you see them in an individual situation.
One of the best ways to offer condolences in a work environment is to send an email. You don’t have to make a big deal about it, but offer a few words to show your support and to let them know you are aware of their situation. Keep it short and to the point. You may say something like the following:
Suzie Kolber is a writer at obituaries.org, a complete guide for someone seeking help for writing words of condolences, sympathy messages, condolence letters and funeral planning resources.
Tell me I'm not the only one this has happened to - I'm cruising down the road in the midst of a packed-to-the-rim day, glance down, and I'm on "E". Big deal. Stop at the gas station and fill up. Except....the schedule is back to back and that 10 minutes makes me late for a stop, which snowballs the rest of the day. It feels like I'm barely holding on to my grasp on the day.
Who. In. The. World. Doesn't. Have. 10. Minutes? OK - I DON'T. On certain days/weeks, that is. My husband is aghast that I can essentially live in my car and not be cognizant of when it is on, or about to be on, empty.
Time to reflect! There reaches a point where the empty gas tank becomes a neon blinking sign saying that I'm not refueling myself, either. Burning ourselves out so there is nothing left in the tank means there is nothing to give out when working with clients, parenting, being a friend, etc.
I've used the oxygen mask analogy before in blog posts - if you don't put your oxygen mask on first you won't be able to help the person sitting next to you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to use my Daily Calm app to meditate and recharge for 10 minutes!
What are YOU doing to take care of yourself? Let's encourage and support each other. I am doing this by giving away a FREE Strategy Session! Just LIKE this blog post and you'll be entered to WIN!
The American Dream.....intrinsically we strive for it in all we do - working hard, achieving "success", accumulating the latest and greatest things. We are surrounded by things that are marketed to make us feel successful - tell us we have arrived. But have we? And to where, exactly, are we arriving?
The house with the two car garage that was The American Dream in my parents' generation now has a garage so full of stuff that only 32% of Americans fit even ONE car in the garage. We have stuff! We have arrived! But, are we happy?
I have had the privilege of attending a National Association of Professional Organizer's annual conference, where The Minimalists gave the keynote address. I've waited over a year to hear them in person, and they didn't disappoint. They spoke of realizing that The American Dream wasn't their dream, and of the events leading them to question their lifestyles and embrace minimalism.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism isn't about frugality, but about more deliberate questioning of the resources (including money) we have at our disposal and how we choose to use them. Do our things add value to our lives or are they clutter? Stuff doesn't fill the void of unhappiness; it widens it.
Minimalism has helped me reframe the way I think about not only physical things, but the resources (time, energy, education, etc.) I have at my disposal and how I use them.
Have you embraced minimalism? Have thoughts about the movement or the lifestyle? I'd love to hear your comments!
CPO Tammy Schotzko works with clients of all ages to tame their clutter and create calm out of chaos. She specializes in Hoarding and Chronic Disorganization, but deals with everything from digital files to garages run awry! Her passion for helping people reclaim their space is contagious and