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!
You know the one. She always has her hair and make-up and clothes and shoes and... oh, you get the point. She is ready. For everything. Her kids always smile. And they must be brilliant because they are forever posing with awards on Facebook. And this mom's house. Wow. Spotless. Her life must be A.Maze.Ing. Just like her.
So.... we all think we know this mom. But I'm guessing that she is about as real-life as Holiday Barbie. This Mother's Day, let's all get real. Stop the envy-induced Mom Crush. Support each other. End the perfectionism. Take more time to lift each other up every day. We will ALL be so much better for it. And if, as in this song, you want that amazingly clean house, treat yourself for Mother's Day and give me a call. We all need a little help!
Sometimes one foot is all you can lift. Toward what? Doesn't matter. The motion itself is the answer. It may be the only answer you have for all those big horrible questions.
Probably, yes, to all. But stasis . . . stasis is the wrong answer.
Keep reading more from Cinderella, Dressed in Yella, and her response to my blog post last week where I talked about the NWA approach - No Wrong Answer. She's right. If our answer is Zero. Nada. Zip. Zlich. Then we aren't really answering at all. And we can do better than nothing.
No - NWA is not Northwest Airlines, but No Wrong Answer - a brilliant acronym for the choices we have in life! I had a recent Facebook conversation with a friend who pointed out she was living life with an "NWA" approach. Admittedly I was clueless and had to ask for clarification.
When she explained the NWA approach it was like *palm slap forehead* duh! Exactly what we talk about in organizing sessions - I ask a million questions, and don't really expect an answer to all of them - it's more about getting the thought process started. Clarifying that there are NWAs is helpful - we need to stop judging ourselves by what we should/should not have/want/keep; rather we need to be in tune to what our possessions are doing to our thought processes!
So, folks, what are your thoughts on the NWA approach? Is it better to have any answer than struggle to come up with the "right" answer? Curious.....
At our local Entrepreneur Meet-up recently I sat next to a retired hockey coach of 41 years. We were discussing time management and balancing work and family. He made the comment that, back in the day, when he "fired off an order he got in the next chair and did it".
Doesn't that pretty much sum up the life of a solopreneur/small business owner? Yup, we make the big decisions, but more than likely we're the ones who need to carry them out as well! Often that doesn't leave us time to do what we went into business to do - to follow through on our passions.
Obviously I LOVE to organize. I love to work with clients and encourage them to organize. I love to work independently to get my clients organized. I love to research solutions for organizing challenges. I love the sense of completion and satisfaction that comes with getting a space under control and clients having "ah ha!" moments when they realize they CAN do it! Have I mentioned that I love organizing? K. Thought so.
What I do NOT love is the always present behind - the -scenes administrative work that goes with running a business. Thankfully I've been able to delegate out my "orders" to the next people in the chair - and they've become my right hand people and kept We Love Messes on an even keel so I can do what I love. Make room on the chair for others to step in, sit down, and help you get things done. You do not have to travel your journey alone.
Was it easy to ask for help or release the control over the outcome? Nope. But the inordinate amount of time it has freed up has been worth every single step!
How about you? What can you outsource (whether it's laundry duties to your kids or balancing the business books to the accountant) that frees up time for your passions?
You know the drill.....Deadline to get out the door is 10 minutes away and you're still trying to squeeze 18 minutes of "quickie" tasks into those too few minutes. Like Cinderella's stepsisters trying to squeeze their feet into her glass slipper. End result? Not out the door on time! Know how I know? Because I myself suffer from a severe case of "OneMore-itus". As in, "I'll just do this one more thing before I leave".
And, I'm not alone! According to the Planning Fallacy, it's human nature to underestimate how long a task will take, even if we've done the task before. That load of wash that'll just take a minute to throw in the dryer? More realistically it is a 7 minute time allotment. How about that email we'll just "quickly" respond to before moving on to what we should be doing? Mhmmm.....more like 9-11 minutes!
My point, you ask? These little time under-estimations over the course of a day will push us behind and make us feel like we'll never catch up. We simply cannot have more than 24 hours in each day, just as those stepsisters could not squeeze their over-sized feet into someone else's shoe. The big question is, how do we manage the 24 hours that we DO have?
Gaining control over the "OneMore-itus" beast starts with accurately estimating what I can and cannot do, in the time frame I have. It's a little painful to leave that load in the washer as I head out the door, but the feeling of arriving at my destination ON TIME, maybe even with a minute to spare, by far outweighs the initial pain.
I challenge you to try tiny time management for a day. Look at all the little tasks accomplished over a day and see how accurate your time perception is. I carried a timer with me for a day and was amazed.
It's true - I'm a (recovering) perfectionist. I've wasted hundreds, if not thousands, of hours on details so tiny that no one ever noticed. And for what? A feeling of never being done, often an inability to start because I can't complete it perfectly, and, of course, focusing on the forest, (heck, the stems on the leaves), and rarely seeing the beautiful forest.
Maybe it's my age, or the realization that there are bigger problems in the world. Or because I've come to understand my limited time on this earth; building relationships and memories has become more important than acquiring and perfectly maintaining "things". Then there is the obituary section I skim each day. They rarely mention possessions, but express feelings of loss for those left behind. Morbid? Perhaps. But I've come to terms with, "Done is better than perfect", although willingly admit to perfectionism relapse here and there (ask me about painting my son's room recently!).
As a Certified Professional Organizer I get asked almost every day if my home is "perfectly organized". I smile (while cringing a bit on the inside), gulp, and say, "Nope - my home is lived in, not a showplace." A better question would be - "Do I have a place for all my things?" Yes. Are my things always in their place? Nope!
Homes are where the story of our lives play out, not Martha Stewart-esque show rooms (sorry, Martha - I do love your organizing ideas tho!). Get on top of the chaos, reclaim the space where clutter currently resides, and enjoy your home. Need help getting started or staying the course? Call me today! Taking that first step is easier than you think.
I look forward to hearing from you:)
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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