Tag Archives: possibilities

Let Go & Let Life Reorganize You!

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My husband and will be visited Saturday by a social worker who will evaluate both us and our space to determine our suitability to adopt a child. Wow. Big life transition.

The decision to adopt has given us a chance to take a major inventory, both inside (our motivations, values,  strengths and weaknesses) and outside (do we have room for another growing person in our apartment? What  can be cleared away that we no longer need to make room for another person and a whole new identity as parents?) This inventory told us some changes in our space were in order.

To overhaul our apartment, I gave myself an action plan, a deadline, and I took myself on as a client – and having just been on the receiving end of this decluttering transformation, I reaffirm from knowing, what I tell my clients all the time — having some company for the task is SO rewarding!

When a friend put an offer out to come help me, all kinds of uncertainty popped up – what she would think of my “mess”? would she boss me around in my own home? Would she disrespect items I cherished and judge me for wanting to hold on to them?  All the fears my clients have told me they’ve before having me over, were apparent for me.

I struggled with my ego, which told me I was a professional organizer, I shouldn’t need help. And I decided I didn’t NEED help, I WANTED it. I decided it would be an adventure to bring someone into a process that’s always been solitary, and frankly overwhelming and tedious. I decided I’d be vulnerable and let whatever I wanted to protect all hang out.

Bringing someone into my decluttering efforts brought clarity and a sounding board to my indecision. It brought friendship and joy and permission for letting go.  It brought humor to what I can take way to seriously. Our stuff is just STUFF, for goodness sake, but my, how we get attached.  Our things are not who we are, but we do let them hold aspects of ourselves – feelings, stories, beliefs, worries. Being able to share these feelings, beliefs, stories with someone before we toss an item into the trash or goodwill bag can reassure us that whatever the items represents is either still alive in us, or is ready to be gone. I found this so.
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Life is dynamic. It’s a lot easier to move through it when  when we’re not weighed down by stagnant stuff. The result of my overhaul? My apartment is buzzing with the energy of usefulness and vibrancy. There’s a clear path and I feel abundantly full and alive. I feel like I’ve been to the spa, been exfoliated, lost 10 pounds, had my neighborhood streets repaved and won the lottery all at once. What a great way to prepare to greet a baby into it’s new space.

What new adventures are you pregnant with? What preparation do you need to birth what’s next for you? How can you share the joy and lighten the job by bringing in some help?

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Drool-worthy desk spaces

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Yes! It’s clear – I’m a sucker for visuals of organized, beautiful desk spaces. Nothing tickles me more than the sense of a cozy, comfortable throne of efficiency and productivity. A place that supports the down-and-dirty to-dos; evokes the wilder, raw creative juices; and cradles big soaring vision all at once. A room/womb with a view.

Check out these spaces I stumbled upon on Houzz, and see what you think. What excites you in the photos…what possibilities do they elicit for you?

For me, the desk spaces with expansive views promise me the day I get to spend six months in NYC and six months in a remote natural world (Boulder, Utah; Provincetown, MA; Hana, Maui come to mind) and not skip a beat in productivity.desk vie

Take a Break, for Goodness Sake

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“I learned … that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”   -Brenda Ueland
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Many of us don’t know HOW to take breaks, and some of us, have a compulsion to avoid breaks all together. This is a sign that something is off — our relationship to using time to “do” is actually unhealthy. Here are some ways we can “fill” our time that are out of alignment with our well-being:

  • Shoulds– a compelling sense of obligation to someone or something outside ourselves, often motivated by fear rather than genuine need or desire.
  • Time sink holes – draining situations and commitments that don’t nourish or reward us.
  • Over commitment – not being able to say “No”,  or deriving self-worth and definition by how much one can do.
  • Distractions – time spent motivated by avoidance of what’s important.
  • Preoccupations, Obsessions or Active Resentment – planning retaliation, complaining, gossiping.
  • Non-Selectivity – wanting everything, now. Refusing to prioritize.
  • Pushing the Edge/One More-Thing-Itis: –  and getting a high off how much can be squeezed into a day and beating the clock: almost missing deadlines, important appointments, obligations to children, etc.

These behaviors can come from a poor sense of self-esteem and a need to prove oneself through accomplishment, or paradoxically, by sabotaging accomplishment.

Like may issues of esteem and worthiness, a spiritual approach can be an effective remedy.

 Here are a few ways to cultivate a healing relationship to time:

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  • Set aside a half hour a day (use a timer) for spiritual reflection – meditation, a walk in nature, reading spiritual literature, journaling.
  • Put yourself first in your day – Start your day by asking: “What do I absolutely need today to enjoy a peaceful, joyous time? What’s my self-care bottom-line? To whom and how do I effectively communicate my needs to today? What support do I have to stay on track? – Then make sure you take action on your answers.
  • One-in/One-out rule for commitments – make it a standard, for every new commitment you take on, you must complete or let go of a current one of equal scope and time commitment first.
  • Practice a pause before saying “Yes”. – When asked to do something you’re not sure you want to do – Say, “I’d love to think about this. Let me do that tonight, an I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
  • Make a list of lovely ways you’d like to take a break – I.e., putting on headphones and dancing around the room, making a cup of tea, walking in a nearby park, etc. Then, wen you find yourself in unhealthy distraction territory, allow yourself to take a legitimate break doing something that’s truly restorative.
  • Get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise and water – self care is SO important for our brains to make good decisions and our ability to focus – suss out if any of these could be the root of your non productivity.
  • Work with a professional organizer to help set up structures for your time, get accountability and ongoing support.
  • For negative thoughts, obsessions, and resentments, or any other compulsive, destructive time-filling  – consider the support of a therapist or Clutters Anonymous, Underearners Anonymous or Workaholics Anonymous. Many people have found they get tremendous support in changing these patterns with the support of a group.

Schedule time, not tasks: words of wisdom from Harold Taylor

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Harold Taylor, renowned time management authority, has this to say…..

I have always recommended that people schedule more time than they think a task will take to allow for unavoidable interruptions. But you could feel stressed and out of control if you still don’t get the task completed. To prevent this, change your mindset. Schedule time to work on a task rather than the task itself. The expectation then becomes to spend one hour or 90 minutes each day (or week) until the task is finished. This way you can’t fail. But it’s important to schedule these chunks of time as far as possible in advance of the deadline.” – Harold Taylor

Executive desk

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Tamara desk

Love this picture by Danny Ghitis of the NY Times. Tamara Mellon’s ample, luxurious desktop at home in the UES, NYC.

Do you have the work space worthy of who you are and what you do in the world?

Compassionate Workplace #2: Declutter- It’s not just for Oprah!

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Often it’s the “getting started” that’s the hardest barrier to cross in organizing. I love hearing how different people ease there way into the process…

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It appears that Oprah has made decluttering her mission in every Spring. And why not? It’s a great thing.

photo-5I have discovered (rather too late) that my productivity is directly related to how clean my desk is. (Surprise!)

I think what’s important is not not my realization but why. My productivity equals to my creativity. When I am not being productive, I am not creating anything. I’m not producing anything new, fun, useful or loving. What’s also important is that when I’m not feeling creative, it’s because I often feel anxious. Not all the time. But certainly a lot of the times. I think about unpaid bills, Emails I have not replied, issues I have not dealt with, taxes I have not sorted out etc etc. Cluttering is a way of avoiding and numbing. There are certain things I don’t want to deal with so I pile them up…

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