A 3-Step Declutter Plan

Ready to do a little spring cleaning? How about doing some decluttering as you go?

Decluttering can be intimidating if you think about your whole house. So start small. What’s a single area of your house that’s been calling to you? The refrigerator? The cabinet under the TV? A bedroom closet?

When you have a target in mind, here are three steps to get going. Continue reading

You have unlimited learning potential

In the “old days,” we attended K-12 classes. Then maybe you went to college, got a degree, got a job and progressed by working hard or making lateral moves to other companies to get ahead. Throughout your career, you learned from experienced people you worked with, and maybe you got a grad degree, but even with that, you mostly had to figure things out for yourself.

thank-you-for-being-lateIn Thomas Friedman’s new book, Thank You for Being Late, he explains why this learning pattern doesn’t work in a time of super-accelerated technological change. Today, most schools don’t even teach the latest technology because things are happening faster than teachers are being educated. So how are we expected to keep up? Continue reading

Finding balance in crazy times

It’s easy to feel out of balance in crazy, hectic times (post-election, holiday, end-of-year). But as crazy as the world feels, balance comes from within you. It’s not what’s going on around you; it’s what you do and how you react to things. Balance is something you have control over.

Not convinced? Try this.

Sit quietly for five minutes (set a timer) and think about what the most important things are in your life that help you feel balanced. Five minutes isn’t long and that’s intentional. You don’t need deep thinking on this. You know what’s important to you.

Jot your ideas down as you go. Your list could be three things or twenty things. What matters is that this is your list of whatever comes up in five minutes. Continue reading

Tips for working together as a team

I love to write and create as an individual, but my energy lifts and flows when I collaborate with focused, tight groups. This includes my team work at Catalog University, and with the volunteer work I do – especially in the theater. My family is also a great team. We get a ton done and have fun doing it!

So I was super psyched when Charles Duhigg’s new book Smarter Faster Better (awesome read) took a dive into figuring out what makes a great team. Charles writes about how Google spent four years on this problem. First, they looked at who was on a team and could find no pattern. It was only when they looked at how teams worked that they found magic.

So what do the most productive teams have in common? Continue reading

Getting started with meditation

If you aren’t healthy, it’s pretty hard to stay organized. Eating good food, getting outside, going for walks, and getting enough sleep help you focus on the tasks of the day.

And a big part for me of being grounded in a healthy lifestyle is meditation. I started meditating a couple of years ago after resisting for the longest time because I thought mediation was something you had to “do right”.

What finally got me meditating was a book by Lissa Rankin called Mind Over Medicine. The book isn’t about meditation – it’s about how powerful your mind is in helping you heal.

Here’s Lissa talking about this in a TED talk. Continue reading

Your time is valuable; set your intent!

When I am giving a talk, or I’m working with a group on organizational skills, the first question I ask is about intent. The question of the moment is:

“What do you want to get out of this class?”

Thinking about why you are doing something helps you focus on the task at hand. And when I’m giving a talk, I want people to focus, to listen with an end-goal in mind. It’s not that I think the content is so important; it’s that I think each person’s time is so important.

Which gets to the bigger question, and the one I hope you ask yourself before committing your time to any work, project, or person:

“Is spending time on this something that’s important to me?” Continue reading

Why did you waste so much time?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been organizing people – neighborhood kids, playground antics, school functions, friends, and businesses. I like getting things going. I like getting everyone involved. I like big conversations. I like to make things happen.

So it’s no surprise that I ended up working as an account executive for an advertising agency. I thrive on being the organized one amidst chaos. And ad agencies are the epitome of business chaos. Get a room full of Art Directors and Copywriters. Add in Presidents and CFOs who are former Art Directors and Copywriters. And try being the only one who has a deadline to meet. Yeah. I can do that. I can make that happen.

Then how about a bigger challenge? How about keeping an entire direct marketing company organized? Boston. Appleseed’s. I thrived.

Continue reading

Ask your guides for help – and listen for the answers

Organizational Zen comes from spending time on your best work. It’s that “ah” feeling of knowing you’re using your time wisely, of being in the zone, of being on top of your game.

If you’re not feeling the Zen, ask your guides for help. We have all sorts of guides who help us through life. We have the ones you expect – teachers, parents, bosses. And we have surprise guides – authors, song lyrics, a perfect stranger who sits next to on a plane, even the voices in your head.

The trick to working with guides is to recognize that they are everywhere – both visible and invisible. My most reliable guides include my husband, my mom – and writers like Seth Godin, Leo Baubata, David Allen, Pema Chodron, and Elizabeth Gilbert. I also think there are mystical guides who help us through the day. Elizabeth Gilbert calls this magic and I think she is right. You would not believe how much my travel guides help me – especially when I am looking for a parking space downtown! If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is. Continue reading

12 steps when you’re facing a jumble of rocks

Last week, someone asked me why I started Organizational Habits. I was pondering this while out walking along the rocky Maine shore and thought the landscape perfectly illustrated my “why”.

Whether you are trying to get organized, are forming a new habit, or are seeking a new path, here are 12 steps you don’t want to miss. Continue reading