The Blog

How To Be the Best Version of You: Have You Been Minding Your P’s?

superman_optWe all yearn to be the best version of ourselves, right?  Of course we do, who wouldn’t?  But the simple truth is that we don’t feel the same way every day and so this could be a very hard expectation to live up to.  After all, we are not super heroes.

Assuming it’s not the day after a long Memorial Day weekend, or a bad hangover morning after a friend’s wedding, you might be able to engage some measure of super power if you just mind these 4 P’s.

Priorities.  No matter how busy we get, we generally find the time to do what we want to do, not necessarily what we need to do. It’s only when our to do’s get too big or too many, that our priorities get all tangled and disordered.  Clarify what is really important to you. Whether it be a short term or long term goal, map out a doable schedule and/or a realistic action plan.

Preparedness.  Being prepared is the key to success in all spheres of life.  Getting “ready” may mean something different for each of us but this process will always yield optimum results.  When you pause to give any task proper attention, you may realize there’s another step you could be addressing. Readiness ignites purpose and intention.  Last minute action or a “shoot from the hip” mentality doesn’t usually bode as well.

Productivity.  Ask yourself if you are managing your time well.  Wasted time can discourage your thinking and draw you into a circuitous negative pattern. Try thinking more efficient with less effort when you approach any task. Is there an easier or better way to do this? Increasing your productivity can generate an internal energy that will empower you to do more.  The more you do, the more you will want to do.

Performance.  No matter what you’re doing, are you 100% engaged, focused, and committed? Are you giving it your best shot or just checking it off the list?  Showing up means way more than merely being physically present.  It is a mind-body connection.  When we bring our “A” game, it is apparent.  And vise versa.

Consider these 4 P’s as just stepping stones to build on.  Imagine that these are our super powers. They inspire each and every one of us to be our best selves.  Are you ready to soar?

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The Big Picture: Can You See the Forest?

forest_optWe all have our moments of not “seeing the forest for the trees.” How many times are we so immersed in what we’re doing that we may be missing what is right in front of us?

When we focus on the small details we may succeed in targeting a specific goal, but sometimes, there is a bigger picture to consider. Stepping away can change our perspective, but it is certainly not always an easy task to look at our situations with an objective eye.  These may be the probable causes;

1. We don’t know where to begin to look

2.  We’re in too deep in the forest

3.  We’re too involved in our day-to-day matters.

Yesterday I was hired to organize a client’s home-office. While the immediate goal was to sort the paper piles and create an efficient filing system, there was evidence of significant chaos beyond that space.  But interestingly, the client living with the daily mayhem, failed to notice it.  He could not see the forest from the trees. He was in too deep and too involved in his day-to-day needs.

As a Professional Organizer,  the stepping away piece is the most valuable objective support I provide for my client.  Together, while our plan is to continue to focus on the home-office,  he is now more mindful of the bigger picture as well.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed too.  After all, I am human.  When I’m overcome with busy and stress,  I become short-sighted and cannot see beyond that moment.  I tend to get lost in detail.  I can easily feel defeated with too many things to deal with and admittedly, cannot see the forest for the trees.

Here’s some personal tips that may help clarify the big picture for you;

Share:  When you share with a another person (family member, friend, or professional) you can get a completely different point of view. Just talking it out provides great value.  Others may see things that you cannot and will perhaps confirm one of my favorite idioms,  “don’t believe everything you think.”

Slow down:  Sometimes it could be about the actual pace that obstructs the big picture.  Often when we are in a hurry, we are rushing around so much, we fail to notice what’s going on around us. Stop and smell the roses, trees and forest included.

Simplify: You can’t see the whole situation clearly because you’re looking too closely at small details, or because you’re too closely involved. Break it down.  Keep it simple.

Life can get busy and can sometimes feel un-manageable. Maybe take a step back. What do you see?



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Slow Down…Are you Moving too Fast?

Have you ever been in such a hurry that in an attempt to get things done faster, it results in the contrary? Often, the effort to rush to complete one’s tasks becomes nothing short of futile.  As a result, things inevitably go wrong.  Mistakes are made.  We miss appointments or forget to do important things, and in the end, it actually wastes more time.

Do you think it’s because we genuinely have too much to do with too little time? Or, is it that we intentionally take on more, because we are so driven to earn more, accomplish more, and acquire more.  There is a difference.  One suggests we really do have a lot on our plate, but the latter implies that we are indeed creating our own pressure. It’s our competitive nature that fuels us. We have willingly enrolled in life’s fast-paced rat race to the finish.  Irregardless, both scenarios have a significant time-management component and good reason to think about slowing down.

We can all can agree that there is a price to pay for that compulsive drive to do more, to be better. And if we consider the harried pace in which we attempt to accomplish it all,  we are in danger of losing control.  Productivity obviously suffers but more importantly, one’s health and finance can be at risk too. Rushing through an over-scheduled day can be suffocating. It not only breeds stress, it can impact thoughtful decision making and yield a host of other negative consequences. Can you think of a time that a hasty decision had significant financial ramifications?

Yet with our busy lives, it is increasingly difficult to be “present” for each and every activity we engage in.  We frequently do a lot of tasks by sheer rote.  How many times are we operating on auto-pilot?  Too many, I’m afraid.  All too often, we are doing one thing while thinking about another. So many of us rushing around, doing, without even thinking.  Pushing the envelope, until we can push no more.

“You can only go as fast as the slowest part of you can go,”  said Bonnie Raitt after a 7 year hiatus from the studio. Wise words to contemplate. Classic take-away…know thyself.

So if your plate is too full, avoid trying to clean it all up in a hurry.   Stop.   Slow down.   Breathe.   It’s the only way to manage the overload.  It is far easier to focus on one task at a time and give it your proper attention, than rushing through too many simultaneously.  Nothing gets done well, just a lot of mediocre.

When you’re moving too fast,  it is difficult to make a connection between yourself and your task at hand. 

Conscious doing is far more effective than unconscious doing.  It is intentional participation.  No matter what it is that you’re doing, being “in the moment” will sharpen any experience and most likely emit better results. But we need to create the time and space to concentrate and pause.  In this way, we can  control our daily pace.  Beware of the dangers in unconscious multitasking. It can be an obstacle for getting things done, rather than a quicker solution.

As one who talks fast, walks fast, and works fast, I confess to doing just about everything fast.  It is very challenging to slow myself down, but when I do, I admit I feel more balanced.  My secret is committing to Pilates classes three times a week.  It is there that I can stop, breathe and get off the merry-go-round.

We can probably all benefit from slowing down a little, taking it down a notchReally, what’s the big rush? Where’s the fire?

So if you’re moving too fast,  how do you slow down?  What’s your secret?  I don’t mean to rush you, lol,  but I look forward to your comments. Inquiry minds want to know.



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The Key to Smart Holiday Shopping

So much to do with so little time? On a limited budget with an endless gift list? Regardless of income, purchasing holiday gifts can be doable and less stressful if you exercise effective time-management.  Things change from year to year, but the one thing that should remain as a standard imperative is organizing your holiday goals.

Whether it be party planningor gift shopping, making lists and committing to them is still one of the best ways to focus during a harried holiday season.   Don’t leave home without it!

Shopping any retail store at this time of year can be overwhelming. The sensory overload sucks you in; the twinkling lights, ringing bells, and piped in Xmas songs resounding everywhere are intoxicating.  This is designed to overwhelm you and divert you away from any real focus.  Intentional for the unprepared consumer.

At first, the holiday music does exude a certain welcomed measure of glee. I admit that it puts me in a good mood, but after continuous weeks of shopping, the incessant melodies can become unnerving. (It’s not just me, I hear this from the salespeople that have to endure it all day!) But it works like magic. It lures the crowds and feeds the frenzy.

Warning: If you have don’t have a specific person in mind on a list, you will find yourself roaming aimlessly for hours and most probably exit, confused, distraught, and empty-handed.

Go home, make a list. Jot down the friends, family, etc. for whom you need to buy gifts for, estimate how much you’re going to spend for each, and carry it with you so you can refer to it while shopping.  Have an agenda and destination in mind (on paper, or on a smart phone) before you go shopping.

This may sound unnecessarily elementary, but without a list, you can get easily distracted and side-tracked and perhaps be in danger of buying something you don’t need. If you stay on task, you won’t be shocked when the credit card bills arrive because YOU managed it.

Being prepared and organized will guide you and prevent you from getting in over your head. This ought to be a joyful time, so do your best to make it so. Make it a joy, not a job. Be merry, not stressed.

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Why Unfinished Projects Never Get Completed

As the year draws to a close, it’s a natural time to reflect on the past year.  There are probably a litany of projects that you had hoped to accomplish this year, but they just didn’t happen.  What went wrong? Why didn’t you pursue them?

Starting projects are easy but completing them can be more challenging.  Tackling personal projects do not have to loom as large as climbing Mt. Everest.  Typically, they get put on the back-burner for when you have the time.  That’s the biggie, but it’s only just one of the reasons.  Unfortunately, projects become easily forgotten and neglected because they aren’t managed well, nor planned.  Here’s some helpful hints;

    • Space:  Many times we simply don’t have the ample space to accommodate the ongoing project to work on it.
    • Tools:  Having the appropriate materials and tools on hand to complete the project is essential.
    • Goals/timeline:  Establishing a time-line will help you achieve your goal in manageable time frames.  It is so much more difficult to target ambiguous goals like “soon”, “summer”, or “whenever”.  Hold yourself accountable to a more specific time, date.  Create a strategic plan 
    • Be realistic:  This is a key factor for the success of the project.  If you take on too much and didn’t allow enough time to complete it, you are guaranteed to set yourself up for failure.
    • Organize:  Don’t be haphazard with your efforts.  Be your own Project Manager and manage it.  Break down the actions into small manageable bite-size tasks that you can routinely do.
    • Commit:  Staying committed to a project is probably the most difficult step of all.  Focus on the goal and what it will feel like when the job is done, and create a plan how to get there.  Whether it is a daily or weekend plan, carve out a sufficient amount of time to work on it.


Let’s say for example your project is photo organizing.  For months or even years, you’ve been shoving and cramming all your photos in shoe-boxes, drawers, or envelopes, and never made the time to organize them. This sorting process is a huge undertaking so you need to organize the process.   If every time you immerse yourself  into this project and it requires you to schlep the boxes up and down, to and fro, the project is doomed. Resist the temptation to spread out every photo you own and clutter every horizontal surface in your home.  Organize one box at a time, so at the end of the day, you will have made some productive headway and pushed out the overwhelm.

All projects (and hobbies, for that matter) need their own home.  If you love knitting, corral all the yarns and needles in an organized space so that you can enjoy your hobby and not impede on the other living spaces in your home.  Ditto to arts and any craft.

The bottom line is this;  If you DO NOT have the space, right tools, realistic time-line, organization, or commitment, you will lose interest in the project.  As a result, and in the worst case scenario…you might be inclined to start a brand NEW project!

Uh-oh, T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  Tame your projects with time-management. Sounds like a plan to me, how ’bout you?

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The Top Ten Virtues of a Snowstorm: It’s About More Than You Think!!

I have learned that there is great value in an epic snow blizzard event, both prior, during, and after.  First of all, because the weathermen get all excited about forecasting the impending doom and scare us all into thinking we will be stuck in our homes for days, it forces us to be more organized than any ordinary day.  The media urge us to get ready and be prepared.

The survival instinct in us emerges and so we all run to the supermarket because we fear we will be on lock-down for days without food, (and of course, let’s not forget the fresh milk, it’s always a commodity and the very first item to deplete itself)

Apparently, when we receive a weather advisory, we take immediate action and seem to react accordingly with little difficulty.  The day prior to a snowstorm, I notice that wherever I go, I get a sense that everybody is preparing, albeit cancelling appointments or rescheduling them, changing travel, etc., all in an effort to plan ahead.  You can feel it, the “hustle-bustle”  is in the air.  A teachable moment indeed, and a great eye-opener for ANY situation.

So this begs the question, where is your inner alert for readiness in an ordinary week?  Try this.  Take a look at your week at a glance with a little more critical thinking.  Prepare with a more heightened sense of organization and I bet it will bring you better results. Being organized prepares you for the unexpected and helps you focus on your goals, just like for a snowstorm.

As for the actual snow day, it’s a great opportunity to measure how you choose to spend your time.  It’s a time to reflect.  You’ve got a day off.

You could:

  1. Organize a closet, a drawer, or any room (hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big).
  2. Read an old fashioned book, if you haven’t got a Kindle or Nook yet (yes, that requires turning an actual page)
  3. Watch a movie or impose an all day marathon (popcorn a must).
  4. Call an old friend (the kind that the time lapsed never matters).
  5. Get lost on Facebook with no time-management in mind.
  6. Catch up on sleep (an impossible goal but worth the effort).
  7. Eat ALL the food you bought.
  8. Exercise at home (probably not likely).
  9. Sort mail and pay bills (this is a tough one, most likely on your “to hate”- list).
  10. Shovel?

 Or NOT!!!!!! Whether the snow day gives us time to do the things we love to do, or hate to do, the mere break from everyday routine is a great rethink for all of us to recognize how we use our time.

After the snowstorm has settled and you’ve shoveled your way back to the mundane, don’t be down on yourself if you went the lazy route, it’s YOUR time and YOU own it.  That being said, after being a recluse for a day or two, I am confident that you will be eager and happy to get out and rock the world tomorrow.  Everybody needs a snowstorm now and then.


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