The Blog

Having Company? Hosting a Holiday Dinner Sans the Hassle

dinner tableThanksgiving is almost here and you might be in sheer panic that you haven’t done a thing yet! For some of you, this could be your first holiday dinner. Perhaps you volunteered or maybe you got selected.  Either way, it’s time to get ready NOW.

If you follow this simple checklist you still have time to prepare and “shine” as the perfect host or hostess. Planning is essential for hassle-free entertaining.

  • Plan the menu.  Review your inventory to see what you already have. Make a detailed grocery list.  Check the liquor cabinet and be sure it’s stocked with the basic favorites.  Consider pairing red or white wine with your various courses.
  • Prepare the table. Setting the table the night before is a huge timesaver and can reduce some of the pressure of doing everything on the same day.  Select the plates, tablecloth, napkins, platters, and serving utensils you will need.  Have a seating plan in mind and have an accurate count of chairs to accommodate your guests. Have extra folding chairs on hand and be ready for that “surprise” visitor.  Just in case.
  • Organize the platters. To ensure that you have enough service for both the dinner and the appetizers,  use post-its or sticky notes to keep you organized and pre-label the platters for the nosh, main entrée, and for each side dish.  Match the appropriate utensils for each one.  This simple step can make it easier for eager helpers to lend a hand when food needs to be transferred from the oven and plated.  They can simply follow your plan.  It’s a seamless system.
  • Schedule the Prep.  Deconstruct the big picture and prep as much as you can the day before or morning of the dinner.  Chop and slice as many ingredients you can in advance to alleviate the overwhelm. Prepare ice and continue to bag and freeze.
  • Eliminate the last-minute.  I find that the most chaotic time of hosting is that 15 minute window right before the guests arrive. Light the candles. Turn on the music.  Prepare the bar accompaniments (shakers, wine openers, stirrers, etc).  Pre-slice lemons and limes. Fill the ice bucket.  Chill the wine. Have extra bowls and platters handy for guest gifts.  Anticipate. Be mindful that when the doorbell’s ringing, and your guests are flooding in, they’re likely to arrive with armfuls of delectable treats, pies, bottles of wine, flowers, and maybe even a hostess gift to open.  Trust me, at that hour you don’t want to be running around searching for the perfect sized cake plate, platter, nut bowl, or vase.
  • Keep notes.   Check off each task as it is completed and keep this as your automated checklist from now on. Create a “holiday” folder and jot down this year’s menu. Weigh in on what worked well, what was a huge hit, or not so much.  Write it all down.  Modify for next year. Eliminate having to remember it all for the next time you entertain.
  • Clear Spaces. Having company over is a great motivator to straighten up your home.  It’s  a great incentive to clean up some cluttered spaces that you would have otherwise avoided.  Remember to clear some additional space in the hall closet to accommodate your guest’s coats and jackets.

At the end of the day, of course you hope that all the food tasted great, but recognize that’s not why they came. Family and friends sharing good times together is far more memorable than any culinary faux pas.

Hosting a holiday can be hectic and sometimes stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.  You should enjoy it all too and be as happy as your guests!  It’s likely that a “happy” host/hostess is probably a prepared and organized one.  So are you getting ready?




Read this post on single page to comment →

The Positive Effects of Reality TV

Modern FamilyReality TV shows are certainly monopolizing our prime time TV these days.  It seems like every day another new program pops onto a network attracting a different segment of the population. While some of the shows are downright awful, some would even argue that they are offensive and exploitative.  But here’s the thing, it creates a platform for so many controversial stigmas of our society.  It provokes a conversation and it gets us talking.

Here are some of my favorites and those that I feel provide some value:

Professionally speaking, shows like Hoarders, Hoarding: Buried Alive, Clean House, and Talk show segments featuring Organizing Specialists, have all given our industry a fresh face.  Even after 25 years of existence, it’s given our profession greater notoriety than ever before, but more so, it has reduced a lot of the shame and embarrassment that chronic disorganization often emits. People no longer ask, “What is a Professional Organizer?” rather they are more interested in “Who is your Professional Organizer?”  These shows expose the trials and tribulations of so many who struggle with disorganization, and raise awareness to the benefits of getting more organized. There is great opportunity for help and viewers realize they are not alone in their challenges.  In years past, this was a taboo subject swept under the rug, and today it is out of the closet. Alas.

The Biggest Loser, a reality TV in its 9th season has also exposed another banned demographic. Although the show centers on overweight contestants trying to lose the most weight, it has raised much more positive awareness about healthy living, nutrition, and body image. We are fighting obesity in America and we need to talk about it openly and honestly, not deny it. I think the show does a great job in talking about the risks and consequences of compulsive eating.  It also invites a serious conversation about the widespread eating disorders of anorexia and bulimia.

Cooking themed shows like Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Iron Chef,  have become super popular in recent years.  Celebrity television chefs made cooking cool and trendy, and these reality shows have inspired people to get back in the kitchen and have fun with  food. Weekly, we watch talented cooks craft a creative dish from prep to plate and are dazzled by their technique, flair and ingredient savvy-ness. Hey, you can learn a lot here…I for one, feel encouraged to step it up and wow my family with some impressive new dish I learned from the show!

Similar to the comedy series Modern Family, there are countless new drama series that portray a gay relationship as an intrinsic part of the storyline.  Blended families of all varieties are indeed part of our culture, and so our reality TV shows should reflect alternative sexual preferences. The evolution of gay marriage is both in the news and on our TV shows, as it should be.  It is art imitating life.

Reality singing and dancing competition programs like American Idol, The Voice, Glee, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance all showcase novice talent and illustrate the power of “self”, and “fighting for what you believe.” That goes for fashion programs like Project Runway too.  While these shows sometimes reveal the ugly side of “dog eat dog” competition, the viewer still walks away with a deeper respect for a “great risks, foster great rewards” mentality.  A great take-a-way, always.

Reality TV is the most viewed genre of today’s television programming, for a reason. Even though it claims to be seemingly “unscripted,” we are not that gullible.  But we do relate to the “Average Joe” status, and we want to root him on. We believe in the human spirit. Perhaps we buy into the drama, but in the end, we also learn the lessons of personal conflict and integrity.

Above all, the recurring message throughout most of these shows is to never give up, and be your authentic self. You can’t knock that. There are some surprisingly good things about bad reality TV, don’t you agree?  What’s your favorite and least favorite show?  C’mon, be  “real” with me.

Read this post on single page to comment →

What it Means to Be a Successful Parent: Weighing In on the Apples Seeds

apple_optGrowing up with “do as I say, not as I do” was confusing. When I think back to my childhood (boy, am I’m aging myself), I can remember my parents smoking cigarettes, but forbidding me to ever try; I recall their using inappropriate language but threatening to wash my mouth out with soap if I ever did.  Don’t get me wrong, my parents did a stellar job in raising my brother and I, and we had a wonderful childhood, but perhaps they weren’t paying attention to the fact that we were indeed watching.

We understood at a young age that we shouldn’t model their bad behaviors because the natural instinct for any parent was to protect their children from harm’s way.  They only wanted the best for us, but as children, we only wanted to grow up and be just like them.  So we absorbed it all; a blend of both good and bad traits.

When my children were small, sugary cereals and snacks, fast food, and carbonated drinks were daily indulgences for all of us.  Twinkies, devils dogs, and Hostess cupcakes were family favorites. I reflect back with tremendous remorse (and huge dental bills to show for it) and question myself if it was ignorance, bad parenting, or both.  But in my defense, health and nutrition were not held to the high standard that they are today, and back then every kid seemed to be romping along in happy candy land, on a perpetual sugar high. It was a repeat of my own childhood.

Now with the trendy rise of wellness and fitness consciousness, I have noticed a new generation of parents who are paying closer attention to healthy living. No more apple juice, soda, white bread, or unhealthy snacks.  But they too, are making healthier choices, and living more wholesome lives.  They are leading by example.

The ultimate challenge of  successful parenting is being a positive role model for our children through our actions, because they really do speak louder than words.  Instilling good values is so important but we must demonstrate them, not merely preach them. Teaching them to think for themselves, to make mistakes and learn from them, and be accountable for their actions are only some of the key ingredients for their success.  These are sustaining life skills that they will utilize as they navigate through the world.  Our objective is to prepare them for the many challenges they will face by providing them with the proper tools.

Undoubtedly, parenting is one of the most difficult roles we take on.   There are no tutorials or standard manuals, and there are certainly no guarantees that great parents produce great kids. 

There is no such thing as the “perfect” parent, but if we remember that our children are paying attention and receiving behavioral cues all the time,  perhaps we can modify some of the bad habits they are apt to inherit. Here are some pitfalls; 

  • If you’re a bit messy and your clothes are strewn all over, don’t be surprised that your kids aren’t putting their toys away. It’s not their fault their things don’t have proper homes, it’s yours. Teach them about the benefits of being organized.  It’s an essential tool they will utilize the rest of their lives.
  • If you’re generally harried, disorganized, and struggle with punctuality, your kids are likely to miss the bus or be late for scheduled appointments. Or worse,  just struggle with time-management in their adult lives.
  • If you are a compulsive couch potato, perhaps your child will also prefer TV over other activities.  Likewise, the avid reader will most likely encourage their children to enjoy reading too. Monkey see, monkey do.
  • If you are not eating healthy or exercising regularly, they probably will be less inclined to do so for themselves.
  • If you don’t recruit your family to help and share household responsibilities, they will not learn these skills.
  • If you don’t use kind words and manage your temper, don’t expect your children to respect others.  Don’t be shocked if they don’t play nicely with others.
  • If you don’t set parameters, the lack of discipline might impact their adult life.


Unquestionably, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Children are so impressionable, so impress them. You are their role models so model good behavior.  Lead by example.  Plant those good habit seeds early, they will blossom well.

InfluenceThe goal is to nurture and protect your child, yet foster independence and self-esteem.  Teach them well, love them hard, and they will thrive.  As parents, one of the most gratifying jobs is to aid them in reaching their fullest potential.  If you can do that, your work is done.  You will have succeeded.

How would you measure success in your children?  Ever wonder what kind of parents your children will grow up to be? Hmm…that could be very telling.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t make a difference whether our kids turn out to be exact mini versions of ourselves, happy hybrids, or completely unique.  It only matters that they’re good apples.  And the secret to that my friends,  is all in the seeds.




Read this post on single page to comment →

New Year Resolutions That Stick

The holiday’s may be over, but its afterglow is all abounding.  Our bellies are full and our hearts are grateful.  But we still have one more party to hurdle…  ushering in the New Year.  Time to reflect, evaluate, and perhaps change.

But do your New Year’s Resolutions seem redundant year after year? Something like; eat healthier? Lose weight? Join a gym? Save more money? Give up all your bad habits?

As if our lives aren’t stressful enough, why must we conclude the year with an endless list of personal promises and lofty goals that are unlikely to be all fulfilled?

Granted, it serves us good to at least write a list of what we hope to accomplish, but who really needs the added pressure of such a dubious pledge?  I’m all for reflection and resolution, but doable trumps all.

We all have good intentions of course, but if we’re finding ourselves reaching for repetitive goals every year, perhaps we should tailor them to be more practical.  And maybe, just maybe, we’re throwing too many ideas into the pot.  Beginning a brand new calendar year can be motivating and yet tempting to re-invent ourselves. 

It is improbable that we can fix everything that is lacking in ourselves in one year.

Too often, this is why New Year resolutions fail. Don’t set yourself up for defeat.  Avoid making such a long list of impossible dreams.  Look to manage stress this year, not create more.  It’s a great time to focus on all facets of your life; personal, family, business, etc. and evaluate it thoughtfully.

Prioritize your goals and go after the important ones.  Realize what did not work so well this past year and make the necessary improvements.  Better to do one thing well, than a lot of mediocre.


STOP making specific resolutions altogether.  Simply start living a better life by just doing more.

Here’s some easy ways to start;

  • Keep learning more
  • Be kind-er than you were last year
  • Be more grateful for what you have
  • Live a healthi-er life than you did last year
  • Smile more
  • Laugh often
  • Love more
  • Be more positive


If this sounds a bit cliche, don’t overlook the significance of these simple and pleasurable objectives.  They are attainable. You can of course opt out of any of these, and find your own creative ways to make life better than it was last year.

An overall positive outlook is a great instigator for productive change, and that attitude alone, will inspire you to get closer to your aspirations.  If nothing else, striving to be more organized  (sorry, couldn’t resist) will provide you with the focus you need to affect this change.

Happy New Year to all! Rejuvenate. Time to turn the page.  How are you going to make this next year better?


Read this post on single page to comment →

Skills That Last a Lifetime: Teach Your Children Well

Back to school could mean back to old habits.  If you want to give your child the best possible opportunity for both academic and personal success, teach them fundamental organizational skills, outside the classroom.

In most cases, you can be sure that the A+ student is an organized one.  A student who earns high grades not only has the obvious aptitude, but in addition, probably relies on a particular skill set of organizational tools to manage the work efficiently.

And yes, it starts as early as Kindergarten.  As a parent, you can only provide your child with the necessary tools and teach them how to apply them. Creating independent little thinkers is vital to their development.

Particularly, at the Elementary School level, be there to check their assignments and aid them in completing the tasks.  Avoid doing the work for them. It’s easier said than done, I know, but they can only achieve if they actually learn it. Letting go of your child’s schoolwork is the  “tough love” required for them to grow.

Assign them their own consistent drop off zone to unload their knapsack, (it could be a cubby, shelf, or hook) so you can supervise its contents; fill in particular forms, return signed permission slips for school trips, etc.  Make them responsible for putting things away; snacks, toys, or finished homework.

It is important to designate special homework time and set guidelines.  Implement good study habits early in their schooling.  Most importantly, you must encourage them to be accountable for their own school organization.  Guide, but don’t hover.

Create a positive and dedicated workspace for which they can do their homework (not in front of the TV or on their bed). There’s nothing wrong with having a workspace in the kitchen, so perhaps you can keep an eye on them while you are preparing dinner.  Being supportive from a distance can still be very effective.

Make it fun to organize their school stuff with them, and reward them for knowing where all their stuff is.  You will be surprised how much more pride they will take in their work, when it is indeed theirs.  When they are in control and once they succeed and see results, the lesson has been learned.  Be their motivator, not their drill sergeant.

By the Middle School level, they will need to be prepared each day and be more on top of all their schoolwork and long term projects, without your direct involvement.   They cannot achieve these goals  if they are disorganized.  Submitting homework on time, respecting project deadlines are an integral component of learning how to manage time. Time-management is a challenge they will face their entire lives and so making this a common practice can only strengthen these skills.

Learning how to study well, and being responsible for quality work can only be possible with some keen sense of paper -management.  Keeping a tidy notebook and organized file folders is paramount.  It is most helpful to create a timeline and a visual calendar board so they can see, at a glance, what is on their to do list.

Instilling the values and benefits of being organized is so important. These are sustaining skills to utilize throughout one’s life. By the time they get to the challenges of High School, they will be fully prepared, hopefully operating at their optimal potential.  As parents, this is all we can do to help them excel in their academic careers throughout college and beyond.

So plant those good habit seeds early, they will blossom well.  The goal is to nurture your child,  yet  foster independence and self-esteem.  Teach them well….and they will thrive.

Read this post on single page to comment →

Easing Kid’s Back to School with Organization

After a fun-filled summer of relaxed schedules and extended bedtimes, returning to back to school regimens can be a very difficult transitionfor most children. Particularly, if there were little or no parameters enforced throughout the summer, this can be a stressful time. So if you’ve been guilty of “no schoolbook, no rule-book,” now’s the time to re-calibrate.  Emergency call for structure and organization, STAT.

Whether your child is entering Kindergarten or returning back to a familiar school, most kids experience some level of anxiety prior to the first day of school.  New routines can be scary.  No matter how old the child, they fear the unknown because it is unpredictable.  Studies have revealed that children adapt better when they are prepared and know what to expect.

As parents, the best way to ease your children’s trepidations is with steady and consistent preparation.  The power of organizationcan be calming because readiness exudes a significant measure of confidence.  So if you haven’t already started to organize for school, start now.  Have those conversations about the first day of school.

  • Review their school supplies with them and pack up their school bags now.  Why not be ready?
  • Discuss the new schedule; and morning and nighttime routines.
  • If what they wear is a concern for them, come up with a plan to make the mornings less stressful.
  • Start adjusting their bedtimes now so they can adapt to the eventual earlier rise. Teach them the value of being punctual and being prepared.
  • Make rules. Children need parameters.  In fact, they require them to make them feel safe.

Clarify your expectations. Discuss the rules.  But above all, listen. 

Listen to their fears or worries.  You can alleviate a great deal of their concerns by organizing their routine, their stuff, even their thoughts. Pre-schoolers will require a lot more instruction and direction to feel secure.  But think about it, even students entering High School have an orientation day to aid them with their distinguishable transition.  Most schools offer a walking tour prior to the first day, so inquire within your school district to schedule one if your child is apprehensive.

Do whatever you can to make your child feel at ease.  It could be a trial run to school, making a play date with a classmate, or jotting down helpful reminders or guidelines to keep in their book bag.

Everyone feels more comfortable when they are prepared and are informed. Rules aren’t exclusively designed just for school.  It’s part of life’s lessons.

For most of us, preparing your children for life is a parent’s eternalhomework, don’t you think?


Read this post on single page to comment →

Beyond Home Organization: The 2 Forgotten Zones

Your spaces, and how you organize them, are a reflection of yourself.  Let’s talk about two very personal spaces (outside the home), that may be a daily challenge.

Your Handbag/Wallet:

  • Is your wallet bulging with miscellaneous papers and receipts?
  • Are you struggling to find the appropriate credit card when making a purchase?
  • Can you find the proper medical papers to present to the Dr. for an appt?
  • Is there a ton of loose change on the bottom of your handbag?
  • Can you find the gift cards for the store you are shopping in?
  • Have you walked into Bed, Bath, and Beyond, countless times, and forgotten to take the coupons?

When your wallet is bursting, and all those crumpled receipts and dollar bills have no order to them , it’s time to clean out.  In fact, it is a great habit to weed on a schedule.  If every day is not realistic, then try to weed weekly.  Control the chaos.  Pick a day, any day, and empty out the entire wallet.  Know what stuff you have in there. It shouldn’t be a mystery, it’s yours. 

Put your currency in order, place the loose change in a designated jar, and most importantly label your receipts.  Most stores have a computer print out with the description of  the item on it, but often there are some that have an ambiguous cryptic code, or secret department number, and you have no clue what you have just purchased.

Tip #1:  On top of every receipt,  jot down the item or for whom you purchased for, so if you should need to return or exchange, you will avoid frantically pulling out wads of paper and having to search and read each and every one.  Make life easier for yourself.  It’s good to be organized.

Tip #2: Corral store gift cards and coupons in a labeled Ziploc or use (a zippered pencil case works too) and keep them in your purse, or leave them in your car in a designated place.  This way, whenever you shop the stores, you will have them when you need them and know where to access them.

Solution:  You can opt to purchase this purse organizer below that can be transferred from bag to bag.








Your Car:

Does your car look like a bomb hit it?  ‘Fess up;

  •  Is yesterday’s coffee still in the cup holder?
  • Are their clothes, paper, toys, snacks, used tissues, and random things scattered all about?
  • Is there adequate room for passengers?
  • Would you be embarrassed to give a friend a lift?
  • Is your outside of your car clean? How often do you wash it?

It doesn’t matter whether you have a luxury car or a jalopy; whether you’re working or just busy;  Messy is messy.

Tip#1: Try to empty the car at the end of every day.  Avoid looking like it’s another home on wheels.

Tip #2:  Keep a small trash bag in the car to maintain the unwanted paper, food, drink, tissues.

Tip #3:  Organize the glove compartment and center console with essentials you continually search for ; hand cream, glasses, loose change, and keep emergency items handy.


  Floor organizer






Cargo pockets for kid’s toys and crafts





Handy Organizer for sunglasses and cell phone





“On the go” does not have to mean “disorganized. ”  Organize your personal spaces and be ready for multiple activities and incoming receipts.

It’s not your entire house, it’s just 2 zones…you can manage it, right?  Need to talk about it?  I am here, let’s have a conversation.




Read this post on single page to comment →

The Shoemaker and Me

There’s a saying  that “The shoemaker’s son hasn’t any shoes,” and now I understand why. He reaps enormous pride from his work because it is his life’s passion.  But the Shoemaker is so very immersed in his craftsmanship he does not have ample time to make shoes for his very own son.

Lately, the Shoemaker and I have more in common that I would like to admit.

Don’t get me wrong, my home is organized and everything has a place, but not to the pristine level that I systematize for my client.  Together we micro-manage every detail and complete projects with the latest and greatest organizing products.  If there are budgetary concerns, I come up with a more economically acceptable plan, but equally efficient solutions.  I delight in the transformation of a space and even more, the transformation of a person.  Organization changes lives and I get to watch it happen.  I love devising innovative systems for each and every one of my clients and I leave inspired,  knowing that at the end of that day, I have made their life better.

Then I come home.  My trained eye is now looking at my own spaces with a much more critical eye.  I spend all day de-cluttering, and efficiently micro-organizing everybody else’s home.  My own home is not getting the daily attention it deserves.  More importantly, I am not as patient or lenient with my own family (who are the culprits) as I am with my clients; nor are they as consensual with my oh so helpful suggestions, lol.

As I have evolved as a Professional Organizer, my expectations of what “being organized” means, has changed.  The bar has been raised. I am way more cognizant of things not put away, and less tolerant of procrastination. The trials and tribulations of living with a Professional Organizer can be challenging, for sure.  Sometimes scary.

Technology advances and products continue to improve.  Professionally, I research, purchase, and get the opportunity to see them work in my client’s spaces.  I pass on all the new and exciting products I’ve discovered to better organize their things, yet I do not take the time to implement them into my own home. There are so many dated organizing systems and products that I still use that should be replaced with more updated ones.   Fortunately, because I am innately organized, I am still able to achieve the same model organization, re-purposing the old design with some creativity.  Functionality is not compromised, just operating with the basic essentials.

So next on my To Do list, I have high hopes to start with my home-office organization. There are so many new amazing options of high quality colorful folders, decorative desktop organizers, unique office supplies, and drawer organizers that I love and hope to buy soon.  I’ve said this many times before, but it just never seems to happen.  Maybe I should invest in all the bells and whistles including a newly color-coded filing system, as beautifully appointed as my last client.  Maybe.  Just maybe, if I find the time.

Yours truly, Time-management guru, has no time.  Just like the Shoemaker.  My own children are still urging me to help them organize and de-clutter their respective NYC apartments. They are still waiting.

Hmmm…makes me wonder…

Do you think painter’s have freshly painted walls in their own homes?

Do teachers have time to tutor their own children? 

Do accountants file their taxes late?

Do decorators have beautiful homes? 

Do you think dentist’s children have perfect teeth?  Well, I have to tell you that I have met some dentists with shockingly bad teeth and I found that to be surprising.

So I’m thinking that I’m not alone.  Maybe many “Captains of Industry” or tradesmen/technicians do not have time to service their own personal lives with their particular specialty. 

How has your profession impacted your personal life? What do you sacrifice? Do you ever feel like you’ve walked in the Shoemaker’s shoes?




Read this post on single page to comment →

How Well Do You Know Yourself?… The Secret to Your Personal Productivity

Not everyone is a self-actualized person.  It takes a very insightful individual to pay attention to who they really are.  I like to call this sixth sense, one’s life rhythm. Essentially, it is understanding what makes you tick.

We all approach life so differently in accordance with our own individual personality styles.  I have often blogged before about our unique learning styles and how these different modalities affect the way we understand organization, but I recently have realized that we must also factor in our general life rhythm. Are you in or out of sync with yourself?

Making a real connection with our consciousness will impact how we move through our lives and will organically affect our productivity

Let’s talk about stress. We all manage our anxiety levels in a discriminatory way.  Have you thought about how you handle pressure?  Are you a last-minute person, or do you like to prepare?  Do you delay making decisions, or do you cut to the chase?  Do you get a vicarious thrill from living on the edge, or do you play it safe? When you’ve answered  all of these questions, you will gain a keener sense of who you are, and discover if you are indeed in touch with your inner you.  There are so many layers to all of us, it is so very difficult to identify each and every one of them.

These triggers will formulate the patterns of one’s life organization.  I have seen time and time again from clients that no matter what organizational principles I implement, their natural personality style beats out any systematized solution I provide.  One client in particular, continuously stresses to me that she’s unlikely to prepare ahead of time for any meeting, manage her child’s readiness for after-school activities, or respond in a timely fashion to any social engagement.  She just shoots from the hip, and is very comfortable with that.  I’ve realized that her reaction to cause and effect is immediate.  This formula has always been her life rhythm and will always be.

From a personal perspective, although extremely organized, I understand that I function at my optimum, under extreme pressure.  As a college student and way beyond academic life, I have always preformed best under duress.  Somehow, whenever I leave myself with too much on my plate with too little time, I fully engage in the challenge of succeeding.  The cogs start to rapidly turn, my energy and commitment morph into high gear, and I recognize that I am fueled with the pressure of a deadline.  My organizational skills are heightened.  I know and understand that I perform best this way.

Certainly, there is no cookie cutter pattern to living an organized and productive life.  But before you can even attempt success, you must first really understand who you are at your core. Get in sync with yourself.

Identify your proclivities.  Work with your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.

Think about what feeds your productivity gene. Can you identify your life rhythm?

Read this post on single page to comment →

Are All Your Ducks in a Row or Does it Just Look That Way?

If I were to judge a book by its cover,  I would have to say that the “well-dressed” professional gives a distinctive impression of being profoundly organized. But I often wonder if that exterior appearance is merely a facade. Is it really who they are? I am unabashedly curious about their morning routine…

    • Did they struggle to find appropriate and clean clothes that morning?
    •  Did they just barely arrive on time for the business meeting because they didn’t manage their time well?
    • Did they race out of the house harried and stressed, leaving a trail of clutter behind?
    •  Is their car an extension of their untidy office, and is yesterday’s old coffee still in the cup holder?

The ironic truth is that even if the answer was YES to all of the above, at first glance no-one would ever really know. For starters, they look good and play the part well.  Let’s not underestimate the power of first impressions; they matter and are duly noted.  People often make judgemental assessments just based upon one’s outward appearance.  It is a reflection of one’s style, personality, and general attitude.  So if you are impeccably dressed to impress, you can expect to pick up significant brownie points before you even open your mouth.  Unfortunately, if all your ducks are not in a row, the ugly truth will eventually rear its ugly head.

Certainly, not everyone is inherently organized.  We all have individual core competencies and it just may not include an acute organizational skill set.  The executive function part of our brain is so individually unique and therefore the way we think about organization varies from person to person.

And so, it begs the question,  do you think you are asorganized as you could be? I am not suggesting that you should consider crossing every T and dotting every I, nor advocating taking an mandatory Organizing 101 course tomorrow.  But it is important to work with what you’ve got to the best of your abilities.

Here’s a general tip… neat and tidy does not necessarily mean organized.  There is a huge difference between aesthetic organization and functional organization. You can purchase beautiful decorative containers and still be searching for things.  Likewise, there are many successful executives who can operate very efficiently with piles of seemingly unruly papers, because they know exactly where to access each one.  This is what we can refer to as organizedchaos.  It’s more about creating systems and sometimes they can be somewhat unconventional. As long as you can access your things, clothes, and files, etc.  whenever you need them, consider yourself “organized enough.”  If it’s systematic and works for you, then it’s working!

But perhaps you love the idea of being organized and so you aim to portray that trait in the way you look. Check the mirror.  If your outward appearance is exuding a pleasing polished professional image,  chances are it just might be speaking subliminally about what you aspire to be. It undoubtedly reflects a measure of success and confidence. It makes you feel good, for sure.  You are sending out a strong message of balance and control. Whether strolling down the street or entering a room, you are commanding attention, well-knowing that others must be thinking you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

So pay attention to what that says about you.  If you can be fastidious about how you look on the outside and it’s working in your favor, perhaps you can transfer that behavior to other components of your life. Work on having your insides match your outsides.  Follow through with the same attention to detail and appearance with your home, office, and car. Don’t stop at the surface.  Dig deeper.  Align yourself inside.  When you feel more harmonized, you will be more synchronized.  Inside and out.

Don’t just look organized, be organized. Walk the walk and all the ducks will follow.

Read this post on single page to comment →