Organizer + Coach = Greater Results

CoachingI’ve been so excited to share about my coaching services since completing the ICF accredited Coach Approach for Organizers foundations program.

Check out this Quick interview with answers to a few of the questions I’ve received on coaching.  Simply put, combining organizing expertise with coaching skills results in greater results for you!

Are you still a Professional Organizer? Of course I am!  I love helping clients to transition their space into a more functional environment for work and play.  I have learned over the years that sometimes it’s about more than the stuff thus I am adding the coaching skill set to create a richer experience for my clients.  Coaching provides a layer of support for clients who want structure in successfully applying organizing and productivity principles beyond moving the stuff.

Adding coaching brings my services even closer to A Taylored Space motto of ‘Make Room For Your Life’.

How will coaching help my organizing project?  There are many situations that occur during the organizing project in which taking a break from the what to work more on the why can help the project move forward.

  • When you are not quite ready to work in a space but still want to prepare
  • Before an organizing session to realign with goals and desired end results
  • When stuck or overwhelmed during the project
  • When creating a plan for next steps towards the end of an organizing session
  • In between sessions for accountability and encouragement

Given all these openings, coaching can occur during organizing sessions and as a standalone service! 

 Do you coach on other topics?  I am focusing my coaching practice on helping people shift beyond busy to productive.  Over the past 5 years the more complex situations that my client face revealed many areas lacking focus and thereby reducing productivity: space and systems, time and tasks, your connections and your capacity.  I’ve integrated these into a system that addresses internal challenges as well as external giving the client space to increase awareness around their situation and barriers to success, design customized action plans, and receive ongoing personal accountability.

I have coached clients on time management, goal setting and achievement, healthy lifestyle (weight loss and fitness), confidence in decision making, keeping family the priority, job changes, redefining life balance and other topics as they emerge in our time together. 

Isn’t coaching the same as consulting and training?

There are some similarities and there are also some major differences.  See the definitions below for more information on what makes the coaching experience so unique.

A Coach partners with you in a dynamic process as you explore needs, goals, actions and learnings

A Trainer shows you what to do effectively transferring their expertise to increase your knowledge and skills

A Consultant tells you their expert recommendation and advice based on their opinion of your situation

In the Coaching process the Client is the true expert and is held as naturally creative resourceful and whole, capable of unlocking the answers to the questions in their life.  So many times we look to others to give us advice when really if we can rediscover the truth that best represents what we need and  what works for us we can live more productive and authentic lives. 

See this additional document on “What is Coaching”   (do I link to the one-sheet?) yes as a pdf

If you could sum up coaching in 3 words what would they be?

Awareness, Action, Accountability

  • Increases awareness of self, situation, challenges and resources,
  • Clarifies and constructs positive action,
  • Provides caring accountability that is more support when needed and more strength when asked

 How can I learn more about your coaching services?

Congratulations on wanting to learn more about what coaching can do for you!  Here’s the page on my site outlining my approach to coaching.  

You can also schedule a complimentary consultation session with me here  to talk more about your specific situation and how coaching can work for you .  

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Everything or Nothing- When What’s OUT Is IN Line with Your Space Style

These two styles are all about the way you arrange your things to create a space that is stimulating, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing .  whether you prefer to hide things from view or have them displayed openly, the goal in working with this aspect of your style is to create a supportive and productive environment where you know what you have and can easily access it.

Everything Out = Out Of Sight, Out of Mind

Courtesy of DepositPhotos- galdzer

Courtesy of DepositPhotos- galdzer

Someone who connects with the Everything Out Style Preference is clearly from the “out of sight, out of mind” school of organizing. They feel most comfortable when their things are visible and within reach. The challenge with leaving everything out is, with so much in your field of view you won’t be able to really see anything. Piles of stuff and stacks of papers will soon overwhelm you.

One of my clients felt the only way to manage her mail was to keep it all out on her desk.  This led to mounds of envelopes of varying age and state of openness on top of the desk.  These would spontaneously lean and slide leaving layers of mixed papers spread across the desktop and often falling off the desk.   Additionally her checkbook, calendar and phone were regularly thrown into the mix and often lost.  The mail was not being processed timely and the desk was not functional.

We created a 2 step process in which she could corral and have handy the papers she needed to address.

First all incoming mail was placed into a clear bin near the desk.  The bills went into a labeled folder in the bin.

Next we set a scheduled time to pay bills.  When the time came she grabbed the folder and processed those bills. This allowed her to see those items, work on them when it was the scheduled time and make some of the desk available for using the computer and reading.  Her stress level was reduced because she knew where the bills were and her budget was back on track as late fees were eliminated.

I am a strong Everything Out.  When I am working on a project I will spread everything out on my desk or worktable or floor (depending on what the project is) so I can put my eyes and hands on what’s needed.  When my work time is over, I take that chunk of material and put it away to clear the space.

What do you think? Does out of sight mean out of mind or the total opposite?

Nothing Out  = No worries, right?

Courtesy of DepositPhotos-pinkbadger

Courtesy of DepositPhotos-pinkbadger

The Nothing Out Style Preference is the opposite of the Everything Out Style. Nothing Outs are uncomfortable with “visual clutter” and feel claustrophobic when they don’t have room to move around in their space.  The challenge with a Nothing Out approach is that they have a tendency to literally stuff things into drawers or closets and then forget what’s been put where.

A client of mine had a professionally decorated home.  It was a great open space for entertaining and she often had guests.  She called me because she was “running out of room’ and couldn’t find anything thus needed to get organized.  As we walked through the house I quickly saw that although there was plenty of storage in the house she was filling the closets and cabinets with all kinds of things.  It helped when preparing for guests but there was absolutely no order to what was being stored so when the people left she was left with a mess.  We sorted the contents of all the closets and she decided where things would go.  One closet was for decorative/ entertaining items, one for memorabilia and family photos, one for office supplies.  There was also a big spare drawer for mail and kitchen counter items.  This way when she needed to tidy up for people coming over she could put things out of sight in predetermined places then find them again later.  It was a good balance of her preference to have things out of sight and be organized enough for easy future access.

As you can see from the examples above, knowing what systems and products work with your personal styles is so important because it allows you to make efficient and effective use of your time and space ultimately creating more satisfying experiences.

Once you identify your dominant preferences – are you an Everything Out™, Nothing Out™, Minimalist™, Saver™, Straightener™, or No Rules™? – you can begin to take steps to integrate more Flow Steps into your everyday life.

The Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™) evaluates your space style preferences and  how you arrange your space, assign value and tolerate disorder.  By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can make the most of the things in your space and increase flow in your life. Consistently taking the Flow Steps in your styles of dominance will help you successfully manage yourself, and your decisions about your space.

EMBRACE your natural style!

Make it all work better for you – take the Time & Space Style Inventory™ today to identify your time and space styles and enjoy your life!

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It’s National Clean Out Your Files Month!

coutesy of depositphotos.com-SpacesYes, we do just keep the organizing festivities coming 🙂  October is National Clean Out Your Files Month.  It’s a second great time of year to spend some time organizing your files.  The first time I recommend is in April around tax time.  We are 6 months from April now and I think it helps to relieve some of the pressure to focus on the financial records in the spring and others now. To get started, follow these 3 tips for some filing fun this month.

Rethink Reference

The Small Business Administration says that 80% of the paper we file we never refer to again.   80% !  OK now look at your files.  That means if you have 5 drawers saved you will likely never even look at 4 of them again.  Think about that as you go through your files.   Also think about whether you can access the info again either in print or electronically.

Package Projects

By taking the time to sort files into categories of similar subject area, you can then see the true volume and make easier decisions down the road both in purging and in storing.   This applies to creative friends also.  Whether it is writing, photos, paper crafts you may have some project files that have gathered some dust.  Keep an eye out for old projects you don’t remember why you wanted to do or have been sitting for substantial time.  Also gather up the pieces that may connect from other areas of the home/ studio and get them together as a project file.

Save Some Space

Don’t overfill the drawers, cabinets, boxes and folders used to store your files.  When full the average 4 drawer file cabinet holds 15-20,000 pieces of paper (In my best Robin voice” Holy smokes Batman that’s a lot of paper cuts!”)  There is nothing worse than trying to open a drawer that eats up your hand, barely moves or falls off the hinges because it is overstuffed.  When files are tightly packed it’s harder to read the labels and handle the files.  Additionally if all the drawers are full you won’t  have room to store other critical files, you buy additional storage, fill it all up, buy additional storage and the accumulation of clutter begins.

These were just a few quick tips to get you going to fabulous files.  As long as we wish to record our life activities, we will need to take care of our files.  Make some time this month to give your files the attention they need and you’ll be rewarded with easier access to your important pieces of information and maybe even a little more piece of mind.

Happy Organizing,

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What’s Your Preference: Straightener or No Rules Style?

Let’s face it, disorder  happens.  With the speed of life bringing so much information, activity and items into our lives it seems that the edge of our environment keeps expanding to include more stuff.  When you are ready to clear the clutter, look no further than your everyday behaviors for clues on how to get organized. The Straightener and No Rules Style Preferences focus on the extent to which you are able to tolerate disorder in your space.

You can pretty easily determine if your habits follow a Straightener or a No Rules style.

Straighteners are compelled to align items within their space. 

No Rules are less in tune to the stuff and often don’t notice details in their space. 

Wondering which one better describes you? 

Take a look around your space.  Are many of your belongings neatly stacked, piled or arranged so that edges are even, lines are congruent or evenly spaced.  There may be a drawer or shelf of items that seem to fit just right and look really neat.  Have you or a friend described you as being OCD or a neat freak?  Really you may feel like the opposite is true, you can’t find enough places to put your neat stacks of stuff and it is driving you a little batty. You may be a Straightener.

 Quick Tip for working with your Straightener Style- Practice greater appreciation for function over form.  While having items arranged in a way that’s pleasing to look at may seem nice, it is the actual organizing- giving meaning to grouping and locations of items- that will help you maintain order. 

Take another look at your space.  Are there mixed arrangements or messy piles of stuff?   Does it even feel right to have everything put up?  Do you feel like you are often too busy focusing on other activities to even see what’s out of place in the room.  Maybe you are just overwhelmed and unable to improve the space so you just leave it.  Meanwhile your family describes you as a clutter bug or living in ‘organized chaos’. You may be a No Rules.pile-of-jeans

 Quick Tip for working with your No Rules Style- Work from simple systems and routines.  When organizing feels too difficult, too time consuming or too much trouble take a step back remembering what your goal is then build easy-to-use systems that help you stay organized without feeling overwhelmed. 

The Straightener and No Rules Space Style Preferences are at either ends of the spectrum. If you’re not aware of why you have certain tendencies and habits, it can be difficult to create customized strategies to get you organized.  When you understand where you fall on the spectrum you know which strategies, structures and behaviors will most likely yield success for you. 

The Time and Space Style Inventory (TSSI) assesses your space preferences and describes the typical ways you manage your surroundings.  The results are based on how you arrange your space assign value to items and tolerate disorder. By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can make the best use of your time and choose to take actions that increase flow in your life. Consistently taking the Flow Steps in your dominant styles will help you successfully manage yourself and the items in your space. 

Ready to embrace your natural style? Take the TSSI today  to understand how to make your space work better for you.

Can you relate to either of these styles?  Share where you are on the spectrum and what works for you!

 Happy Organizing!

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Discover Your Style

perfect room magazineEver feel like you are the only one not getting results from following Perfect Room Magazine’s ‘Top 10 Tips for Organizing Everything in 10 Minutes’ article.  The truth is you are not the only one.  Part of the reason for this disconnect is that while the article may contain sound advice, it may not be a good fit to your personal preferences.  So how can YOU get organized and maintain it?  Start by finding your style.

 Coach and Momprenuer Mentor Cena Block developed the TSSI- Time and Space Style Inventory  to help you better understand your unique preferences for using time and managing our space.    The TSSI takes into account how you normally interact with your environment and to-do list to help you assess your personal style.  With this understanding you are set up to reach peak levels of productivity (we call it “FLOW”– a heightened state of focus resulting in efficient action and ultimately fulfilling results) in which you are able to do more and stay organized because you are aligning your strengths and preferences with specific techniques that work. 

Check out this video explaining the TSSI and how it can help you.

 

It takes about 15 minutes to complete the inventory and you are sent a report that gives your styles in a range from dominant, strong to moderate.  You also get access to the TSSI Hub where you can find more details on each style including the steps you can take to make the most of your time and space and  achieve flow. 

In taking the TSSI I discovered that I am a Hopper- Big Picture- Cliff Hanger.  I see across all there is to do then I jump from thing to thing and continue working until the last moment at which I had to call a task done (there’s a bit of the Perfectionist showing up too).  With the insights gained from the TSSI I was able to adjust a couple of my task management routines based on the suggested flow steps in my report.   It has helped to relieve anxiety about the laundry list of projects that I want to get done.  I also can maintain a higher state of focus because I know there is already rest and play time built into my workflow. 

What about you? What do you hope to learn in understanding your style better?

When you’re ready to discover your style go here to access the TSSI.

Happy Organizing!

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3 Ways to Trust Yourself Again

                 

trust jumpWhile working with a client this week she said “I wish I could work with you every day”.  I smiled as she clearly meant it as a compliment to what I helped her accomplish.  We had just finished working on building her first packing list for an upcoming extended trip.  She was finally feeling the pressure of last minute packing fading away.  I was excited for her and at the same time curious about her comment.  I believe our relationship is such that she values my expertise and trusts I am supporting her just as she needs it.  Still I wondered “is she learning to trust herself through our work together?”  And if not how can I help her regain that trust?

It happens to us all.  As we change our priorities, learn something new, have to change or do something differently, we may no longer feel in complete control. Though we have the courage to start we may not know how to keep going.  We don’t trust ourselves to sit in that uncomfortable moment alone.  I reassured my client that she in a good place and gave her 3 pieces of advice to regain her own trust.

1. Keep practicing

Those who are most proficient at their profession, hobby, sport or happiness use their skills often.  If you don’t have them ask get help from someone willing to teach you.  Practice breeds confidence.  Confidence renews courage that can power you to try again.  You will get better with practice.  

2. Look for the learning

Don’t get stuck on what didn’t go well.  Instead, look for the a-ha moments in your organizing experiences and ask yourself what did I learn.  You can find out about yourself, your abilities, your drivers for moving forward.  Imagine what you will be able to do next?

3. Celebrate your success 

As you are more aware of those learnings and see the positive results, celebrate.  Be inspired by the things that you do know and appreciate the person you are becoming– someone you can trust to help with your organizing needs.        

The tension that comes with learning new skills and then trusting yourself to use them takes some time to ease.  That time can be well spent in practicing the very thing that unsettles you. While working the process you learn by doing, recognize success and relearn how to trust yourself. 

How have you learned to trust yourself recently?  Post a comment below!

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Getting Off the Roller Coaster

 

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What do you do when you think you’re ready to get organized but you are not quite ready?!  There’s too much going on and it seems like life is just happening to you.  The fast pace and blurred boundaries of work, family, friends, community, self, etc can turn what may be a short period of high stress into an extended time of distress and disorganization.  Have you experienced these situations:

  • Things gets suspiciously calm then crazy busy then leaves you exhausted.
  • You start working on a space then realize you are just moving items from one space to another.
  • You set a goal to focus on what you want but stuff just keeps popping up and you never get around to it.

If this sounds like your life then you, my friend, are on the clutter chaos roller coaster Ready to stop this wild ride?!

 1. Breathe. 

Take a deep breath and as you release it try to clear your mind of alllll the things you have going on.

 2. Reflect on your goals 

What exactly do you want and why do you want it. Go deeper. What needs will it fill for you?

3. Understand your challenges

Ask yourself what’s getting in the way of you getting to your goal Assess whether you have the skills, knowledge, and ability to face the challenge alone. Think of specific ways you can overcome those challenges.

4. Recommit to a next step forward

Write down the next one best thing that you can do to move forward. Commit to just doing that one thing.  Many times single tasking and simplifying the to- do list is key to staying focused.

5. Take action

The power to get what you want is in the doing work to get there.  When you move forward with that first step you are taking back control from the clutter and chaos.

Life may be leaving you a little dizzy these days, with end of school year, preparing for vacation, So taking that first step back off the roller coaster may seem like a big one… BUT how big are your dreams, what is a better quality of life worth for you?  Go for it!  You can only reach your goals if you start now.  

 Happy Organizing!

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5 Reasons Spring is the Perfect Time for Organizing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun is shining, the flowers are blooming– Spring is back and just in time because as a southern girl deep winters are not my favorite thing.  If you are like me you anxiously awaited the defrost and wasted no time getting moving again.  Inside the house, in the yard and in the office I have found renewed energy to refresh my spaces.  I think that Spring is the perfect time to work on organizing projects.  See below my top 5 reasons you should be organizing now.  

1.It’s a natural time of change. 

The change of seasons brings good prompts to transition some things in your life and environment. 

  • As it warms up you can turn over the closet by removing what you didn’t wear this year and bringing out warm weather clothes. 
  • When the taxes are done it’s a good opportunity to shred old files and refresh your home inventory and insurance policies. 
  • Spring break is coming.  Be prepared by setting up a packing list or planning to put those extra hands to work on a bigger project.

2. Some spaces are more accessible.

Better weather allows access to larger spaces. You can bear to be in the spaces that experience extreme heat in the summer but it’s nice enough to spread items outside for a very effective sorting process. It can also have a more dramatic result in functionality and appearance.

 Speaking of large spaces, this year The Advocate’s All Around the House special section highlighted tips on garage organizing.  A Taylored Space was featured in the story on page 12, which you can enjoy by clicking here.

3. You see more family and friends.

Whether it is for a spring break trip, upcoming graduation, family reunion… you will see those folks whose stuff has been taking up room in your space.  I hereby give you complete permission to return it or invite them to pick it up really soon.

4. There’s more time to work.  

Having extra daylight supports the body feel like there are more active hours in the day.  You can fit in an extra hour or two towards your project in the morning and evening hours around your work schedule.  Additionally for spaces you are working outdoors that natural light helps.  Just remember to stay hydrated and fed to have the energy to keep going.     

5. Brightening up your perspective can help with the space. 

Have you been waiting until or setting  conditions like if this then I will, now might be the time for you to adjust your outlook.  Maybe the best time to start  is now.   Shaking off the chill of winter and opening the windows can shine new light on a room revealing the perfect spot for reading or that pile of items you still haven’t dropped off for donation. Clear out the clutter and reclaim your rooms.  The space is valuable and so is your piece of mind.

Whether your next project is small or large there is no better time to start than now.  Prioritize your projects, schedule time to work on them and spring into action.

Happy Organizing!

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Systems and Routines Support Success: Maintain Order in Your Space

This weekend I met a lady on the tarmack in Miami.  The calm peaceful smile on her face got me curious about her travel experience that day as mine had been quite interesting.  We struck up a conversation and it turns out she was heading home from 2 weeks in London celebrating a birthday with friends.  The trip had been adventurous yet she smiled because she was on her way home and just loved her new life.  She’d recently sold her 20+ year business in real estate and vacation property management.  Starting with just a fixer her husband bought as a gift, she took some construction courses and renovated into a bed and breakfast.  She later added more vacation rentals and a property management group that expanded the venture into an 80 property business! 

I was amazed she with a small team of 5 could keep up with all of these properties. She said that keeping a handle on time was the most important thing she tried to instill in her crew.  I asked what most played a role in her successful use of time while maintaining the properties.
The answer: Systems and routines.  When she’d been a housekeeper and later a nurse having a routine and sticking to it helped maintain the rooms quickly.  She worked top to bottom left to right in a sequence of steps that got everything done efficiently.
Of course this got me geeked as an organizer because so often I hear folks say I don’t know how or have the time to keep it up.  We all get the same amount of time in our day.  We can stretch the list of what gets done in the time available by implementing systems and routines, especially for rooms we often use and tasks we regularly perform.

Next time you go into a space that needs extra attention to stay organized follow these steps:

1. Be mindful about how you are using the space and the homes for items there. 
2. When you are done using the space write out a list of steps for how you put it back in order.
3. Try to repeat these steps a few times after you use the room. 
– IF it helps you to get the room consistently neater faster than you would in the past, congrats you have a new maintenance system. Continue using it.
– IF it doesn’t go so well fell free to make a few tweaks and try again.  Remember this has to work for you in your space and you are allowed to make changes to get it right.
4. Now choose how often you will go in to maintain your space.  Will it be right after you use it or on a scheduled basis?  Either way will work.

You can keep your space organized and appealing by investing the time to plan your maintenance routine and completing it regularly.

Happy Organizing!
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Like, Love or Something Else?

hearthomeRemember when you first moved into your house?  It was new and fresh and everyday you wanted to rush home and fall into the loving embrace of “your space”.  As time went on life happened and with it came lots of stuff and distractions. The space you enjoyed keeping guest ready became another constant figure on the list of to-dos. Refreshing the relationship with your space doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Get past that love- hate feeling now by building in some simple routines.

 It can be simple.

Soooo building a routine may sound like a big deal but really it’s not.  It just requires for you to take some reasonable action on a regular frequency. Here are a few ways to help you take action.

Break it down – divide the space into zones to keep focus on a manageable set of steps versus facing the whole room at once. This can be the natural function zones of a multiuse room or just single task throughout the room.

 Check it off working from a checklist can give you consistency and efficiency.  instead of trying to remember to remember you can just do what’s on the list.  One thing I love about checklists is they give you a little positive boost as you check off each item and ultimately finish everything.

 Time it-if you are freaky busy you can benefit from short intervals of activity. These shorter bursts help you fit in decluttering on any given day.  Decide how long you want to work then use the clock to get time on your side.

 T, I’m so busy…can we talk more about the frequency? 

Yes let’s!  The organizing process is a balance of use and reordering. Your approach to maintenance needs to consider how soon after you use a space you will put it back in good order.  Decide which works best for you by choosing now or later.

The NOW approach is like a restaurant. You come in use the space for a while and declutter a little as you go from one activity to another. Then when you are ready to leave the space everything is cleared. The room is left very presentable and available for the next use.

The LATER approach is like a building maintenance service.  Many users come through the space than at a scheduled time it is put back in order.
Both work well and can allow you to be successful in keeping your home organized and happy.

Having a home environment that feels like a sanctuary from the craziness of the outside world is essential to a sense of balance.  You can achieve the space you need by spending some quality time with each room in regular maintenance routines.  Keep it simple and do it regularly to feel less like a chore and more like an act of love.

Happy Organizing!

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