A New Year, A New Business

30 Mar

This year I’m diving into (ok, maybe wading slowly into) a new business, Professional Organizing. I’ve always been very good at getting things “cleaned up”, organized and into systems. But I’ve mostly done it for myself, at work or occasionally family. (Even my preschool teacher said I was always very precise in putting toys away.) This year, with all the changes going on with our family and with my other consulting work, I’ve decided to take a real tangible step (beyond the researching and planning stages) in the direction of starting this business.

What is a Professional Organizer?

Professional Organizers use their skills and experience to help clients find the right organizing system, teach organizing skills, and them where they want to be organizationally in their lives. If you’ve ever said to yourself “I wish I could just get a handle on this mess” or “I just don’t know how what to do with insert your most problematic space in your house or office“, then a Professional Organizer can help you.

Services that Professional Organizers offer range from de-cluttering an overfilled closet, room-by-room space planning and reorganization, setting up paper files or computer file systems and coaching on time and task management. They ask the right questions to understand what you want and need. They’re able to customize an organizational system specifically for you. They can teach you basic organizational skills and walk with you through the process of decluttering, organizing and maintaining. They can visual your space in a new way and help you to see the big picture. And they can help you break down your organizing goals into small do-able pieces.

What brought about this step?

As I mentioned above, my family is going through some changes. The biggest is that we’re having our third child. Also with my husband in full time school and two other preschoolers running about, a lot of traditional work positions are not workable options for me. Second, in my other consulting work (Web Design and Project Management), the company who I did all my business since my first daughter was born four years ago is going through some restructuring and trying to land some new contracts, so my incoming work stream is currently very light (well non-existent truth to be told). It’s forced me to take a break (which is nice being at the end of my pregnancy) and also made me look more deeply at what I like to do and what I honestly would love to do as a career.

So the next step after getting that answer is to start taking the steps to make it happen.

Are you certified/ What qualifies you?

Currently I am not NAPO Certified (National Association of Professional Organizers). I would love to be, but it’s cost prohibitive in this stage of the game for me.

Instead my best qualifications come from a lifetime of having a passion and skill at getting things together, keeping organized and the love of working out systematic solutions to problems. In all the years of working for various companies and employers, I have also found myself in the (sometimes unofficial) role of Project Manager and Administrator. Not because it was the “unwanted” role, but because I had a knack for getting things organized and keeping projects running smoothly. Being a Professional Organizer and a Project Manager are not so different from each other. One is more centered on physical spaces and physical systems, while the other can be more abstract and have to do with tasks and timing.

A successful Project Manager requires the ability to setup a system, maintain the system, keep your focus on the Big Picture vision while still being able to handle the nitty-gritty details. All of this in order to bring the end result of completed project and satisfied client, or help bring balance, productivity and efficiency to a ongoing project in a team situation. As a Professional Organizer, these same requirements apply.

And to top it off, I have a degree in Environmental Design (which encompases Architecture and also overall design). This has uniquely positioned me in helping others visualize their space, see the Big Picture on what the function is for an area and then take the next steps in getting organized.

So, I’m interested! What can you do for me?

I am currently offering Professional Organizing Services for your home, your home-based business or small business. I can help you start the process of getting organized, reclaim order, give you tips and tools to be more efficient and find balance in work, home and life. Whether you’re local (I can make a trip for a in person consultation) or halfway around the world (you’d be surprised what a couple of photos and an online consultation can do), I can help you get started in asking yourself the right questions, giving you helpful tips and suggestions for your space, pointing you in the right direction on how to get started and then successfully move you in the process of getting organized.

If you’re interested, please contact me. And Happy New Year of Organizing (for you and me)!

Organized for 2011 Survey

23 Mar

Even though the Organizing Rush of the New Year has worn off for some, there seems to be a general continuance of wanting this year to be the one where lives and homes are uncluttered and things are back on track. What better way then to really dig through our lives and stuff and get fully Organized for 2011.

As part of that trend, I have something in the works (to be announced next week, but you’ll probably be able to figure it out.) Until the official announcement though, “Would you like to take a Survey?” (as the line rings in my ears from a cartoon show from the 90s) I’d love to hear what people are most concerned about, what they are having the most trouble with and get some feedback.

If you got 5 minutes, please click here to take my survey. And thanks!

Work, Life, Career and Family… Part Two

15 Mar

I guess Work, Life and Family balance is on the brain for a lot of working moms. Here’s a great excerpt from a post from Nataly over at Work It, Mom!

I’ve been a working mom for almost seven years now (gulp!) so I know that the whole work-life balance thing is a myth (and a bad one, at that). It’s not about balance, it’s about trade-offs and juggling and letting some balls fall so that you can juggle the others without losing your sanity. But still, I find myself trying to figure out how to make life a little less crazy (without actually aiming for that unachievable balance) and I hear myself complaining to friends about having too much to get done and not sleeping enough to do it all with a clear head.

My usual routine for the few kiddo-free hours on Saturday morning is to get the cooking and shopping list ready for the week, catch up on a little work, and grab a coffee with my husband. But yesterday I was totally beat from a crazy week at work so instead of getting all the productive stuff done, I just went to the coffee shop, bought a huge latte and settled in to drink and while reading an awesome book I’ve just picked up. For an hour, that is all I did.

I learned something from my hour in the cafe. I’m not sure how to have less stuff on my plate (work, family, cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc.) but I know how to keep my sanity better as I juggle it: An hour doing something I completely and utterly enjoy.

She then asked “What’s your favorite work-life craziness survival tip? How do you completely disconnect and recharge?”

Here’s what I said:
“My best disconnect and recharge activity is doing anything outside the house without hubby and kids in tow. Even if it’s grocery shopping. I feel productive, can stop to do what I want to do and I can think straight without a constant barrage of distractions for just a little bit of time. Of course, ideally in a “perfect” world where I could stop time and really take a nice chunk of “me” time, I’d get away for an hour or two (or a whole day, gasp) and just sit, think, process, get out into nature, take pictures and just meander.”

Also in response to a couple other posters, I had this to say:
“Sometimes a little “me” time can be combined with other things we “have” to do or don’t want to compromise on doing. For instance doing something with your daughter that you also love to do (and recharges you), like a Saturday morning coffee/hot cocoa and pastry run just the two of you OR washing those dishes while watching some TV/listening to a audio book. And in terms of getting ahead on your lists, just make sure you’re doing the absolute top 3 (or 5) things you need to do that day. If your list is ongoing and it has 10 or more items (which cannot be possibly done in one day), you’re more likely to discourage yourself each and everyday with making list of things to do. That’s what I’ve found and heard from others too.”

and

“I love using GTD (Getting Things Done) to help me from having those “lingering” thoughts of things I needed to do. I do a “mind dump” every month and it really helps clear the brain. Even if I don’t get every item that I think of “done”, I know where they are (on one sorted list) and I can strategically pick out those items that “really” needed to be done. Also, I had a talk with my husband and delegated items that really I didn’t need to be doing. (Now, he’ll do all the checkbook balancing/bills, dishes and 75% of the dinners… so that I could work more.)”

What do you think? What’s your favorite work-life craziness survival tip? How do you completely disconnect and recharge? And if you’ve had experience balancing work and family, what advice would you give to others just starting to ponder these things?

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