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Blog: The Nature of Being Organized
A Kinder, Gentler Way Of Organizing

"Gently lay your hands".
These are the words written on the elegant black and white print that hangs on the wall over my desk. The hands of a potter are gently shaping clay to form a vase. The print was a gift from my clinical supervisor at the hospital where I did my social work internship many years ago. I cherish it because it's a reminder of her advice to be gentle with myself during intense learning periods. I recall the words often, especially when I begin an organizing project with a new client.
Most of my clients are overwhelmed when we start the initial organizing project and want the project to be over quickly. My newest client calls herself "Instant Pudding" because she wants the project to be over yesterday. She knows that instant pudding doesn't taste as good as slow-cooked, either. We're having many laughs and we've created a new saying to remind her that steady progress is better: "Instant Pudding has left the building!"
We are so used to everything happening quickly these days with microwaves, drive-thru services, and overnight express that fast and easy have become part of our routine. However, it doesn't work when it comes to organizing projects. If you tend rush through a project to get it over with, you could wind up with even more anxiety, overwhelm and stress. Be gentle with yourself. Here are a few things you can do to avoid "instant pudding syndrome":
  1. Focus on one small area at a time if you have a large project. I encourage my clients to cover up the areas that they can't get to right away. What you can't see won't overwhelm you.
  2. Set aside a time to work when you have the highest level of energy. If you're a morning person work in the morning, etc.
  3. Check in with your attitude. What are you saying to yourself? Start the project when you're feeling positive and hopeful about it.
  4. Stay focused and present. If you tend to be easily distracted, keep a bin or basket handy to sort items that live in another area of your home. Complete one project before starting another.
  5. Start the project in a calm state. I encourage my clients to sit quietly, meditate, do yoga, or gentle stretching exercises before they launch into a project. As you work pay attention to your body. Can you feel it tensing up? If you do, stop and return to your calm state before continuing.
  6. Develop a mantra, chant, or saying like my client did. Use it to keep you focused and present.
  7. Set an intention before you start the project. How do you intend to "be" during the project? What will you do to keep yourself on track?
 I love this saying: "small things done consistently yield big results". The fastest way is consistent, steady progress because you'll make fewer mistakes, use your time more effectively, have more energy, be less stressed, and get more accomplished. So turn in the "instant pudding" for the real thing. Be kind to yourself as you become more organized. Gently lay your hands.

posted on: 12/13/2007 12:00:00 PM by Maggie McCauley
category: The Mental Side

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Discuss This Post

by besavicky on 8/22/2009 2:40:58 AM:

what is the purpose of organizing ples. reply

by Anonymous on 8/22/2009 9:30:13 AM:

Hello! I believe the purpose of organizing is up to the individual. What would it mean for you? More money because you're not paying for storage units, or late fees because you don't have a good bill paying system in place or buying duplicates for what you lost or can't find. More time because you're able to find things quickly and you know how to plan to maximize your time. Being able to invite people over because you take pride in your environment. Or maybe it's a sense of spaciousness and peace of mind instead of feeling cramped, frustrated and discouraged. I think the purpose of organizing depends on what you value most. Thank you for your question. Love To You, Maggie

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The Nature of Being Organized

by Maggie McCauley

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About Maggie:

Maggie McCauley, ACC, LICSW, The Effortless Organizing Coach, is the president of "A New View". She takes a holistic approach to organizing coaching her clients to create new habits that promote overall well-being, a sense of freedom and peace of mind.

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Maggie's Products:

My Favorite Books

  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
  • It's Hard To Make A Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul
  • Organize With Confidence by Elizabeth Hagen
  • The Secret Of Letting Go by Guy Finley
  • Life Is Short--Wear Your Party Pants by Loretta La Roche
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin
  • Loving What Is by Byron Katie
  • Making A Change For Good by Cheri Huber
  • "Happiness Now!" by Robert Holden, PhD.

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