Tough Conversations

I needed to have what I perceived to be a tough conversation with a health care provider recently.  I wanted a specific course of treatment that I wasn’t sure she was going to be in favor of.  I did the research to support my request, but still worried and fretted over that upcoming conversation for the better part of the week.  When I actually had the conversation, there was no push-back from the health care provider at all.  She was fully in support of my request and was more than willing to prescribe what I’d requested.  All that worry was for nothing.

How can you ensure your tough conversations go that well?

1. Do the research: If you want the outcome of a tough conversation to go your way, do the research.

  • Want a raise? Be ready to explain why you deserve it. What have you done to contribute to the bottom line?  What are comparable employees in similar industries being paid?
  • Want a better deal with your cable company? Know the current price of comparable packages and be prepared to explain how long you’ve been a valued, pay-on-time customer.
  • Want a prescribed treatment plan? Detail the reputable resources you utilized to come to your decision about the treatment plan and why you believe it will work for you.  Starting the conversation with “this guy on one of my blog sites said I needed to do this” may not be your best lead.

2.  Know what you want:

  • If you want a raise, be specific. “Based on the information I’ve provided I deserve an extra $5 per hour” is much better than “I want a raise.”
  • If you want a better cable deal, saying “I see your bundled package for new customers is $125/month. How can I get that same deal?” is better than “I need you to reduce my monthly bill.”
  • If you want a different prescription, say “I would like to try Adderall because I understand the side effects are less severe than Concerta.”

3.  Be polite: No matter what you are requesting, it is better to be polite than confrontational.  Keep a calm tone of voice, call the person you are speaking to by name, don’t argue, say please and thank you.

4.  Talk to the decision-maker: If you aren’t happy with the response you received, ask to speak to a supervisor.  Understand that each person has a prescribed level of authority and if they can’t give you what you are asking for, possibly the next person up the line can.

5.  Write a Thank You note: If it makes sense, write a thank you note to the person or company that has been of assistance.  The power of a thank you note cannot be overstated.

Cindy Jobs, COC

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter

National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President

 

 

Certified Organizer Coach

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

Are you stuck on your “get organized” resolution?

Historically, “get organized” is in the top ten New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m not a big believer in resolutions, but I’m a big believer in goals.  And I think getting organized is a fantastic goal.

As you might imagine, I get a lot of calls this time of year.  People are energized behind their goal (see, I’m eliminating  “resolution” already) to “get organized” in the new year and are looking for support.  Some people know what they need to do to accomplish their organizing goal, others need some assistance.

If you are feeling a little stuck, try some of these tips:

  1. Check your motivation: What was your motivation around the get organized goal?  Ask yourself “why did I set this goal?”  Possible answers could be:  save time, save money, reduce stress, get out of the house on time, reduce clutter, etc.  The answer to that question will help motivate you toward action.
  2. Confused on where to start?: Start with your biggest pain point.  Is your kitchen so disorganized making coffee is a hassle?  Are you spending so much money on things you already own that your finances are getting stretched?  Are you stressed about not getting to work on time because you can’t find your keys?   Success in your biggest pain point area will motivate you to move on to the next.  If you can’t decide where your largest pain point is, close your eyes and point toward an area.  Progress anywhere may lead to success everywhere.
  3. Set aside time to organize: I’ve found a lot of people are very aspirational when it comes to planning projects (and organizing is a project). They say “I’ll get to that next week.”  Well, next week comes and goes.  I suggest people mark organizing time on their calendar.  When your calendar says “organize the pantry on Saturday between 2:00 – 4:00,” chances are the organizing date will be kept.
  4. Sort items into three large categories: Most items can be categorized into three major groups:  Keep, Give, Toss.
    • If you use it and love it, keep it and give it a place of honor and respect.
    • If it’s functional but you no longer use it or love it, give it away.  Determine the best place for the giveaway item.  The best place could be a relative, friend or charity.  Whatever you decide, set a deadline to get it out of your space and into theirs.
    • If it’s no longer functional, toss it.  Some of my clients find this to be a difficult part of the process because they are concerned about contributing to our landfill problems and I appreciate that mindset.  I encourage my clients to check with their local municipality regarding recycling and check out alternatives to just throwing something away. For example, my recycle station accepts household metal like toasters and Goodwill will accept clothing that’s no longer wearable (just mark the donation as “textile recycle”).  Research and creativity can keep a lot of things out of landfills.
  5. Track your progress: Take a “before” picture of the space you are working on and continue to take pictures throughout the organizing process.  Even if you haven’t completed the process, seeing change is motivating.  Be sure to take a photo after you’ve completed the project not only as a reminder of how far you’ve come, but to give yourself a clear picture of what you’d like the space to look like on an ongoing basis.

I encourage my clients to remember a couple things:

  • Organizing is not only a project, but a way of life.  Once you are organized enough for your lifestyle, a few minutes a day will help maintain your newly-organized spaces.
  • Largely attributed to Sheryl Sandberg “Done is better than perfect.”  The thought that something needs to be perfect will stop us in our tracks.

Whatever you do, don’t give up on your new year’s goals like the Allstate “Mayhem” character has!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter

National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

Persistence

Last year, for the first time, I selected a “Word of the Year.”  I’d heard many positive things about this process so I thought I’d give it a try.  But, to be honest, I wasn’t sure why I was doing it.  What was the benefit? How did it work? What was the word supposed to do?

So, I gave my “Word of the Year” a job and a purpose. It had to:

  • Resonate with me on an emotional level.
  • Anchor my daily life.
  • Provided focus.
  • Assist in setting intentions.
  • Be the core of my decision-making process.

In 2017 my word of the year was “Calm.”  Although my husband will question how effective it really was (at least to him, on an external level), I found great value in the focus word.  In moments of stress and pressure, I found great benefit in closing my eyes, taking a deep breath and thinking about just being “calm.”  It truly did provide an anchor for my daily life.

This year I’ve chosen the word “Persistence.”  According to dictionary.com, persistence is:

  1. Persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering and,
  2. Lasting or enduring tenaciously

Checking with my trusty thesaurus revealed:

  • Tenacity
  • Determination
  • Doggedness
  • Resolve
  • Diligence
  • Endurance
  • Purpose
  • Grit

It also revealed many more word that resonated with me, including stubbornness which I elected to ignore. 🙂

I have some mighty goals for this year.  All of which will require persistence in spite of opposition, enduring tenaciously, resolve, purpose and possibly a bit of stubbornness to be honest.

What’s your Word of the Year?  What one word will help you achieve your goals?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter

National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Four Tips for Packing Up Christmas

Usually I let Christmas linger until New Year’s day.  But, while having coffee this morning I was looking around the house and felt a sudden urge to let Christmas go a little ahead of schedule this year.  I’m not sure why that is, but in looking at several Facebook posts, I’m not alone.

(Possibly putting Christmas behind me is just a metaphor for all of 2017.  It’s been an interesting, yet sometimes challenging, year.  Parts of 2017 were great and I will carry those positives into 2018.  Parts were not so great, and I will release them like that unnecessary ugly Christmas sweater.)

Back to letting Christmas go . . . . .

Here are a few tips I came up with this morning:

Get rid of it!: There are decorations that I’ve unboxed and re-boxed so many times I can’t remember.  I’m committing to taking a long, hard look at what’s still in the decoration boxes before I add what I actually used this year.  It will make things much easier to unpack and re-pack next year if there’s just less stuff.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you or someone in your home love it?  If it holds great memories and you decorate with it every year, pack it up.
  • Has it been trapped in a storage container year-after-year-after-year?  If that’s the case, it’s probably not your style and doesn’t hold great memories.  Give it away.  Someone else will cherish it.
  • Has someone you know admired the decoration?  Ask them if they want it.  Gifting items to someone who has admired them is an easy way to release things that no longer serve us.
  • Is there a local charity, church, etc. that could use the decorations?  Gifting things to those that can’t afford them brings extra honor to the decorations.  (NOTE:  Most charities will gladly accept Christmas decorations even at the end of the season, but it’s best to check before you try to drop them off.)

If you’re keeping it, store smartly: Storing Christmas decorations by zone will make the decorating process so much easier next year!  When you are ready to decorate next year, the mantle box goes by the mantle, the front entry box goes in the front entry, the tree decorations go by the tree, etc. That way, the decorations are exactly where you need them when you are ready to decorate that area.

Speaking of storing, there are nearly as many ways to store decorations as there are decorations themselves!

Specialty containers like these from the Container Store can be extremely functional, but not very cost-effective.

Other simple solutions:

Wrap lights around cardboard, use an extension cord holder, or for larger quantities, utilize a hose reel. Check it out.

Liter-size water bottles work well to hold beaded garland.

Plastic produce clam-shell containers from warehouse stores are fantastic for glass ornaments.

Egg cartons work well for small, breakable ornaments.

For larger items (I have a collection of Santa decorations that are 12”-16” tall), I like to use containers like these.  By not using holiday-specific organizers, you can use them for other purposes should you choose to downsize your decorations.

Traditions and events:  What traditions served you well this year?  Did everyone still enjoy trekking into the woods for the Christmas tree? Was neighborhood caroling a big hit?  Midnight/sunrise service still magical?  Was the neighborhood party a success?  Was attending the Nutcracker worth the time and expense?  If so, plan it again for next year.  If not, let it go.  No need to do things “because we’ve always done it that way.”

Holiday Cards:  Get rid of all the cards that you don’t connect with; keep the ones that do.  I like to keep holiday cards that have family photos.  It’s super-fun for me to go back and look at how families have grown and changed over the years.  I also keep any hand-made cards.  Having made a few cards myself, I know the time and energy it takes to produce those cards (Plus, sometimes I can re-purpose those beautiful cards into new cards.  Upcycling at its best.)

Before you throw envelopes away, don’t forget to check return addresses. This is the perfect time of year to ensure your records are up-to-date.

Going through the sort, purge, and store process probably isn’t the most fun thing you will do this holiday season, but it could very well be the best gift you could give yourself come holiday time next year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President

Coach Approach for Organizers
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

Remember the “why” behind the holiday

I’m hearing a lot of stress-related comments from my clients right now.

  • “I need six more gifts and have no idea when I can shop.”
  • “I don’t have my caramels made yet.”
  • “I still don’t have my cards in the mail.”
  • “I have three more parties to go to and I don’t want to go to any of them.”
  • “I still don’t know how many people are coming to Christmas dinner.”
  • “I really wanted to have a party for my neighbors and now it’s too late.”

I certainly understand where the stress is coming from but is the incredible amount of stress worth the end-result?  Probably not.  Is all this stress taking away from the magic of the season?  Probably so.  What adjustments can you make to restore the magic of the season?

Gifts:  Gift cards are okay and you can select from a large assortment at many local retailers.  Create a gift book of services like babysitting, preparing dinner, cleaning the house, etc.

Food:  Although home-made gifts are THE BEST it’s perfectly acceptable to skip a year or purchase treats from a local bakery or candy shop.

Cards:  Give yourself some grace.  Either skip this year or send New Year’s cards.  The world will not stop spinning if you don’t send Christmas cards.

Parties:  Are there any parties you can gracefully bow out of at this point? If so, do it.  If not, put a limit on the amount of time spent at the event.  Just because the invitation says “6:00 – 10:00” doesn’t mean you need to spend four hours there.

Meals:  If planning and preparing a big holiday meal is stressing you out, is there an option to switch it up a bit?  Make the meal a potluck so everyone gets to participate.  Instead of a coordinated meal, how about an “all appetizer” party (people love appetizers!)?  Think outside of the box and reduce some stress.

Friends and neighbor parties:  Yes, you had every intention of inviting friends and neighbors over for the holidays, but do you really want to add another event to your, or their, calendar?  Probably not.  How about having a 2018 launch party?  Or how about a Valentine’s Day dine-around?  Having something to look forward to after the big holiday rush would be lovely.  Plus, everyone will be much less stressed, more relaxed and able to truly enjoy your time together.

How can you adjust your expectations, reduce stress and focus on the magic of the season?

Happy Holidays!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

Still looking for the perfect gift?

In less than two weeks the major holiday gift-giving time will be behind us.  How are you doing your shopping?  Are you feeling stressed?  Are you spending too much?  Are you concerned that you haven’t purchased the perfect gift for everyone on your list?  You are not alone!

Every year I go through the “who do I need to buy for?” “what does Aunt Mildred want?” “what’s meaningful, but still easy to ship?” . . . the list goes on and on.  Although there is magic in finding the perfect gift for someone, often-times finding the perfect gift is incredibly stressful.

My shopping list is pretty minimal, but I work with clients every day that are stressed to the max about finding the PERFECT gift, while at the same time working around the clutter of “not so perfect gifts” they’ve received in the past.

What kind of gifts can we give that will bring more meaning and joy to those we love and not create clutter?

Here are some places to start:

The White Envelope Project:  I saw this on my Facebook feed a few days ago and think it is a brilliant way to honor someone you love and support those that may need it the most.

Do a good deed:  Instead of giving store-bought things, offer to:

  • Run errands.
  • Take down their holiday lights and decorations.
  • Babysit.
  • Mow their lawn/shovel their driveway.

Cook: For busy families or those who find it difficult to cook, fill their freezer with the home-made goodness of soups, casseroles, etc.

Adopt-A-Family or Child:  There are many ways to support those in need, and adopting a family or foster child is a great way to do it.  Check with your place of employment, local businesses, or Chamber of Commerce for specifics.

Purchase a gift in the recipient’s name from well-known, reputable charities:  It’s easy to want to donate to whoever makes a heart-felt solicitation this time of year.  To ensure your donation gets the biggest bang for the buck, check out  Charity Navigator.   The Charity Navigator site is America’s largest independent charity evaluator, providing free ratings of the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of thousands of charities.

Whatever gift-giving solution feels best to you, remember the spirit of the holidays is really to spend time with the ones we love.

Happy Holidays!

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

5 Tips To Be “Company Ready”

Many of us will welcome guests into our homes this time of year. I find it joyous to open our home to guests, but it does require a little preparation.

Here are five quick suggestions:

  1. Ask about food preferences or allergies:  I like to pre-purchase whatever food items might make our guests more comfortable.  For example, I only drink almond milk, but our adult kids and grandson prefer dairy products.  I  have a homemade oatmeal/banana muffin every morning, but my sister prefers spinach and eggs.  Although most guests will say “anything is fine,” I know they are more comfortable if they can eat similarly to how they eat at home.  Plus it may save a last-minute trip to the grocery store.
  2. Talk about pets:  We have two relatively large dogs.  Most people who would stay at our home know we have dogs, but I like to review the dogs’ rules and habits.  For example, our dogs love people and will go visit them, and check out their stuff, if our guests were to leave the bedroom or bathroom door open.  I also prep our guests with a list of commands the dogs are familiar with should they need to discipline them in any way.  “Down” means different things to different people.
  3. Give a tour as soon as guests arrive:  Although it may be intuitive to you where the pantry, powder room, and garage are, your guests will appreciate getting a “lay of the land.”
  4. Prep the bedroom:  Make sure there are towels, hangers, a wastebasket, an alarm clock,  a water carafe and glass, and small selection of toiletries (including a disposable toothbrush and razor),  Most of our guests bring their own toiletries, but it’s always nice to have something just in case they forgot.  I also include an extra set of sheets in the dresser drawers as most guests ask how they can help when they leave.  If they are open to it, I ask them to change the bed before they leave.  This cuts down on the amount of time it takes me to prepare for the next guest.
  5. Prep the bathroom:  We are sure to include extra toilet paper, cloth hand towels, some disposable hand towels, air freshener and a hairdryer.   We also include a toilet brush and plunger, allowing guests to solve small, and what may be embarrassing, problems discretely.

If you are looking for more great ideas on preparing for holiday house guests, check out the recent Unclutterer blog.

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

 

5 Simple Ways to De-Stress the Holidays

Well, the holidays are officially off and running.  It’s that time of year when many people compare their lives to Rockwell paintings, Martha Stewart magazines, and the social lives of the Kardashian’s.

Rather than the unbridled joy that these images may present, I hear a lot of stress-related concerns from my clients. They are stressed about not having enough time to fit “it all” in.  They are concerned about not being able to create the Rockwell image of the holiday and disappointing their family and friends when it comes to gift-giving and holiday event scheduling.    All of this stress provides the perfect opportunity to have a conversation about what “it all” means and if “it all” is bringing joy to the holiday season or just layering on undue stress.

I encourage my clients to take a few minutes and review priorities to see if the importance of some things may have shifted.  Here are some great places to start:

  1. Be realistic about holiday expectations.  Try not to hold yourself to the Rockwell and Martha Stewart standards (don’t even get me started on Pinterest).  As much as I love outside images for inspiration, it is almost impossible to have our homes and meals live up to the standards presented by professional stylists and photographers.
  2. Edit your schedule.  Do you really need to accept every invitation that comes your way?  No.  Some events may be non-negotiable, like the company holiday party.  That one you should probably attend.  There may be others you can edit out.  For example, do you really need to attend the Book Club mixer on Thursday, when you already are committed the company party on Friday and your child’s holiday recital on Saturday?  Something has to give.  So, when you receive an invitation, ask yourself if this is “must do” and if so put it on the calendar.  If you receive an invitation you aren’t psyched about and the event just feels like an obligation, possibly a polite “no, but thank you for the invitation” may be the correct way to go.
  3. Whenever possible, stick to your routine.  During the holidays, some of us tend to eat too much, drink too much, not exercise, and certainly not get enough sleep.  Neglecting our own personal care causes us to get run down, cranky and possibly sick. It certainly is okay to eat a little differently, have a glass of wine when you may not normally, and stay up a little later than you typically would, but remember “everything in moderation.”
  4. Abandon what’s not important. For many, the holidays are all about tradition.  Well, sometimes our traditions just don’t make sense for the way we currently live our lives.  Does taking the day to press cider and cut down a tree in the forest still bring you joy?  If so, go for it.  If not, let it go.  Are the time, energy, and money spent on gathering items for Santa stockings important to your 17, 21, and 24-year olds?  If so, do it.  If not, let the stocking process go.  Spend that time doing something you truly enjoy.
  5. Ask for and accept some help.  We don’t need to do it all ourselves!  In general, people enjoy being a part of the process and feel a sense of contribution.  Instead of taking on the entire responsibility for huge, festive dinners, make them potluck.  Ask family members to help wrap packages.  Delegate grocery shopping.  Just because we’ve done it all in the past, doesn’t mean we need to continue to do it all ourselves.

The holidays are meant to be joyful and fun for everyone.   Starting with you.

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

Holiday Organizing: Stuff and Time

Well, the holidays are officially off and running!

The local NBC affiliate, KING-TV, asked me to come in and speak about how to organize all the decorations, gifts and events that happen around the holidays.  After leaving the studio I thought “hmm, that might be good information to share on my website.”  Here goes . . .

The holidays create a prime opportunity to take a thoughtful look at how we live, from both a “stuff” and “time” perspective.

Decorating:

I suggest people decorate by zone.  For example, the tree is a zone, the mantle is a zone, possibly the bathrooms are a zone.  What I see happening a lot is that the decorating gets done in time blocks, rarely do we get everything decorated all at the same time.  If we try to decorate throughout the house all within the same time block, areas are only partially decorated, leaving clutter throughout the house.

Make a decision to donate decorations you aren’t using.  Many of us have decorations we take out of storage, then put right back in storage, because we aren’t using them “this year.”  Think about how many years you’ve gone through that process.  If it’s more than a couple, chances are the decorations aren’t your style anymore and can be donated to someone that will use them.  Now is the perfect time to do this vs when you are putting decorations away for the season.  If you do it now, there is a greater opportunity the will get used this year and donation centers aren’t storing them for an extended period of time.

When the season is over, pack decorations away by zone.  This will make it easier to decorate next year.  If possible, use consistently sized, clearly marked boxes.  Being able to stack consistently sized boxes economizes vertical storage space.  I particularly like this style.

Gifts:

Gifts are tricky.  In my line of work, I see a lot of well-intentioned gifts that create clutter and storage challenges.   Some people don’t agree, but I’m a firm believer in re-gifting.  My theory is that if you receive something that isn’t your style and you can’t exchange it for something that is, put it in a gift closet to be re-gifted to someone that would appreciate it.

When thinking about gifting I suggest people sit down for 15 minutes and make a comprehensive list of people they plan to give gifts to and set a budget for each.  Having a list makes gift selection more efficient.  Once you have the list, make a note of anything you remember they’ve expressed an interest in.  Do they stop at a favorite espresso stand every morning?  Are they into a particular video series?  Do they love to scrapbook?  Making a note of their interests next to their name will increase the probability that the gift you select will be less impulsive and more appropriate for the recipient.

When giving gifts, unless you really know what the recipient wants, I suggest consumables that don’t require storage or dusting.  Think about giving experiences or hand-made treats. If you know someone that loves your Cowboy Cookies, give those.  If your specialty is home-made Kahlua, give that.  If you traditionally give gifts to a group of friends, setting a date to just get together and spend time would be magical!

If gift cards are your go-to gift, go with a gift card, but maybe jazz it up a bit.  If your brother likes to go to movies, give a gift card attached to a package of Twizzlers.  Or, if they prefer a particular sporting goods store, give a gift card attached to some hand warmers.

Parties & School Events:

We all appreciate being invited to a party or event, but sometimes the sheer number of events can be exhausting.  Multiple parties on the same weekend.  Family photo sessions.  Endless recitals and craft fairs.  Remember, any time committed to one event takes time away from something else.

Take a look at all the invitations and see what resonates with you.  If you look at an invitation and say “heck yes, that’s going to be a blast!” put it on the calendar.  If, on the other hand, you look at an invitation and say “do we have to?” it’s okay to rsvp “not this year, but thank you for the invitation.”  An invitation doesn’t always require a commitment on your part.

Now, there are invitations that probably need to be thoughtfully considered.  Your company holiday party probably should be attended.  But, the book club mixer could possibly be exchanged for a quiet night at home wrapping gifts.

The same thing goes for school events.  There are some things you just need to do.  Your child’s recital.  Go.  Your second niece’s school holiday bazaar may be something you can pass on.

With so much going on, there are times when parents need to divide and conquerEveryone can’t always go to everything and that’s okay.  Can one parent take the 1-year old to the 8-year old’s craft fair, while the other parent goes to the 6-year old’s soccer practice?

This is also the time to call upon your support structures.  Can you swap baby-sitting with a neighbor so both parents can attend a recital?  Can the grandparents take the kids for a day so all the holiday shopping can get done?  People love to help out, give them a chance.

All of these holiday events can create complicated scheduling opportunities. I recommend families sit down and take time to look at the overall calendar and see what’s possible and what’s not.  Write everything down and see where there are conflicts.  I love using dry-erase boards just for this purpose.  Some of my clients color-code by person so it’s easy to see who needs to be going where at a glance.

Yes, there’s a lot to be thinking about as we head into this busy holiday season.  Rest-assured, with some planning and patience, it can be, as intended, a season of loving, laughing and joy.

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies

What does happiness mean to you?

We are nearing the end of Pursuit of Happiness Week.  (Yes, there is such a thing.)  I’m writing this post at the end of the week because I really wanted to pay attention to my own experience of focusing on happiness this week before putting pen to paper.

It was an interesting week of introspection.  When I consciously looked for opportunities to engage with happiness, opportunities appeared in small and large ways.

  • I spent 11 days with my 88-year old mother. Every morning I presented her with a latte with a chocolate powder heart on top.  That made her smile.  Making her smile made me happy.
  • The power went off at our house for eight hours. When it came back on, I was happy  . . . and grateful.  It’s amazing how much more I appreciated heat and lights.
  • Seeing our two rescue Boxers play in the front yard like they didn’t have a care in the world (which they don’t) made me happy. We changed their lives.
  • I take my grandson to indoor soccer practice. Watching 15 4-year olds having the time of their lives and learning a new skill made me happy.

So, tell me, what does “being happy” really mean?

According to dictionary.com, a partial definition of happiness is “Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good.”

I like this definition.  It brings our own needs and values into play and puts the determination of success in our own hands.  No one else can determine what happiness means to us.  We can not be held to other’s standards of what happiness means. It’s all on us.  We determine what happiness is; only we can determine if we are successful or not.

You’ve probably also heard “Happiness is managing expectations.”  I honestly believe that managing expectations is the key to happiness.

  • I’m an okay golfer. Not a great golfer.  If my happiness was dependent upon being a great golfer I would fail miserably.
  • I makedecent money in my coaching and organizing business. My happiness is dependent upon making changes in others’ lives, not in a large savings account.
  • I have a small but devoted group of friends. If my happiness was dependent upon having the most FB friends, I would be unhappy indeed.

What makes you happy?  What can you control about your happiness?

Cindy Jobs

www.organizetosimplify.com

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter Vice President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD.

 

Coach Approach for Organizers
Graduate of the Comprehensive Training Program: Coaching Essentials; Strengths-Based Coaching; Brain-Based Coaching; Life and ADHD Coaching; and Organizer Coach Integration
Graduate-level training: Body-Based Coaching; ADHD Coaching Competencies