Monthly Archives: August 2016

“I just can’t do anything right!”

Pixabay Negative ThoughtsDo you participate in negative thoughts like “I just can’t do anything right!”?  Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD, refers to this as  Automatic Negative Thinking.  Automatic negative thinking can be personally destructive and is tied very closely to negative self talk.

“These thoughts severely limit a person’s ability to enjoy his or her life.  How people think “moment by moment” has a huge impact on how they feel and how they behave.  Negative thoughts often drive difficult behaviors and cause people to have problems with their self-esteem.  Hopeful thoughts, on the other hand, influence positive behaviors and lead people to feel good about themselves and be more effective in their day-to-day lives.” (excerpt from Healing ADD, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD)

Some examples of negative self talk I’ve encountered with clients (and some I’ve participated in myself):

  • I’m too stupid to be organized.
  • I’m too fat.  I need to get rid of all these clothes.
  • No one wants to spend time with me.
  • No one likes/trusts me.
  • They didn’t call me back, they must hate me.
  • I’m never going to be as fun/pretty/smart as my friends are.

Every thought we have releases chemicals in our brains:

  • Positive and hopeful thoughts release chemicals that make us feel good.
  • Negative and degrading thoughts release chemicals that make us feel bad.
  • What you focus on determines how you feel and act.

What do to?

  1. Acknowledge negative thoughts, but don’t empower them:  It’s nearly impossible to not have a negative thought from time-to-time, but we don’t need to empower the negativity.  Acknowledge it and move on.
  2. Re-frame: “I’m too fat” can turn into “I need to lose 5 pounds.”  See how that works?  You’ve turned negativity about yourself into an action plan.
  3. Analyze the negativity from a 3rd person perspective:  Would your best friend react the same way?  Sometimes looking at things from outside ourselves brings a new perspective.
  4. Assume best intentions:  If someone doesn’t acknowledge your in-passing “how are you?” or doesn’t return your call in a reasonable amount of time, assume they didn’t hear you or didn’t get the message. My guess is that they aren’t intentionally ignoring you, even though your perception of the circumstance may lead you to believe that’s the only answer.

Conquer your automatic negative thinking and negative self-talk by employing the above techniques.  Your brain will thank you!

Organize to Simplify CMYK


National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Area Chapter President





Institute for Challenging Disorganization, Six Certificates of Education

ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website

How can you simplify your life?

simplifyLast week was “National Simplify Your Life” week.  I meant to write a post last week about this subject, but I took a week off and REALLY simplified my life by not doing any work.  How’s that for “simplifying?”  Not very productive, but it felt really good!

Although I didn’t write the post, I thought about what simplifying my life would look like.  What do I have to simplify?

  • Stuff?  Yes!
  • Schedules?  Yes!
  • Technology? Yes!
  • People?  Yes!  (yikes!)


Most of us have way more stuff than we actually need, and probably want.  Look around the room you are sitting in and really take a hard look at all the items that are in the room.  Do you use them?  Do they bring you joy and happiness?  If not, what would it feel like to let them go?  How would it feel knowing that they were in the home of someone that actually needed and wanted them? Not only is it okay to let things go, de-cluttering makes us healthier:

According to the Chicago Tribune: “Getting rid of clutter can have unexpected health benefits. Letting go of material things gives a feeling of euphoria some liken to the runner’s high. It’s liberating and frees up time and space for healthy habits, such as exercising. It can even reduce allergy symptoms and help you lose weight.”


Raise your hand if you feel you have too much to do and not enough time (I see lots of hands raised right now).  Do you need to do everything on your schedule?   Are there things you knew at the time you should have said “no, but thanks for asking” to?  Are you doing things that don’t make you happy and are not critical (book club you no longer enjoy, exercise class you are only attending because you already paid for it but don’t really like, networking meetings that don’t bring you joy or clients, etc.)  Much like our stuff, cluttered and over-crowded schedules can affect our health.  I encourage you to take a look at your schedule and see what you can eliminate.  What would you do with that extra time?  Exercise?  Sleep? Spend more time with family and friends?


Am I actually suggesting you give up technology?  Absolutely not!!! What I am suggesting is taking a critical look at how much time you are devoting to it.  Personally, I don’t do Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, but I spend way too much time on Facebook.  What are you learning from all these connections?  Is it really a “connection” or just a way to spend time?  What would happen if you disconnected from a social media platform or two?  What would happen if you reduced the amount of time you spent on them.  What would you do with that time?  Remember, doing nothing is a perfectly acceptable answer to that question.


This one threw me for a minute, but it’s worth thinking about.  I could never do without connections to people.  I love being around people; being with people fills me with joy.  But, are there connections I am spending time maintaining that no longer serve me (or the other person) the way they used to?  Think about it.  Is the time spent maintaining some relationships disproportionate to the the joy the relationship brings you?

“Not every person you meet is here to stay.  Some people come in your life only to teach you something.”  Anurag Prakash Ray

I’m pretty sure we are all aware of things that could be eliminated from our lives, but it’s so hard to take that first step.  So, I’m going to challenge you:

Over the next week:

  • Eliminate one item of clutter.
  • Cancel one unnecessary appointment.
  • Reduce time spend on technology by one hour.
  • Take a critical look at one relationship.

Simplify your life . . . one small step at a time.


Organize to Simplify CMYK


National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Area Chapter President





Institute for Challenging Disorganization, Six Certificates of Education

Simple Tips For Heading Back To School

Pixabay Back To SchoolYikes!  I keep seeing advertising for back-to-school preparations.  Where, oh where, has the summer gone?

Getting everyone ready for school adds another level of anxiety and stress to the last few summer days.    Here are some tips to get you started and make the transition a little smoother.

  1.  School Supplies:
    1. Get a copy of the school’s supply list.  I was able to find the school supply list for my local middle school on-line within just 30 seconds.  Doing a web search should result in a list similar to this (I searched “Lake Stevens School supply list”).  Local retailers may have these lists also.
    2. Once you have the list, shop at home.  Chances are, you will have a good number of the supplies already on hand.  There’s no need to purchase a full set of supplies every year.
    3. If you have supplies you aren’t using (or don’t foresee using in the near future), donate them to the school or to a local Boys and Girls Club.  I’m certain they will be put to better use than taking up space in your home.
  2. Clothes:
    1. Check with you local school to see if there are dress codes that need to be followed. If so, ensure that your student reads and understands them prior to embarking on the clothes shopping adventure.
    2. Depending on the age of your student, you will more than likely need to go shopping with them.   Note I said “with them.”  Although it may be simpler to just do the shopping on your own, having your child with you may be more efficient.  If you shop with your child, you will ensure the clothes fit properly, they feel good on them, and are something they like and will wear.
  3. Classes:  Hopefully at this point, classes have been signed up for.  If not, get in touch with the school to set an appointment to register as soon as possible.
  4. Extra-curricular activities:  Have all extra-curricular activities been signed up for?  Has the appropriate equipment been arranged for?  If not, now’s the time to start working through that process.
  5. Transportation:  Most of my clients work at least part-time out of the home, so arranging transportation for any after-school activities is critical.
  6. Health requirements:  Does the school require specific health tests or immunizations?  Again, a quick on-line search led to this information for our local school district.

Changes in schedules tend to add a little stress to our lives, but some excellent pre-planning goes a long way to making the transition just a little easier!