Monthly Archives: March 2017

Visualize Your Way to Success

As part of my coaching business, clients often call me for assistance when they are facing stressful situations like interviews, presentations, or crucial conversations with friends, family, or employees.

When we are faced with stressful situations that we have not encountered before, our brain doesn’t react as quickly or efficiently as we would like it to . . . or sometimes it doesn’t work at all and we just get stuck.  Visualizing situations before they happen can help us be more prepared.

In actuality, we unconsciously visualize situations and react to them all day long.  For example:

  1. Driving: From an experience, visualization, and reactionary perspective, we know what to do when a car pulls in front of us or slams on their brakes.  Because it’s probably happened before, we can quickly visualize and react appropriately.
  2. Walking:  If we are on a busy sidewalk, we can visualize and react if something unexpected happens in front of us.  Personally, I practiced visualization on what would happen if my dogs and I encountered another friendly (or not so friendly) canine and it’s companion on our walks.

This past weekend, a client called and was nervous about an upcoming job fair he would be attending.  He wanted to ensure he was both emotionally and professionally prepared for the event.

How did we go about the visualization process?  Yes, I ask my clients to actually close their eyes during this process.   Closing your eyes allows focus more intently.

  1. Picture the venue.  Is the parking lot big or small?  Will you have to park very far away (umbrella or no umbrella)? Is it a big room with lots of tables to visit (wear comfortable shoes)?  Is it a more intimate environment where there will be an opportunity for casual conversation?
  2. Picture yourself walking in the room.  What will you do with your coat?  What’s in your hand (satchel or just a file folder full of resumes)?
  3. Picture and practice your introduction.  What will you leave with your networking opportunities (resume, business card, both)?  What questions are important for you to ask (show both knowledge of and interest in a prospective employer)?  What questions may you be asked (be prepared to deliver a couple sentences about any item on your resume)?
  4. Finally, picture yourself after the event.  Will you be sending follow-up e-mails?  Ask to connect via LinkedIn? Follow-up with a personal phone calls?

Visualizing the venue, process, conversations, and follow-up made the job fair a much less stressful event than it would have been without the preparation.

For more information on visualization for success, check out a 2016 Michigan State University report.

What events are ahead of you where visualization would give you the upper hand?

Cindy Jobs


Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers

It’s National Clean Out Your Closets Week!

This past Monday marked the official first day of Spring, and for those of you in Washington state (especially the Puget Sound area), some absolutely beautiful weather days followed.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to put the parkas and snow boots away and pull out some t-shirts and golf shorts!

For many of us, deciding what to wear is our first big decision of the day.  It sets the tone.  It puts us in a certain frame of mind.  It prepares us for what lies ahead.  Is there a better way to start the day than with a clean, organized closet filled with just those items you love and feel great in?  I think not.

Here are five tips to quickly and painlessly clear some closet clutter:

  1. Schedule time.  If you haven’t done it in a while, an entire closet purge could take several hours.  Schedule at least 3-4 hours to get the process started (hopefully even completed).  Trust me, it’s a great use of time.
  2. Set yourself up for success. Get in the mood for some tough decision-making.  Grab a friend to help.  Turn on some tunes.  Schedule a significant reward for project completion.
  3. Have plenty of supplies ready.
    • If you are planning on changing your hanger style, buy twice as many as you think you need. Same goes for shoe boxes, underbed storage, belt hangers, etc.  It’s always better to have supplies to return than not be able to finish the project because you came up short on supplies.
    • Set up a system for removing what doesn’t deserve valuable closet space: resale, storage, donation, discard, gifting, etc..  Whatever you decided doesn’t deserve a home in your closet, needs to go somewhere.  Immediately put donations in your car. Move storage items to their new home.  Schedule a drop off/pick up date/time for items you are gifting.
  4. Touch everything and ask yourself the following: 
    • Do I love it and feel great when I wear it? (good color, style, fit, etc.)
    • Did I use it this season or can I see myself using it next season? (is skiing really still your thing?)
    • Am I keeping this because of guilt? (impulse purchase, spent too much, it was a gift, etc.)
  5. Put items away efficiently.  Anything that goes back in the closet should be grouped in an organizational system that works best for how you make decisions.
    • Do you select items by color (black vs yellow)?
    • Do you select items by purpose (work vs play)?
    • Do you store outfits together within the closet?

A functional closet can reduce stress (I’m certain most of us have felt the frustration of being late because we “can’t find anything to wear!”); save time (no more time wasted searching for that one black turtleneck you absolutely love!); and save money (how many times have we repurchased items we already own?).

Spring is here . . . are you and your closet ready?

Cindy Jobs



Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Hosting An Efficient Meeting

According to a 2015 OfficeTime survey, employees feel meetings rank second as the biggest “Top Time Killer.”

A 2015 survey indicates that 34% of workers attend six or more meetings a week.  When asked whether meetings end with clear action items, nearly half indicated “some of the time,” “rarely,” or “never.”  Ouch!

What can we do to make meetings more productive?  Well, I have some thoughts.

I’ve been the President of the NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Seattle Area Chapter for four years. During that time, we’ve had a very consistent Board and held some pretty darn effective meetings.  However, in a couple short months some of our long-time Board members will be stepping down (including myself) and new members will be taking our places.  It is rewarding to see members of our Chapter volunteer for these critical positions, but it means change and change can sometimes be hard on group dynamics.

Along with the excitement of new members coming on, there is renewed focus on ensuring that our monthly Board meetings continue to be effective.  The “old” Board knew each other well, the procedures were clear, we had a “flow,” and the meetings were predictable and efficient.

What makes our meeting so productive?


Our Board members respect each other.  I also think they truly like each other, but even if they don’t, all Board members are treated respectfully by their peers.

Before: An efficient agenda and meeting flow.

  1.  Agenda items:  Board members are asked to submit agenda items well in advance and the agendas are distributed approximately two days prior to the meeting.  Receiving the agenda prior to the meeting allows everyone to prepare for their own presentations and organize questions they may have about other agenda items.
  2. Logistics:  Because our meetings are always held at the same location, a physical address is not necessary, but the agenda does include the date and time as not to confuse one meeting from the next.  If meetings are not held at the same location consistently, a physical address and phone number for the facility would be helpful.  It is also helpful to include meeting attendees, including titles if appropriate.
  3. Flow and timing: As a general rule, it is suggested that each person on the agenda be given a specific amount of time to present.  Doing so keeps presentations from going on and on and on and on.  Because our Board had such a great flow, we do not assign timing to the agenda.  Some months Marketing needs more than Communications.  Sometimes  it’s the other way around. People respect and appreciate the flexibility.  But, we are VERY careful to ensure our meetings stay to one hour or less, being respectful of the overall time commitment.

During:  Respect the process.

  1. Be considerate of attendees’ time:  Start and stop according to the agenda.  If it appears the meeting will need to run over, ask attendees if the additional time will work with their other commitments.  If not, table the additional discussion for another meeting.
  2. Follow the agenda as closely as possible.  Attendees have made preparations according to the agenda.
    • Prevent one topic from spilling over into another agenda item’s time without consensus.
    • Address all agenda items.  Only skip items with attendee consensus.
    • No surprises.  Attempt not add an agenda item that attendees have not prepared for.
  3. Encourage participation:  Do not allow one attendee to monopolize the meeting.  Encourage all members to participate, possibly calling on an attendee that would bring value, but may be hesitant to speak on their own.

After:  Comprehensive minutes.

  1. Include an attendee list.
  2. Indicate accurate start/stop times.
  3. Create high-level documentation of agenda item discussions, including any procedural votes, decisions, updates, or further action that needs to be taken.
  4. Distribute meeting minutes in a timely fashion.  Our current Secretary distributes the minutes within 48 hours of the meeting.  Because the meeting details are still fresh in participant’s minds, the minutes are much more accurate.

Do your meetings look like this?  What can you do to make your meetings more efficient?

Cindy Jobs



Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization


National Procrastination Week: March 5-11, 2017


(I was going to publish this next week as a joke about procrastination, but decided against it. Probably wouldn’t be as funny as I think it is right now.)

I like to think of myself as a pretty efficient, on-top-of it kind of gal . . .  but I’m also a bit of a procrastinator.

These are some of my top reasons for procrastinating:

  • If I can’t assign a priority to something, I don’t plan a time to do it.
  • If I don’t know how to do something, I put it off.
  • Frankly, I just don’t want to do it . . . so I don’t do it until it’s a crisis.

Want some more?

  • We’ll feel more motivated tomorrow.
  • We work better under pressure.
  • We don’t have all the tools we need to get the project done.
  • The project is just too big.

How many more can you think of?  Several, I’ll bet.  I think we can all acknowledge that these are excuses, not reasons, for not getting things done.  What’s the reality behind each of the above?

We’ll feel more motivated tomorrow:  Well, we probably won’t.  If we didn’t want to do it today, we more than likely won’t want to do it tomorrow.  What’s going to change in 24 hours that will make the task more inviting and stimulating?  Nothing.  How successful are we at predicting how we will feel in the future?  Generally, not very good.  Plus, we don’t know what additional roadblocks may come our way that would cause an even more negative impact. It would help if we could identify why we are delaying starting the project, identify any emotional or physical roadblocks, then remove them.  More than likely we stumble over emotional roadblocks due the uncertainty of how to accomplish the task. Postponing alone won’t resolve that roadblock.

We work better under pressure:  Studies show we don’t.  Things generally take longer than we anticipate and are more complex than we give them credit for.  When we leave things to the last minute we rush, make more mistakes, and generally deliver an inferior product because we didn’t have (or make) the time necessary to do the job right.  Is that the image you want to project to your employer, family, or friends?  Probably not.  Working under pressure causes extreme stress.  Starting the task or project early, identifying the demands of the project, and working frequently and methodically, will result in a better result.  Leaving the last look and finishing touches until the last minute may be okay, but leaving starting until the last minute won’t help deliver the best product.

We don’t have all the tools we need to get the job done:  Well, maybe we don’t, but not having the tools readily at hand doesn’t mean we can’t start.  What we CAN do is start the project by breaking it down into steps, the first one being to identify what tools or resources we need to complete those steps, and make a plan to get started, including scheduling it on our calendars.

The project is just too big:  Sometimes the task just seem too big and that’s understandable.  Some projects are quite large and very daunting, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to accomplish.  I heard a great example from Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D (an expert on procrastination) about trimming his dogs toenails.  He has 10 sled dogs, each with 20 toenails.  Thinking about trimming 200 toe nails was too much; but breaking it down into smaller chunks of two dogs per day (40 toenails) made it a much more manageable task.  So, even though the entire project may seem like too much, breaking it down into smaller, more achievable tasks will help.

Do you see yourself in any of the above scenarios?  I know I do.  The key is determining what is holding you back and work through it.  How do we do that?

Make A Plan

Just Get Started

Although it sounds simple, sometimes that’s all it takes.  Just getting started will provide the momentum to finish.  Unfinished tasks tend to be uncomfortable, so once we get started, we have the drive and desire to finish.

Cindy Jobs



Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization



5 Tips to Survive the Time Change

spring-forward-clockWith snow on the ground today in Western Washington (although my crocus and tulips are poking through it) and over 18″ of snow over the last few days on the other side of the Cascades, “Spring” seems pretty far away.  Nonetheless, this Sunday morning we “spring forward.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to login an hour of sleep this weekend!  I really, really enjoy a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night and cutting it back, even an hour, really messes with me.  I hesitate to say, it may even make me a bit cranky.

If losing an hour of sleep causes the same consequence for you, here are a few simple steps that may make the transition just a bit easier for you too.

  1.  Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier in the days leading up to Saturday night.  Make every effort possible to be get plenty of sleep the week before the time change.  How much sleep is that?  The National Sleep Foundation has some guidelines on that.
  2. Maintain your regular eating and sleeping schedule.  Eating earlier or later than your body is used to will cause it additional confusion.  Maintain healthy nutrition (like we shouldn’t do that every day!) so you body isn’t trying to combat a lack of sleep and nutrition at the same time.  If you normally go to bed at 11:00 and get up at 7:00, follow that schedule on Saturday/Sunday also.  Your body’s going through enough without changing that schedule too.  Plus, if you don’t maintain your Sunday schedule, Monday will be even more difficult!
  3. Get some additional exercise a few days leading up to Saturday.  Several studies site the benefits of exercise (but not right before bed) in helping our bodies and brains wind down faster, resulting in better sleep.
  4. Go outside.   Sunlight on your SPF-protected skin will help your body’s circadian rhythm get back in sync.  Try for an hour outside on Sunday
  5. Resist taking a long nap on Sunday.  Although we may be tempted to get that lost hour of sleep back by taking a nice, long nap on Sunday afternoon, resist the urge.  If you do feel like a nap is in order, keep it to around 30 minutes or less.  Anything longer will also mess with your circadian rhythm.

Other tips from Dr. Yoseph Krespi, Director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at New York Head and Neck Institute:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, yet avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day.
  • Make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary: dark, quiet, and cool (somewhere in the mid to upper 60’s is perfect).
  • Don’t tackle any complex tasks right before bed.  Your brain will find it more difficult to shut down.
  • Start unwinding an hour before bed.   Have a cup of chamomile tea, take a bath, relax. If you are relaxed vs. stressed when you actually make it to bed, your body will have less to do before going to sleep.

Although I’m not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend, I am looking forward to what it means . . . . Spring is right around the corner!  Bringing with it the promise of more sun and more time enjoying the great outdoors!

Cindy Jobs

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization