Holly's micro-blog posts are musings: smaller than a real blog, but bigger than an Instagram caption can easily capture. :) I would love to hear your thoughts if you want to DM me or connect via email - Contact me today!
Organization Is Self-Care
There is a huge point that most people miss when thinking about self-care. Most people think of getting a massage occasionally, or doing nails or a face mask treatment. My definition of self-care is more expansive than that. Self-care definition: Paying attention & listening to my own needs as a person, in this particular moment, then attending to those needs. This is important because it means that my self-care looks different from your self-care, and my self-care I need NOW looks different in this phase of life than when I was in a different phase (i.e. now as a work-from-home mom, vs. when I was in the office full time, vs. when I was on maternity leave).
The huge obstacle to taking care of ourselves in the ways that will actually nurture our well-being? It takes intention, planning, and pushing to ensure it is possible. A massage or fitness class usually involves a money and time investment. There’s reserving the appointment, whether it’s calling or going online. There’s the driving to and from the appointment/class in traffic. There’s arranging child care.
How is organizing part of the solution to finding the self-care we crave? Well, all of the above is easier with a routine to look at the upcoming week and plan the HOW (details) of the me-time to be added to your schedule. Enter the Sunday Basket. In fact, the five (5) Pink slash pockets included with the system are designed to be just for the self. I love this, because as moms, we do not take our own needs into account nearly as often as we should. I capture my self-care/me-time ideas in a slash pocket labeled “Self-care”. This means physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. On Sunday, I’m able to literally put this time on my calendar, and plan accordingly. Budget, time, information, child-care, accountability, and boundaries – all these factors are taken into account. The result? I, as a human adult, am happier, refreshed, renewed, and better able to serve my family, my workplace, and the community. What does self-care look like for you? Do you use a system to keep track of those ideas of ways you can take good care of yourself? I would love to hear from you!
Work-Life Balance --> Work-Life Harmony
"Work-Life Balance" is an unattainable goal. Can we really be completely 50-50? Most people spend the majority of their time working. And would we even want a schedule where our waking leisure time is exactly equal to our work hours? We might have to choose to give up sleeping if we thought it had to be 50-50 at all times. I think we should flip this idea on its head, and obtain "work-life harmony instead. That could mean a bit of imbalance one way or another at various times. However, I choose to hold this as a possibility too: work is harmoniously included in my life such that it can be enjoyable, aligned with my values, and contribute to a larger aim. Also, I can also make enough time to do things that I'm passionate about, whether it's on the paid clock or not.
For me, I'm planning my week holistically, so that I have an interesting mix or "harmony" that integrates my work and personal aspects of my life. So, there are instances like: social time (virtual coffee dates, water cooler chats) at work, writing down goals/ideas for my job while I'm on the couch watching mindless TV, in the bath watching webinars, on walks listening to a self-improvement/career/lean podcast, an enneagram & money webinar sponsored by my company, engaging with employee resource group communities at work, taking a nap mid-day if I need it, reading Brene Brown in bed as I get ready to fall asleep, etc. etc. This, infused with healthy boundaries (I don't have work email on my phone, for instance), seems to be a formula for great fulfillment in my work and life, that I highly recommend.
How about you? What do you think about this idea of work-life harmony? What are your tips and tricks that you have tried, or would try, for obtaining it?
What are work-life boundaries and why are they needed?
Especially if you're multi-passionate like me (making career, family, home, and interests/hobbies work together in one packed schedule), work-life boundaries are how we take care of ourselves in the midst of all the things going on. I encourage you to sit down and think about the boundaries and the structure you need to keep things flowing as smoothly as possible. It's time to focus on your routines and assign things to specific days. Mind you, this is a simple, but not easy exercise sometimes, especially when we are overwhemed. But when you are overwhelmed, that is precisely the time to stop and examine how we can set a boundary, or two, or a whole list.
Step 1: take a note card and on the front, write a list of beautiful boundaries for yourself! Here are some of mine, for some examples:
No checking corporate email after 4:30pm or before 8:00am
No logging in before 7:30am or logging off after 5:00pm
When I feel stressed in my body, walk away first, to connect with myself and my own needs (such as eat, exercise, drink water/tea, journal, alone time)
Carve out specific time during work hours to plan my day/week
Get number of social media groups, committees I serve on, courses I take, under control to a manageable number.
Step 2: On the back of the note card, write Sunday through Monday and assign a loose focus for the day. Make sure there is time for planning, time for rest, time for focused work on implementing tasks/projects.
Step 3: Hold loosely to plan, give yourself grace, and enjoy the rewards of having a more balanced, harmonious, and boundaried life.
Easier said than done, but I'm on the path with you, and can help cheer you on. Make sure you get in touch on my Instagram page, as I continue to talk through this type of stuff on my page in videos and posts!
You've probably already made a habit of unsubscribing to junk email, but what about snail mail? Do these easy, inexpensive, and preventative steps to take care of paper clutter before it even enters your home. Especially if you own a house or have kids, then your paper clutter is out of control! I have personally used these three things, and it makes it so I don't get mail every day, and the mail I get, is mostly wanted or welcome.
Note: It takes several weeks after opting out before you won't see the mail arriving any longer.
Use Opt Out Pre-screen to stop credit card offers + home loan offers from showing up in your mail. Go here for some more details, instructions, and links from the FTC. Note: Providing your SSN when submitting your application is actually not required. I did, and it was legit and okay.
To opt out of the mass coupon mailers, go to save.com or whatever website is listed on the mailer.
Paper Karma - This is a paid service (a few dollars per month) that's easy to use, and basically you snap a photo of a piece of unwanted mail, submit in the app, and they unsubscribe you with the sender. I just did their free trial and it made a big difference. It will help to do #1 and #2 first, wait, and see what else you get that you don't want.
Hope these tips are helpful! I always tell clients to "stop the bleeding", and slowly but surely, the paper clutter will get under control!
Prevent mail from coming in, then your future-self will thank you - you don't need to organize what's not there!
Use a Sunday Basket to GTD (Get Things Done)
I always think of David Allen's quote "Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them". This is a concept that is so simple, but so impactful. To reduce the mental load we carry around all the time, we have to get it all out on paper. But then how do we keep track of the paper???
Enter the Sunday Basket®. I tried to do Allen's GTD method without the system of the Sunday Basket® and it didn't quite work. I tried with trays, folders, bullet journals, and binders, to no avail. There were missing pieces to the process, and it was just hard to figure out - it was also out-of-sight-out-of-mind. But once I got a Sunday Basket® and learned the system, I figured out that it was basically a tangible, pretty, color coded, and visible way to implement all the great ideas that GTD had to offer.
With the Sunday Basket®, you will find that these concepts from GTD are doable!
*A weekly review
*a tickler system (weekly)
*Project planning and grouping project support material (into slash pockets)
*Next action steps, separated by contexts (Errands, Computer, etc.)
*Waiting For (pending)
*In-tray (In-basket) for new items
*Capturing and containing open loops
*Calendaring time-specific and batching tasks
*Quick reference information
*Separate pieces of paper to capture individual thoughts or ideas
*Checklists to streamline recurring tasks
*Processing, making decisions to gain clarity
*Delegating, deferring, deleting, and doing
And the benefits of working this system are the exact same -
decreased decision fatigue
defining the work that needs to be done
increased capacity to work on bigger dreams/goals
It works for both personal and work responsibilities
more time to have fun and enjoy yourself
Have you tried GTD? What's your experience? I'd love to hear your ideas on how to make it work, or any painpoints you've discovered in the process of implementing it.
Find out about Allen's GTD method* here.
Find out about the Sunday Basket here or contact me for a free call to see how this can help you.
*Note: I'm not affiliated with David Allen or the GTD method. I am a Paper Solution Certified Organizer affiliated with and certified by Organize 365 to teach the Sunday Basket system.
Where in your home are you claiming for your things that are important to you? Let's keep it simple - if you don't have one, this is your priority! For what lights you up, for what gives you energy because you get into a flow state, for the thing you feel is your purpose in this lifetime. Mine is this home office. I have my Sunday Basket, workboxes for my corporate manager role and my side organizing coach business, my binders, my books, my supplies/tools, and yes, my kitty who likes to hang with me.
The space needs to be functional, have enough space for the supplies AND have enough space for YOU to do the activity in it!
Examples from my friends and clients include:
A cozy chair with rolling cart with the supplies needed to create organized binders
A hutch with her own things to be happy and productive (and out of reach of her toddler)
An off-bedroom room with a door to sit, drink tea, read, and join zoom calls on the topic of self-care
A table in her office, recently cleared of clutter, to do scrapbooking
A studio to teach virtual Zumba classes and have photoshoots
Your turn! If you have a space like this, let me know on Instagram! If not, I can help with a 1:1 appointment. Feel free to schedule a Get Unstuck Coaching call here.
A place for everything, and everything in its place...
Know Yourself to Treat Yourself
How do you take care of yourself if you don't *know yourself*? As mental health awareness month wraps up, I wanted to get personal and share. I remember one time my son was young, I was running myself ragged, and was in a state of total overwhelm, resentment, and confusion about where to go from here. Crying, I confided in my husband feeling guilty for taking time for myself but it reached a critical point where I was constantly taking care of my family and neglecting myself. His conclusion? "you do you", meaning, take time for yourself and do whatever you need to do to feel better. How the hell do I do that? At that time, I had no idea what self-care meant. The secret I've learned over the last couple years, I can see it clearly now, is that I still needed to find out that self-care is personal, for my needs at this particular moment in time. It's my personal brand of self-care that I was yet to discover. And that meant really knowing myself, finding my little voice inside telling me what I need, trusting that voice is real, and then providing it to myself. That's real self-care. It's not necessarily a monthly massage (although it could be). It's not necessarily a bubble bath (although it could be).
The best tool I know of, to learn yourself and the personal brand of self-care that you need, is studying and integrating the enneagram.
I found the enneagram, actually, by listening to Organize 365 podcast in 2020 about it as an intro, then talked more about it with their listener community at a conference, and then could not let it go and I became obsessed (in a good way). It was interesting and hard, and broke me open but there has been much healing since then. It helped me realize my core motivation for calm, peace, and harmony. It helped me realize my core fear of conflict and separation. All that leads to better clarity about why I make the choices I make and why it's so dang hard to pay close attention to my core self telling me what I need, desire, and prefer. There was the problem right there... I was so scared of conflict and what others thought of me (hello, self-sabotaging mixture of perfectionism and people-pleasing), that I could not embrace and implement a version of self-care that was actually restorative, restful, and helpful. These learnings helped me find that self-care, for me, has to include healthy boundary setting that feels scary. It has to include really going for things and showing up authentically, that feels scary. It has to include standing up for myself, advocating for myself, letting people support me, and letting people see the vulnerable and emotional inside, without worrying about burdening them.
Well, what does this all have to do with organizing? Well, what self-care requires of me is to have my thoughts/ideas down on paper, compartmentalized, and organized so that I can retrieve them easily and use that to advocate for myself, and set any needed boundaries. It involves planning to ensure that I get the time and space to journal, to think, to dream. It requires my physical space to be able to be easily decluttered and organized, so that I can use this space efficiently during me-time.
You can go to this page and read 9 fun facts about me including my enneagram type, other personality insights I've had, and listen to podcasts episodes talking about organizing as self-care. There I also list some favorite resources to learn more. I would love to hear any thoughts - Go ahead and contact me or head to instagram to engage with my post or DM me!