These words are so common in my first conversations with clients that I could write them down before they start speaking. Is this you? Step one is taking a deep breath. No, seriously…I’ll wait. Ok, most people do the first one halfheartedly, so relax your body, breathe in deeply and let it all out slowly. Now we are ready to talk about your overwhelm.

How you got to this place of frustration is only important from the perspective of what you’ve tried in the past. Even that conversation is a shorter one in my evaluations. I’m most interested in where you are going. To move you from frustration to freedom, our work together focuses around four pillars:

Clarity, Consistency, Confidence, and Mindset. We follow a proven pathway to get you there, but today let’s focus on the pillars.

Clarity: To live an organized and productive life, you need clarity on what that looks like. I teach an office blueprint as well as organizing basics for the home. All clients start off week 1 with an assignment to “flex” their organizing muscles and feel some immediate success: create one “No Clutter Zone.” Pick one area that is bothering you and makes you feel fantastic when it is neat and clean. That may be your desk, kitchen island, countertops, email inbox, entryway, or any other spot. Commit to moving all the

mess there now to where it belongs, (hello trash!) or temporary storage if you’re not sure yet, and keeping it clutter free. This exercise gives that great feeling of looking at and experiencing an uncluttered area and sets the stage for momentum. Don’t forget to tell the people you live or work with that this is now a no-dump zone. Eventually there will be no more dump zones, and everything will have a place.

Consistency: Organization is like fitness, doing the work and getting to a desired result is great, but consistency over time is what keeps you there. This pillar is where time management, maintenance strategies and new habits come into play. What is one behavior you can implement to stay consistent? Perhaps a 10-minute tidy at the end of the day, clearing out your email inbox before leaving work, drinking more water to keep your energy levels up, or a weekly review of goals and to-do items.

Confidence: Believing in yourself as well as your systems is crucial. Stress management techniques are an important part of this pillar, because when we are anxious things feel harder and more overwhelming. Making your goals and action steps small and concrete also helps with confidence. Stop right now and focus on one area of organization where you excel. Do you remember everyone’s birthday? Is your refrigerator always clean and stocked? Do you have a will and up to date important documents? Do you actually fold your workout shirts (and not throw them in a basket like me?) Everyone is great at something and we use your strengths to build upon.

Mindset: This is the secret sauce that pulls everything together. The good news is that decluttering assists in clearing away self-doubt and working on mindset assists in the process of decluttering. It’s a win-win! My clients learn the neuroscience behind getting our thoughts and feelings to work FOR us.

Today start with this: you are in control. You control your thoughts. Your decisions are yours. That is a beautiful thing!

Spend a few minutes brainstorming how to use these pillars in your life and work. Let me know if you want to learn more!

Updated: Nov 15, 2020


One of my followers wrote that at 4 am as we commented back and forth on one of my posts.

I smiled.

I may have insomnia, but I am RESILIENT.

Contrast that with the first time I truly contemplated the meaning of this word. Rewind about 10 months as I am sitting in my new therapist’s office. She listened as I caught her up on the previous 6 or 7 years as quickly and succinctly as possible.

Her response? “You are very resilient.”

She might as well have cursed at me. It felt as if she hurled those words at my chest like a dagger. The hurt little girl inside of me longed to scream and stomp her foot. “I don’t want to be resilient. I’m tired. I don’t want to HAVE to be resilient!”

Over the course of the last year, I have learned to appreciate resilience, to honor it when I see it in other people, and to celebrate my own.

According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, resilient people can withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. They remain positive when faced with stress, uncertainty, and change.

I know many friends, colleagues, clients, and acquaintances embody resilience. I know this because resilience leaves clues.

Clue #1: You stay focused on growth. I know people who have written books, started companies, shifted everything about their business, learned how to homeschool their children, learned languages and more during this pandemic. Even people who do not feel they’ve done much of anything have learned new skills such as how to work from home, how to ramp up self-care when needed, or how to budget when times get tight. It may be small or feel insignificant, but we have all grown in some way in 2020. The key is to change your mindset from “what I had to do to survive” to “look what I learned!” That is resilience.

How many of you ate too much, drank too much, slept too much, shopped too much or some other too much this year? I see those hands and hear that snickering. The key is not staying there. That is…

Clue #2: You bounce back quickly. I admit to days of self-pity, a defeated attitude, and lack mentality. But each time I go there these days I stay less time. Each time I come back stronger. I love seeing this in my clients. I work with amazing people who are not suddenly perfect in their decluttering and organizing habits, but because they have new skills they bounce back quickly. They bounce back with more confidence each time. Life, and mess, happens but they are resilient and come back strong!

Clue #3: You surround yourself with quality people. How many of you have coaches, mentors, accountability partners, or amazing close friends? Resilient people intentionally seek out and surround themselves with a circle of like-minded and striving friends and associates. Author Tamara Kulish says, “You become what you surround yourself with. Energies are contagious. Choose carefully. Your environment will become you.” This is why we create productive environments, but it also extends to the people in our lives.

The exciting thing about resilience is it is a skill. It’s related to your personality, but it can be learned and improved over time.

So, if someone marvels at your resilience, don’t dodge it or throw it back. Own it. Make it a hashtag. Live it. And be proud!

“I already did it!”

When my oldest son was about 3 this was one of his favorite phrases.

Time to brush your teeth. I already did it!

Time to take a bath. I already did it!

Time to clean up your toys. I already did it!

The only activity that wasn't met with this refrain was eating. 😉

In his three-year-old mind, once you did something there was no need to go back and do it again.

Luckily, now that he is a fully functioning 24-year old, he understands that some activities will be done repeatedly forever. So far he’s managed to keep himself, his cat, and his dog alive and healthy, maintain a job and a house, and remember to put gas in the car. He's learned to appreciate the art of maintenance.

When I guide my clients through the 5 Step Productive Environment Process the last step is “Sustain Your Success.” I also refer to this step as “Maintenance,” or in my group coaching we call it “Follow Through.” This step is crucial to creating the organized, productive life or business you desire, but often this is where the breakdown occurs.

If you want lasting results and lasting change, here are some ways to sustain your success:

Accountability: Did you know you are 67% more likely to be successful with an accountability partner than if you tackle a goal on your own? While your accountability partner doesn’t have to be on track for the same goal as you, it’s important to identify a person (or group) who understands your goal and is dedicated to checking in to help you reach it. If your goal was to wear your “old” jeans again, find a friend who will check in with you each week and then schedule your workouts in advance.

Scheduled Updates: To make things a habit, you need to schedule them in advance so that you will keep up with them. For example, think of filing papers. Realistically, you won’t file papers every day or as papers come in (which is why I teach my clients to have a place to keep papers “to be filed”). Instead of wishful thinking, schedule the filing. Maybe for you, this is every Wednesday or the last day of every month. I file twice a month during a webinar that I join that is “listen only.” I don’t ever get too far behind, but I also don’t worry about filing at any other time.

You probably have tasks that need maintenance on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly schedule. Your newly organized family room will need a “5-minute tidy” every night, while your garage or attic will need yearly or seasonal upkeep. If the clutter you worked hard to remove was mental or emotional, perhaps schedule time to talk with a friend or professional or plan weekly brain dumps and journaling.

The key is to PLAN this ahead of time (ideally while you are still carrying out the organizing or productivity project) and put it on the calendar.

Remember: what gets scheduled gets done. Accountability and Maintenance are the keys to lasting change.