Managing a multi-dimensional 21st-century life is easier when you're organized. Fortunately, professional organizer Lisa Woodruff says being organized is a learnable skill. In this episode we chat about how she does it, and she shares some tips for the rest of us.
Getting Us Organized is Her Business
Lisa Woodruff is a professional organizer, a productivity specialist, and the author of some very helpful books about organization (see below for links). Lisa is also the married mom of two ADHD teenagers, and through applying her principles of organization to her own life, she's been able to find the time to help thousands of women reclaim their homes and finally get organized themselves. Lisa takes what she is physically doing to organize her clients’ homes, translates that into practical steps that anyone, anywhere, can take to get organized, and publishes those ideas on her Organize365 website.
What Does a Typical Day Look Like for Lisa?
- At 5:45 am she wakes up and makes breakfast in bed for her ADHD son (which helps him to transition out of sleep and into the day).
- She showers, gets ready, and checks her email, where she has her Google calendar for the day sent to her.
- She starts a load of laundry and does some dishes.
- She gets in the car and drives her kids to school. If the kids aren’t in the mood to talk on the drive she listens to podcasts.
- She arrives back home at 8 am and lets the dog out.
- She sits down at her computer and reads her favorite blog, looks at her bank statement, checks Facebook, etc.
- At 9 am she gets down to business and accomplishes one to three tasks that she has chosen as “non-negotiable.” Anything else she gets done is a bonus.
- Mid-afternoon she stops work and leaves to go pick up her kids, and may be shuttling kids for the rest of the day.
(Check out episode 122 of Lisa's Organize365 podcast for more about “a day in the life” of Lisa Woodruff.)
Knowing Yourself is Key
Lisa knows that she's a morning person, and that she doesn’t care about cooking. She knows she works best when she's the only one home. She also knows that the first thing to get put on the back burner when things get crazy is her relationship with her husband, so she watches out for that because she values her marriage. Lisa is able to take all this information about herself and play to her strengths. She is analytical and is always adjusting her schedule and methods based on new things she observes.
“Productivity comes from thinking more than action.” ~ Lisa Woodruff
Create a Sunday Basket
A favorite first bit of advice that Lisa gives her clients is to create a “Sunday Basket,” as a way not to be driven crazy by papers that accumulate around the house. Lisa came up with this as a busy young mother with two babies who was struggling to pay the bills because she couldn’t find them. It's simple, and basically works like this: Get a container — a basket, bucket, bin, or whatever you like that matches your decor and will be okay to have sitting in your kitchen — and put all your papers that require some action (bills, letters that need to be answered, notes about anything that needs to be done) into it as they come in. Then you simply go through it on the same day every week. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday, but that’s the day that works best for Lisa. Lisa says this system takes about six weeks to catch up to most people’s messes and really start working well. To learn more, sign up for Lisa’s free Organization 101 course.Organization is a learnable skill. —Lisa WoodruffClick To Tweet
It’s Okay to Not Be Productive All the Time
When I asked her the usual question about how she gets back on track on a day when things fall apart, Lisa laughed and shared a story about the night before our chat. Nothing was going as planned, she said. Both of her kids suddenly planned sleepovers with their friends, she had a migraine, and to top it all off, she didn’t even feel well enough to eat the Chinese food she'd asked her husband to pick up. So she grabbed a yummy drink and decided to relax while catching up on celebrity news (something she never does unless she’s at the beach)! In the words of the great philosopher Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”
What do you think?
What areas do you struggle with when it comes to getting (and staying) organized in your home or office? Please share your questions, comments, and suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me! I love to hear from you–and I'll make sure Lisa sees any questions or comments you have for her.
More about Lisa
Lisa Woodruff is a professional organizer, productivity specialist, and author of The Mindset of Organization, Take Back Your House One Phase at a Time. Lisa believes organization is not a skill you are born with. It's a skill that is developed over time and changes with each season of life. Lisa has helped thousands of women reclaim their homes and finally get organized with her practical tips, encouragement, and humor through her blog and podcast at Organize365.com. Lisa lives in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area with her husband and two teenagers.
Connect with Lisa
Resources Lisa Recommends:
- Andrea Dekker’s Blog
- Get your FREE copy of Lisa's Sunday Basket Planning Printables
- Pick up Lisa's book, The Mindset of Organization: Take Back Your House One Phase at a Time
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