Are professional organizers perfectly organized?

This recent news from my organizing colleague Margaret Pearson Pinkham, who specializes in working with chronically disorganized clients in Sonoma County, CA:

I went to sign up for the Spring season of NSGCD teleclasses and guess what? I had waited too long and the class on Procrastination was FULL!

Occasionally someone will ask me whether I, a certified professional organizer, am perfectly organized. Does a doctor get the flu? Has a horse trainer ever been bitten? Can good mechanics  suffer an automotive breakdown?

Here’s the truth: we all are sometimes overwhelmed with all the stuff that comes at us. I know what it means to be late, to feel disorganized, to procrastinate, and to lose things — all from personal experience.

In fact, I would beware of any professional who has not faced and conquered their own hurdles. Who is more likely to help me, the personal trainer who has healed from their own tweaky knee or bad back, or the one who has found fitness a breeze from day one?

I am always on the lookout for new and better ways to address the challenges of modern life. First, I form the habits that make organization possible, including making a clear and compelling plan, recognizing what I need to capture and how to let go of the rest, and the discipline of actually doing the work. Then I look for whatever tools can make it easier for me to do the job.

And because there is no one solution that works best for everyone, I also look for whatever tools may help YOU do the job, too.

What organizing, time management, and productivity issues give you a hard time? What hurdles would you most like to get over?

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7 comments so far

  1. terrysthinking on

    Nice article Margaret. The sooner we get off the Perfect Pedestal we have less distance to fall or fail.

    The hurdle I would like to get over is my reluctance to reduce and weed out some of my books.

  2. Carol Stephen on

    I love this post, Margaret! This line was so true: “Who is more likely to help me, the personal trainer who has healed from their own tweaky knee or bad back, or the one who has found fitness a breeze from day one?”

    Recently, my priorities change so quickly from day to day that shifting gears has become more of a problem.

    Thanks again for the interesting post.
    Carol Stephen

  3. Sophie on

    Love this! Sometimes I think I should carry a picture of my desk around with me just to reassure folks that I know how to clutter things up just as well as anyone else! My desk has a natural flow from clear to cluttered to clear again throughout the month. We all get overwhelmed and disorganized at times. It’s just that when you have an organizational system in place, it’s that much easier to clean things up when you’re ready to get back on track again.

  4. Lis McKinley on

    Of course I’m perfectly organized…NOT.

  5. carolinetotah on

    I once lost my car keys while at the gas station. I was stuck at the pump for 20 minutes, during the morning rush, while searching frantically for my keys.

  6. Lisa Mark on

    As Sophie said, it’s the flow from clear to cluttered and back again that matters. At least that’s what I tell myself. My biggest hurdle? My files. Why? Because I set up custom file systems for others on a daily basis and when I come home that’s the last thing I want to do for myself. And yet I plow on. My file pile no longer reaches from the top of the filing cabinet to the ceiling…only halfway.

  7. Margaret Lukens on

    @terrysthinking One of my most enduring problems is that I mistake BUYING a book for having the time to READ the book. Books are one of my big issues, too.
    @CarolStephen, shifting priorities take special measures, don’t they?
    @Sophiemakesitsimple, what matters most is having a “RESET” button to get us back to a clear-desk state, right?
    @LizMcKinley, you’re a stitch! Also a very skilled organizer.
    @carolinetotah, okay, so where were those keys hiding??
    @LisaMark, ah, yes, the old “shoemaker’s children have no shoes” syndrome — we find it hard to do for ourselves what we do for others. I recognize that one, too.


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