Archive for the ‘NSGCD’ Tag

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?


Are You “Chronically Disorganized”? Probably Not.

by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company LLC

Do you think you may be “chronically disorganized”? Our first impulse might be to laugh and say, oh yes, that describes me perfectly!

It turns out that chronic disorganization (CD) is a technical term rather than a humorous one. It describes, not someone who often can’t find her keys or who pays a bill late twice a year, but someone for whom disorganization is severely reducing their quality of life. CD is marked by its longevity, impact, and resistance to self-help efforts.

This might describe a person in peril of being evicted because of the state of his or her apartment, or who has been unable to file taxes, not to get out of paying them but because gathering the necessary papers is simply impossible. It could be someone who is alienated from family and friends because of problems with organization.

Chronic disorganization may be rooted in varied causes, including traumatic brain injury, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, and other physical and psychological causes. In other words, it is not the same as the simple overwhelm that we all feel when confronted with too many voices calling for our attention and too little time in the day.

The National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD) was formed to support those for whom disorganization is not just a frustration or a personal foible, but those whose lives are profoundly impacted by disorganization and the inability to overcome it without help.

The NSGCD maintains one of my personal favorite websites. It is, I’m happy to report, a model of order and ease. I’d like especially to invite you to explore the information-rich resource section. (Just resist the urge to print out all the pdf’s, which would create way too much paper clutter!) There you’ll find tons of useful information about chronic disorganization. Especially note the fact sheet which gives common characteristics of CD individuals.

If you recognize yourself, a friend, or family member here, don’t hesitate to contact me for help in locating more resources for this person.

Full disclosure: I earned a Certificate of Study in Chronic Disorganization from the NSGCD several years ago. I believe it is essential for anyone who works with organizing and productivity to understand CD and recognize it when they see it. If you need help, I’ll be happy to point you toward some wonderful people who do this work (I don’t). There are many skilled and compassionate people who can help.

Are you trying to help a chronically disorganized person? Are you chronically disorganized? What has been effective? If you recognize yourself as CD, what do you wish us “average messies” could understand about what it’s like to be truly CD?

Organizing Awards? This must be L.A.!

by Margaret Lukens, New Leaf + Company

On Friday, February 1, it was my honor to be among the presenters at the Third Annual Los Angeles Organizing Awards, hosted by the L. A. chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Sherri Shepherd of ABC’s “The View” kicked off the evening with revelations both funny and touching about her work with her beloved organizer, Jodie Watson. Professional organizers are familiar with that “blankie” that many of our clients have — the object, collection or habit from which they must not be parted. For Sherri, she confided, it’s her large collection of wigs. When Jodie wondered aloud whether Sherrie really wears all the wigs she has, Sherrie recalled shouting down Jodie: “I’ve GOT to have my HAIR!!” Now her collection is safely organized, labeled, and in containers: curly, straight, fun, short, long. Sherri got to keep “her hair” and find it, too.

The celebrity line-up of presenters continued with NAPO founders Ann Gambrell and Beverly Clower, authors and “Oprah” guests Julie Morgenstern and Peter Walsh, NSGCD president Lynne Johnson, organizing coach Dorothy Breininger, NAPO president Standolyn Robertson, and others.

Many of those who took to the podium had stories to tell, and film clips to share, of lives changed by organizing work. One powerful moment included Peter Walsh pushing for a clear commitment to boundaries on the much-talked-about “Oprah” episode “Inside the Lives of Hoarders” featuring his client with a serious hoarding problem. Another organizer’s clip showed a client overcome with emotion when the final work in his home office was revealed. What touched him so deeply? Not just relief at being rid of the mess, the visible signs of disorganization. No, it was the wonderful way the organizers had displayed his collection of baseball cards, honoring what really mattered to him and allowing him to enjoy it more fully. Moments like these reminded everyone present why professional organizing matters — because it allows people to do more of what they value most, and do it with more ease.

With two colleagues from San Francisco, I presented The Green Award for the most eco-friendly organizing product of service. Finalists included 1-800-GOT-JUNK and Hecht of an Organizer, with this year’s award going to Hecht of an Organizer.

I hope that the LA Organizing Awards will encourage more companies to partner with professional organizers to design and market innovative products and services that provide a dramatic benefit in the lives of clients.

Do you know of any organizing products or services that you feel should be nominated for the 2009 Organizing Awards? Please take a moment to post your favorites here.

%d bloggers like this: