This is a sponsored post, thanks to The Online Mom.
It isn’t every day that you are told that a published book has an entire chapter written about you! I shared in a prior post that I am the woman referred to in the last chapter as ”Heather” in professional organizer, Tracy Paye’s book, If Clutter Could Talk the Stories it Would Tell, in which, through real-life stories, she exposes the truth behind clutter and gives practical, and simple solutions and steps for becoming organized – for good!
In the chapter entitled, “Stop Should’ing All Over Yourself” Tracy gets in depth as she shares wisdom and tips for clutter collectors and the impact that simplifying one’s surroundings can have. Over the years I have greatly benefited from the changes that come from clearing clutter (hence, organizing more than just office and attic clutter). Life-altering stuff, when I think about it! And, so, here I am reporting back five years after undergoing my de-cluttering process under the guidance of Miss Tracy Paye, aka, Miss Organized!
“Stop Should’ing All Over Yourself” (is what she said)
That term Tracy uses, “should’ing all over yourself” is pretty colorful; don’t ya think? It, honestly, hits home, though (I’ll get to ‘splainin’ soon). If you know me well, you know I am an analytical type, so, of course, before I went on her radio show, I took some time to reflect upon the changes that I had made over the past five years. I revisited the period in which my insecurities surrounding how to balance a small business with raising a family (a challenge that many work-at-home parents tend to face) were at their peak. I was transitioning from a career woman to a homemaker, and having had back-to-back kids right after marriage and accumulating a lot of “stuff,” I had a lot of clearing out to do!
I recall (and am reminded in the book) that during Tracey’s visits I used words like “should” and “guilty” – ummmm – not so sparingly. I came to distinguish that there are rational (based on a sound value system) and irrational (destructive or unproductive thoughts) mindsets behind what appears to be self-sabotaging patterns, and it is important as “collectors” or “hoarders” to distinguish the two. I think when we feel an internal tug-of-war, we need to take some time out to determine what is best for ourselves, while also honoring family commitments/responsibilities, as well. I also came to experience a parallel: discarding things that don’t serve you anymore is similar to becoming effective at being OK with saying NO in life (Yuh!).
I also came to understand that integrating a new business while starting a family is quite a fragile undertaking! In reflection of my six years of working online and blogging, I can say with certainty that becoming organized helped me become a more efficient and disciplined person, and much better in the areas of prioritizing and establishing boundaries, in both my work and family life. It takes time. And, well, I took it!
While I was soccer mom, dancer mom, swimmer mom, tutor, homemaker, errand-goer, etc… I questioned how I would truly be able to balance my role as a home-based business owner when my kids and home life demanded soooo much of my time!? I had prematurely jumped into the role of “work-at-home mom” without having a realistic overall plan as to what was most manageable for my family-at-large, especially since we already had a family business run primarily out of the home. The solution was to take methodical baby steps and think things through, embrace support, redefine “success,” and, of course, with Tracy I found that a good starting place was to establish a proper work space.
I had not organized my office nor lifestyle to manifest a balanced approach in work, or for that matter, in life. I had not been following that inner voice that was reminding me to get a grip of my already-assumed obligations. I came to internalize, both literally and metaphorically speaking, that the things we have on our desk or crammed in a closet, etc. quite possibly might represent areas that need clearing out from the past before adding more and more responsibilities.
I took a couple years to regroup, and gradually set myself up for success, and each choice I made led me to the reality that I had to think like a business owner when working, and like a mom when momming, and make clear when I was doing which! I had bumps along the way, but I realized I needed to reach out, and that was KEY. I am so very glad that I held on to my dream and used the resources along the way that helped for smoother sailing.
Small Changes That Translated BIG for Me:
- Embraced tech help from my husband and another tech assistant, accepting it graciously.
- Found a great preschool for my son twice a week (alone time = ideal office hours!)
- Created a co-op dinner prep group in my neighborhood with girlfriends. We shared main meals once a week with one another to cut dinner prep time!
- Swapped a few hours of time weekly with a girlfriend. We would essentially entertain one another’s kids for a few hour block once a week. This way we each had the chance to get personal things accomplished, knowing our kids were in great hands.
- Got in shape (four mornings a week I devoted 1 1/2 hours to a fitness program)! Amazing the wonders devotion to health and well-being have!
- Spent much less time networking and going out for coffee with colleagues and focused on expanding SDBM to a consultancy called SR Media Consulting. I am now able to help facilitate small businesses and online BETA site owners with behind-the-scenes strategies, skill sets and content to enhance their mission! I LOVE what I do, and am glad that I hung in there!
- Brought on affordable helpers. Some were guest bloggers who helped curate content for my site in exchange for exposure, and others I just paid to research things for me.
- Employed a housecleaner twice a month (came to find that it translated to quite time in the office well worth allotting for in my budget).
- Built strategic partnerships and a support team. I found online parents with like missions and created formulaic ways to collaborate and support one another (like with Miss Tracy!).
- Focused on managing time by assigning chores, family time, homework time, etc. (always to be tweaked as time progresses).
- Embraced the wonders of the glorious smartphone, especially the features that allow me to work remotely (presently my LG G2 suits me just fine and the photo quality is unprecedented!)! I was a late adopter, but what a change it has made in my life! Having instant access with colleagues I am working on a project with is a lifeline, as well as a game-changer!
Oops, I did it again!
This year I realized that the office space was starting to show signs of resembling its original state (at least much less cluttered, though!). Some invested time, once again, proved to be quite cleansing! I realized that I was creeping back into old patterns, surrounding myself with things that I had been putting off, and that every day they were reminding me of what I “should” get done or hadn’t prioritized getting to. Not good energy! :) As I shared during the radio interview, my photo albums, baby books and genealogy projects needed not stare at me daily! Instead, I left as displays on my shelves representations of those areas that just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside – and whoa …. instant relief!
The work-at-home/work-remotely lifestyle is still relatively a new thing for to me, but it was the lifestyle I married into! Being organized and having a remote calendar reminding me of my schedule makes for a much more productive and happy household than how I was attempting to manage things years back!
In the words of Tracy Paye, “Gooooo ME!” If you want to get organized check out Miss Organized at TracyPaye.com.
Disclaimer: SDBM received the LG G2 from The Online Mom for review. All opinions expressed here are my own. I can also be found as a contributor (Stacey Ross) at The Online Mom.com. Tracy Paye did not compensate me for this post.