Saturday, December 5, 2009

On the holiday horizon...a New You!

Newspapers, magazines and the airwaves will be filled this month with ways to save this holiday season. In “One Year to an Organized Life,” I devote the lion share of instruction in December to just these issues. In this forum, I’d like to take a peek at something else that may be on your mind: looking ahead to the New Year. It beckons to us like a blank piece of paper, inviting us to create something fresh, new, nurturing and inventive in place of our current reality.

While it’s easy to dream about a fresh start, it’s very often difficult to do the work involved to make the dream a reality. This is why most New Year’s Resolutions fail: they remain wishes rather than turning into our reality. Let’s take a look at the concrete steps we can take to change our lives for the better in the New Year. After all, if we don’t prepare for and consciously create our New Year, it will simply re-create itself as the ‘same old/same old.’ And that never leads to happiness.

If nothing stood in your way…
One of the central tenets in Zen Organizing is that the whole of any endeavor or project is overwhelming. Success is best achieved if we break a big task down into the small steps that will make it a reality. Let’s start, therefore, with a list of what you would like to achieve this coming year. Go ahead. Let your mind run wild. List everything. The most common goals include:
➢ lose weight
➢ start an exercise program
➢ stop smoking
➢ make/save more money.
What is on your list? Set a timer for 10 minutes and start dreaming.

Are you planning to win or lose?

After you have your list, place numbers next to each item so that you know your high priority items from those that can wait a bit. Not only is a long list overwhelming so is the goal of achieving everything at once. A long list doesn’t make you a high achiever; it sets you up for failure. You’ll want to consider each item in turn. Break it down into the steps that will make it a reality. The easiest example of course is losing weight. It isn’t a magic formula that will enable you to achieve success when you need to lose weight; it’s a change in eating and adding exercise to your regime. That’s obvious, right?

One step at a time…
Once you understand the steps whether they are obvious or take some time to figure out, you can set about deciding how to achieve each one in turn. For our example it would be: what diet would work best for you? Is it Jennie Craig, Weight Watchers, Nutri-system or some other program? And what exercise regime will work best with your personality and time? Do you like running, yoga, Pilates or swimming? The more thorough you are at this phase, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

But let’s say you start your list and you are so overwhelmed by the idea of change, you get clutched and have to stop. You aren’t doomed to continue the ‘same old/same old’ routine you’d like to change. You simply have to be kind, gentle and patient with yourself. Think how proud you will be when you achieve your goal.

Push the first domino…
How can you jump-start the process? Create simple habits that move you out of your rut. Psychologists say it takes 21 consecutive days of repeating an action before it becomes a habit. Let’s look at the three major areas in our lives (home, work and finance) and consider some simple habits that can truly rock our world with permanent, positive change.

Home Habits:
• Make your bed every day.
• Hang your towels on the towel bar after a shower or bath rather than tossing them on the floor.
• Brush and floss your teeth every morning and each evening after dinner or before bed.
• Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or allow clean ones to languish on the drain board. Put things away!
• When you start something, complete the action: close cupboard doors and drawers. Need a sweater? Put it away when you no longer need it. You get the idea.

Work Habits:
• Try and relieve stress with simple actions: drink more water (8 eight oz. glasses a day is ideal); meditate for a mere five minutes to clear your mind or introduce exercise into your regime. Five minutes will get the ball rolling. You can walk to work, do some yoga in your seat or climb the stairs for a few flights. What’s available to you? If you don’t exercise at all, start small.
• Limit your time at the social media sites. Set the timer on your cell phone or watch for 10 minutes. No one really needs to know the nitty-gritty details of your day. Start recording the broad strokes. Do you really care if Aunt Zelda is ‘at the bus stop’ or your fiancĂ© has just ordered a latte at Starbucks? If the answer is ‘yes,’ you might consider some new priorities! Social media sites are great and I myself have a presence at Facebook and Twitter. But I am careful not to fritter time away. I use the sites to my advantage. Are you? Or might it be said the sites are using you?
• Just as you did at home, return items to their proper place. You will be able to file your expense report more easily, for example, if the receipts are always placed in the appropriate folder.
By the way, if you don’t have a working file system, take some time between Christmas and the New Year to set one up. It’s an invaluable aid all year long. And if you do have one, don’t forget it will be in need of a quick tune up as we prepare to move into a New Year.

Finance Habits
ALWAYS note your expenses in your check register immediately. Check and debit card expenses can add up. Overdraft fees are a waste of your money.

Are you reading all of the magazines, periodicals and newspapers you subscribe to? Or is it time to catch these publications on line? Don’t forget to recycle these publications when you are done whether that’s the blue can or your local assisted care living facility or hospital.

Keep paper money in denomination order, all facing forward. You’ll save time whenever you make a purchase by not having to sift through crumpled bills at the bottom of your purse or pocket. This simple action also expresses your respect for your money. Try and live on a weekly allowance: when it’s gone, it’s gone. You will tighten the purse strings in short order. Debit cards, credit cards and checks can feel like ‘magical’ sources of money we either don’t have or shouldn’t touch.

In conclusion…
Rome was not built in a day. Neither will you be able to change your life overnight. Small, positive steps forward, however, create tremendous momentum. They also influence those with whom you work and live. Why not be a silent mentor to your family, friends and co-workers this year just by adopting some simple, straight forward positive steps. You’ll be touching other lives at the exact moment you are busy transforming your own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Create special holiday mementos....

As you gather with family and friends this holiday, why not take a few minutes to interview everyone present? Ask your mother and father to tell the story of how they met. Does your sibling have a favorite holiday memory? Perhaps Uncle Harry would like to share the story of how he and your mom celebrated Christmas when they were children? We always think there will be time to record these memories but life passes quickly and very often the moment is lost. Just about every cell phone has a few minutes of video recording available so you don't even have to purchase a fancy new camera.

This Thanksgiving I decided to make a cookie that I remembered from my childhood. My Aunt Marie made it every year. You could not resist it. One year I gained five pounds in a week! There was just one problem: I not only didn't have her recipe, I had no idea what these cookies were called. My friends at Facebook came to my rescue. After some trial and error, I figured out that these are 'Snowball Cookies.' I made a few batches and happily delivered them to friends. I wish I could ask Aunt Marie what her secret ingredient or technique was because mine were not nearly as good as hers. Unfortunately Aunt Marie is alive but in late stages of Alzheimer's. If only I had thought to interview her her a few years ago!

May you be blessed with a month of rich experiences!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Thanksgiving, here we come!

'When I wrote "One Year to an Organized Life" I called Thanksgiving, the 'Mother of all Dinner Parties!' It is, isn't it? If you can host this holiday, every other gathering is a piece of cake. It isn't just the enormity of the dinner (and all those expectations about the food), it's the large number of family members, including those we're sure must have been adopted because we have nothing in common with them! In the book, Chapter 11 / November has detailed instructions including information from my favorite caterer, Tanya Russell founder of In Good Taste here in Los Angeles. Today I'd like to chat about something that's a key ingredient albeit not found in the grocery store: your budget!

We become so caught up in the emotions of the holiday, we forget how much it can cost. The December holidays frequently find us counting our pennies with lists and careful planning but Thanksgiving? Not so much! Remember to take into account the price of the food, any decorations you plan to purchase and of course the beverages to be served. It's cheaper to feed 5 than 25 so make up your guest list and check it twice to see who has been naughty (and can be eliminated this year) and who has been nice (and deserves a repeat invite). And don't hesitate to involve your guests: ask them to contribute a dish...or bring a bottle of wine or... I am the 'Dessert Queen' in my circle of friends. Why? Because I live near an extraordinary French bakery and I let their chef do all the work.

Take a few minutes to make two lists: one is of things/elements you remember from past happy celebrations and the other is--you guessed it--some things you'd dearly like to avoid. This holiday is about companionship, great food and gratitude. Enjoy it...every minute of it.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Fourth of July: more than a day for hot dogs and fire works

Are you holding on to something that drags you down?

Perhaps you delight in 'saving the day' and carry every object known to man in your purse or brief case? Whether it's a flashlight or a nail file, you take care of the requests of friends and strangers. It's breaking your back but the moment of rescue makes you feel too important to change.

Or maybe you refuse to toss anything out of your environment because 'someday' you might need it? This usually hides behind the pseudo mantra: 'I'm not a person who wastes things.' 'If you wait long enough everything comes back into style.' 'The minute I toss something, I need it!' Do these sound like the things you say as you move about your impacted space?

Sometimes what we hold on to are the pains of the past like the time your second grade teacher humiliated you in front of your class mates. Or maybe it's the last relationship that haunts you. He or she 'did you wrong' and you can't move forward because you cared so deeply.

Take a few minutes before this wonderful holiday and see if you are keeping yourself a prisoner. Are you hiding behind words that deflect responsibility? Whatever happened to you is in the past. It can't be re-done. It can serve as a wise teacher.

Declare your personal freedom this holiday.

Set new goals and intentions. Let them float into the night sky with the fireworks display in your neighborhood or on the TV. Embrace your ability to start over.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Multi-tasking: Friend or Foe

Very few subjects in the world of organizing are such hot button issues as 'multi- tasking.' However it certainly has its devotees! While I never like to waste time, I am not a fan. Let me explain.

If you are in a doctor's waiting room, why sit idle? This is a great time to get caught up on your paper work or even better give yourself an opportunity to start that novel you have been longing to read. If dinner is in the oven, why not toss in a load of laundry to fill the time before dinner is served? Maybe you can set the table while the food cooks and the laundry spins! These are examples of getting things done.

But if you are in the habit of working on the computer, talking on the phone and writing all at the same time, I have to ask how you feel at the end of the day? Exhausted, depleted and weary would be the responses I would expect. The first set of activities were each getting your full focus even though they seemed to be happening at the same time. The second set will fry your nerves as you direct your attention in multiple areas at once. Or at least attempt to...

If you are suddenly angry with me and feel I am making you wrong or trying to take something away from you that works, don't fret. I'm simply sharing what works for me, my readers and my clients. Give it a try. Examine how you multi-task and, most importantly, how you feel when you are done. It's fun to experiment with different ways of thinking, doing and being, isn't it?

I am a long time practitioner of yoga, both the physical postures and the ancient philosophy that the postures are a part of. I am writing this post on Wednesday, June 24th. In just two days I'll be leaving for the second of four yoga retreats I am honored to enjoy each year. I will write again next week with the renewed sense of peace being on a mountain top always brings to my Soul. I hope your week is productive and your weekend brings you a time of renewal. It's summer after all, you deserve a break.

My system of organizing, by the way, is called 'Zen Organizing" and is expressed in all (soon to be seven) of my books. The new 'One Year to...' series best captures this system. I invite you to read more about it. If the home is your area of challenge "One Year to an Organized Life" is for you. If you languish is a sea of chaos at work, you will enjoy "One Year to an Organized Work Life." Late this year "One Year to an Organized Financial Life" will be out. We're all concerned about our finances, aren't we? And yet so few of us receive an adequate education in this area. My new book is written with Russell Wild, a financial planner who makes the arcane world of finance accessible. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did writing it with Russ!

What have you got to lose by embracing 'Zen Organizing' except perhaps tension and turbulence? What you'll gain is peace, calm and oh yes, productivity.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vacations, packing and time...

June 22, 2009

Earlier this month I returned to China for a second visit. I love history and Beijing has centuries of tales to tell. Shanghai is 'only' about 100 years old but its mix of traditional Chinese culture and the China of tomorrow is heady. My internal time clock is still getting adjusted. I tend to get sleepy around 5 pm and be flooded with energy around 1 am. An amazing turn of events for a woman who dubs herself the 'Queen of Sleep.'

For the past 11 years I have been traveling the world with a small suitcase that blissfully fits in any overhead compartment. This trip I took just what I needed and restrained myself from buying things I didn't need. The day before we were due to return to the U.S., however, the shopping gods struck a blow: I stumbled upon something I didn't purchase last time: a silk comforter. They are as light as a feather and yet warm in winter and cool in summer. I had to have one.

Here's a little packing tip that isn't in any of my books: very often the manufacturer will pack an item with unnecessary padding. If you remove it from its factory material, you can tuck it into a corner of your suitcase. Somehow we squeezed my new queen size comforter into a postage stamp size suitcase. I remember the challenge each night as I crawl under the cover of my sweet silk comforter.

Happy travels everyone!

Regina Leeds

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's on your horizon?

Are you back at work this week dreaming about your vacation?

Are you busy planning the summer for your kids now that school days are counting down to the end of the academic year?

Did you just graduate? How are your job prospects?

Is retirement on your horizon?

Will the current economy force you to downsize?

No matter what is on your personal horizon, facing it with a plan of action will enable you to feel more in control. I am off to China next week for 8 days. Whether it's an over night stay at a hotel or a week in another part of the world, travel like all aspects of our lives, requires an organized approach. I took one day last week and tried to cover all of my bases. Nothing is worse than being up late the night before your plane, train or automobile leaves your home city wondering why you left everything to the last minute! My flight to Beijing alone is over 12 hours and I don't want to arrive exhausted before I start my journey.

Whatever you face in the coming months, craft a plan. I can't say it often enough! Remember: the whole of anything is overwhelming. When we break a project down into its parts, we gain mastery. In "One Year to an Organized Life" I've written about all the common organizing challenges we face from a messy bedroom to a move. In "One Year to an Organized Work Life" I apply the basic concepts of Zen Organizing to the world of the office. Whatever your challenge this month, I've got your back! One of the airlines urges you to 'Come fly with me.' I'd say: 'Come organize your life with me!'


Saturday, May 23, 2009

A long holiday weekend... a truly delicious experience. Your home city empties and you can get places more quickly...well, at least in Los Angeles.

If you are a hard working person Monday through Friday, be sure you have some fun over Memorial Day. Don't forget to give a nod of respect and thanks to all those brave men and women who have ever given their lives to keep all of us free.

If you wish to tackle an organizing project, be sure you follow the Zen organizing protocol. To wit:

Get a good night's sleep. The heart of organizing is making decisions and a rested brain does a better job!

Eat a good meal and have healthy snacks available and oh yes, lots of fresh water. Again we want to honor the needs of our bodies.

Have everyone in the family on alert that you need at least 5 uninterrupted hours for your project: no phone chats, no e-mail checks, no checking voice mail....have a sitter for your children etc. Your project will succeed in direct proportion to the respect you pay it.

Have sturdy garbage bags or some boxes handy for trash and donation.

There are journal prompts in all of my books to help you understand why this area in your home or office has posed a challenge in the past. And there are guidelines to help you create something new as of today.

Take a step toward creating the future you desire. Plant those seeds today...along with your tomatoes and herbs!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


....takes my focus again today.

I've lost a dear friend to a terrible disease. I am reminded once again how precious time is. Did I tell him often enough what a great man he was? Did we spend enough time together? It's so easy to get caught up in the work activities of our lives...or those important responsibilities like raising our children. We must always remember to use our organizing skills to plan the life we want and deserve. One that includes time with all those we love.

Is there someone you want to reach out to today? Take out your calendar or that to do list and schedule the call or visit. Remember that getting organized makes every aspect of your life better. It's not about an afternoon cleaning out your closet...or that paper pile on your desk. Use your new organizing skill to create a more beautiful life.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time is....

...a commodity...your friend...your foe...

How would you define time? Does it feel abundant or scarce in your life? I was thinking about this yesterday as I spent most of the day in Santa Paula, California. The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation honored the new graduates of its training program. These brave dogs and their equally remarkable handlers will be there at the next disaster searching for the living who may be buried under rubble.

I first saw them working the pile at Ground Zero after 9/11. They have my heart and I help raise awareness and money every chance I get. You really can't imagine a dog going up and down ladders, through tubes or scampering over rubble until you see them train. And they do it for the reward of their favorite toy. They also do it for the love of their handlers with whom they live 24/7. I could wax poetic about them for hours...but it's time I wanted to write about today.

You have to manage your time otherwise either it will manage you or it will be managed for you by everyone else in your life. I worked hard all week so that I could take yesterday and, you know, throw it to the dogs! If you think that a time budget, so to speak, is a waste of time, how else are you going to achieve your goals or live a balanced life? Managing time is of course about achieving the lofty goals you set for yourself. It's also about the every day, mundane things...those that are chores and those that are rewards. Life is a balancing act from the moment we're born.

Things to think about this beautiful Sunday. Of course all of my books are full of ways to manage time. It's the fabric out of which you craft your very life. Today I'm also thinking ahead to June 2nd. I'll be returning to China for my second visit. You can't imagine all the details that require organizing! I so want to leave with a sense of accomplishment rather than having that sick feeling of dread when you know you've left a laundry list of items on your To do list. Organizing isn't a dreaded task for a weekend or a day every so often. Organizing is a skill that allows you to enjoy a more productive life.

So, again I would you describe time?

Regina Leeds

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Travel Light...

Isn't it funny how each year of our lives seems to have a 'personality?' When we're in school, we're identified by the year of school we have reached. As adults there's the year of the first job, the year of getting married, the year of the first baby and so on. Last year I traveled across the United States to speak and organize private clients. My late golden retriever Spirit began to get deeply depressed because my suitcase came out with such regularity. It was a travel year for sure.

I've been working on my new book since early February of this year. "One Year to an Organized Financial Life" is complete as far as the first draft goes. Soon I'll be receiving notes from my brilliant editor, Katie McHugh.This is the first time I have collaborated with anyone and I have to say it has been a perfect experience. Financial planner Russell Wild has taught me so much! I think you're going to use this book as a financial reference bible. If your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of IRA's, mortgages, medical insurance and the like, you'll be feeling more in command. I am especially delighted I got to write about how to manage your health care when you don't have insurance. Seven years ago when I faught my battle against cancer, I had no insurance. There are one should die for lack of insurance.

Before the edit process begins, I am sneaking in a little trip for pleasure. I am returning to Beijing, China for a week this June. I just love that city! I have studied Feng Shui and been a devotee of Chinese medicine for two decades. To be in the city whose traditions date to the origins of both of these interests is just fantastic. The Great Wall is overwhelming in its majesty. No photo can capture its power and presence. And entering The Forbidden City is awe can almost feel the emperors and their thousands of concubines!

I travel in the U.S. and throughout the world with one small suitcase that fits in the overhead compartment of the plane. This trip I'm leaving my lap top at home. I am going to walk away from the computer and the cell and be 'in the moment.' Hard thing for a technological junkie to do! We won't be going to any formal dinners so I can pack a few pairs of jeans and assorted summer tops and be ready. Two years ago I took one pair of shoes. Can you imagine? LOL. They were broken in and old friends. At the end of those 12 days, however, I was sick of them! This year I'm taking a pair and a spare.

Are you traveling this summer? You'll find detailed packing instructions in "One Year to an Organized Life." The key is to take what you really need and not to dress to impress the hotel staff or the folks on the street.

More soon.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Do you have a dirty little secret?

Are you known as the organized one in your circle of family and friends?

Do people exclaim over your cleared off desk, your made the minute you get up bed or the absence of paper piles?

What if they were to look inside your desk and dresser drawers? Would a cyclone of chaos hit them in the face?

What about your closets and cupboards? Do they have secrets to tell?

If you are this kind of organized person, you are just like my mom. She felt you only needed to organize the areas everyone could see. This is organizing to elicit good judgment from others.

As your resident Zen Organizer I am concerned with every aspect of your life working in concert with all the others. I want you to be greeted by order no matter where you look in your home and work environments.

Take a peek today.

Do you have a dirty little secret?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Organizing...for all aspects of life.

I've discovered in my life that you can use the techniques of what I call 'Zen Organizing' to help you get control over any challenge that faces you. In the Epilogue for "One Year to an Organized Life," I wrote about my best friend and how she helped me see the value of using my techniques to get through cancer treatments. It all seemed so daunting at the time. (As of this writing, I am a 6 1/2 year survivor. In the end I wrote two books during chemo. And, no, I have no idea where the strength came from much less the mental clarity. God's grace would be my best guess.

I've written a book when my heart was breaking over the end of a relationship I held dear. Today I'm faced with a new challenge: writing a book with the impending passing of my most beloved golden retriever. I'm contacting his friends to see who would like to say good bye in person. I'm thinking about the memorial service I will create for him in a few months. Yesterday he went to see his wonderful vet.

Loving someone, no matter what form they take, means you will be blessed...and you will one day have to say good bye. If I didn't have Zen Organizing to help me take the practical steps, I would be lost.

My wish for you today is that whatever challenges you face, you open your heart to the gift of organizing to help you get through.


Friday, January 30, 2009

The Weekend Beckons...

3:34 PM PST, January 30, 2009
It's not just any weekend, of course, it's Super Bowl Sunday. I hope you're planning to enjoy the afternoon with family and friends. It's fun to share food and an event like this, isn't it? With the economy in turmoil, don't hesitate to ask for help. Let every guest make a food contribution. This will take some of the preparation off your shoulders...and save a little money in the process.

Paper products cost a fortune, don't they? Go with the plain if you don't want to use your dishes. People will admire the football design on paper plates and napkins for 10 seconds and then cover it all with food. They don't need the football...they need a delicious meal.

By the way, if you have pets in the home remember that a large group of people laughing and shouting at the TV can cause them to become upset. Perhaps they can have some quiet time in a room by themselves? I'm not suggesting this is necessary for all pets. My old golden retriever is so deaf, they could be playing the game in my living room and he wouldn't care. I'm only suggesting you be mindful...especially if you got a new puppy or kitten over the recent holiday.

In chapter 11, the month of November in "One Year to an Organized Life," I have detailed instructions for planning the mother of all dinner parties...Thanksgiving. Once you master that event, something like Super Bowl Sunday is a cake walk. If you have the book, read that chapter and see if you can pick up any additional tips that will help you get ready for Sunday.

My mother grew up in Western Pa. and her two youngest sisters are still, yes...I'm rooting for the Steelers.

Great weekend, everyone.

And by the way, Happy Chinese New Year! Exit the Rat...enter the Ox.
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Divide...and conquor.

11:38 AM PST, January 28, 2009
It's so easy to get overwhelmed when you're faced with a big project. It can even happen with a small project that involves something you aren't interested in or feel you aren't good at.

Divide and conquor are the watch words.

Break that task into small increments. Work systematically. My One Year to ...books do that for you. I take a project like organizing the bedroom and divide the steps over four weeks. I put the bedroom in February because it's the month we think about love...and you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. Show your love by creating a nurturing atmosphere in the bedroom...even if you're in there alone!

In the office I chose organizing your space for the month of February. The literal space is like dressing your body. It's what folks see on the outside. Your file system is created during March. It's like taking care of your insides. Inside and outside: working in concert. Body, mind and soul at peace.

And you thought organizing was about 'stuff!'

The whole of any project is....

9:31 AM PST, January 26, 2009

It really does help to break things down into small sections and work systematically until you are done. I had a lot of paper work piled up because of my recent travels. Over the past weekend, I had to take my own advice. Guess what? It works! I went step by step and suddenly the 'engine of completion' took over and voila! everything is filed and tackled. I'll have to figure out what my reward is today. You deserve one as well when you face these organizing challenges. Remember: a stack of anything is really a series of unmade decisions.

Great Monday, Everyone!

Attitude is everythinbg in life....

10:16 AM PST, January 25, 2009
It's a beautiful Sunday in Los Angeles. We have a sunny day sandwiched between two rain storms. I'm on my way out to knock off my daily three mile walk. I just skimmed the Sunday paper and added more research material for my next book: One Year to an Organized Financial Life. I'm really excited about this father and mother were very responsible with money but they had no idea how or what to teach me. It has been part of my life journey to learn just how money works. I'll be writing this book with financial planner Russell Wild. It will be out next year at this time.

But first?

Those three miles are calling to me!

On the Road Again...

12:23 PM PST, January 24, 2009

I was in Houston, Texas last week for four days. I taught my first seminar based on the material in my new book "One Year to an Organized Work Life" at the Unity Church of Christianity. The next day I worked with two brave souls from the audience.

The time difference is only two hours but it has taken me a few days to adjust. Now I'm back in my home office getting caught up on my own paper work. Yes, professional organizers have paper work. LOL. My ancient, sweet golden retriever needs his walk now and then I'll knock off my daily three miles and return to the computer. It's important to move the body and embrace some kind of exercise...even if it's only 5 minutes a day taking the stairs in your office building. Movement helps clear the mental cob webs.

Great weekend, Everyone!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Year's step at a time

January 16, 2009

I'm preparing to leave for Houston on Saturday the 17th to lecture at The Unity Church of Christianity and then work with a private client. If you're reading this and live in Houston, please come and say hello! The talk will be Sunday afternoon. This is a beautiful venue and open to all. I'll be teaching concepts from "One Year to an Organized Work Life."

Life has once again prevented me from writing here as often as I'd like. No matter...let's look at your list of possible resolutions for this new year. If you created this on or about the second of January, you've had some time to think about the items on your list. I have a few questions. To wit:

Are there a few things you'd like to realistically eliminate? If not for all time, how about just this year?

Could you put numbers or letters next to the items that remain? Now you can create a prioritized list rather than a random one.

Do you see that some of these items are related? For example, if you have 'exercise,' 'lose weight,' 'stop smoking' and 'eat a better diet' on your list, you could create a group. These resolutions are all part of a bigger

Looking at these items as steps to achieving one big goal makes them less daunting.

Play with your list in this way.

More from Texas this weekend.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year: will it mean a New You?

January 2, 2009

I'm so sorry to have fallen off the 'posting wagon!' I have to confess that I actually took time to enjoy myself this December. I'm a type A personality by nature and it's sometimes difficult for me to slow down. Of course the fact I love my work adds to the issue: it's a joy to write, to work with my clients and to help promote my books. Very often everything else feels like a distraction.

On December 17 I had the good fortune to be a guest at Miraval Spa outside Tucson. I was invited to participate in their first ever Writer's Program. Miraval is a place of healing and perfection. I had a wonderful time and much to my surprise came home with new friends and new clients! Sometimes my cup truly runneth over...

When I returned to Los Angeles on the 21st, the holiday season was in full swing. I decided to continue to unwind. I'm about to begin work on my seventh book: One Year to an Organized Financial Life. I never experience writer's block and I think the reason is that for a good month before I ever sit down to write, I'm working the manuscript out in my head. I walk at least 3 miles a day, for example, and it's a great time to mull things over. By the time I'm facing the keyboard, I'm ready to rock!

My great PR project at this moment in time, however, is getting the word out about my just released book One Year to an Organized Work Life. I've taken the principles from my New York Times best seller One Year to an Organized Life and applied them to the office. The basics stay the same. What changes with all of our organizing challenges are the items in our hands. Whether it's a blouse, a bill, a pack of batteries or a project for work or school, the Magic Formula will carry you home to peace, order and calm.

What is The Magic Formula? It's a three step process: Eliminate (what you don't need, use or want), Categorize (keep related items together for automatic inventory control) and then Organize (when you are done, your categories should be beautiful, functional and easy to maintain). But today I'd like to write about the New Year....there's always time for The Magic Formula. In fact over the next few days, I'll show you how to use it to achieve your goals for 2009.

The reality of life is that every midnight ushers in a new beginning. January 1st has special power and momentum because the entire world is focused on the change to a new year. We can join forces with millions of others and feel the 'psychic surge.' But change isn't magical, it requires work and willingness to let go of the status more often than not, our desire to change becomes a good intention that is never acted upon.

Let's join forces and fill 2009 with a different experience.

For today, I'd like you to write down all the things you would like to change or do in this year. There are no limits. Vomit it all down on paper! I'll be back on Sunday to help you examine your list. For now, the sky's the limit...dream a little!


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June 2009, in China

June 2009, in China
At the Summer Palace outside Beijing

About Me

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I will always be grateful I grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  It was a rich atmosphere that introduced me to different races, creeds and professions.  It seemed that anything was possible if you were willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

I'm a yogi which means that my spiritual path is that of yoga principles that have been handed down for over 5000 years. Yoga is an ancient philosophy based on the Gita, the sutras of Patanjali and yes, the Bible. The postures are a key element as is meditation. We honor all paths.

I got my first dog when I was 6 years old after a full year of begging.  She was a collie and her name was Queenie.  As an adult I've had 2 golden retrievers.  A female named Miss Katie who came into my life when she was 3 months old and an ancient male golden who came to me when he was 15.  I'd like to have a Great Dane next but we'll see what the universe has in store.

I've been organizing clients for over 24 years and writing about it for over ten.