Decision Making Chart copyright marla stone
It is hard to make difficult decisions. You may be in denial that decisions can be a process and not want to go forward with making a decision due to lack of confidence and or decreased motivation. You may put off decision making, struggling and agonizing over even the simplest of decisions because you could be torn by the options or lack of options. Decisions, decsions, decisions!!!
But there is a really easy method that I have come up with called
"THE DECISION MAKING CHART"
THE DECISION MAKING CHART (Example Above)
Use this simple chart every time you make difficult or simple decisions. It will help you focus on how to get to a preferred reaction/action!! It will help you make a decision.
You want to be organized, that is a given. Getting organized, purging, editing, paring down, de-cluttering, and clutter free articles dominate the cover of every magazine. Minimizing is America's new favorite obsession.
When you're in the minimalist state of mind you want to organize everything, and everyone. You want to declutter your spouse, the kids, parents, family members, and friends. You want to declutter bedrooms, clothes, knick knacks, supplies, bathrooms, kitchen, living area, garden, baby's room, sheds, storage, garage, limited space, kids, small children, car, drawers, pantries, cabinets, visitors, decor items.
Paring down, by yourself, with family, and friends, will take three times as long, as having a professional organizer to help you. An organizer will guide you quickly and efficiently through the process of decluttering.
Organizers will help you create space, and see space you didn't know you have. Also professionals will teach you how to maintain the home long term. You will see your home in a whole different light, through the organizers eyes. The joy of organizing, with a professional organizing crew, is how quickly your space will shift and change to accomodate what you own.
You will be organized in ways you never imagined. Professional organizers help you with new interior design ideas, efficient ways to set up a desk, how to deal with mail, financial management, filing, business, paperwork, bills, creative storage, mind clutter, and what to keep, throw away or donate.
The consequences of not being organized cause confusion, stress, loss of time, loss of items, and feeling overwhelmed. Clutter chaos causes lost items, taking too much time too find things, and a waste of money. Buying storage containers and organization tools, yet not using them becomes frustrating. Buying too much stuff on-line, and on sale, and buying the same things over and over becomes costly, and can border on "shopping addiction". Most people buy so much stuff yet they don't remember what they have. This buying cycle causes crazed feelings, fatigue, and disappointment. The result of being disorganized is misplaced documents, not getting things done on time, missing appointments, missing celebrations, bills, mortgage or rent not getting paid on time, poor credit, depression, anxiety, funk, worry and embarrassment.
So getting organized is a good idea. Here are some tips to make organizing easier by understanding what gets in our way.
How We Think
What is on your mind? Kids, building an empire, laundry, cleaning, organizing, a recent new relationship, having no relationship, an argument, yesterday's lovemaking, a family member who is ill, the past, the future? Where ever your mind is you will be too. Your mind may be on certain challenges you are facing, whether physical, emotional and or mental. When you focus on decluttering you want to be clear about the goal of keeping things that are important, and discarding items that are useless.
How We Talk
I hear more people say "i need" today than any other two words in our language. "I need" to go shopping, to pick up the kids, to buy some shoes, to talk to my mother, to do my hair, to exercise, new clothes. I need, I need, I need!!! We are needling ourselves to death. Bottom line the only things we need are to breathe, eat, sleep, drink, have shelter, sun, and go to the bathroom, period. The other words in place of "I need" are "I have to". Means the same thing. "I have to" do this and "I have to" do that. Bottom line is you either want to do something, you don't want to do something, or you're not sure about doing something. It is that simple. Start saying "I will", and your goals become clearer.
What do you value? Most people are stumped when I ask them this question, or they cock their head, and look at me as if I am asking them a question involving quantum physics. Funny enough, an old acquaintance, Dick Feynman, an expert at quantum physics, and the scientist who worked on building the atom bomb, and who solved the shuttle problem, once asked me "Marla, what is love?" I thought quick and hard and said "It is a feeling of passion, closeness that can sometimes feels so overwhelming it hurts, and a bond that never dies once it was there, no matter what". He loved that answer. Anyway getting back to what we value. Do you value family, friends, money, power, fame, fortune, relationships, art, travel, independence, autonomy, rest, sleep, solace, children, your looks, health, leisure time or religion, spirituality, creativity or yoga? What do you value? Until you figure out the top ten things you value, you will not be motivated to organize. Without knowing what you value doing in life, you won't know what to keep. For instance, if you value a new relationship, to get married and have kids, and your place is always a mess, and therefore you won't invite anyone over, do you really want to go forward in having a relationship, or do you value independence more? Figure it out and you will start to enjoy your top values more often.
Marla Stone is owner of www.i-deal-lifestyle.com and the Clutter Remedy Expert. Call Marla, Professional Organizer, Lifestyle Coach, Business Coach, Décor and Feng Shui Specialist for a free 30 minute Lifestyle Consultation.
I did couple's counseling for years, in Orange County, in private practice. I worked with single people desperately seeking a relationship, people getting divorced, people who had affairs, separated folks, couples who hadn't had sex in way too many years, or intimacy for that matter, pre marital couples, newlyweds and military couples. Now, as a Lifestyle Coach I continue to help people with their relationships, in a different way. There are specific exercises that are simple and easy to recognize the health of your relationships with not only your partner, but your boss, kids, friends and even acquaintances.
Techniques for a happier relationship
#1 Figure out what you want in an "ideal" partner
Write 30 things you want in an ideal partner and GO BIG! The list will be in the positive. Instead of no drug addicts, write Addiction Free. Remember and think about what really matters most to you in a partner. Think down the road at least 10 years and think about things you will want even then.
Has Close and Supportive Friends
Great Family who loves me
Emotionally Intelligent (READ Golman's Emotional Intelligence book)
Attractive to me
Loves my family
High Self Esteem
Loves to exercise
Good career, job or business
Okay now DON'T use my sample list.
Think of things that are important to YOU.
#2 Own your own feelings
Understand your feelings are your own. You have heard the saying OWN your feelings, well that is because NO ONE makes you feel ANYTHING. I often hear people say "She made me feel" or "he made me feel" or "they made me feel". NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL ANYTHING. Feelings are stuck inside of you, and they pop up when there is a trigger, but they are in you, and no one put them in there. Triggers can happen any time, place, and the feelings that you feel are yours. I can have 10 people in a room and I could jump up and down and flap my arms wildly and scream I'm a Turkey, and all 10 people will FEEL differently. I did not make them FEEL any of those FEELINGS. I was a trigger, but the feelings are theirs. I have not actually done the above, but I am certain some people would cry, some would laugh, someone would be shocked and someone upset....but I did not make them feel that way!!!
#3 Figure out if your feelings are aligned with what is happening.
Figure out if your feelings match the situation at hand. If your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend is late for dinner at your favorite restaurant, on date night, and you go into a rage, does that match the situation??? NO WAY! Ask yourself what situation would match you going into a rage. Perhaps a loved one being harmed, someone chasing you down an alley at gun point, you were cheated etc... Next ask yourself what would be a natural reaction to someone being late for a date. Perhaps irritation, aggravation, disappointment, or worry. The deepest, darkest feeling you might have is rejection, and even that would be over the top for someone being late to a date. Find out if your feelings match the situation. If not think about where that deep, dark feeling comes from. Did something happen to you that would cause such rage? Ask yourself where does this kind of rage come from? When you figure out which situation(s) the rage began, work through it, and if you can't work through it on your own, get a referral for a licensed professional or Life Coach to help you out.
Even Birds fight! But FIGHTING IS for the birds!
Steps for decluttering
Space Analysis-Analyze your space and figure out what you want to use it for. If it is your garage for instance, do you want to park your cars or will it be a workshop or a kid's play room? Understand that if you want to use the space for more then one activity, realize the potential of the space and all that it can be. Make drawings, even if you don't draw well, of what you think it would look like. Cut out pictures from magazines of ideas you have for the space. Visualize the space in your mind's eye. Discuss the space with family and friends and generate ideas. Call a professional organizer and get a free consultation about your space. Next take everything out of your space.
Take everything out of the space. Starting with an empty space will help you determine a home for everything you are keeping and give you a blank canvas to design the space from scratch. Find an area to sort through the things you will keep and the items you will eliminate.
Eliminate. Of course the most difficult part is getting rid of stuff that you have held onto for some reason or another...and guess what, even if you haven't used it for years and aren't sure when you will, it is still difficult to get rid of stuff. Have four piles. One for Keep, one for Give, one for Trash, and one for Miscellaneous or just can't decide. This makes the task go quicker. Once you get everything sorted you will be ready for putting everything in its place.
Putting Everything in its place. I always say there is a home for everything and it's true. You will find a home for every item you want in your space. The reason it is a good idea to have a home for everything is simple...stuff will end up back where it belongs, and it will be easy to find when you want it. Since you designed the space ahead of time it will be pretty easy to move everything into place. If there are heavy items there are great tools at the hardware store for moving and sliding heavy peices. This is also a time to hire a handyman, or get some handy friends over, if you want things hung, pictures, racks, wall units put together etc... Once your finished sit and relax and take it all in.
Sit and Relax and take it all in. Finally your space is complete. This is a time to use the space and see if it really works for you. You may want to make adjustments and move things around and even eliminate more stuff you realize you're not going to use in the space. You may also want to purchase some new items for your space. Reflect on the space and make sure it is how you really imagined it. Hopefully with all the planning and carefully considered steps your space is perfect for you and voila!
Marla Stone is a Professional Organizer and a Lifestyle Coach
She serves Orange County, Los Angeles County and San Diego County
She is also available for telephone and or skype consultations nationwide.
Organize Your Self and Space!
As a Professional Organizer I am always surprised when I get a call from someone who says they want help with Organizing, only to walk into their home and find it overly organized and almost sterile. The client, although, seemingly "organized" is so focused on organizing and cleaning and dusting everything that they can't function in the rest of their life. They can never truly relax in their space. Chances are the client may suffer from either OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). OCD (clean type) as I call it, drives a person to obsess so heavily on cleaning they become compulsive about finding every germ, peice of dust and cobweb. I heard one lady scrubbed her bathtub so hard with abrasives she scrubbed the enamel off. That is overdoing it. I also heard about a guy who vacumns daily spending close to 4 hours a day with the tool. He values being with friends and being an enterpreneur, but his obsession with cleanliness and order has taken over. This is a very serious mental health challenge and the person may seriously want to seek professional help.
OCPD as described in a previous blog is the over consideration of a project, so much so that you lose the point of the task. The person has difficulty delgating tasks to others and holds on to everything, even if rendered useless. Clients with those traits will have a relatively organized space, but with something or some room just never really completed, and filled with stuff they do not use, want or need.
With clients that have these overly obsessed and compulsive behaviors it is a big step to allow a Professional Organizer in. Remember part of being obsessed and overly focused on something is the control. Allowing someone else to come in a delegate the movement, change and removal of your stuff is brave, daring and risky. Come on, it's your stuff.
It reminds me of George Carlton's skit on "stuff" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac
Please watch and entertain yourself.
Work on balancing your life, your stuff, how clean, how dirty, how organized and how happy you really are. Put things into perspective. Ask yourself what you truly value and what you really want to accomplish in life. If you value family time, and travel. Ask yourself if polishing your stove 3 times a week will get you more family time and travel, and if the answer is no, lighten up on the polishing.
So feel the dirt and grime and chaos and relax anyway!!
Losing A Loved One Can Create Chaos.
NO doubt losing a loved one whether from death, divorce or deception will leave you devestated. Devestation is one of our darkest feelings we can feel. It comes from going through a shock and such grief that it flattens us and knocks us to the ground. We become lifeless ourselves, without motivation to thrive and it becomes difficult to breathe, put one foot in front of the other and function. Everyone has a different time frame as to when they can come back to a semblance of a "normal" life after being struck with the news of a great loss. When I practiced Psychotherapy for many years I had so many people ask me, "Marla, when will the pain go away"? I never had an answer. There is no correct answer. Everyone is different in how they process grief. I have seen someone lose a Turtle that they had loved for 30 years not recover from their grief for over a year, and men who have lost wives of 30 years remarry within six months. So you go ahead and try and figure out someone's time limit, and you will be wrong most of the time.
People, in general, are very uncomfortable with people who are grieving. I hear "get over it", and the problem with that is if you get over "it", "it" is still there, always chasing behind you. I always suggested "getting through it".
Going through the stages of loss, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally last but not least, Acceptance, is not as easy as it sounds. The stages do not go in sequence either. Most people do start off with Denial, but I have seen some people jump immediately into Anger, Bargaining or Depression, and the time they stay there, again, is different for everyone. Depression seems to be the stage most people attempt to avoid. I have seen people bounce between Denial, Bargaining and Anger for years to avoid the stage of Depression, which is absolutely a stage you cannot miss if you want to get to Acceptance.
The greatest example of Denial, was a 90 year woman I met almost 20 years ago. I went to visit this lady I had never met, since a family member asked me to check in on her. I had no idea who she was or about her life. When I arrived she invited me in and there was a giant painting of her husband in front of a cabin. There was a big bearskin rug on the floor. She proceeded to tell me all about her husband and how he was a bear hunter. She went on and on about her husband, and I could see a pipe on her living room furniture and men's object about the home. Finally it was getting late, and I asked her when her husband would be home. She nearly jumped out of her skin and turned pale as a ghost. She stated, "my husband has been dead for over 30 years". I then jumped out of my skin and turned white as a ghost. We scared the crap out of each other. I told her how sorry I was and then shuffled home, certain this lady had jumped out of some denial system that had been fixed for some time. Sure enough I had a message on my phone, when I returned home, from the family member of this woman, asking me not to bring up her husband and mention that he died. It seemed this woman for the past 30 some years had told everyone her husband was still alive and well. She had never even donated or rid herself of his clothing and or personal items. Oddly enough, when I asked her when he would be home, since I assumed he was still around, it had the opposite affect and popped her out of denial.
Disorganization will follow Devestation. It would be hard to still want to get up, clean the kitchen, do laundry, mow the lawn and make a healthy dinner when you are in Devestation Daze. My suggestion is to grieve properly. Allow yourself to experience the Grief until you can breathe, eat and sleep again in a natural pattern.
During periods of Grief and Loss, a friend, family member and if necessary a Professional Organizer will be a great support and help to you so that your self and space can be protected from great chaos and loss of function.
www.I-Deal-Lifestyle.com can provide you with Self and Space Organization services in your time of need. Call 949-709-7000 for a free 30 minute consultation.
Marla is known as the Declutter Your Strategy™ expert. Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of