Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Science of Being Happy and Productive - Recap

One of the many benefits of attending the ICD conference are the fantastic sessions offered. One of the sessions, The Science of Being Happy & Productive at Work by Ayla Lewis, is full of ideas that I want to share.

Ayla shared various studies that showed that happier people are healthier and more creative, energetic, productive, resilient, cooperative, social, and engaged at work. Wow! I know that when I feel upbeat, positive, and grateful, I can more easily stay focused and not fearful. Who knew this is really backed up by science. Ayla's four main points were:
  1. Practice Positivity:
Science tells us that when we practice positivity by being optimistic, visioning our best possible future, and focusing on the positive, our happiness factor increases.

    2. Flow to Goals:

Make sure your goals have milestones. Savor and celebrate the progress. When you focus completely with no multitasking for about 20 minutes or more on a task that is challenging but possible, you end up in a state called flow. Multitasking can ruin that flow and make you miserable and stupid.

     3. Subdue Stress:

Science states that how we cope with stress has a huge effect on our well-being. Even how we think about stress is important. We can see that some stress is good. Stress gets our heart beating and we breathe harder. This can get us moving toward reaching a goal. It is important to use effective coping strategies, however. The strategies that Ayla named were physical exercise, connecting with a friend, mindfulness mediation, and viewing stress as energizing.

     4. Revitalize Relationships:

Prioritize people. Happiness is contagious. We all have mirror neurons which give us that ability to understand each other and catch emotions from each other. It is important to interact, forgive, be kind, and express gratitude. Even just acting like a happy person can make you and others actually feel happier!

For more depth on her presentation, check out

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Clutter vs Calmness

These past few weeks I have been doing a lot of organizational work in classrooms. One of the big things I have been tackling is visual clutter. Everywhere you look there is "stuff". Stuff on counter tops, stuff all over the teachers' desks, stuff hanging out of bins - you get the picture.

We have had conversations about not having out material that you are not using this week, having designated containers for different types of paper (homework turned in, homework graded, administration paperwork), corralling all supplies and only having out what is needed now.

I try to get across that all of the visual clutter will cause stress and lack of focus.

The same is true of our homes and offices. Just sitting in a cluttered room can cause stress. There is too much to look at so you can't focus. There are too many things out that are reminders of tasks you have to finish (or even begin). It is also a reminder of how much work you've got to do if you want your house or office clean.

Even if you box things up and stick them in the closet, garage, or attic, you know they are there. Several years ago, I finally got up in my attic and attacked all the boxes of papers (all old and mostly archival) hiding up there. After clearing out old bills, tax documentation (over 7 years old) and some memorabilia, I felt mush lighter. The figurative weight of all that paper had been bothering me even though I could not see it. Now, every year I look through that paper in the attic and get rid of even more.

Clutter that is lying about is usually deferred decisions. It's easier to put something down "just for now" than to make a decision about what action is needed and follow through. So when that daily influx of mail comes in, immediately toss and put into the shred box the obvious. Then at lease once a week, deal with the remainder.

Then take the time to zone by zone go through your home and declutter your space.

Make your home/office/classroom a decluttered space. You will find it very centering and calming.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Keeping the Fountain Full

My life/business coach, Wendy Watkins, once shared how important it was to keep adding water to our fountains. If we don't add this water, the fountain will get low of water and the pump will burn up. Of course, she was talking about taking care of yourself. She also personally helped me chose a daily goal of ending my day with some reserve of energy. I have this intention posted on my vision board.

However, sometimes I forget. I try to complete that one more thing. I try to wiggle in one more client. I try to polish that presentation just a little bit more. And on the weekends, I try to complete that one more project at home.

When I allow this to happen, I get tired and grumpy. I also get careless and make mistakes. I'm more likely to get sick.

Awareness that this is happening is key. Scheduling at least 2 days a month with my husband where we sleep late and do fun things together if very important to me. On nights that both my husband I are home (no meetings, choir, etc.), I try to stop office work around 6:00. We try to walk together on as many days as possible. All of these habits help fill my fountain.

I'm very lucky that I love my work. I am also very lucky that I have a wonderful husband that supports me and a family that I love. My friends are fantastic! It is also important that I love and take care of myself. All of this keeps my fountain flowing freely with a delightful sound. I have this fountain in my office and it's soothing sounds relax me. But, I do need to fill it every day.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Time to Organize Your Workshop and Garage

In September the weather begins to cool down. We start to put away our summer equipment. This is a good opportunity to set aside some time to organize your workshop or garage zone. Even if you do this zone once a year, it can easily get disorganized and cluttered because it is so easy just to open the door and drop something "just for now."

Before you start your project, take a good look at the way it is now. What is working (don't mess with that area) and what is not working. How do you want to use this zone. Do you plan to:

  • Park your car
  • Store trash cans/recycling
  • Store gardening tools and accessories
  • Pot or repot plants
  • Work on projects and store tools
  • Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  • Store outdoor entertainment supplies
  • Store extra products
Now bring everything outside. If this is a large or very filled area, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use. Tool Bank is a great place to donate tools for community projects.

Next decide where to logically place your zones. You want to place items that you use frequently near entrances. As you group your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items together. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Use shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Knock down the cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away.. You'll be amazed at how much  room there is now that all the items have ben bunched together and stored away.

Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer