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What Kind Of Help Do You Need?

I take a holistic view of organizing, and believe that simply cleaning out a closet or setting up a bunch of file folders isn’t enough to affect a lasting change in people’s lives — you have to root out clutter wherever it lives. So in addition to the typical time/paper/space issues, I also help my clients organize their finances, kids, memorabilia, business procedures, you name it! Here are a few examples of the types of services I offer…

The hardest question I can ask a potential client is, “With what do you need help?” (Not because most folks are unfamiliar with grammatical-correctness, but because they don’t actually have any clue what they want in life, besides the vague notion that it could somehow be “better.”) That’s okay — a good bit of what I do is help my peeps clarify and prioritize their wants and needs. Not happy with your work? Does maintaining your living environment take too much time and effort? Tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck? Do you wish you could teach your children that happiness doesn’t come from the mall? Would you like to have the breathing space to just sit back and relax every once in a while? I can help!

Moving From ‘What’ To ‘How’

This whole goal-setting thing can be tricky, even if you do have a solid idea of the result you desire — you’d like to make more money or feel healthier or create more balance between your business and personal life, but you don’t know how to begin or what steps to take. That’s why I’ll also help you create an action plan — breaking your large goal down into manageable steps and finding the resources you need to succeed.

And if you’re feeling frustrated because you’ve tried (over and over again) then failed (over and over again) to accomplish your goal, I’ll help you find the right path so you can stay motivated and make it to the end.

The Domino Effect

Throughout the years of working with clients (and along my own personal path to simplicity) I have discovered one universal fact about trying to simplify your life — it has to be a holistic process. Change in one area of your life are going to encourage shifts in other areas, and you have to be prepared to see the process all the way through. That’s why I help my clients work on improving every important area of their lives. Whatever your initial concern, don’t be surprised if you find yourself working on other areas of your life during your sessions.

And it doesn’t matter the magnitude of change — whether you want to reduce your monthly expenses or seriously downsize your living environment, to make mealtimes a bit easier or embark on a whole new career. Any goal is “doable,” as long as you are willing to commit to the life changes necessary for achieving it. And I’ll be there with you the whole way — helping you create a life without debt or worry, where you no longer feel trapped by your job or circumstances, where you have the space and time and energy for all of your pursuits.

– family rooms – creating enjoyable spaces for relaxing, reading, socializing, watching television, playing games, listening to music, or just spending quality time with your loved ones

– kitchens – improving cookware and food storage, making meal planning/preparation easier, and creating a space for those “other” kitchen activities (like bill-paying, homework, and family gatherings)

– home offices – designing functional household filing systems, better ways of getting to-dos done in a timely manner, and a desk you’ll enjoy spending time at

– garages – clearing out the junk while setting up storage for things like tools, sports equipment, garden supplies, etc. (and allowing you to actually park your car indoors again!)

– kid’s rooms – creating age-appropriate organizing systems for your children, helping them develop good organizing habits that will last the rest of their lives

– bathrooms – cleaning off the counter, finding other homes for less often-used grooming items, and making it easier for you to get ready each morning

– closets – organizing your clothes so you know what you own and can find it when you need it (working toward a wardrobe that actually fits and lets you feel good about yourself!)

– bedrooms – designing restful sleeping spaces and calming sanctuaries, while keeping the clutter from taking over your dreams or disrupting your love life

– storage units – helping you let go of those things you never use, don’t need, and couldn’t care less about (especially those that are costing you money to store off-site)

– household management – teaching you systems for better organizing your bills, your family’s schedule, grocery shopping, errand-running, house-cleaning, laundry, you name it

– home staging – doing a little “sprucing up,” repositioning furniture, and adding a few homey touches, to create inviting-looking rooms that will cause your house to sell faster and for more money

– decluttering – eliminating the stacks and piles that make your house seem smaller (and less attractive to buyers), while lightening the load so you aren’t filling your new home with a lot of unnecessary junk

– move planning – helping you think through all the to-dos that must be done, the changes/updates that must be made, and the people who must be notified of your move

– room layout – figuring out the best configuration for your furniture and belongings in your new space, and doing so before  the first box is unloaded and carried inside

Getting Organized

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  • time management (daily routine — time wasters — Too much to do and not enough time? If you want to achieve more during your day, you must learn how to prioritize, plan ahead, and sett realistic goals — but it’s just as important to root out time-wasters and interruptions that continually throw you off track. With the right approach, you can boost productivity AND find more free time in which to enjoy life! not having enough time is a big issue these days — but the answer isn’t a better time management system, it’s a better way of determining your priorities and saying “no” to everything else — we will look at those “time wasters” that eat up your day, the dreams and goals you never seem to get to, and your typical daily routine — we will reconcile all of your responsibilities and “want tos” together into a more satisfying, less rushed, and more reasonable schedule)
  • home organization (A harmonized living environment is the key to a satisfying personal life – but it’s hard to love your home when you feel overwhelmed and buried in clutter! How do those rooms make you feel when you walk in the front door? Glad to be back safe in your own cozy little nest? Or ready to cringe, because of the stacks and piles you see all around you? Do you feel stressed out, trying to get it all done? (Pay bills on time? Keep track of your family’s schedule? Stay on top of the cleaning and the cooking, the chores and the errand-running?) And what about scheduling in some “me” time for yourself? If your household isn’t functioning the way you would like, it’s time to make a change!)
  • clutter control (Clutter is anything unnecessary or extraneous — something that takes up space without giving you any tangible benefit. But I’m talking about more than a pile of unread magazines or an overstuffed junk drawer. Getting organized also means clearing the clutter from your schedule, finances, relationships, mind, and heart — a holistic “clean-sweep” for your whole life! Making a little cash after you clean out is also a good thing. But garage sales are hard work if you don’t know what you’re doing! There’s a real science to attracting buyers and making sure your discards actually sell. Knowledgeable assistance with pricing, display, advertising, and set-up can mean the difference between wasted weekend and profitable sale.)
  • space/storage maximization (Having a place for everything not only makes it easier to find an item when you need it — but you spend less time putting it all away during clean-up. However, there’s no one right way to organize. It’s about setting up your storage in a way that makes sense for your unique lifestyle. Learn how to make the most of your existing space with the right tools and techniques.)
  • memorabilia (Photos, artwork, collectibles — are you taking care of these valuable mementos the right way? There’s nothing more heartbreaking than taking a trip down memory lane, only to discover that your keepsakes have been ruined by improper storage. Get your memories out of that cardboard box, and organize them in a way that protects and enhances your treasures.)
  • moving/relocation planning (Moving is never fun, but it’s much less stressful when you have a little help. Careful planning and preparation can make the whole process easier, save you money, and reduce the possibility that anything is overlooked during transit.  Not to mention the fact that organizing as you pack/unpack speeds things up and reduces “down time” during a move.)
  • paper management (The first step is to develop a routine for dealing with incoming mail and to-dos. Next, we eliminate all unnecessary “junk” paper from your life. Then you need a a workable filing system. And finally, a regular purging/archiving routine. These steps will not only dissolve the piles, but help cut down on paper-induced anxiety (I forgot to pay the light bill! too much of our time and energy is spent dealing with paper and information, and this is one of the major complicating factors in most people’s lives — but again, the solution isn’t a better filing system, it’s a better information filter — we will look at the myriad of paper that comes into your life and what purpose it really serves — we will examine the pressure you feel when confronted with so much information you “should” be reading, and discover ways to let it all go without guilt — I will help you to eliminate the paper that overwhelms you before it ever sets foot on your desk — paper processing)
  • office organizing (Can you see the top of your desk — or are you endlessly buried in paper? Do you work efficiently — or struggle just to keep on top of it all? Does your day end on time — or are you always staying late, trying to catch up? Concise office procedures, logical workflow patterns, and practical space-organizing systems will let you get it all done with minimal stress — office layout and productivity — policies and procedures, internal and external — staffing and outsourcing — staff training Make sure that your team has the skills necessary to compete in today’s market. Get your staff on board with your clutter control, time management, paper reduction, and other organizing plans. Whether you prefer a group session or a little one-on-one time with individual employees, your company can only benefit from creating a little order!)
  • paper processing (overspending, unconscious consumerism, and debt do nothing but complicate life — we will look at your attitudes toward money and consumer goods, identifying self-destructive habits that keep you trapped in a cycle of lack — I will offer some alternative behaviors that can help you when you enter a financial “danger zone” — we will also develop a personalized definition of “financial freedom” that resonates with your lifestyle, and develop a workable plan to help you achieve that goal)
  • ergonomics (Does your back hurt at the end of the day? Does your computer strain your eyesight and give you a pain in the neck? Are you worried about carpal tunnel from hours spent typing, typing, typing? A little help reviewing your office layout, changing your seating, re-aligning your desk, and adjusting your monitor/keyboard may be just what the doctor ordered!)
  • project management (Do you view new projects with enthusiasm or dread? What’s your biggest hurdle — getting started or following through until the end? Knowing how to clearly define personal and business goals, break overwhelming tasks into bite-sized steps, organize your resources, monitor progress, and stay on schedule are essential skills for success.)
  • getting out of your own way (mental part)
Simplifying Your Life

Life seems so much more complicated these days — more stuff, more responsibilities, more expenses, more things to worry about. In many ways, our society programs us to seek out a complicated life. We’re taught to trade free time for a big-screen TV, fresh air for a 6-figure salary, and peace of mind for a McMansion. What we think will make us “successful” only ties us down — to an 80-hour work-week, a huge mortgage, and a credit card bill we can never pay off. We’re not happy, but we just don’t know any other way of doing things. We’re caught on an insane treadmill of achieving and acquiring, consuming and complaining — all the while denying our own true needs in favor of somebody else’s dream. But no one is going to turn off that treadmill for you. You have to be the one to say, “Stop! I’ve had enough!”

Are you longing to break free from all the craziness, to live a simpler kind of life? The only way to make this happen is by focusing on your priorities and learning to let go of the rest. It’s time to clear out ALL of the clutter in your life — piles of “stuff” you never use, unnecessary financial obligations, toxic relationships, time-wasters, energy-drainers, and “tolerations.” I can guide you to a more fulfilling place in the world — one where you are free from all the excess baggage, no longer trapped by your job or debt or the expectations of others.

Simplicity comes from the inside — a change in your state of mind, the set of values you live by, and the choices you make on a daily basis. It’s about choosing your own path in life, regardless of what your family or friends or co-workers think you “should” be doing. You have to be willing to leave behind the habits, beliefs, and behaviors that allowed you to become trapped in the first place. Most importantly, you’ve got to start thinking for yourself — deciding what you want your life to look like, and sticking to your guns when the crowd pressures you to follow them.

  • basic principles (here we create a core definition of simplicity that is specific to your goals, lifestyle, and personal preferences — we discuss some of the basic principles behind simplifying any area of your life, and start to turn these into a value system that will help you make positive choices as we move forward)
  • house (we will look at your living environment and discover exactly what seems “complicated” about it to you — we will explore changes that could be made to simplify maintenance and cleaning, to reduce your clutter and better organize your spaces, and even possibly change your living arrangement altogether in a way that makes life easier for you — this might include a discussion of downsizing, a change of neighborhood, moving closer to work or school or other activities, etc.)
  • kitchen (how we eat is a big part of how simple or complicated our lives are, and the fast-food prepackaged lifestyle is not only complicated but a big drain on your personal energy level — we will  not only look at mealtime from a nutritional standpoint, but also examine the preparation process and ways to make that faster and more enjoyable — the goal is to help you reconnect with a healthier way of living, return to a more natural and less processed way of eating, without adding to your workload)
  • kids (children’s behavior is usually a reflection of the value they are taught by parents and the larger society — it may seem like a challenge to teach your kids simplicity in this complicated world, but it can be done — we start first by looking at the behaviors you are modeling for your family, and how a shift in those can make a huge difference in the household dynamic — we will also look at what your kids are being taught by society, and how to help them think for themselves rather than becoming good little consumer sheep — we will also look at ways you can build in more time for simple activities with your kids and create a simple daily routine that will reduce their stress. Being organized is a skill that kids have to learn — they’re not born knowing how to put things back where they belong or complete their homework on time! The good news is that kids are great organizers, once they’re taught what to do. And the earlier you start, the easier things will be for them at home, in school, in their extracurricular activities, and once they become adults.)
  • work (if you asked most people what stresses them out the most, their job would be near the top of the list — we’ve fallen into an entirely false belief that we have to tolerate long hours, stressful deadlines, rude customers, demanding bosses, incompetent co-workers, and tasks we hate just to be able to pay the bills — not true! — we will examine those aspects of your work that you love and loathe, look for ways to increase the former and decrease the latter, and talk about drawing healthy boundaries around your work life — we may also look at more radical solutions for improving your work day, such as a change of employers, a change of careers, self-employment, etc.)
  • travel (since 9/11, people travel a lot less, partly because it has become a lot more difficult — dealing with airport security, delays, traffic, lost luggage, etc. — but travel doesn’t have to be that way, and you’re cheating yourself out of some amazing experiences if you avoid travel because you think it’s a hassle — travel also doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think, if you go with the right priorities and mindset — we’ll talk about what kind of travel you would like to do, what has been holding you back, and what very practical steps can be taken to get you on the road)
  • relationships (you may not be able to control the way people behave, but you can control your reactions to them — if your life has become complicated by toxic people, it’s okay to get rid of them, and I will show you how — we will also talk about any “boundary” issues you have with friends and family members, things that you are tolerating and shouldn’t be, and ways to create more “me” time for yourself — we will also look at steps you can take to simplify all of your relationships and make them more satisfying)
  • in your mind (many times, we are our own worst enemy, creating complications and frustrations where there really aren’t any — we will take a look at that little voice inside your head, the one that talks about what you “should” do and the ways you’re not good enough and all your other insecurities — I will offer some suggestions for shutting him up and replacing those thoughts with positive ones — we will also take a look at changing some of the core beliefs that bring this voice up, ones related to achievement and success and how you judge your life within the larger society)
  • holidays (the holidays do not have to be so stressful, you just have to decide what kind of a celebration you want and be willing to ignore the rest of the commercialism and hectic plans — we will take a look at the holiday traditions you enjoy, the ones you can’t stand, and how to balance the two out — we will create a list of “wants” and “won’ts” for this next holiday, find ways to make the chores a bit easier, and help you reconnect with the real meaning of the season in whatever way that makes sense to you)
Achieving Financial Freedom

Financial freedom — that’s the American dream, isn’t it? But how many of us actually stand any chance of achieving this grand and glorious goal? Buried in credit card debt, living in houses we can barely afford, spending more than we make and putting nothing away for the future — something’s gotta give! The good news is that financial independence is well within your grasp, as long as you are willing to change the way you choose between instant gratification and future security. It’s not about wealth or income — what matters is that you plug up the money leaks and focus on your true financial priorities. Someone who earns $10,000 a year can achieve financial independence as easily (sometimes more so) than a person who earns 30 times that. And I can show you how!

Imagine having no debt — no credit card bills, no car payment, no loans, no mortgage. Imagine having reduced your regular monthly expenses to an unbelievably low level that you can very easily afford without much effort. You have a healthy nest-egg stashed away for emergencies, so a sudden car repair or injury doesn’t send you into a financial panic. You live in a reasonably-sized home that is paid off and inexpensive to maintain. You receive at least some income to enjoy now from your steady habit of investing, yet you still have plenty to cover you into retirement and old age. You live well within your means, buying nothing that you can’t afford to pay for at the time. And you are frugal and deliberate with all of your spending decisions, acquiring only what will enrich your life (and not worried about trying to keep up with the Joneses.) Finally, you don’t have to work if you don’t want to — at least not full time. You have plenty of space in your life to pursue other interests without feeling the pressure to “pay the bills.” You live a with a sense of fulfillment, and a minimum of stress.

What financial issues do you need to address? The feeling that every penny you earn goes to paying off debt? Mortgage and maintenance costs on a house that’s bigger than you really need? The fear that an emergency will wipe you out because you have no safety net? Kids who are going to bankrupt you with their constantly escalating material wants? A wish that you could be your own boss, if it weren’t for the security of that salary? Would you like to have the breathing space to live your life without worrying every single day about money? I can help!

  • spending priorities (overspending, unconscious consumerism, and the accumulation of debt have become national epidemics, and it’s time for a vaccination! — we will start by creating a core definition of financial freedom that is specific to your goals, lifestyle, and personal preferences — we will discuss some of the basic principles behind regaining control over your money, and start to turn these into a value system that will help you make positive choices as we move forward — we’ll also look at your attitudes toward money and consumer goods, identifying self-destructive habits that keep you trapped in a cycle of lack — I will offer some alternative behaviors that can help you when you enter a financial “danger zone” — we will also deal with any feelings of having to “sacrifice” current pleasures for long-term security, and I will help you to see the avoidance of unnecessary expenses as just as rewarding an experience as going shopping! overspending, unconscious consumerism, and debt do nothing but complicate life — we will look at your attitudes toward money and consumer goods, identifying self-destructive habits that keep you trapped in a cycle of lack — I will offer some alternative behaviors that can help you when you enter a financial “danger zone” — we will also develop a personalized definition of “financial freedom” that resonates with your lifestyle, and develop a workable plan to help you achieve that goal)
  • financial recordkeeping (Are you able to create and stick to a reasonable budget — one that lets you live beneath your means? Do you pay your bills and file your taxes on time? Are your most important account statements in order? It’s time to get your financial record keeping under control, so you can accomplish your goals for saving, investment, debt-reduction, and retirement! if you have no idea what’s happening with your money, refuse to reconcile your checkbook, and have never actually read a monthly statement, you stand exactly zero chance of achieving financial freedom — we will begin by setting up a filing system for your important financial documents, discussing how long you legally need to keep each item, and looking at the possibility of electronic banking/bill-pay as a way of reducing the time and paper it takes to stay on top of everything — we will set up a bookkeeping system so you know exactly how much you are spending each month, and create a budget  that will allow you to live comfortably beneath your means, based on the last 12 months’ worth of information — finally, we will set up an easy routine for paying bills, reconciling statements, and gathering your tax information that you can use year after year)
  • money hang-ups (many times, we are our own worst enemy, creating financial problems where there really aren’t any — we will take a look at that little voice in your head, the one that encourages you to compete with the Joneses or tells you that you’ll never earn enough to be really happy or convinces you that it’s selfish to not buy your kids everything they want — I will offer some suggestions for shutting him up and replacing those thoughts with positive ones — we will also take a look at changing some of the core beliefs that bring this voice up, ones related to wants and needs, earning power, financial security, expectations, and what “generosity” means — basing our discussion on the principles outlined in the book “Your Money Or Your Life”), we will engage in a hard-hitting conversation about how much of your life you are sacrificing to pay for your existence on this planet — we will begin with a look at how much you REALLY earn per hour, factoring in all the hidden costs related to simply holding down a job — we will then examine the number of life hours those toys and gadgets and lattes are costing you, and how your expenses would change if you no longer had to work for a living — you will be in a better position to determine whether a purchase is actually worth the time it takes for you to pay it off — and you will walk away with a radically changed perspective on the relationship between earning and spending)
  • eliminating debt (your first priority on the road to financial independence should be to become debt-free — you might think it’s smarter to put money away for a rainy day first, but it’s unlikely that your investments are earning anywhere near that credit card interest rate, and you will always be at a loss — we will start by examining your balance sheet and tallying up your total liabilities — we will initiate a short-term “drastic” plan for eliminating those debts as quickly as possible, temporarily suspending your savings, eliminating “luxury” expenses, and focusing all of your financial energies on paying off your bills — we will knock out the highest interest debt first, then move to the next highest and the next, until you have cleared them all out — then we will return you to a more balanced financial arrangement, one in which you use credit card judiciously and avoid paying interest fees to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary)
  • work and money (since work is what earns you a living, it is integral to any discussion of finances — very few people seem to enjoy their jobs these days, yet they are afraid to try something new and unproven because they see that guaranteed salary as providing  a false sense of “security” — we’ve fallen into an entirely mistaken belief that we have to tolerate long hours, stressful deadlines, rude customers, demanding bosses, incompetent co-workers, and tasks we hate just to be able to pay the bills — not true! — we will talk about drawing healthy boundaries around your work life, discuss the trade-off between doing work you love and bringing in sufficient income, and try to find ways for you to balance the two more successfully — we may also look at more radical solutions for improving both your work life and your finances, such as a change of employers, a change of careers, self-employment, etc.)
  • the time/money trade-off (not having enough time is a big issue these days — it sometimes takes longer to do things in a money-saving fashion, but no one ever achieved financial independence by mindlessly paying more for convenience — the trick is no to do everything yourself, but to determine your lifelong time/spending priorities and  act accordingly — we will look at those services you utilize because you’re too busy to take care of the chore yourself, and determine whether you are getting sufficient value for your money — we also will reconcile all of your responsibilities and “want tos” together into a more satisfying, less rushed, and more reasonable schedule that allows you to let go of unnecessary convenience expenses)
  • cutting costs (saving money doesn’t have to mean eliminating activities from your life — nearly everything that you enjoy doing right now can be done less expensively, if you know the tricks — we’ll start with spending “leaks,” those unconscious and meaningless habitual purchases that do nothing but drain your finances — we’ll also look at eliminating those expenses that exist only when you live in a state of financial disorganization, like interest on your credit card debt, late fees because you forgot to return that movie on time, and overdraft charges because you didn’t balance your checkbook — and finally, we’ll talk about options for finding discounts on the products and services you use every day, without having to pull out the scissors and clip coupons from the paper! your home, its maintenance, and its contents are the source of your biggest expenses on the planet — we will look at your living environment and discover exactly where the money drains are in your home — we will explore changes that could be made to reduce the cost of maintenance and cleaning, to reduce the need for buying more “stuff” just to fill the available space, and even possibly change your living arrangement altogether in a way that makes life more affordable for you — this might include a discussion of downsizing, a change of neighborhood, moving closer to work or school or other activities, etc. how we eat is a big part of how expensive our lives are, and the fast-food prepackaged lifestyle is not only unhealthy but a big drain on your wallet — we will examine your habits with regards to grocery shopping, restaurant meals, fast-food, and convenience snacks — I will help you make more conscious eating decisions, and bring these choices into alignment with your larger financial value system — we will  also examine the preparation process and ways to make cooking at home faster and more enjoyable, so you’re more likely to do it! — the goal is to help you reconnect with a healthier and less expensive way of living, without adding to your workload)
  • kids and money (children’s behavior is usually a reflection of the value they are taught by parents and the larger society — it may seem like a challenge to teach your kids frugality in this complicated and materialistic world, but it can be done — we will start by looking at the behaviors you are modeling for your family, and discussing how a shift in those actions can make a huge difference in the household dynamic — we will also examine what your kids are being taught by society, and how to help them think for themselves rather than becoming good little consumer sheep — we will also look at specific ways to teach financial responsibility to your kids, creating an environment that encourages them to spend less and save more)
  • savings and investment (your savings plan should be like a three-legged stool — the first leg is an emergency account, in which you have at least 6 to 12 months’ worth of income, so you’ve got something to fall back on — we will set this account up by putting the money you were paying toward credit cards and loans in the bank each month until you reach your goal — the second leg is a retirement account that will cover you down the road — we will set up a plan that allows you to  invest regularly, putting a set amount of money aside each month for your future — we will also make sure that you find long-term investments that allow you to leave your money untouched through the ups and downs of the market — and I will point you toward the right resources for choosing a balance of diversified industries, different sized companies, foreign and domestic investments, real estate, stocks, bonds, etc. to protect yourself against major losses down the road — the third leg involves saving for expenses, including your children’s college tuition, vacations, and large purchases — we will choose more liquid investments for these accounts, and work toward making sure you are no longer reliant on high-interest loans for these costs)
  • developing a long-term income plan
  • determining how long your stash of cash is going to last based on income/expenses
  • figuring out how much you need to earn to support your lifestyle
  • deciding how much you want to work, and what you feel your time is worth
  • exploring both self-employment and external-employment options for increasing income
  • deciding on a time-frame for achieving the desired level of earning
  • developing a long-term saving/investment plan
  • figuring out how much you want to be putting away toward the future/retirement
  • deciding what sort of “fun” future activities (purchases, travel, etc.) you want to save for
  • determining what level of income/spending will support those goals
  • making any necessary lifestyle adjustments to accommodate those goals
  • carving out a plan for setting a certain amount aside each month automatically
Turning Health Into A Habit

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  • eliminating bad habits (we will look at your living environment and discover exactly what seems “complicated” about it to you — we will explore changes that could be made to simplify maintenance and cleaning, to reduce your clutter and better organize your spaces, and even possibly change your living arrangement altogether in a way that makes life easier for you — this might include a discussion of downsizing, a change of neighborhood, moving closer to work or school or other activities, etc.)
  • nutritious eating (how we eat is a big part of how simple or complicated our lives are, and the fast-food prepackaged lifestyle is not only complicated but a big drain on your personal energy level — we will  not only look at mealtime from a nutritional standpoint, but also examine the preparation process and ways to make that faster and more enjoyable — the goal is to help you reconnect with a healthier way of living, return to a more natural and less processed way of eating, without adding to your workload — the holidays do not have to be so stressful, you just have to decide what kind of a celebration you want and be willing to ignore the rest of the commercialism and hectic plans — we will take a look at the holiday traditions you enjoy, the ones you can’t stand, and how to balance the two out — we will create a list of “wants” and “won’ts” for this next holiday, find ways to make the chores a bit easier, and help you reconnect with the real meaning of the season in whatever way that makes sense to you)
  • getting moving (strength training, flexibility, bootcamping)
  • preventative healthcare (asdf)
  • stress reduction (asdf)
  • your sleeping habits (sdf)
  • getting your family on board (asdf)
Discovering Job Satisfaction

Does your work fill you with energy and a sense of accomplishment — or do you dread Monday mornings? If you don’t feel passionate about your current employment, then you need a new job! It’s all about finding your “right livelihood” — work that feeds your soul as well as your bank account. There is no reason why you can’t do something you love while earning a living, as long as you’re willing to commit to some life changes to get there!

We’ve got a career “Catch-22” going on in this country. Americans spend longer hours at work each year — while at the same time, job satisfaction is falling to record low levels. Just start a conversation with any group of people and their #1 complaint will be either “work” or “money.” Millions wish that they could find a more fulfilling way to earn an income — but either can’t afford to quit their jobs, aren’t sure what kind of employment they would enjoy, or are afraid of change. So they stay trapped in a form of modern-day “wage slavery.”

The key to career satisfaction is consciously choosing a path that feeds your soul and makes use of your talents — but that’s easier said than done when there are bills to pay! You end up taking a job with the first company that will hire you because you need to start earning some income. You grow accustomed to that steady paycheck, then you get a raise and a couple of promotions, and it becomes harder to change horses in mid-stream. It’s not until years later that you realize how far off-track you are from your dreams — and how much a lifetime of career compromise has drained you of your energy. You are fed up with your job, and it’s affecting your personal relationships and sense of self-worth. You finally reach the end of your tether, and a beautiful thing happens — you become willing to risk it all to have what you want most. The day that you reclaim control over your work feels like emancipation, and your whole outlook on life changes.

For work to really sustain you, it can’t just be something that you do to pay the bills — you need to feel as though you are making a contribution to the world around you. I’m not suggesting that you’ve got to find a cure for cancer to have a worthwhile career — a garbage man can make a positive impact as long as he knows that his work is important.   But if your current job isn’t living up to your dreams, quit bitching and do something about it! First you have to assess what’s working and not working about your current situation, then decide what you want to change. What areas of your work life need a bit of an overhaul? Do you require a larger opportunity to be creative? Expanded flexibility in your schedule? More or less contact with people? Greater decision-making power? The chance to work from home in your pajamas? A regular 5 PM quitting time? I can help!

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of organization and the drawing of a few healthy boundaries (like learning how to tell your boss “no” when he asks you to work on the weekend!) Other times, you have to get your personal affairs in order to be able to downsize the way you want (cutting back hours to spend more time with your kids or moving from for-profit to non-profit.) I’ve helped folks figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up, assisted them with polishing up their resumes and organizing their job search — and my favorite is showing would-be entrepreneurs how to get a new business off the ground. And I’ll be there with you the whole way — helping you create a work environment that fills you with joy, where you no longer feel trapped by your job or circumstances, where you have the space and time and energy for all of your pursuits.

  • overcoming work stresses (if you asked most people what stresses them out the most, their job would be near the top of the list — we’ve fallen into an entirely false belief that we have to tolerate long hours, stressful deadlines, rude customers, demanding bosses, incompetent co-workers, and tasks we hate just to be able to pay the bills — not true! — we will examine those aspects of your work that you love and loathe, look for ways to increase the former and decrease the latter, and talk about drawing healthy boundaries around your work life — we may also look at more radical solutions for improving your work day, such as a change of employers, a change of careers, self-employment, etc.)
  • taking a skills inventory (one of the biggest reasons people stay trapped in positions they hate is a nagging feeling of inadequacy, the belief that they lack the skills necessary to change careers — it’s easy to spot a “wage slave” who has sold his soul for a steady paycheck, someone who doubts his own abilities, considers himself lucky to have any job at all, and just keeps punching that time clock rather than looking for something more fulfilling — it’s only when you lay claim to your skills, begin to recognize your own talents, and realize that you do have something of value to offer the work world that you can take the reigns and control your own destiny — we will take a hard look at what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and how to parlay that into a money-making career that you really enjoy)
  • your perfect job (too often, people accept employment without stopping to think about what that job really means in terms of their personal life, family, sense of self-worth, or long-term career goals — but “right livelihood” takes all of these factors into account — your perfect job should help you grow and thrive as a whole person, offering fulfilling relationships and challenging your creative side, as well as paying the bills — we will discover what that perfect job looks like to you, and discuss ways of turning that dream into a reality)
  • income issues (as the old saying goes, “do what you love and the money will follow” — but what if you simply can’t afford to change careers in order to do what you love? — it’s a lot harder to tell your boss to take a hike and strike out on your own as an artist or solopreneur when you’ve got a huge mortgage and credit card debt to pay off! — that’s why a key step in finding a job you love has to be getting your finances in order, FIRST — we will address issues of debt, standard of living, budgeting, savings, and desired salary, always with a two-part goal in mind — first, help you achieve the freedom to do the work you love for less money, then help you become so successful at the work you love that you make more money than you ever imagined)
  • staying in your current field (there’s no law that says you have to find a job in a new industry, just because you’re not happy in your current position — the most suitable career shift might involve staying in the same field and simply changing the circumstances surrounding your employment — working for someone does not mean being owned by them, and you shouldn’t be afraid to request a few adjustments to your schedule, conditions, and job assignments if they are no longer a good fit for you — a smart boss recognizes that it is easier to keep an existing employee happy than to hire and train a new one! — we will start by looking at the right way to draw some healthy boundaries around your current job situation, in order to bring your work life more into alignment with your goals — and if that isn’t succeeding, we will examine the possibility of your moving to another company that can better accommodate your needs)
  • sidestepping (sometimes, you find that the career track you thought you wanted to be on no longer interests you — you would like to continue to work in the same field, but just not doing what you’re doing now — perhaps you want to go from a for-profit job to providing similar services in the non-profit sector — or you want to break free from corporate America and open a small business on your own — or you are considering moving from being part of a big team to providing one-on-one consulting services — we will examine the available job possibilities, look at the requirements for each option, and work out a plan that allows you to successfully “sidestep” your career in a different direction)
  • downshifting (there’s a mistaken notion in American business that if you aren’t constantly climbing the corporate ladder, you somehow lack ambition — that’s simply not true, and it’s the reason why so many people rise to either a level of incompetence or job dissatisfaction in their work — if you’ve been promoted past the point where you wanted to be, it’s okay to back up a step or two — you can “downshift” from a managerial position to direct client service or research or reporting, if that’s what you really enjoy doing — you can decide that you don’t care for the stress that goes with your current level of responsibility, and ask for a less demanding position in the same department — you can even drop down to part-time work, if you prefer to spend more time with your family — we will examine how to broach the subject with your boss, and how to really sell the upside of your stepping back, including the many ways that this new role will allow you to maximize your time, make the best use of your talents, and be more effective at your job — we’ll also look at how this change will affect your free time, stress level, and income — and finally, we’ll work out a plan for negotiating your new job description, schedule, and salary)
  • your resume (if you’re thinking about any kind of career change at all, it’s a good idea to update your resume — remember, that piece of paper is your only chance to make a first impression on a potential employer, and it has to really sell your talents and skills in the right way — if your resume doesn’t immediately catch their attention and make them want to learn more about you, you’ll never have a chance to wow them at the interview — however, it’s hard to blow your own horn, so having an objective third-party review your resume can help you see where you really shine — we will look for ways to beef up your experience and highlight your talents, be they technical, people skills, problem-solving, decision-making, project-management, etc. — we’ll also talk about how to customize your career objective to suit the specific job you are applying for, emphasizing the benefits you bring to the company rather than how you expect them to help advance your career — and we’ll discuss the importance of creating a resume that focuses on the kind of work you WANT to do and that will get you a job you really enjoy, even if that’s not the work you’ve done in the past)
  • organizing your job search (looking for a job these days is not the same as it was years ago, when all you did was pull out the local classifieds, circle the positions you were interested in, and schedule an interview — now you need to be well-versed in using the internet, keeping track of multiple applications, and storing all the related paper that goes with a job search — we will discuss the websites you need to be visiting and set up a schedule for checking on new job posts — we’ll also set up a system for tracking the job listings that interest you, and your progress through the application process with each company — and we’ll set up a physical file box for organizing different versions of your resume, your letters of recommendation, and any other supporting documents)
  • preparing for the interview (it’s surprising how many people become completely paralyzed at the thought of sitting down for a job interview — it’s hard for people to talk about their accomplishments without feeling as though they are bragging, and there’s always the worry that you’re going to give a “wrong” answer and blow the whole thing! — but interviewing well is a skill that you can learn, just like driving a car or tying your shoes — the trick is to be prepared for any sort of question that might come up, so you aren’t thrown off guard — we will discuss how to deal honestly with inquiries about your experience, relationships with previous bosses, what you want from this particular position, your strengths and weaknesses, and how you would handle problem situations in the workplace — we will engage in “practice interviews” that help you become comfortable with the process and that make sure your responses sound natural– we will also look at the right time to bring up issues like scheduling requirements, salary, and possibilities for advancement)
  • the possibility of self-employment (if you’re just tired of working for someone else and dread the idea of going from one employer to another, then perhaps you’re more suited to be an entrepreneur — )
  • business start-up (too much of our time and energy is spent dealing with paper and information, and this is one of the major complicating factors in most people’s lives — but again, the solution isn’t a better filing system, it’s a better information filter — we will look at the myriad of paper that comes into your life and what purpose it really serves — we will examine the pressure you feel when confronted with so much information you “should” be reading, and discover ways to let it all go without guilt — I will help you to eliminate the paper that overwhelms you before it ever sets foot on your desk)

 

  • finding more satisfaction in running your current business
  • simplifying day-to-day processes – using outsourcing/delegation as a time management tool
  • bringing in (and serving) more clients with less effort
  • maximizing income relative to your expenditure of time/energy
  • branching out into new arenas/changing your service focus
  • letting go of old professional interests/data/projects that no longer fit your new business model
  • if that’s not possible, creating a plan for changing careers
  • painting a picture of your perfect work day
  • determining your ideal work environment
  • looking at the pros/cons of different industries
  • finding relevant training/educational resources
  • locating relevant mentoring/apprenticeship opportunities
  • discovering ways to turn personal projects into income streams
  • inventorying your talents and abilities
  • figuring out what you love to spend your time doing
  • determining what your time/talent is worth
  • examining options for monetizing “hobbies”
  • finding third-party resources for “selling” your skills

 

 

  • goals dealing with other people
  • finding a lasting romantic relationship
  • deciding what your ideal mate “looks” like (values, goals, dreams, interests, personality)
  • uncovering the best and most appropriate outlets for meeting people like that
  • drawing healthy boundaries around what you “require” of a successful relationship
  • figuring out what you’re prepared to offer (or not offer) that other person
  • dealing with unhealthy behaviors from past relationships and any new conflicts that arise
  • creating more time/opportunities for existing friendships
  • determining what you “get” from each of your existing relationships
  • deciding what you’d like more (or less) of from your tribe
  • removing toxic people and patterns/expectations from your life
  • working out a plan for regular social interaction with your inner circle
  • finding ways to contribute more to create a deeper friendship than you already have
  • developing new friendships
  • determining what kinds of relationships you’re looking for (casual, close, in-between)
  • defining a “good” friendship (time commitment, lifestyle, shared activities/friends, availability)
  • recognizing/honoring your own friendship boundaries and limitations
  • figuring the best routes for finding folks who meet your criteria
  • creating a plan for engaging in new activities for the express purpose of meeting people

 

 

  • mental/spiritual/emotional
  • finding outlets for your artistic side
  • exploring different arenas to determine which creative activities you enjoy doing
  • finding relevant training/educational resources
  • gathering the right tools so you can engage in chosen creative activities at will
  • making the time/space in your schedule for artistic expression
  • locating opportunities for collaborative creation with others
  • finding outlets for developing personal projects
  • take a look at the legacy you want to leave behind with your life, the things you’d like to “do”
  • examine those projects you’ve had sitting on a back burner with an eye toward completion
  • recognizing which of those to-do list items is still relevant/meaningful, still fill you with passion
  • deciding how that combined vision translates into personal projects you’d like to tackle
  • create an action plan for bringing each of these projects to fruition
  • finding outlets for community service
  • discovering which community volunteer activities would add meaning and joy to your life
  • setting some guidelines (how often, group or solo, level of responsibility, etc.) for participation
  • exploring the available options in your area
  • nailing down the logistics of participating in these civic groups
  • working out a schedule that routinely includes contributions in this area

 

 

  • goals dealing with your physical environment
  • deciding on the right place to live
  • examine what your ideal town/community looks like (lifestyle, amenities, types of people, etc.)
  • looking at what sort of change you hope relocation will bring about in your life
  • exploring the pros and cons of each possible option – including the option of staying put
  • determining the logistical ins/outs of relocating to any particular new area
  • developing a realistic and well-thought-out moving plan, if that seems the right choice
  • turning your house into a home
  • wherever you live, making sure that your home is a place of beauty, comfort, and sanctuary
  • discovering what your ideal living environment would look/feel/function like
  • comparing that ideal with your reality, and noting any gaps between the two
  • creating a plan for converting your existing space so it more closely resembles the ideal
  • if that’s not possible, looking at other options for a new living space
  • making sure every one of your belongings does what you need it to do
  • reviewing your personal inventory of “stuff,” taking a hard look at what you wish were different
  • identifying anything needing repair/replacement/refurbishment, and what your ideal would be
  • developing a plan for getting each thing up-to-date and fully functional or letting it go
  • in the case of your bus, deciding whether that’s a way you want to travel in the future
  • in the case of your computer, upgrading and consolidating your system to suit business needs

 

Get Started

Just fill out my contact form letting me know what kinds of services you are interested in and where you are located. We can have an initial phone conversation, take a look at our calendars, and schedule a time to start. I look forward to helping you begin your journey toward an orderly and simplified life!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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