About Leah Fisch & How She Can Help You

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Leah Fisch Productivity CoachLeah helps entrepreneurs and women in leadership (many of whom have ADD or ADHD) find organization and productivity the way THEIR minds work. Her clients and students gain a better understanding of what they need to do and be in the world the way they want to be- the way their environments are arranged, their schedules are ordered, what they eat when… working with Leah, her clients understand themselves and take care of things they’ve been avoiding- from taxes to training a personal assistant. They have more energy for their hobbies and the people they love. Most importantly, they are clutter-free with themselves, which makes them nicer, more present people when they interact with the world.

 

From TLC’s hit tv show Hoarding: Buried Alive to working privately with CEO’s to reorganizing powerful sales teams in NYC, Leah has seen every form of clutter, and developed methods, and a bedside manner, to deal with it efficiently in a way that makes you feel good about yourself and sticks.

 

Growing up, Leah was a messy kid. Her methods of organization have been developed to include people who are not naturally tidy and feel comfortable lying down and eating ice cream in the middle of the day. Or people who cry when they have to fill out a form. Or people who haven’t closed their parents’ estate in 7 years. Whatever the situation, it can be taken care of IF YOU ARE READY, and Leah can help you.

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How My Authenticity Got me Featured on TLC’s Hit TV Show Hoarding: Buried Alive

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Watch episode [VIDEO]

2009 was a hard year for many between the Great Recession and subsequent financial and personal doubt infiltrating the world. I was nurturing a new business in NYC that I had just created in September 2008. In addition, I was struggling with another situation that I didn’t understand. The thyroid medication I had been stable on for about 15 years suddenly changed its formula at the end of 2008 without telling anyone- doctors and patients were befuddled when patients’ lives suddenly seemed to fall apart for no reason.

I tried to chalk up my extreme depression to the difficulties of a new business, the economy, and the general discomfort of the world, but something did not feel right. Little did I know I was embarking on an eight year struggle with deep depression and summer anxiety, kicked highly into gear by the change in thyroid.

The great thing about going deep into depression, fear and despair is that you (can) lose whatever remnants of fearing how others perceive you, at least for awhile, because you just don’t care. You’re no longer scared of what might happen. (This doesn’t always stick- I’ve been through this process many times over the last eight years).

I’ve always been considered blunt and even sometimes rude, no matter how hard I try to be polite. I was raised in a family where the truth is expected, and I’m pretty sure it’s told almost all the time. I’m a terrible liar and I believe everyone. Being straight with people was already my style, even before 2008.

So when I got an email in 2009 from a producer at TLC’s show, Hoarding: Buried Alive, telling me she loved my website and did I know a family who needed help and could we talk, I wasn’t interested, and I told her so. In fact, I’ve always hated those reality shows where peoples’ weaknesses are exploited to make “good tv.” Unafraid, I told her that too. Turns out, producers are a smart and tough bunch, and they’re not easily dissuaded. Over the next six weeks, the producer and I stayed in touch as she interviewed me about what I don’t like about reality shows- particularly the hoarding shows, what I recommended, and how I thought the subjects could be portrayed more compassionately. I knew where she was going with her excellent interviewing skills, but I deflected, and recommended 2 other professional organizers I was sure would be delighted to be on the show.

She researched the other organizers and got back to me. They seemed really nice and they were all wrong for what she was looking for. The family for the episode she was filming was in a difficult situation, and they needed someone with just the right touch. She was sure that was me. How did she know this? I asked suspiciously. “You’re honest and funny. I think you’d be able to handle them AND really help them. I think it would be a great match.” Not only that, she would give me a chance to speak about my philosophy about hoarding and much more (although they did film this, it was ultimately cut from the final episode).

The truth is, you can’t tell what went on from the episode available on Amazon. That producer was right. I did help that family. We did deal with things honestly (hoarders are notoriously private and often difficult people who have difficult relationships), and we did laugh. We made their kitchen usable [VIDEO] for the first time in years, and mother and daughter agreed to partner rather than fight.

I’ve spent much of my life wanting to be average and regular and just politely fit in.

But the one time I was featured on national tv helping a family I didn’t know in a hard situation, I got there by saying no, thank you, by speaking from the heart, and by disagreeing with the status quo.

You just never know what adventure your truth will get you into. It probably won’t be the one you were planning, but one thing’s for sure- when you’re authentic, your adventure is more you-ish than anyone, including you, could plan. We can’t control much in this life, but we can control how honestly we connect with ourselves and with others. And when we are honest and ourselves, we know the life we’re living is truly ours. Authenticity isn’t just the best choice, it’s the only choice.

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49 Productivity Hacks for the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

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This is a collection of hacks- some of them are specifically Joumor principles, the philosophy that I teach entrepreneurs and CEO’s (many of whom have ADD and ADHD).

  1. Drink more water than you think you need

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An oldie but goodie- drink more water. I just drank a glass of water after writing that. It’s not original, but we need reminders. The goal of most of us is to be in flow- that state of creativity and movement and things happening. Start the flow happening in your own body.

  1. Declutter your environment

You’ve heard this before- do I need to write that people spend an average of 6 minutes per day looking for their keys alone? Decluttering means having only the things you need and want around you in a way that you can access them and put them away easily. Decluttering affects everything- from your experience of being in the space, how you respond to others, and how much darn time you do or DO NOT WASTE looking for your stuff.

  1. Examine your relationships and make the most of them

Some people add to us and others take away. Put energy into the ones that feel good, and release the hold on the ones that don’t. It is a tremendous waste of time and an impediment to productivity to be obsessively thinking about someone else and how good it DOESN’T feel.

  1. Matroshyka the task

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Break the task down into the smallest possible parts. In Joumor, the philosophy that I teach, there are 2 simple reasons why we avoid completing tasks:

  1. We haven’t stood up for ourselves
  2. We need information

When you break the task down (matroshyka it) you will get to the heart of the matter. Use that information to take action in an understanding and neutral way. You’ll be surprised how much more energy you have.

  1. Review your schedule the night before AND in the morning

It’s amazing how quickly things change. Whether it’s because your appointment cancelled or because you find you have more or less energy than expected, the more you check in with yourself the better able you will be to maximize your productivity.

  1. Confirm your appointments

You may be perfect but the rest of us aren’t. People forget or run late or G-d forbid DO have emergencies. You will appear confident, relaxed and organized when you send a text or email during work hours the day before confirming time and address of your meeting and save yourself lots of wasted time if they reschedule then rather than while you’re waiting at their office and they’re not there.

  1. Schedule out your whole year

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The whole year, are you kidding? Nope. It can be done, I’m serious.

My family’s Jewish, and whenever someone will say last minute, “Oh, I can’t because of the holiday…” my mother will mutter, “You’ve only known that for 5,000 years!” The point is, there are many things you DO know- graduations, vacation time, birthdays, conferences- begin by scheduling everything you know you know, and you will find two things:

  1. You can schedule more than you realized
  2. You have some clear questions you need to ask others about your plans this year

Now, please note, the point of scheduling the year is so you can be flexible– if a wedding comes up that you didn’t know about, you’ll now be able to RESCHEDULE your appointments rather than being totally confused.

  1. Create odd limitations to thrive

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Dr. Seuss’s most famous success of all time, Green Eggs and Ham, was written on a bet that he couldn’t do write a book using 50 words or less. He won, big time.

Set your timer for 3, 5, 7, or 9 minutes to get a task done. You can go as high as 19 minutes but keep it an odd small number so it finishes relatively quickly. If you decide to repeat it, it should feel like a fun game.

  1. Make your decisions in the morning or the night before

Decision fatigue means your brain (prefrontal cerebral cortex) literally gets tired from overuse in the day. It can make you less empathetic, confused, and mean. Make your decisions in the morning and spend the rest of the day simply taking action.

Ever see a woman change her outfit twenty times in a movie, or take 20 minutes to order her meal? (I used to be that woman). Decide what you will wear and eat the night before. This saves unbelievable amounts of brainpower.

  1. Automate yourself

Figure out what you need to do when: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Schedule it and take out the guesswork. (See #7).

  1. Start with the easiest thing first

Contrary to popular productivity literature, starting with the easiest thing first means you’ll get a jolt of dopamine from your success, which will make it easier to do the next task. Set yourself up to move from success to success to success.

  1. Do preventative maintenance

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Whether it’s your body, your car, or your teeth, things need regular maintenance that you can easily schedule in advance. Don’t worry if you have to reschedule them later- think about what needs to be done and schedule them now.

  1. Schedule the same thing 2-3 times

Adding in new things can be tricky when you’re a busy person. Put the appointment in 2-3 times so you know it will happen. If it happens the first time, you win- you have 2 more blocks of free time.

  1. Limit email scheduling

Instead of going back and forth, send 2-3 days AND times you can meet:

“I’m available Tuesday June 28th between 2-5pm EST to meet at ______ on the corner of _______ and _______” or simply pick up the phone and make your date.

  1. Know when your subscriptions run out, including transportation

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Avoid getting stopped at the turnstile, fined at the tollbooth, or suddenly not having access to something you need. Keep track of when your subscriptions need renewing and plan ahead.

  1. Eat the same thing every morning

See #9 and #10. Ok, it doesn’t have to be the same thing, but if you want to get fancy, get a chef. Otherwise, make it as easy on yourself as possible.

  1. Spend time getting the right shoes

Pain is clutter. It takes up time and interferes with you being present in any situation, because you are distracted by the pain…AND IT HURTS. Invest in getting the right shoes so no matter what you have to do you won’t be suffering for fashion.

  1. Eat regularly- Plan for your blood sugar

Your body is the horse and your productivity and creativity are the rider. If the horse isn’t healthy and strong, nobody’s going anywhere. Eat regularly in a way that is good for you.

  1. Learn to handle your emotions

As valid as your rage or mortification may be, it’s also interfering with your productivity. Have awareness of what you are responsible for and own it. As for the rest, get a therapist, talk to your friends, play sports, scream in the woods…whatever it takes to deal with it, DO IT.

  1. Schedule time for self-care

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Check your thyroid, adrenals, hormones and sleep quality. Make sure you are functioning optimally. You should sleep easily through the night and wake up in a good mood full of energy. If you’re not, DO something about it, and Get Enough Rest.

  1. Make time to read or, gasp, watch tv

Our brains really do need to relax. Let them. I personally don’t watch tv…because when I do, 6 hours suddenly go by. It’s just that vegging out-ish! So whatever your veg out choice, make sure you do it in a way that is pleasurable and is also conscious so it doesn’t also end up taking 6 hours instead of 1 or 2.

  1. Don’t multitask- UNITASK

Woman or not, there’s no such thing as multitasking. I specialize in ADD and ADHD and have spent a good 10,000 hours simply watching people. It cannot be done. Both things being done are slowed. Do one thing at a time and you’ll do them both faster and better.

  1. Maximize “internal” tasking

Put the laundry in, then the coffee, then make your breakfast and and eat it. Or read on the train to work. Internal tasking is when you are doing something while another task is being completed without your attention on it. The more you can set yourself up with these internal tasks, the more efficient you’ll become.

  1. Multiply your estimates for good time planning

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Depending on the distance or duration, I have my students multiply 2-3 times as long as they need to get places and then balance that with what feels realistic. Things can come up. They always do. Leave extra time.

  1. Enter ALL appointment details and resources immediately

Seriously. It takes less than a minute, but to do it later when you’re in a rush and you realize you haven’t it can take what feels like forever.

  1. Keep up with tracking

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Write down your expenditures as you go, like #25. It takes much more time to reconstruct later. The power and magic in doing this cannot be emphasized enough. Do it for 3 months and see what happens!

  1. Have a working printer

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There’s no such thing as paperless. You will inevitably need to print something out or someone you know will. Have a printer, ink and paper on hand. Simple and cheap is fine, but have one.

  1. Backup, backup, backup

Nothing saps your energy like a technology breakdown or theft. Make sure everything you own is backed up on your computer, a hard drive AND the cloud- Icloud or Dropbox or whatever. Back your stuff up on at least 2 physical places that are not in the same location and on one virtual one.

  1. Schedule novelty

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Why are those entrepreneurs so fascinating AND successful? Because they are always doing new things which make their brains more fertile for creativity to thrive. This is different from #29 in that it might not be your passion, but you schedule time to walk to work a different, longer, more beautiful way. Novelty is good for you AND your brain.

  1. Schedule unscheduled time with friends and/or family

Many of my clients feel guilty about how little time they spend with their families…and when they are with them it’s events or driving to classes, etc. Pick one evening a week or one whole day with no plans to just enjoy each other.

  1. Listen carefully

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Good listeners are respected and appreciated. And misunderstandings are huge time wasters. Let people finish their sentences. Count to 10 before you say anything in case they have more to say. Confirm you’ve understood them. Remember, it takes us years to learn to talk, and good verbal communication doesn’t come naturally to most people. The better listener you are, the more efficiently you’ll be able to process and respond to what people are telling you.

  1. Stop B*!!$**^@&*G yourself

You know when you don’t like someone and when you’re really not going to do something. Admit it. Save yourself tons of time by setting yourself up to win. If you’re not going to finish the draft on Wednesday, admit it. This will make your nervous system much more able to support you finishing it Thursday.

  1. Be honest with others

Right, if you’re not going to finish it Wednesday, be in integrity and tell everyone the truth that it will be done on Thursday. Be someone who is straight and reliable. Be in integrity with your word and your efficiency AND reputation will thrive.

  1. Keep a change of clothes handy

Even if you don’t drink coffee, someone else can spill it on you. Plus, you might get invited to a super important meeting or a sudden trip- have another wardrobe option ready so you can always say yes.

  1. Review your expenditures weekly

Many of us are out of touch with our spending. Successful people know what’s going on. Get conscious and get regular. Regularity is where the magic AND savings are.

  1. Embrace electronic sundown*

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*One of my classes almost had a riot when I introduced this idea: no electronics 3 hours before bedtime or you are hurting yourself. I know, I know, it feels almost impossible to turn off our cell phones! But is it easier to function in the day after a sleepless insomniac night? Obviously not. So let your brain and your body relax before you go to bed and watch your whole life change.

  1. Put your phone away

Studies have shown that people’s serotonin levels and empathy decrease when there is even a cell phone sitting on the table with you. We are literally and emotionally distracted. Remember #22? Even if it’s on vibrate, your phone is making you multitask and that’s no good.

  1. Have more sex

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You become a healthier person hormonally AND get exercise AND connect when you have sex, even if it’s with yourself. Since the goal is to be functioning as optimally as possible, why not go for it? Plus your relationship will thank you. 😉

  1. Look at nature, be in nature

Studies show that nature makes us better students and workers. Find a way to look at and be in nature, even if only for 15 minutes a day.

  1. Vision

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Successful entrepreneurs already do this, and you can, too. Spend 2-9 minutes 6 days a week visioning what you want. Set a timer. You’ll increase your clarity, brain control, and manifestation of your desires.

  1. Have an assistant at least 2 hours a week

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Set up time to work with someone you are paying on a regular basis. Work with him/her on the things you don’t enjoy or could use another mind. Contribute to the economy and practice the art of delegation at the same time.

  1. Get everywhere a half hour early

This one is really hard and I know it sounds insane. But what you’ll find is that when you aim to be a half hour early, you are either even earlier and can really do something in a calm way or you still barely make it on time. Spending the time to schedule yourself this way will help you naturally prioritize what really matters and what’s really possible.

  1. Quantity not quality

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Whaaaa? Think about it. What’s better- a 2 hour workout every 2 weeks or a half hour every week? Duh. No matter what you’re doing, doing it with regularity will wield better results.

  1. Write things down with an actual pen and paper

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Studies show writing helps your brain. Whether it’s journaling or writing your to-do list, spending a few minutes with a pen and paper is good for you.

  1. There is no such thing as “Just Do It”

Many people believe they “just need to do” whatever thing they’ve been avoiding. It’s not so simple: either there are more steps involved (see #4) or doing that thing requires a revamping- your time, your space, the people you work with…if you haven’t done it until now, forcing yourself just this once might work, but it’s not a long-term strategy. See what smaller changes you need to put in place so you can do this task easily now and in the future.

  1. Preparation prevents panicking 

This should be self-explanatory. The more you prepare the less you’ll freak out when something unexpected happens, which it inevitably does. So, tracking your expenses (#26, #35) means you might not feel like you’re in hell when you suddenly get audited.

  1. Ask for help

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Whether you need someone to sit with you (see #41) or do the task for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Vulnerability expert Brene Brown is right, it is worth it to be vulnerable and ask, even if not everyone rushes to your aid. When you ask for help, you are actually giving a little gift to someone who has the opportunity to help you. And you don’t have to do it alone, which is always much better for us humans.

  1. Hire the expert

Admitting you can’t do it alone is realistic and powerful. Be willing to pay for what you need. Remember- you’re a successful entrepreneur- everything you spend is an investment in your successful business.

  1. Business is personal

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As an entrepreneur, YOU are your business. It’s your vision that’s being created, so your physical and mental health are super important. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally, and keep growing- the world is waiting for more of your genius.

Click here to download a printable PDF of 49 Productivity Hacks for the Most Successful Entrepreneurs (List)

Joumor is joy plus humor. It is the feeling we arrive at when we deal with things we have been avoiding, like paying our taxes, turning in that late project, or having that hard conversation. Joumor is a methodology that helps clients and students find their personalized method of productivity Inside their anxiety, misery and self-doubt.

Leah Fisch helps her clients and students tailor their productivity to their own needs, no matter the project, by helping them be the productive people they know they are inside.

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Nourish Your Babies: How to unravel your tasks and DO them

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Matryoshka the taskHappy Friday, and a special welcome to all our new Joumor readers!

Lately Joumor students (thank you, Nathalie!) have been tagging me on Facebook and sending me pictures of matryoshka dolls, referring to the Joumor principle: Matryoshka the task. It is REALLY FUN to receive these pictures and know they are thinking of Joumor out in the world!

Do you know what a matryoshka doll is? Yes, those Russian nesting dolls that my grandma and maybe your grandma had when we were little. And do you remember what’s on the inside of the matryoshka doll? The tiniest nested doll is a little baby. When we unravel our tasks down to the smallest pieces, we often find one of two things:

1. We haven’t stood up for ourselves to ourselves or to someone else.

2. We need information.

These two options are thebaby” that we need to “nourish” by standing for ourselves and/or getting the information we need.

Try it. Take any task and go for the smaller thing you need to do before you do that thing:

1. Call John

a. Find John’s number

i.  Ask Marie if she has John’s card

x.  Find Marie’s number!

It’s not pretty, but c’mon, you know it can be like this! At the root of the procrastination or stuckness of any task, there is usually a malnourished matryoshka “baby.” The good news is we just have to take action to nourish it.

For example, I wanted to send this email out a long time ago and include the information about the newest upcoming Joumor Institute class, Productivity for YOUR Brain-Intensified. I made the changes on the website, set up the class in Infusionsoft, the marketing software I use, and when I made sure everything was set, it wasn’t! I tried to fix it a few times, couldn’t find the answer, and then I got really tired. Has that ever happened to you? You try and you try and next thing you know you are napping…and when you wake up the task still isn’t done.

Rubbing the sleep marks from my face, I realized it was time to Matryoshka the Task of finishing this newsletter. I unraveled the steps and realized I couldn’t solve it on my own and needed to ask for help from my tech guy. Now here’s the crazy and totally textbook part: When I realized I needed to ask for help, I hesitated, worried he wouldn’t be available to help me. Yes, it can be that twisted, ladies and gentlemen, sometimes we don’t even ask for what we need because we are scared we won’t get it. We give up before anyone has a chance to help us make our dreams come true. In this case, my matryoshka “babies” were “twins:” I needed tech information/support, and then I had to stand for myself to get the information even when I had doubt and didn’t want to ask.

I teach productivity and organization because I get it. It is my lifelong struggle and I find it fascinating. I teach it because it’s fun and funny and deep to get to the root of ourselves and make a different choice that feels good instead of scary. And it feels dang good to do what we need to do so we can move on and do what we want to do.

Want to join me to make some different choices and achieve a big or a small goal? Check out the upcoming Productivity for YOUR Brain Intesified, starting June 21st, available by video so no excuses to all my west coast and European readers! We’d love to have you. And you’ll nourish your babies to great success.

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The Grief of Letting Go

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unnamedIn our final class of last month’s Productivity for YOUR Brain, students rated themselves on accomplishing their goals. One student rated herself a 5/5 but was close to crying.

“I finished my goal the day after the first class. And I’ve done so much since then in the last month. But I feel terrible. Sad. Empty. Why? What’s wrong with me?” She had stumbled onto the Joumor Principle, The Grief of Letting Go, and was feeling the effects.

As we have often discussed, organizing, or reorganizing, or decluttering is NOT about getting rid of stuff. It’s certainly true that less can be more, but the way in to more is not necessarily through less (at the beginning). It’s throughdealing with yourself.

Eek! What does it mean to deal with yourself? And how long does that take? And will it help me clear up these piles of paper?

Answer: By dealing with these piles of paper, you will deal with yourself, and that will take as long as it takes. It sounds vague, but it’s not.

We have a notion of who we are, and we become habituated to being that way. The body, the clothes, the friends, the activities, the stuff, the lateness…it’s all a compendium of choices and habits. Our comfort zone is a reflection of our nervous system. The good news is that our brains and bodies have plasticity- we can change, we can create new habits. In order to do so, though, we have to be willing change our perception of who we are, which does not always come easily.

 

The beauty of “self-sabotage”

People talk about self-sabotage like it’s a bad thing. Sure, on the surface, self-sabotaging choices keep us from growing and expanding and changing, which might be terrific if we could do it…So why do we self-sabotage? Our subconscious trying to keep us safe. Isn’t it nice to know someone’s looking out for you? Your subconscious does not want you in a situation that it perceives your delicate nervous system cannot handle. So it puts its arm around you and holds you back from danger. Have compassion for your evolutionary genius- we are wired to protect ourselves.

 

Self-sabotage and Joumor

Many clients have decreased or ceased anxiety and depression and pain medications after working together over time. How can this be? The Joumor methodology bypasses anxiety and procrastination-producing behaviors. It calms people. It makes them feel safe and able to expand into their greater desires and expectations of themselves. They feel confident and clear, so the self-sabotage does not need to rise up to protect them.

 

The Grief of Letting Go

This funny thing happens. We have been stuck in our clutter for weeks or months or who knows how long, and suddenly we don’t have it anymore. We handled it clearly and easily. It is gone. So when our brain looks for the thorn of the forever uncompleted task, it doesn’t find it, because we accomplished it. And our perception of ourselves can collapse in that moment. If we have no reason to feel ashamed, who are we? If we are someone who accomplished things and moves on, who are we? If our self-loathing will not keep us grounded, what will?

When we encounter our ultimate freedom, the philosophers Martin Heidegger called it anguish, and Jean Paul Sartre called it vertigo. We have shackled ourselves with our behaviors, and when these shackles are removed, we are terrified. There is grief here. The grief of admitting our self-shackling, and the grief of releasing our very perception of who we knew ourselves to be. It takes longer to release your self-perception than to file that stack of papers. Just try it. And if it’s disturbing, know this: you are normal. Go gently. Your freedom will expand as you do.

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How Do I Get My Husband To…

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“Each relationship nurtures a strength or weakness within you.” -Mike Murdock

Thank you! Newsletter reader Ileane sent in this great question: “How do I get my husband to clean up his parents’ memorabilia that’s laying in boxes in our downstairs useable area?”

Many clients and students ask how they can “get” their spouse or children or boss or partner…or even themselves to “do” something. There are 2 seemingly obvious answers that I have heard or read other organizing and management experts say:

1. Speak your need/desire clearly and make it known that this must happen.

2. Do it yourself.

Both answers can work, but they are not the most Joumorous option. Years ago I offered Clutter Counseling for Couples (because I love alliteration 😉 I didn’t start out with this service, but over time I offered it because so much of what I was doing was dealing with couples and their frustration over STUFF. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that there are 7 levels to Joumor– STUFF is the most basic and Relationships is the highest. However, basic things are also often foundational, and when a couple fights (or, even worse, doesn’t discuss it at all) about foundational or everyday things, the ramifications can reach all parts of their relationship. Couples with clutter reported:

  • Lack of generosity/warmth
  • Inclination to spend less time at home
  • No sex or low quality sex
  • Sleeping in separate rooms
  • Fighting that never got resolved
  • Resentment
  • Aggressive behavior such as throwing their spouse’s stuff out or breaking it
  • Complaining to others or their children about the spouse in front of them or behind their spouses’ backs

Here’s the thing. You can’t “get” someone to do something, even yourself. You can try to force it, but outside of violence, forcing usually doesn’t work. And even if they do clean up those boxes of memorabilia, before you know it, there’s something else bothering you…so instead of “getting” him/her to do something, how about inspiration instead?

In Joumor, “It’s the thing itself and something else.” People can feel angry about their spouse’s pile of boxes and it can be pointing to feeling disrespected, blocked, and even disgusted in the relationship. It’s not a guarantee, but these things often go together. In Joumor, we focus on dealing with the most literal and tangible level first.

Do not condemn the clutter in your neighbor’s eye until you have examined the plank in your own.

So what to do if you are feeling frustrated, turned off, or even angry with your spouse? (This also holds true for anyone you live with- roommates, children, and parents as well). Focus on yourself. We often translate our frustration at ourselves onto others. You may not have old boxes of memorabilia scattered around the floor…but did you book that flight you’ve been putting off? Did you pay your taxes? Did you submit the information for that refund?

As we shift our focus onto closing our own energy drains such as the above examples, we start to notice a few things:

  1. We feel better.
  2. Those things that kept bothering us are complete and we have peace, or even a void, where they once nagged at us.
  3. People around us *may* respond differently to our desires, even without our asking.

Clutter attracts clutter and the opposite is true. If you are a cluttery mess, don’t be surprised that the people around you are, too. And don’t blame them for it. Examine your own clutter before even thinking of asking others to change. Once you have addressed all open energy drains, don’t be surprised when your spouse or child starts doing the things you want without you asking. And if they don’t, you’ll be a lot calmer and more compelling when you do ask.

Ideally, you are in this relationship with someone you love. Remember that. And you want them to be at their best. So seek the best in yourself first, and don’t bother discussing your expectations until you have modeled what Best looks like. In the case of relationship clutter, in many cases, less is more, and clutter-free connection is the kind of memorabilia we’d all like to keep.

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