Being Organized

Being Organized

Being Organized

Being Organized Begins Within

Being Organized

 

BEING ORGANIZED: Creating an organized life can sometimes feel like an unattainable goal, especially when it’s not your natural way of being. One of the things I’ve learned over the years as an online life coach and Denver therapist is that being organized is more than learning about “organizational tips” or “time management skills” or a new plan for where to put stuff or reorganizing your drawers. Being organized (genuinely, sustainably organized) is actually a mindset; a way of being that cultivates order and calm. And unless you figure out how to be organized from within, all the “how to be organized” how-to’s will be short term and ineffective. 

How to Organize Yourself

Now, before we go further I must be honest with you my dear reader. I’m going to step out from behind the Therapist / Life Coach “Dr. Lisa” facade for a moment to share a secret: I am not a naturally organized person. In my personal life, particularly when I was younger, I have struggled to manage time effectively, keep control of the clutter and chaos, and maintain an organized life. I didn’t come from an organized family and arrived into adulthood without organizational skills in place.

I squeaked by for a while, but then when my life got harder I really needed to up my game. I could not get through graduate school or run a business without doing a better job of managing my time, energy and tasks. When I became a mom, that balance became even harder, and in order to do the things that we most important to me I really needed to work on my organizational skills. So I did!

I actually spent a lot of time figuring out how to get organized in order to do the things I wanted to do, to be the person I wanted to be, and to achieve my most important personal and professional goals. On my lifelong quest for personal organization, I have tried all the systems, all the hacks, and read all the “how to get organized” self help books there have ever been.

I am pleased to report that over the years I have grown into a reasonably organized person. I’m able to get important things done, and I usually have my act together. I still lose my keys sometimes (but not my shoes!)

How to Organize Your Life

Many people who are not good at being organized from within do have to work harder to create organizational systems, and stick to them. Many “Messies” dread these systems and will fight tooth or nail to avoid the types of routine and structure that being organized requires. But — I’m here to tell you, from the other side of this chasm — It’s much, much less stressful and easier to cope with basically everything when your life is generally in order. There’s less anxiety and drama. Your relationships feel easier too.

While it can feel hard to get organized and stay that way, once you do, you’ll be amazed at the contrast: Being organized and living an organized life is actually much, much easier than being chronically disorganized and chaotic. (More on this subject in the marvelous interview I did with Dr. Marilyn Paul, on “How to Be Stress Free.”)

I have learned from my own process that being organized, really, genuinely organized, is not about the systems and the containers and the calendars. (Though all those tools can help). Being organized begins with a shift in mindset. Organized people actually think differently than Messies. By learning how organized people think, and cultivating an organized mindset, you too can achieve the Nirvana of feeling genuinely in control of your time, your energy, your stuff, and your life.

The Organized Mindset

I considered inviting an “organizational expert” to come on today’s podcast and share their strategies for being organized, but then I had a better idea: My pal, Denver therapist and Denver psychologist Dr. Danielle Kahlo. Dr. Danielle is not a professional organizer, she’s way better — a blazingly talented therapist who is also a next-level organized person. She has incredible insights into the life experience of being organized, and how to achieve it.

Let’s Get Organized!

Listen to today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast for Dr. Danielle’s down-to-earth advice for:

  • The biggest differences between an organized mindset and a disorganized one
  • Why being organized has to come from within, especially when you’re working from home or managing a household
  • How being organized has a direct (positive) impact on anxiety
  • What causes procrastination, and the new ideas to nip it in the bud
  • How to achieve meaningful work / life balance and still get all the important things done
  • Ways to cultivate present-moment awareness in order to be more organized… and happier too.

I hope that this heartfelt advice on being organized is helpful to you as you juggle all the demands of your beautiful life!

With love,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

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Being Organized

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Jules Gaia, “Two Steps Back”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Being Organized

Access Episode Transcript

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby and you’re listening to the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

[Two Steps Back by Jules Gaia]

That’s Jules Gaia with the song Two Steps Back, which I felt kind of captured this sort of frenetic energy, maybe? That I’m hearing so many of you are feeling these days trying to manage all of the stuff that you have going on between working from home, parenting, homeschooling. Oh my goodness. And you know, for as quiet as our lives have become in some ways during this whole Coronavirus experience, I am hearing from so many people that you feel busier than you have ever been in your life. And that is really a daily challenge—to figure out how to manage at all. If you too, have been living this experience, today’s podcast is for you.

And I have some very special things planned. Today we are talking about not just organizational tips, we’re talking about cultivating an organized mindset. And my guest on the show today I am so thrilled to introduce to you. She is Danielle Kahlo, but she is Dr. Danielle Kahlo. She is a psychologist. However, Danielle is also a wonderful dear friend of mine. And I wanted to talk with Danielle about this because she is the real deal. She is not some organizational guru who wants to sell you an online course to learn XYZ; she lives it. I have been in this woman’s house; I have opened her silverware drawer. I have seen the truth. She is next level organized and today she’s here to talk with us about how to cultivate this inner and outer state of zen. Danielle, thank you for being here.

Dr. Danielle Kalos: It’s my pleasure. And it’s interesting that we’re just doing an audio recording because if this were video, people would just see me cackling.

Dr. Lisa Marie: She is actually rolling her eyes as I’m talking so I can confirm this. No, but it’s true. You are among the mostlike supernaturally organized people I have ever met. Well, you know, it’s important though because some people talk the talk. And they like talk this big game and then you likemeet them in real life and they don’t always live it. But you exude organization.

And so let’s just start with a couple of questions because myselfas a person who can only be kind of organized with great effortit seems like magic. So now, let’s see. You and my stepmother, Bobby, are the two most organized people I have ever met in my life, and you are both from the South originally. She’s from North Carolina, you are from Mississippi. Question one: is this a Southern thing? Is that what makes you organized?

Dr. Danielle: That’s a fascinating question. I’ve never thought about it in that way. I don’t think that’s what drives me.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay.

Dr. Danielle: It may be different for other people.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Also, common factors here—you and Bobby both, at least at one time, drink large quantities of Diet Coke. Does that have anything to do with why you’re sobecause I don’t drink Diet Coke. And I was thinking, is that what this is about?

Dr. Danielle: I genuinely do not see any correlation between Diet Coke consumption as my way of being in the world, but who knows, there are so many chemicals in that. Something may have gotten in and changed my…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah. Changed your brain.

Dr. Danielle: …your own wiring.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay. Well, I’m then going to write that one down as a hypothesis to continue going into because those, those like, “What? What? What is it? How do I get it?” But okay, so it’s neither of those things probably. Well, let’s talk about other possibilities then.

Dr. Danielle: Okay.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay, so for now, so what I am really interested in digging into is… because I think like superficially, you can read books or watch a YouTube video about like, here’s how to clean out a closet, here’s where to put stuff, you know, like that kind of thing. But for people who struggle with organization, it’s always hard to maintain those systems. And I think it’s because it’s really just like a different way of thinking and like being oriented to stuff. Like there’s really an organized mindset. 

And I think it’s so important right now because people are dealing with more stuff to wrangle. And it’s been interesting because like, even people that I have talked with, like clients who are extremely successful people and who have done a lot, like I’m thinking of a client I work with who’s a physician. I mean, she is an extremely confident person. And, um, even her, like working from home, it removes the external structures that you have in place that kind of allow you to be organized. Like you don’t necessarily have to be places on time in the same way. Or you don’t have a routine that you are kind of funneled into. There’s not this external set of guide rails and or a company policy that says, “here is how to do XYZ” that we kind of follow along with.

When you’re working from home, you have to figure out how to be organized in a very self-directed way. You have to figure out your own routines and your own like procedures and processes that aren’t something that you’re being made to do. And so what I’ve experienced is even really highly competent and organized people that function very well in a workplace, when they’re working from home, there’s like this sort ofnot chaosbut it’s like they need to figure out how to organize themselves from within. And so that’s why I wanted to talk with you about the… how the thinking is differentlike that internalized organization, because you do this all the time. You do not just, you know, have your systems at work. 

And like, I don’t know if that makes, make sense or not, but what I’m hoping is like to get a sense of what the inner process is, and like, okay, let me actually ask you a coherent question. Do you feel that you were, like looking back on your life, always an organized person? Like is it just something that you’re born with? Is it a personality trait? Or do you feel like it’s something that you had to learn or cultivate or be taught or practice over the years in order to be organized? Is it? Is it nature or nurture? Is it you? Is it something that everybody else can learn? What do you think?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, that’s a great question. I certainly, you know, can remember as a kid, having a really messy, messy room and my parents having to say, “Clean up the room, clean up the room,” so I think that I…

Dr. Lisa Marie: That makes me feel so much better.

Dr. Danielle: …came out of the chute this way. Um, I do think… so I do think it can be cultivated. I think for meand I have shared this with you beforeit’s honestly, there’s a lot of anxiety management that comes with a strategy, so I feel less anxious when my surroundings are put together and in order. And I have a sort of an internal structure that helps me sort of navigate the world and feel like there are guide rails, even if they’re not being imposed from outside. But there’s a little bit of anxious temperament that I think goes into that. 

But I think I also have sort of practiced this over the years, and most of us do in school. You’ve got the structure of school, but then you’ve got all the activitiesthe homework, the assignments, the dissertationthat has to be done outside of school. And so you have to practice this. And so I think, remaining in the academic world for me, I’ve had to work remotely for years and years and years. And so there is some bit of things get very easy the more you practice it. Maybe getting started for people is the hardest part. I don’t know.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, no, those are, those are interesting reflections. And but I think that maybe that what you just shared is an important takeaway. And something that would be useful for all of us is this idea that when you do have an organized and kind of serene environment and systems and sort of a, you know, inner slash outer sense of control that everything is sort of in its place, it makes you feel better emotionally. And I can certainly understand. I mean, I think, even for me, like my natural tendency is to get a little frenetic and chaotic and I don’t feel good when things are like that. I don’t know where my keys are. I can’t find stuff. I feel disorganized. And when I can kind of come back and make a plan and put things in place, it just, it feels, it feels better. And so maybe that’s one takeaway is that even though it takes time and effort to create organizational systems, there is a positive impact on… yeah.

Dr. Danielle: I think that does stick from reinforcing, yeah. When you’re cooking a meal and you know where to find the utensils the same place every time or when you’re sitting in your office and you know, you know where this stack of papers or references is all the timeit does make things go smoother in the moment. And then there’s this reinforcing sense of, “okay, that went well” and efficiency and so…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: …that is, that is a good feeling.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, yeah. And then, okay, and so now just, just for the benefit of our listeners, I can tell you that Danielleher homes are always immaculate and you have just such a wonderful sense of design. I mean, I always joke with Danielle that yes, if the psychologist thing stops working out for you, that you should definitely look into interior design because you just create the most beautiful environments.

And I’m curious to know so if you have, you know, want to share, share something for the benefit of a working mom who has like… a family dad, too, that keeps the home together. When there are a lot of people in it all the time and buzzing around and doing things and moving stuff, are there systems or practices that you have found over the years that help you kind of um, keep it together? You know, because a lived in space will always start to get messy because people you know, you take the silverware out of the drawer, you do stuff, and you cook things. Are there any things that you have found to just like make it easier to restore order or maintain order?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think two things work for me and that’s something that doesn’t work for everybody. But I think keepingyou mentioned earlier stuffa minimalist approach. And that’s not to say you can’t have any art on your walls, but a minimalist approach to stuff like when you get something new, you give something away. So you know, before I make a new clothes purchase, I make purge my closet and see what needs to go to Goodwill. So keeping stuff minimal so that it, there’s fewer things to sort of get, you know, kind of explode in the inner space. That’s one thing.

And then the other thing is, and I heard this from someone years ago, so this quote is not from me but I have subscribed to it for much of my life, “Don’t put it down; put it away.” And that philosophy really works for me because it’s just as easy to drop it on the couch when you walk in the door as it is to hang it on the coat rack. It doesn’t take any more time. And so if you put it away instead of just dropping it down, that just keeps the order throughout the day.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: So that’s kind of, those two principles really work for me.

Dr. Lisa Marie: That’s great. I like that. “Don’t put it down; put it away.” Because I, because then here is actually another question that I had for you. So, you know, you are a psychologist and as such, a keen observer of people, and you know, have a lot of contact with different personality types and ways of being and I can absolutely relate to what you just said. Like I think that that is part of my disorganized mindset when things do start to get, you know, too much. It goes in a stack and this sort of mental narrative is, “I will do this later.” Like I know that when I listen to, “I will do this later,” it creates disorder for me. And so I’m going to practice swapping out that “Don’t put it down; put it away.” But, you know, have you also observed like, when people are more chaotic or have more difficulty just kind of keeping themselves organized. Are there other differences that you have noticed in terms of the mindset or the things that they’re telling themselves that seemed, from your perspective, to be contributing to their difficulty? Because we all create our own reality, right? And whatever our world looks like, is a manifestation of whatever is going on inside of us. And so I wonder if you could eliminate this for us, around what is the thinking style or the inner story that contributes to messiness?

Dr. Danielle: Well, I think, you know, to your point, the um, one of the things that I see sometimes with people who struggle with this is a tendency or procrastination. You know, that’s a problem for future me. And I think, you know, that mental way of approaching life creates piles in our mind, in our psyche, in addition to the piles out in the world. And so, for me, procrastination has never been effective. Because the anxiety just builds as the list builds in my mind and as the stuff builds on the, on the desk. So tackling things now is sort of a similar approach to “Don’t put it down; put it away.”

Not putting things off, for me, is a really effective way to stay organized. Because I don’t think that you know, and I recognize procrastination as an anxiety management strategy of its own, but that avoidance of dealing with thing right here, right now, and putting it in a mental pile for laterI think it builds up and builds up, and then life interrupts. And this is what I see happening with clients all the time. Or students even. You know, putting things off, putting things off. And then all of a sudden, there’s some sort of crisis, or things happen or whatever else. And people didn’t bank that into their mental timetable for when they could get this project done or this activity or whatever else. And then suddenly something has to fall off and can’t get accomplished. And so for me, sort of approaching things with “just go ahead and do it now,” because I know that something out there is going to come in unpredictably and I need to have some cushion. I don’t know. I don’t know if that makes sense.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, no, it really does. That to do it now; don’t put it off; and also expect that whatever you think is going to happen in terms of the plan is not actually what is going to happen. And so to account for thatand because I think too, like when I think about my, my messy mindset, so to speak, there is this overly optimistic narrative about what I will be able to accomplish that has no basis in reality. You know what I mean? Like I can really realistically do probably 25% of whatever is on my giant list or whatever. I think I can get accomplished on a Saturday morning. So you’re saying, I don’t do that and that’s why I’m organized. I love it.

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, well, I mean, how many of us have you know, started a work day and then a supervisor, a co-worker, a client, an administrative issue pops up that we didn’t build into our work day and it’s like, “when am I going to find time to do this thing that you need me to do that’s suddenly so urgent?” And so I think expecting that, that is the reality does keep me very focused on staying on top of what I can see that I need to do in an efficient way. So that if there’s cushions, I can enjoy the cushions when it comes instead of being taken by surprise.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay, so then let’s, let’s go there for a second. So when it comes to like, routines and work days, in order to stay on top of things and do what needs to be done, and not get either blindsided or lost down a rabbit hole of whatever you know… and you have a lot of experience from working. And I should tell listeners: so in addition to being a psychologist and carrying a caseload, that DanielleI don’t want to call you Dianethat Danielle is also a professor of psychology at the University of Northern Colorado. She’s on the faculty.

And so you have a lot of plates spinning in the air. When it comes to personal routines and just like, I mean, do you, do you do like a task list? Do you like prioritize things to figure out what you’re going to work on first, or what you’re going to work on second, and when you’re going to work on that? And do youdo any like formalized kind of planning things to stay on track? Or is it so deeply ingrained that you just kind of know what to do and when to do it?

Dr. Danielle: I do think some of it is muscle memory that builds over time with practice. But yeah, I certainly have, um… especially on days when the external structure is not imposed. So, you know, when we’re seeing clients back to back, then that’s just the schedule. That is what it is. But on days where there’s less external structure imposed and it has to be more internal, I absolutely have a mental list. And so for me, the list begins with certain things that have to happen at a particular time.

So you and I had this, this meeting scheduled this morning at eight and I’ve got some appointments with students scheduled this afternoon. And so I’m looking at my day and those have to happen at a particular time. And then everything else gets slotted in around that. And, and then for me, there is a prioritization. You know, which of these things can wait and which of these things is urgent? And I don’t know that, I think that’s a values-based decision. I think it’s a sense of, you know, what the world is demanding from us in different areas of our life and what takes priority. So for me, there is a, you know, “These are my values so these are the most important things. So I’m definitely going to accomplish these. And the other things can wait until tomorrow evening, if, if they need to.” So, I don’t know that that’s very structured.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Well no, but, but I think what you’re talking again about the most important piece of this, which is the mindsetwhich is that you’re thinking about, “What is the most important, you know, what’s, what’s the stuff I have to do. But then what’s the most important or valuable stuff for me?” And then I think, I think you were insinuating this without saying it out loud, that you would do that important stuff before you would do the other thing. And so, so then, I mean, that seems like so natural to you. It’s probably not even a thought, but like, I talk to people all the time who like, know that I have these important things to do. And instead, they will mess around with like, low-level tasks because they’re easy. They’ll clean out their email box. They’ll mess around on Reddit for 45 minutes before they start doing stuff. Do you have… you don’t do that?

Dr. Danielle: I know.

Dr. Lisa Marie: What? Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: That’s a great, great observation. And I certainly have clients who do the same thing. I think, two things. I think some of that is avoidance, you know, when we can sort of cross easy things off the list because we know other things are bigger or require more energy. Then some of that could be, is sort of an avoidance or escapist strategylike, “I don’t want to deal with that; I’m gonna bury my head in the sand of the Reddit or the inbox.” But I think some of that is also, at least for some of the clients that I work with, that they haven’t really explored what their values are. They haven’t really explored and outlined, “This is what’s really important to me, and this is what I want to commit my time and energy to,” and made a conscious decision to focus on those things. So they’re much more easily be derailed because they haven’t outlined and committed to those things…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: …um, for themselves. Yeah, and so some values exploration is a lot of work that I do with people. “Really what matters to you? Are you aligning your life with that?”

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay, like a true life coach, like we’re gonna bring you over. But, but really though, and you know, as you’re talking, I’m reflecting on what I have seen clients do. But also personally when I have, again, I need to be much more intentional in order to be as organized and productive as you are. And when I am moving into that space, I do have to be very deliberate about what is the most important thing today, and you know, like as it attaches to bigger goals. And I think what I also probably tell myself is “Do the hardest thing first and resist the temptation to do the easiest thing first.”

Dr. Danielle: Yeah.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Like I have to do the hard thing at the beginning of the day, and then the easy  pesky things in the last hour of the day because that takes less mental bandwidth. And I think I’m hearing a similar process there that the easy stuff happens when it happens.

Dr. Danielle: I think that’s right because you know, we sort of lose steam throughout the day. So when we wake up, and we’re fresh, and we tackle the hardest thingsit’s the whole “eat your vegetables” first kind of a deal. I think there’s a reason, structurally, that we teach and train kids, you know, dessert comes after you eat all the other healthy things so that you don’t fill up on dessert first, right?

And so I think there is that, that of, you know, let me get these things out that will require more energy while I’m fresh. And then at the end of the day, if something comes up, if life intervenes, if I get derailed by another urgent issue, then at least I’ve done those most important things.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And the other things can fall off and wait until tomorrow. And you know, I never subscribed to that whole… I don’t know if you remember back when we were a little bit younger. We’ve known each other for 15 years, can you believe that? That’s the whole daytimer process. And you know, there was a big… But there is something there about having a list, having it on paper instead of just in my head, and then being able to prioritize. “This is an A item. This is a B. This is a C.”

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah, I have to do that. I have do that.

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, but it’s helpful.

Dr. Lisa Marie: So okay, so prioritizing. When it comes also to time management, have you observed in yourself any strategies that you use that maybe are a little bit different than what you see less organized people doing that help you, you know, I’m thinking get places on time. You are also supernaturally punctual. I should, I should… but like, be able to, like schedule things.

Okay. So here’s a, here’s a more specific question. One of the things that I have observed in myself and also people who are—have of a less organized orientation is that there is a different sense of maybe how long things are going to take. Whereas, and, but this is a hypothesis; I don’t know this for sure. I mean, I’m wondering if part of being punctual and good time management is having a more, maybe realistic sense of how long things take? Or do you feel like it’s attached to something elselike your ability to get places on time and to know, “I’m going to spend this much time working on this report?” What do you think?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah. No, I think that’s right. I think that this goes back to what we were talking about a little bit earlier, which is the idea of building in a buffer that things are going to go wrong. How do I create a cushion for that? Right? So there will be an accident on Colorado Boulevard as I’m trying to get somewhere. Or you know, something, something else will, will interrupt my ability to, you know, get to this particular appointment on time.

And so building in that cushion, I think when, when I haven’t done that so well, you’re right, I have assumed that I could get somewhere or do something in a particular amount of time. And that has, I underestimated how long things would take or what would get in the way or whatever. And so, I may work on fiddly tasks up until the last minute and say, “Oh, I need to go.” And I should have stopped those fiddly tasks, you know, 10 minutes earlier and be more efficient with my time management. So I think there is a little bit of predicting that things may go wrong. And so my strategy islet’s say I’m trying to get to an appointment and the Google Maps says it’s going to take 20 minutes to get there. If I leave 35 minutes early, then I’m not panicked if there’s an accident. And if I arrive early, then I’ve got that cushion to then do whatever that was answer those emails or whatever because we can do that from anywhere now…

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: …while at, while I’m waiting at that appointment. And so it’s not that I’m getting less done. It’s just that I, you know, plan the cushion, and then use that cushion when I arrive and I’m waiting for the appointment.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Got it.

Dr. Danielle: I don’t know if that makes sense.

Dr. Lisa Marie: No, that’s a fantastic strategy. And that has like, never actually occurred to me before, but I think I’m gonna start doing it, Danielle. No, but so, so like, I mean, so just out of curiosity. So Google Maps says 20 minutes, do you add 50% to that? 75% to that? Like, is there a little mental calculus that you found to be… “If I add 50% more or whatever it is, then it’s usually okay.” I’m just curious.

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve done the mental math and like actually calculated, “Okay, 20 minutes divided by two and then blah, blah, blah.”

Dr. Lisa Marie: 14.75 seconds. Right.

Dr. Danielle: Right. Right. Right. Right. But, but I think some of it depends on, you know, actually how far I’m going. And so there is a little bit of a ratio there, although it’s more of a gut instinct than anything else. But I think it’s a question of just building in some buffer, instead of working up to the last minute on the project that’s right before. And, and, and then slotting in some of those easier tasks that we were talking about that can sort of occur throughout the day, can then occur in those buffer windows. When I arrived to that appointment 15 minutes early, okay, let me answer those emails now instead of trying to do it before I got in the car. And so there’s a little bit of just sort of restructuring and sliding the smaller tasks in when I find that there’s a window of opportunity. So yeah, so there’s some reorganization of bigger items and then slotting in the smaller items in between.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Okay. Well, that’s great. So this is wonderful. And so okay, then lastly so let’s say you have your, your typical typical familywith you know, mom and dad trying to work and manage a home, but also now managing kids, and keeping them on track, and homeschooling and schedules. And just trying to make sure that everything, everything that needs to happen, happens to a degree, with the understanding that right now for many people, there’s some stuff that isn’t going to happen because it can’t. So you know, while we might like to have our socks matched and in the drawer, it may be realistic to get the clean clothes out of a laundry basket that never actually gets put away because nobody has the bandwidth to do that with everything else that needs to be done. I mean, there are, there are finite limits. But do you have any last words of advice for, you know, a family in the situation with going in a zillion different directions in this contextwith not external structure, you know, child care, having to do all the stuff–that might help them begin to create a workable plan to make sure the important things at least get done?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a, that’s a great question. And I think it involves, I think, a lot of communication and a lot of sharing together——at least the adult partners in the, in the family system–saying, “Okay, what is most important to us as a family?” And putting those things first, and then coming up with a strategy for managing that together as a team.

I think one of the things that can happen is when we get stressed out and we go into our own, our own little bubblesthat can be isolating in a family system.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And when we can sort of just sort of spin off into our own little solar systems instead of really consciously coming together and saying, “Okay, what’s most important to us? And what do we value here?” Again, going back to those values. And then, and then sort of choosing, “Okay, let’s tag team this. I’m going to do this with the kids today. You’re going to do that with the house. You get that done.” That’s a good day.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And really just making a conscious effort to communicate about that and be, be working together as a team instead of spinning off into our own little zone.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah. That’s fantastic advice. Okay, so to recap, I mean, if I, if I kind of just run down the big takeaways. I think the first thing, the first thing you said was just get deeply committed to, “Don’t put it down; put it away.” And you also talk about minimizing like, you maybe make it, do some curation to make it so that you do have a place for the most important things and that it’s not overwhelming sprawl. And I think that’s fantastic advice.

You also talked a lot about figuring out what your priorities are, and what is most important, and making sure that you do whatever that is first, and the lower value or less important things after that. Yup. And, and I think woven throughout this is sort of this core belief of that, you can probably do less than you think you can. And it’s probably going to take longer if it’s driving or doing a task. So maybe, I mean, is it fair to say like, lower your expectations about what is possible, and really focus on what is important? Does that kind of summarize it?

Dr. Danielle: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think that’s right. Having a, having a sense of buffer for anticipating that, you know, things will, you know, go wrong or take longer and, and really focusing on what matters most.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah.

Dr. Danielle: And then, and then making that explicit for yourself. And so whether that is you know, as a calendar or a list or whatever else. Getting it out of your headwhere things tend to swim around and get lostand really outlining it for yourself in a very clear way, so that you can feel like, “Okay, yeah. I’m, I’m actually, my behavior is consistent with what I’m saying matters most to me.”

Dr. Lisa Marie: Yeah. Yeah. And then doing it now. Don’t put it away.

Dr. Danielle: And then doing it now. That’s right. That’s right. Easier said than done.

Dr. Lisa Marie: Wow, so many, so many wonderful tips. Danielle, thank you so much for spending this time with me today.

Dr. Danielle: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.

 

Burnout Prevention + Recovery

Burnout Prevention + Recovery

Burnout Prevention + Recovery

Burnout Prevention + Burnout Recovery

Burnout Prevention and Burnout Recovery: If you’ve been feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, and that the daily grind is relentless… you are not alone. The realities of “corona-life” are wearing down even the sturdiest and most productive among us.

On the bright side, things that feel unsustainable usually are, and if you’re coming to the conclusion that you cannot actually go on living this way you’re in the perfect position to make full use of today’s podcast episode — because help is here!

Today is all about helping you recover from burnout, reclaim control, cultivate resilience, reprioritize time and energy, and craft a sustainable “burnout prevention” plan for yourself, your career and your family.

Signs of Burnout

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve been living in a burnout culture. As a Denver therapist and online life coach, I’ve worked for years with clients who struggle with work fatigue, mom burnout (or dad burnout) and show up for therapy or life coaching feeling mentally exhausted or experiencing emotional exhaustion. The struggle is real!

Symptoms of burnout can mimic those of depression, often leading to exhaustion, apathy, irritability, and like you just don’t care any more. You might feel sad or angry, or you might just feel numb.

Feeling burned out and like you had nothing left to give was true long before the “coronavirus life” experience cranked it up 10x. Now busy professionals are attempting to do it all… quite literally.

  • Balancing a full-time work-from-home job with
  • Full-time stay-at-home parenting
  • Without even a smidge of respite from the community that once sustained you
  • Homeschooling
  • Increased stress in your relationship
  • Managing the chaos of always-home family in need of regular feelings, entertainment and some semblance of order
  • No boundaries between work and life, with the result being that there are no natural breaks or stopping points in the day which leads to working from home from the crack of dawn until late at night.
  • Not having access to the simple pleasures or self-care activities that once allowed you to bounce back from burnout, like getting a  massage, having an evening with friends, or even going to a movie is fraught with danger. 

The daily grind is endless, stressful, with no end in sight, and opportunities to replenish your energy and recover from burnout are few and far between. It’s a lot. It’s non-stop. If you’re feeling burned out from trying to do it all… of course you are!

Burnout Prevention

To help you start to restore your energy, cultivate resilience, and boost your mental and emotional reserves, today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is all about helping you not just recover from burnout… but prevent burnout in the first place.

I’ve enlisted the support of an expert on this topic: Eileen McDargh. Eileen has spent over thirty years researching the subject of work fatigue, burnout prevention, and burnout recovery. Her new book is Burnout to Breakthrough: Building Resilience to Refuel, Recharge, and Reclaim What Matters.

Eileen is with me today to share her insight, tips and strategies to help you prevent burnout in the first place, or — if it’s already taking hold — regain your resilience and restore your sanity.

We’re discussing:

  • The first and most important mental shift you can make to reclaim control
  • How to identify energy takers and energy makers
  • Why questioning everything can cultivate your resilience
  • Daily practices that restore you (when you have zero time for anything) 
  • How to craft a lifestyle focused on sustainable productivity and burnout prevention
  • And more!

I hope this episode offers you guidance for how to rebuild your energy, restore your resilience, and start feeling like yourself again.

xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Burnout Prevention + Burnout Recovery

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Wimps, “Monday” 

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

More Love, Happiness and Success Advice 

Being Honest With Yourself

Being Honest With Yourself

Being honest with yourself is a fundamental part of authentic personal growth… but it can be hard to do. Today’s podcast with therapist and life coach Josephine Marin can help you get clarity about your authentic truth so that you can move forward fearlessly.

read more
You Are Good Enough

You Are Good Enough

Do you struggle to feel like you are good enough? It’s not just you: Many people — no matter how successful or accomplished — still feel like they’re not *quite* measuring up. Today’s podcast does a deep dive into HOW to feel that you’re good enough, push back against self-doubt and overcome “imposter syndrome.” Listen now!

read more
Being Organized

Being Organized

Feeling overwhelmed by it all? In this episode of the podcast with Dr. Lisa, Denver psychologist Dr. Danielle spills the beans on how to cultivate the type of “organized mindset” that reduces stress, lowers anxiety, and restores order by helping you feel more in control of your time, your stuff and your life.

read more
How to Practice Self-Love

How to Practice Self-Love

Self-love for a lot of us tends to end up in the lower priority pile – but the truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t have anything to give to others! Online therapist and Texas Life-Coach, Kaily Moore, M.S., LMFTA is sharing How to Practice Self-Love on the blog!

read more

3 Quick Tips for Self-Care While Traveling For Work

3 Quick Tips for Self-Care While Traveling For Work

3 Quick Tips for Self-Care While Traveling For Work

Relationship Help

As a career coach, I have the opportunity to work with clients across different industries and required travel commitments. What a lot of my traveling career coaching clients face is the overwhelming reality that travel has a very real impact on your mind and body.

A career that requires you to travel might have sounded fun at first, but if you are starting to notice that the travel is feeling overwhelming you’re not alone. 

Your job is important, and with it comes responsibilities and implications that you’re going to get your work done. When traveling for work, there is so much to do before, during, and after travel that you may feel like you are working around the clock with little to no time for self-care.

You can’t keep running yourself into the ground if you plan to incorporate travel into your longterm career commitments. You must find balance with your busy schedule, and with a little practice and some helpful guidelines, you may just find a haven of zen in your otherwise exciting schedule.

Here are my favorite three tips for self-care while traveling for work!

#1. Set Yourself Up for Success

Traveling often requires you to go outside of your comfort zone. The familiarity of home and routine can feel lost the moment you step into travel mode. This means that spending time setting yourself up for success away from these familiarities will ensure that you show up as your best self. To do this, take control of what you can and let the rest go.

You are in control of when you get to the airport, what transportation you take to get there, what food you decide to eat, etc.. If left up to chance, the likelihood of stabilizing yourself for optimal performance at work is already lowered. Take time to iron out these small details; they all add up to help support your ultimate success and enjoyment.

Take your work and yourself seriously so that you can feel confident and competent no matter where your job is.

#2. HAVE and KEEP Work Hours

For most of those traveling for work, new environments and different people will often throw off polished routines and habitual activities. On a work trip, we might use our work to avoid the discomfort of a situational change. This sense of uncomfortableness can lead us to overwork, feel burnt out, and ultimately resent our job in the long run.

In order to prepare against this happening, keep boundaries. Instead of working around the clock, on the airplane, or skipping dinner – take time to go out to dinner or go for a walk in the morning by yourself. HAVE and KEEP work hours even while traveling.

#3. Keep Your Routines

When we travel, we tend to let go of routines. There’s just something about getting in that car or boarding that plane that throws our conventional lifestyle aside. I encourage you to lean into new opportunities when they arise but also be gentle with yourself with change. Slowly change your daily structure instead of jolting yourself into a new and temporary one.

If certain routines really work for you, don’t break them (or at least experiment with ways to adjust them). Exercise is a common routine I hear my clients regularly report breaking on work travel, even though they say exercising brings them joy. Foster your joy while traveling. Your time is valuable time – How you spend it matters.

Trust Me It Works!

For the best self-care while traveling for work, take control of what you can through preparation, routines, and time management. You will feel some discomfort, but all your resources will be well suited to tackle even the longest of work trips if you feel grounded in your ability to control your own success.

Self-care is more than just a face mask at bedtime, it’s a lifestyle.

Take care & enjoy your travel!
Markie Keelan, M.A., LPC

Markie Keelan, M.A., LPC is here to help you create authentic happiness and satisfaction in your life, your relationships, and your career. She supports you to create a deeper connection with others, find clarity and direction, and actualize your life’s purpose.

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Read More by Markie Below!

Do What You Love

Do What You Love

Do What You Love

Create a Career That’s In Alignment With YOU.

So many of our career coaching clients come to us because they feel stuck. S T U C K.

Sometimes they’re stuck in paralysis from not knowing which career move to make. Some (many, actually) of our clients feel stuck in a career that they don’t really enjoy, but that is stable and fairly well-paying. They want to make a change but don’t know how to pivot in their career without creating chaos in their lives.

Still other of our career coaching clients are feeling stuck in work-related circumstances, like being in a toxic work environment or having difficult relationships with co-workers. They don’t necessarily want to quit their job, but they need to make a change.

Can you relate? Feeling stuck with regards to your career can feel very stressful. Having clarity and direction about your next move is huge. On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m speaking with my colleague, career development coach Teena Evert.

She and I met over tea to talk about new ways of thinking and the types of questions to ask yourself that will help you get unstuck, and create a career that’s in alignment with who you are.

Every Life Experience is Valuable

One of the things Teena and I discussed is how common it is for people to fear making a “mistake” with regards to their career. This type of Success-or-Failure thinking can create additional stress and pressure on your career decisions, and contribute to career-related paralysis. Teena has some great perspective to help you find valuable, meaningful life and work-related experience in all of your efforts, and avoid falling into failure mindset — and cultivate a growth mindset instead.

Launching a Career, With Confidence

Many people reach out for career coaching when they’re just starting out in their career. Perhaps they’ve just graduated from college and are figuring out what to do with their degree… or finding that their true interest is not what they went to school for. Teena has some excellent advice for helping people just starting out get clear about who they are, and getting clarity about what type of career will be meaningful and enjoyable… as well as lucrative.

Intentional, Thoughtful Career Transitions

So often, working professionals launch careers that they develop for years… only to find out that what they’re doing for a living is not truly congruent with who they are. Sometimes, people start careers out of what’s available, or what’s stable, or what’s expected of them rather than through a thoughtful self-discovery process. Over the years, as they become more aware of who they are and what they’re really about, making career changes are an important part of their personal growth.

Teena has some great advice to help you consider who you are at the most fundamental level, and how to use self-awareness as the key tool to creating a career in alignment with your core self.

Strategic Skills For Career Advancement

Another thing we discussed was some of the ongoing personal growth work that everyone needs to do as their careers develop. As your position of responsibility grows, it becomes necessary to step up your game on every level. Learning how to be more productive and organized, increasing your emotional intelligence skills, figuring out how to create effective relationships (even with difficult coworkers), figuring out how to get ahead at work, and learning how to lead are all part of the ongoing personal growth process that a genuinely satisfying career involves.

Teena shares some great tips for how to continue to develop yourself both personally and professionally, so that you continue to operate at the fullest level of your potential as your life and career evolves.

Creating a LIFE — Not Just a Career

While we do spend a lot of time in our professional roles, a truly meaningful and satisfying career needs to fit in with your entire life. Teena shares her perspective around how to create a healthy work / life balance, how to manage your job so that it doesn’t create issues in your relationships, and how to consider your professional success as just one aspect of your entire life creation.

Teena is also a master in creating a sustainable life: She talks about some of the stress management skills about boundary-setting skills that she shares with her career coaching and life coaching clients, to help them stay in a good place physically, mentally and emotionally — even when they have a lot going on.

Let’s Talk About YOU, and Your Career Success

Pour your self your own cup of tea and join Teena and I as we discuss how to create a career that is in alignment with your authentic self, how to break through career-related paralysis, and how to manage the anxiety that starts to bubble up when you think about making big changes in your life.

Have you submitted a career-related question for the podcast lately? I took this opportunity to ask Teena some of your career questions, so be sure to listen and hear her answers!

Your partners in growth,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby + Teena Evert, M.A., LMFT, LAC, CDC

PS: If YOU have questions for the blog or podcast, I’m listening!  Submit your question in the comments, or though this confidential form. xoxo, LMB

 

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Do What You L O V E — How To Create a Career That's in Alignment With Your True Self

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Brick Fields, “Gotta Sing Your Song”

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Teena Evert is a life and a career coach who specializes in helping her clients get clarity in their careers — and within themselves — so that they can create lives, relationships and careers that are authentically joyful and congruent with their highest and best. If you’re looking to feel happier, less stressed, and succeed at the highest level of your potential (both personally and professionally) Teena can help.

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More Career Advice on The Podcast and Blog

Four Benefits of Online Coaching

Four Benefits of Online Coaching

Four Benefits of Online Coaching

Here’s Why You Should Try Online Coaching

As a Ph.D. clinical psychologist, I started out years ago doing traditional therapy with clients for issues such as depression and anxiety. The in-office setting made the most sense for me at that time due to the extreme distress many of my clients were experiencing and it was important for me to physically be present with them and to offer support (and tissues!). However, once I obtained my professional coaching certification, I began to specialize in career and life coaching which drew different types of clients to me. While they had some transient anxiety or depressive feelings about not being in their dream career or living their best life (which would be expected), they didn’t have those symptoms at a clinical level. Additionally, my coaching clients had different needs and expectations than my therapy clients. As an aside, I do have some coaching clients who are also in concurrent therapy and I feel fortunate to have some amazing therapist colleagues to refer them to for their therapy needs.

When I first made the switch to coaching by phone or online, I have to admit that I was hesitant at first about meeting with people online or by phone. Would we have the same connection? Would it be as helpful as in-person? Would it be weird looking at a camera or talking on the phone with someone instead of being face-to-face? Now that I’ve been doing online and phone coaching for several years, here are the things I’ve discovered as well as what my clients have shared with me.

Global Reach

Whereas I used to be limited to serving clients who happened to live in my general proximity (Denver), I now have clients all over the U.S. and the world—from South Africa to Europe to Canada. Working with such a diverse population of clientele is not only inherently rewarding but has greatly enriched my knowledge of other cultures and experiences. It’s also amazing how similar people are in terms of wanting to live their best possible life! 

Flexible Session Times

I’ve had people do sessions outside from a street in Dubai, at an airport terminal while waiting for a flight, in their office on their lunch break, from their car (parked of course!) and in their own living room while their kiddo was napping. Whereas an in-person session means the client also has to allot time for traffic and driving to and from the appointment, parking, checking in with the receptionist, finding a baby sitter, etc., online coaching is so much easier to fit into a busy schedule—and my clients tend to be very busy people.

Flexible Scheduling Platforms

Sometimes, my clients want to see my smiling face so we do Skype or Zoom; while other times, they may be traveling and so phone works better on certain weeks. Or technology blips happen (because life) and we switch from one mode to another. 

Effective Results

In fact, I’ve found it to be even more effective because we are laser-focused during those 45 minutes. I’ve had multiple local clients whom I initially saw in-person who decided to switch to online coaching with me due to their busy schedules. An interesting outcome of that is that most ended up preferring the phone even over Skype/Zoom. Why? Many told me that they can think better and process ideas more when they walk around, so the phone allows them to do that while we talk. 

If you’ve never given online or phone coaching a try, I hope you will consider the amazing benefits. Taking steps to change your life for the better is an investment of your time, energy, and resources but life is too short to waste another day. 

Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Kristi Helvig, PhD, LP, BCC

Dr. Kristi Helvig PhD, LP, BCC is both a licensed psychologist and a board certified coach. She specializes in career and executive coaching working with her clients online locally and internationally. Dr. Kristi can help you receive clarity, overcome old obstacles, and climb the mountain to success — no matter how you define it. 

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