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Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Sentimental?

Change doesn't take as long as you think...

...when you've found the right Reorganizer.


Conveniently located in Manhattan, NYC. 646.430.9150

Contact Leah for a free 15 minute phone consultation!

Tuesday
Oct252011

Join me tonight to "discuss" the green movement with Larry Sharpe

Is there a point to the green movement?

Call in to state your case. 877 480 4120. 9-11pm on The Ivory Tower.

Larry is passionate and smooth when it comes to stating a case, and he will be claiming there's no point to the green movement. Help a girl out!

877 480 4120. See you on the radio!

Sunday
Oct092011

Louis CK, Abraham and Isaac, Yom Kippur, and Stuff-The Meaning Of It All

In Episode 11 of Louis CK's genius and lovable show, Louie, he does a hilarious bit (WARNING: Adult and provocative theme) about the famous story in the Bible of G-d telling Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. This is also one of the major themes of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which just ended last night.

Now, the Bible has many great stories, but few of them are considered worthy enough to be repeated every year on what many consider to be the holiest day of the year. I'm not a biblical scholar by any means, so these musings are to be taken with however much salt you like. It so happens that I wrote my college sophomore thesis on this topic, but a whole new angle struck me last night.

Remember the dramatic story? Abraham (my favorite biblical character) and the beautiful Sarah were married. He was devoted to her but she was barren. She insisted he impregnate her handmaiden, Hagar, and he did, and then she was upset...anyway, G-d told Abraham, finally, that Sarah was going to bear him a son. When he reported this news back to his 90-year-old wife, she laughed in his 100-year-old face. However, it came true, and she gave birth to Isaac.

So then G-d comes around and tells Abraham to sacrifice their only precious son, and he AGREES. (There is a dispute as to Isaac's age here, though he is portrayed as a child). At the last moment, an angel appears and Abraham sacrifices a ram instead of his son.

So what does this have to do with stuff, you ask? Here's one way of looking at things. Whether or not we believe in G-d, or that things come from G-d, one thing is sure: we can't hold on to everything forever. We can't control a hurricane or tornado or tsunami that wipes out all our things and possibly, G-d forbid, our loved ones. Things get lost, stolen, ruined. Even things we are REALLY attached to. My point is this: the understanding and willingness to part with things, no matter how much we don't want to, shows a rare wisdom. In Abraham's case, the willingness to part with the thing most precious to him, his son, perhaps saved him from having to do so. He lived a long life and his son outlived him.

We attach to things and people, we're human, that's what we do. But the ability to, somewhere deep inside, admit that we cannot hold on forever (of course things live on in memory, but that's different) gives us a peace with which we can move through life free from the bondage of stuff.

Tuesday
Sep202011

Introducing...The Foyer...with your host, Leah Fisch, begins October 22nd, 2011

My brand new call-in radio show about all things reorganizing!

12.30-1am WOR 710AM. Podcasts will be available within 48 hours of the show.

Friday
Sep162011

Leah's New Show on WOR 710AM

I'm VERY EXCITED!

The smooth tones of Leah Fisch will be massaging the airwaves Saturday nights, 12.30am-1am on 710 AM WOR. It will be a call-in show on the topic of reorganizing in which I will share my philosophy, knowledge and experience. Additionally, I will offer resources AND interview experts on topics pertaining to organizing space, time, and stuff.

 

Saturday
Sep102011

What does organizing have to do with 9/11?

At the Ten Year Anniversary of 9/11, NYers and Americans are reflecting on what they remember, think about, and are inspired to do differently as the day draws near. What does this have to do with organizing stuff, space, and time?

As a Reorganizer who oversees estate cleanings, one of the things I encounter is the grief of the families left behind. There is the trauma of going through each item filled with memory and meaning and having to make decisions. There is also the complete overwhelm of going through financial papers, setting up probate for the estate, getting separate checks for the estate, etc...it usually takes a couple of years to put things in order. Much of that time is spent sorting and searching and trying to figure out what to do. It is EXHAUSTING and emotionally grueling for the family.

Whatever age you are, the more in order your things are, the better life will be for everyone, you included. I don't mean tidy, I mean "in order." Your files are clearly labeled, your bank account information is all in one place, the deed/mortgage info is easy to find, your insurance is up to date....there are a million things we can plan to deal with on a rainy day that, left undone, can be truly hellish for your family to have to puzzle together. It is not easy, I know. And it's not always fun. But taking some time to plan makes all the difference.

A good start is simply to make a list of all the information you can think of that would be needed if you weren't here, G-d forbid. Next, begin compiling that information, and store it in a safe place like a safe, not in a mysteriously named hard-to-find file on your computer.

Of all the lessons of 9/11, the one I will take with me this year is remembering that we leave a legacy no matter what. Let's do our best to make it a legacy which is not hindered by disorganization which overwhelms, so our family and friends can rejoice in our memory.

Monday
Sep052011

Joe Bartlett interviews Leah on WOR morning show September 3rd, 2011

Joe and I reorganized his desk in 2007, and it was pleasing to learn that he has remembered and continues to utilize the lessons he learned from our work together years ago.

Thanks for listening and posting a comment!

WOR Joe Bartlett Interview

Thursday
Aug182011

7 Simple Ways to Improve Sales by Being Organized

Salespeople thrive on volume. 

More is always better. Better quality is always better. Higher volume leads to higher quality opportunities. But in order to handle high volume, we need to develop a solid infrastructure that can sustain it. What are some of the best ways to develop this infrastructure and use it to improve sales?

1. Develop a spreadsheet that suits your needs.

Excel and Google Docs are very easy to use, and there's plenty of FREE help online. The simpler the better. Put the contact name, phone number, when you called, what they said, etc.

2. Keep track of EVERYTHING!

You called a lead? Make a note of it. You received a commission check? Make a note of it.

Well-organized people are more likely to make the sale, win the court case, remember your birthday. It doesn't mean they're better people, it means they can access the details.

3. Pencil in time to review

Make time to do it and it might happen. Leave it to chance and it most likely won't. Making time, being in control of your schedule, is the first step to declaring that you can handle greater volume.

4. Review

Look over everything you've kept track of in the last two months, and take notes on what there is left to do.

5. Follow-up:

Your lead said to call in one month? Note it down on your call log, and SET A REMINDER to call in one month. Nothing says professional like calling when you said you would. When your word is deed, people know they can trust you.

From your review and your previous notes, you will create an ongoing to-do list. A salesperson should never be at a loss for what to do.

6. Be Creative

Send your client a gift certificate to a neat spot instead of a bottle of wine. Write a nice card when you send it. Your action will make you stand out, and your creativity will put you above the rest.

7. Give

From contacts to recommendations to breakfast, be willing to give with an open heart and an open wallet. There is nothing made for success like an organized giver.

Feel free to add your tips in the comments below.

Good luck!

Thursday
Jun232011

Reorganize your business...what does that mean?

What does it mean to "improve productivity," "streamline the workflow," and "maximize your resources"?

Catch phrases aside, the goal is to have a handle on your day so that you can do what needs to be done. Confidence, efficiency, and reliability come through good, basic management.

We need to…

….So that we can…

Clear clutter

  • Feel good about coming to work
  • Welcome clients into our space
  • Feel in control of the environment

Create or improve the filing system

  • Find stuff
  • Put stuff away
  • Keep good track of bills, projects, etc. 
Create personalized handbooks
  • Ensure that employees are clear about their roles
  • Create a positive and productive environment for workers
  • Make it easier to train new employees
  • Refer to our systems for procedures

Maximize space

  • Use all that is available to us, a satisfying thing to do
  • Not have to move to a larger space, save $$

Manage time better

  • Feel confident in our work
  • Know we can accomplish what we set out to do
  • Arrive to meetings/projects calm and prepared
  • Have good health
  • Spend time doing what we love
Friday
Feb112011

PMS? The Best Part Of A Woman's Cycle To Get Organized

PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome, also known as PMT, Premenstrual Tension. This refers to varying physical and emotional changes about 85% of women experience before their periods arrive.

In her fantastic book, The Female Brain, which I highly recommend, Louanne Bridendize explains the hormonal changes in a woman throughout the month. Hormones which include testosterone, androgen, estrogen, and progesterone. These hormones have a great effect on the brain AND on women's personalities.

So what does this have to do with re organizing? "There's a 25 percent growth of connections in the hippocampus during weeks one and two (the estrogen phase), and that makes the brain a little bit sharper. It functions a little better. You're clearer and you remember more. You think more quickly and more agilely. Then at ovulation, around day fourteen, progesterone causes the brain to become first more sedated and gradually more irritable, less focused, and then a little slower....in the last few days of the menstrual cycle, when progesterone collapses, this calming effect is abruptly withdrawn, leaving the brain momentarily upset, stress, and irritable." (P45)

One of my friends said to me, "I always get needy right before I get my period." However it is experienced, there is a notable difference in most women's moods right before they get their periods. This is not the time to try to get organized! From day one of menstruating until ovulation begins fourteen days later is the ideal time for a woman to organize. Lowered stress response, increased focus and decision-making ability. Imagine only two weeks a month trying to organize with better results, and simple maintenance the rest of the time.

Rather than fighting it, accepting when we are biologically at our best and maximizing that makes success a more pleasant road.

Thursday
Feb032011

What's Sex Got To Do With Organizing? (A more technical) Part II

There are so many obvious reasons to have good and safe sex, and there are perhaps even more behind-the-scenes reasons.

For example, sex can prevent colds! "We found that individuals engaging in sexual activity once or twice a week have substantially higher levels of the antibody Immunoglobulin A," reports professor Carl J. Charnetsky of Wilkes University.

Raised levels of oxytocin counters addiction and oxytocin counters use of sweets. Oxytocin is the "love hormone," or the "bonding hormone," and is found in both men and women, with higher levels in women.  Orgasm and childbirth in women both release a rush of this hormone, thus women are bonded to the male sex partner and the new child. In men, vasopressin plays a similar role to bonding as oxytocin plays in women.

So what's all this got to do with organizing, you fairly ask?

Huge factors in anti-organizing (and anti-sex):

  • Stress
  • Distraction
  • Depression
  • Overwhelm
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Isolation

Okay. At least some hormones/neurotransmitters' activity raised due to sex:

Oxytocin

Vasopressin

Dopamine

Serotonin

Effects of raising at least these four:

  • Decreased stress (oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin)
  • Decreased aggression (serotonin)
  • Improved mood (dopamine, serotonine)
  • Increased affection (serotonin, vasopressin, oxytocin)
  • Increased decision-making abilities (dopamine)
  • Increased concentration (vasopressin)

Does it start to make sense?

More sex will physically improve your ability to become organized. If you are dubious, (and even if you're not) please test the theory, and report back.

You sexy organized thing, you.

Tuesday
Feb012011

What's Sex Got To Do With Organizing? Part I

We all want to have great sex, and most of us want to be organized. The good news is, being organized can help our sex, and great sex can help us be better organized!

It's simple. One of the crucial elements to great sex AND organizing is-

Focus:

In today's modern world, especially in NYC, focusing is a challenge. NYers see an estimated 10,000 ads PER DAY. Try to set up an appointment to have a simple coffee with a colleague or even a friend. The most common word I see and hear among New Yorkers is "BUSY." We are busy with appointments, working, traveling...let alone all the stimulation we receive while outside. Ideally, our homes would be safe havens where we take care of our bodily needs, such as eating, sleeping, etc., and have lots of great sex! However, something stands in the way of many couples.

Picture this: you and your dream man or woman are sitting somewhere. There's some good music playing, and other people are there, enjoying themselves. You look each other in the eye and smile. No one talks. You take turns looking admiringly at each other's clothed bodies, still without talking. Can you feel the focus? HOT!

I've personally worked with about 20 couples over the years, many of whom report the same frustrations and even anger about their partner's organizing....and much more.

"She's never available."

"Everything I do is wrong."

"All he wants to do is work."

"I don't know where any of this stuff goes."

"I'd gladly get rid of everything just to have my wife back."

"He doesn't understand how important this is to me."

"I don't see what the big deal is."

"She freaks out over the tiniest thing."

"He sleeps on the couch."

And on and on! What happens?

Allison Armstrong, creator of Pax Programs, talks about the different awarenesses of men and women. Men, the hunters, have single focus awareness, while women, the gatherers, have diffuse awareness. That is, men focus on one thing at a time, and women tend to (try to) focus on multiple things at any one time, and are easily distracted. In a hilarious Allison Armstrong workshop video, Allison explains that women tend to (try to) multi-task even during sex. Now, it's not to say that organizing will alter this natural inclination, but it can help calm it.

Many of my clients are doing their best to treat adult ADD, so they are more aware of the causes of their scatteredness, confusion, losing things, forgetting things, and inability to make decisions. The truth is, though, most people just can't focus. Let alone the buzzing and ringing of phones and other electronic devices, we tend to have lots of things buzzing through our minds.

When women are able to silence their enormous pulsating amygdala, the "worry center" of the brain, it is another world indeed. In a previous post, Women and Organizing: The Great Depression, I talked about estrogen increasing stress response. Women, with our diffuse awareness, are aware of every sock on the floor, whether or not it is ours, and we are stressed and upset. In many cases, it is particularly the socks on the floor which are NOT ours which upset women most, and can interfere with our desire/willingness to have sex. This is not only OCD people. There are innumerable things which whittle away at sex drives, and yes, socks on the floor is one of them.

In three hour sessions with couples clients, I've seen them go from sitting rigidly and angrily and far apart, ready to attack (particularly the women) to holding hands, stroking thighs, smiling, and kissing. Why? We've removed all the hindrances which draw their focus away from each other, and they can breathe and appreciate their spouses. I usually leave with the prescription, "You've worked this hard, now USE your "new" bedroom!"

Both men and women need attention, respect, and to feel loved. We also all need to cut down on our stimuli which distract us from our goals and peace of mind. When we are able to focus, we are able to be aroused. Nothing is a greater orgasm-killer than distraction.

Homework: take everything away from your bed and put it somewhere else. Nightstands, floor, and under the bed are clear, and the bed is made with clean sheets. Are you more in the mood?

Friday
Jan282011

6 Travel Organizing Tips-part II

Ok, so you're prepared to get where you're going, and you know all salient details. Next, what will happen on your trip? Will you be picked up, rent a car, take public transit, walk?

  1. Confirm/discuss ETA with your ride. If anyone is picking you up, remind them WELL IN ADVANCE of your arrival. People often think diffently than you-your flight gets in at Time X, so you expect the person there at Time X, but your kind friend might be there at Time X + Y. A verbal confirmations such as, "So, I arrive at 7.30, what time works for you to pick me up?" might be less redundant than you think. You can agree on a time that works for both of you.
  2. Bring your supplies. What will you be doing on your trip? Have you prepared anything that you need to bring with you for it? Bring it!
  3. Get a gift. If it's not too outrageous to carry, get a gift for the person picking you up, wherever you're going, or take h/h out to a meal when you arrive. This is one of my most favorite traditions that is often dismissed in this country, but a gift rarely makes people less happy to see you!
  4. Plan extra time to get to your transportation. How much? I recommend 3x the amount of time it takes to get to the airport, train etc when you've already checked in online or have your ticket. Add in 15 mins or more of extra time to buy/confirm if you need to. It takes 15 minutes to get there? Plan 45. 1 hour? Plan 3. If it takes one day to get there, leave yourself an extra day if you have an event when you get there. As my mother says, S**T Happens.
  5. Travel light but fully stocked. I once took a trip which began with an hour and a half train ride with no pen. I had carefully emptied my purse before leaving and repacked it with nothing extra...not even a pen. Make sure you have everything you need!
  6. Make the most of your time away. What would it take for you to have a fulfilling time where you're going, no matter the occasion? Think through that. It might give you an extra thing to carry OR remove from your bag.

What are your travel tips? Please share!!

Thursday
Jan272011

Methods to Improve Productivity-Part I of IV

What is productivity to you?

To me, being productive means I am able to accomplish what I need to accomplish in a timely and calm enough way that I am able to pursue what I want to pursue. What I need and what I want are usually not the same, though I often want to accomplish what I need!

There is a lot of literature which suggests that we should do only the most important things-the highest priority. In a way, I do agree with that, but the way we go about focusing on the highest priority is really important.

I believe that men AND women have an amazing ability to keep track of tons of different details of things accomplished and those yet to do. Besides the 10,000 ads a New Yorker is estimated to see daily, there are other stimulants and distractors such as noise and people, LET ALONE what's going on in our minds. For myself and many of my clients, it's a challenge to distill the highest priority down from all these things buzzing for our attention.

When it comes to making TO-DO LISTS, we must capture all things buzzing. That is the only thing that quiets them enough so we can concentrate.

  1. So, get out your trusty pad and pen, and write the date on a piece of 8 x 11 paper. Nothing electronic will do.
  2. Empty your bucket of EVERYTHING you want/need to accomplish. I have a slightly more intricate way that I employ for to-do lists, but this is the most basic rule. Get it all down. Yes, it may take 5 sheets of paper, front and back, but I've rarely seen it longer than 10 pages. Often, around 2 pages, the speed slows, and we really start searching-is that ALL I have to do? Then why am I so stressed?
  3. Next, circle one thing you want to achieve TODAY. You're going to be very tempted to circle more than one. Exercise restraint! Circle one thing. Now, get everything you need to accomplish as much of it as you can and then do so. Yes, focus on it and only it. When you're done, cross it off, and circle the next item. Repeat as much as possible.
  4. At the end of the day, knowing how much you have accomplished, choose one item for tomorrow and circle it. Feel free to continue adding to your to-do list any time you think of something. The more comprehensive it is, the better.
  5. Before you go to sleep, think about that one thing you are going to accomplish tomorrow, and review if there are any missing parts that you need to do first. If yes, add them to your list.
  6. Envision yourself accomplishing the task.
  7. Sleep well.

That's right. One to-do list, one task at a time, one visioning exercise, and a good night's sleep. The beginning of your ultimate productivity.

What is easy or challenging for you re:productivity? Leave a comment!

Friday
Jan212011

6 Travel Organizing Tips-part I

Overscheduling and overpacking are forms of clutter. Even the stress that we feel traveling is clutter. How can we pre-emptively de-clutter?

When we travel, not only are we sleeping and abluting in places that are not our own, we are surrounded by completely different stuff. Some of us find it relaxing, some of us find it stressful, and some of us barely notice. Remember, Preparation Prevents Panicking. The more prepared we are, the better chance we have of eliminating stress and enjoying our time away.

Here are 6 tips (reminders) to make travel more pleasant:

Be Prepared:

  1. Confirm you have your ID and it is VALID
  2. Confirm your flight/bus/train LOCATION, TERMINAL, and GATE
  3. Leave 2-3 times the amount of time to get there
  4. Pack the day before (am I kidding? Who does that? More on this soon)
  5. Bring all your chargers-cell phone, computer, camera, Ipod, etc.
  6. Think through what you will need when you RETURN- your metrocard, keys, outfit to go straight to an event, etc, and bring it with you.

Every thing we do is an opportunity to enjoy ourselves. The key is to treat ourselves as if we DID have the capacity to prepare, be organized, and ENJOY OURSELVES! To do this, we need to meet our needs before we leave, rather than realizing what we forgot as we run, breathless and desperate, through terminals when it is just too late. And yes, I speak from very recent experience!

Thursday
Jan132011

NY Times Article on Professional Organizer Barbara Reich

The latest article about a professional organizer in the NY Times is about Barbara Reich. Her philosophy is that there are rights and wrongs, rules that we must adhere to for the ultimate goal, which is being clutter-free. I TOTALLY admire that she is booked three weeks in advance!

While Reich recognizes that we are a wasteful society, she encourages her clients (at times insists) that they get rid of stuff. This is a common approach, and I understand how helpful it is to people who want that sort of service. In fact, many of her clients have her make the decisions about what should be kept and thrown away. The service is fast and immensely life-changing-in three hours the article reports "about a dozen trash bags" are ready to be thrown away. Reich describes herself as an "type A-plus" personality.

There is so much suffering and waste in this country, and I believe we must be responsible for changing that. Depression and self-determination are linked. If I don't believe I can clean or organize my apartment, someone doing it for me: 1. Doesn't teach me to do it myself 2. Doesn't prevent its recurrence 3. Makes me rely on someone else for basic things, potentially adding to my feelings of worthlessness and incompetence. Having someone clean your house is great. I often refer cleaning people to my clients, and it helps them immensely. If you want someone to do it for you, and you're comfortable with that, great. However, if you are feeling hopeless and anxious, and unable to make decisions, having someone do that for you will not change your situation.

My goals working with clients are to:

  • Remind them how AWESOME they are
  • Give them the tools to make decisions
  • Recognize their anxieties, accept them, and move forward
  • Create a home or workplace that fosters and showcases their originality
  • Achieve their ultimate goals
  • Feel pride in their own abilities

When it comes to organizing, and all things in life, rather than be told that I'm "wrong" (page 1 of the NY Times article) and thus incapable, I'd rather be told that I'm right and just need some help, which is available. Compassion creates change.

What if we were raised being told how are dreams are possible, rather than too hard. What if we let people finish their sentences? What if we just calmed down and did one thing at a time, rather than our manic and anxiety-producing behaviors? What if we were less bossy?

As a challenge for today, notice your listening. Are you waiting to tell the person talking about your own and right opinion because you know better? Notice your interruptions, your mind-wandering, your criticism. AND, notice how great it feels when people believe in YOU! If we believed in ourselves and those around us MORE, we could truly fight the clutter of indecision.

Wednesday
Jan122011

New Year, Same Brain

Happy New Decade!

Did you make resolutions for this year? The most effective way to create change is to set goals, whether it's to lose weight, get organized, or get married, is to write them down and have support from your network. However, in a fascinating article by Jonah Lehrer, we learn that our lack of success in our resolutions is due, in large part, to our brains: "But this research suggests that willpower itself is inherently limited, and that our January promises fail in large part because the brain wasn't built for success."

Here's where I believe New Year's Resolutions go wrong: we are trying to be someone else. We tell ourselves (and others) that we're trying to be the best we can be, but really we want to be different than we are.

This year, instead of trying to lose 20 pounds, let's try to lose 2, or 5. I don't mean lowering our desires, but making goals that are more in keeping with what our anxiety levels can handle. Let's set goals that are a little bit higher than we think is likely, something to aim for, but not so high we are setting ourselves up to fail. Step 2 is to make a plan to reach these goals, and then there's setting out to reach them. Check back for more details on this.

What are your goals this year, and how are you hoping to reach them?

 

Thursday
Nov042010

How To Hire a NYC Professional Re Organizer

Whether it's a plumber, a doctor, an architect or a professional organizer, hiring anybody is extremely personal. In every situation, that person will be working closely with you, your stuff, your money, your toilet...your personal life. People I meet sometimes ask me if I work with businesses or individuals. Since I work with people and their inner workings, I am always working on a personal level, though I love working with small companies best.

It can be scary to hire someone. Ideally, it is a word-of-mouth referral, meaning that someone you know recommended this person after they or a client has worked with them. Whether or not the referral is word of mouth, it is important to have a good relationship with the professional to get the most out of the relationship. So how do you choose? Here are some tips:

  • Reach out to people you know and ask for a referral.
  • Research that profession on Google, and don't stop at page 1. Some of the best professionals I work with barely show up on Google-having a hot website does not guarantee quality.
  • Remember phone books? The Village Voice? The radio? The NY Times? People advertise there.
  • Call more than one. If phone numbers are not listed, this may indicate that the professional is not readily available for clients.

Once you have settled on hiring someone, check that these are present:

YOU FEEL:

Comfort

This is crucial. It doesn't matter what the reason is-if you don't feel comfortable hiring someone, DON'T! You can always find someone else. It is especially when we are in a rush that we are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. If you are going to hire someone, do your best to interview THREE people for the job, and choose the one you feel most comfortable with and confident in.

Trust

Whether it's from the testimonial you received or you just get that feeling, trust is crucial. Get honest with yourself. You might feel comfortable with this person as a buddy, but something h/s said makes you wonder...especially before you sign them on, be really clear with yourself on your deepest feelings around trust with this person.

Belief

While you may not agree with everything this person says, you are willing to take suggestions that are different from your plan (it doesn't mean you will follow what this professional suggests, but you're willing to listen). You are paying to get an expert. If you were an expert, you wouldn't need to hire them. Listen to what they say, believing they probably know better than you. But if you question something, ASK! Many relationships (personal and professional) fail due to lack of communication. Since you believe this person knows what h/s is talking about, you also believe h/s will listen and address your concerns openly.

THE PROFESSIONAL Organizer:

Responds quickly and professionally to your query

Your question may not be an emergency, but if it were, it is important to know that you can count on this person.

Is timely with phone calls and appointments

This is the minimum baseline for any professional, but it is sadly rare. If you are lucky enough to find someone who calls when h/s says, this is a very good sign. It doesn't guarantee the quality of work, but it is a good sign. If h/s does NOT call you back on time or shows up late, this could bode very badly for the future.

Is an expert but is not dismissive of your questions

You want to know that the professional knows what h/s is talking about. One of the most important roles of the professional is to educate you, to share h/h expertise. A good teacher always makes h/h students feel smart, not dumb.

Understands your ways and is not overly pushy

You want a professional to recommend, encourage, educate, NOT berate, insist, threaten. As in any relationship, we need to feel good, not bad. If things move to an insisting phase, you may wish to seek a second opinion.

Is professional and open about fees

H/s may work with you on payment/prices, but does not give deals which differ widely from what is published.  As with everything, it is important that you know exactly what you are getting/paying for, and it could signify a lack of professionalism/experience if you are suddenly offered "specials just for you."

Makes you feel like you're the only client

It is this that separates US professionals from most of the world. We are a service-based economy, which means that we service each other more than we produce things. There are TONS of professionals in NYC in every field, you deserve the best. If you are made to feel like you are not the most important one, you may need to switch professionals. You are paying, you are the most important. I do not believe that the customer is always right, but they definitely deserve as much attention as they wish.

If you are reading this and happen to need a referral for ANYTHING, feel free to contact me at 646 430 9150, or send me an email. Hiring the right (re organizer) could be the best thing you've ever done. Knowing you've done it responsibly makes it that much better.

Wednesday
Nov032010

Perfectionist or Procrastinator...or both?

"The psychological causes of procrastination vary greatly, but generally surround issues of anxiety, low sense of self-worth, and a self-defeating mentality. Procrastinators are also thought to have a higher-than-normal level of conscientiousness, more based on the "dreams and wishes" of perfection or achievement in contrast to a realistic appreciation of their obligations and potential." Strub, R. L. (1989). (See full article here)

Did you know that procrastination is actually a pyschological disorder? Studies on procrastinators show the  disorder rooted in that front part of the brain I keep referring to, the prefrontal cerebral cortex, responsible for decision-making, anxiety, and executive functions.

Remember yesterday's post- how closely depression and anxiety can be linked? Perfectionists often suffer from depression, as well as low self-worth. (Article on perfectionism) The point is this: Perfectionists and Procrastinators may have different daily experiences (or they may have similar difficulties). As David Allen notes, the two psychological causes of procrastination have to do with anxiety, not laziness. Both P's and P's suffer from anxiety, possibly depression, feelings of low self-worth, hopelessness, etc. These feelings have to do with the brain, particularly the prefrontal cerebral cortex.

I hope you are enjoying as I share my musings and my findings. (A lot of them overlap, but I hope we are attaining clarity, not redundancy). So many things that people percieve to be their own private miseries and difficulties are actually easily explained and very common. (At least 16% of Americans suffer from depression, and that number is rising). My goal is to find the simplest ways to deal with these things. It's known that people with ADD have trouble making decisions. Instead of a medication, let's begin with making rooms in their homes places where they are not facing waiting decisions everywhere they turn. Creating places where people can breathe and think and feel at peace is the first step to fortifying their ability to continue moving forward.

Do you know a procrastinator or a perfectionist? Are you one? I certainly am, and have been my whole life, except at certain times. I know what is possible on both sides. Like a dry drunk, I must fight to clear clutter, to maintain a life without clutter, and focus on my strengths, knowing the opposite is just around the corner if I cease being vigilant. Compassion is always the minimum for any change. Compassion and acceptance for ourselves, our employees, our families, our children, and our brains.

Let us begin again, calm, compassionate, and willing to understand that many of the frustrating problems we experience stem from fear. But let's not jump ahead, either. I may not need to figure out what I'm afraid of before moving forward. If I commit to myself that I will move forward, in partnership with my own strengths and weaknesses, I have a much better chance of getting there.

Good luck, I know I need it.

Tuesday
Nov022010

Treating Depression and Anxiety...with Re Organizing

       It's known that depression and anxiety are often linked due to low levels of serotonin, one of the five important neurotransmitters in our brains that helps us feel happy and full of life. There are many ways of promoting serotonin health, especially watching what we eat, as 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut.

       So if serotonin is produced in the gut, and changing our eating habits will help our mood, where does re organizing come in? An interesting study from the Virginia Institute of Psychiatry found that feelings of loss and humiliation were closely related to depression and anxiety. Though I am not a certified grief counselor, much of my work in estate cleanings is supporting clients through their parental or grandparental losses, which frequently brings up memories of humiliation...making the whole experience doubly depressing and anxious.

       Depression can cause feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and weakness. Anxiety can cause feelings of overwhelm, confusion, panic, and the inability to make decisions. Re organizing can, on a very basic level, help address both of these:

1. Beginning with the first thing you see, put it where it goes. If you do not know, create and "I don't know" pile.

2. Take the next item and do the same thing.

3. Do this for FIVE items. Are they all in the "I don't know" pile? If yes, that's okay.

4. Look around for one thing that you do know where it goes/what needs to be done, and put it there/do it.

5. Breathe deeply. You have begun.

       So what does all of this have to do with depression? Taking action makes you feel different feelings:

Accomplishment

Empowerment

Satisfaction

Self-control/self-determination

Hope

       It took us a long time to get where we are. Little by little, with simple and free actions, we can make our way back to the top, to the ideal people we know we are.

Friday
Oct292010

I Fell Into a Burning Ring of Fire...Of Adult ADD

I just learned that a form of Adult ADD is called Basal Ganglia ADD, or Ring of Fire ADD. I'm feeling pretty excited because I am just learning about Adult ADD, but am quite familiar with the prefrontal cerebral cortex, and did not know how closely they are related. The Basal Ganglia are important with motor skills and learning, two things which can become compromised in ADD. What's interesting is that the Basal Ganglia receive signals from the prefrontal cerebral cortex, which is also responsible for executive functions, decision making etc., AND houses anxiety disorders, as was discussed in a previous post. So Adults with ADD have a hard time making decisions, staying focused, and keeping their cool. (Note that altered behaviors such as irritabilaty and aggression can be associated with Basal Ganglia ADD). I'm not an expert on the brain (yet!) but here's the summary so far:

One form of Adult ADD called Ring of Fire ADD affects adults' abilities to stay focused, clear, and calm. Part of it comes from the relationship to the part of the brain just behind the forehead called the prefrontal cerebral cortex. Both of these parts of the brain are affected by dopamine levels, one of the most important neurotransmitters for happiness and social behaviors. Many people with severe clutter/hoarding become isolated and depressed.

For Johnny Cash, love and desire made him FALL into a burning ring of fire. For adults with ADD, this ring of fire burns us before we can get to love and desire. What's exciting is, there are some simple ways to target the effects which do not include medication, such as food and choice-making modifications.

Stay tuned, and please share any stories you have about Adult ADD.

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