Susan Fay West, Certified Organizer Coach 
Life’s big changes. We all get overwhelmed sometimes.

  • You’re stuck and want to move forward but how?
  • Adult ADHD diagnosis and ... now what?
  • Want more time but you’re not sure where the problem is?
  • Tired of running in circles?
  • Change, time management, organization and transitions work is our focus.

    Build on what you already know about yourself and collaborate with me – a coach, professional organizer, teacher and change-lover.

    Discover new ways to:

  • organize your life,
  • deal with these changes and move on,
  • in ways that make sense to you and how you’re wired.
  • Curious? Click Here to Learn More about My Coaching Services.

    Organize for a Fresh Start - organizing self-help book

     
    "West has written on a topic dear to my heart, getting organized to cope with and embrace change and transitions. Organize for a Fresh Start is a great roadmap."
    Judith Kolberg, Author
    Conquering Chronic Disorganization
     

    Flexible Time Management: Psychology Pieces

    February 20th, 2015
    Flexible To Do Lists: This is another of my practical strategies series, with this topic being flexibility in one’s time management. Each post will have a different focused set of practical strategies and questions to practice with. Today’s post is some of the psychology to consider.

    Do you have a habit of allowing everything to automatically flow onto your master to do list?

    Try a new habit: decide whether something deserves a spot on your list or not. Our default is “yes.”

    Find ways to make your progress and priorities visible. Many people use technology to capture tasks, but print out today’s list for focus.

     

    Technology is splitting our attention.

    Use strategies to stay focused and not allow your own mind to take you off track. (List, timers, sandwiching tasks, shutting off technology for short, quiet periods of time – or having an app do it for you.)

    Time Awareness

    Time Awareness

    Ideally, you’ll work on tasks when your energy for that task type is best. Sometimes, life is too busy and you really cannot afford to stick to this way. If you try, you’re increasing your own stress. Let it go. Come back to this method when your life calms down and you can organize your days in this way.

    You cannot control whether your situation will cause chaos in your days: physical issues, caregiver responsibilities, mental health differences, the presence of children/puppy, etc. How you react is key. And then, too, how quickly you get back on track is also key, so know what works for you to circle back (lists, “bookmarking” where you were, selecting some time slots where you shut out everything but your own work or needs).

     

     

    The Series:

    Create Choices to Create Calm

    Figure out the Flow

    Size it up to See

    Psychology Pieces

    Flexible Time Management: Size it up

    February 20th, 2015
    Flexible To Do Lists: This is another of my practical strategies series, with this topic being flexibility in one’s time management. Each post will have a different focused set of practical strategies and questions to practice with.  Today’s post is about “sizing it up to see” what’s what.

     

    Size up your week:

    How many work hours do you available have in each day?

    Home? In other words, what’s the “container” for all you need to get done?

    Is each day the same or do you need to figure out a couple of different routines to manage your days?

     

    Size up your time slots:

    How big a chunk of time can you afford, where you can focus singularly on something? For busy parents, for caregivers and others, your time slot is shorter than someone with older or no children, for example. This is important, because it directly relates to how you break up a larger issue or project. You need smaller steps to work on, if you have the shorter, smaller chunks of time.

    Size up your list: You need two lists, the (usually overwhelming) master list with everything.   And the “today” list, with just a few items on it, which are your focus for today only. These are separate lists. Do not try to run your day looking at the master list or you’ll be overwhelmed and spend time organizing the list, but not doing much else.

     

    Size up your day: Getting Started Template

    Each day at the close of your day, you’ll plan tomorrow.

    That’s the key: do it the day before, because in the morning, you’ll be clear on what needs doing and you can hit the ground running.

    If you wait for the morning, chances are good you’ll do what you feel like or simply forget what was important.

     

    Size up your tasks:

    Many people find it useful to include on their list how long a task will take.

    This is useful when you’re interrupted or when you have unexpected extra time.

    A quick look at the list gives you your next thing, instead of spending a ½ hour organizing your list to find the thing to work on.

     

    Flexible Time Management: Figure out the Flow

    February 20th, 2015

    Flexible To Do Lists: This is another of my practical strategies series, with this topic being flexibility in one’s time management. Each post will have a different focused set of practical strategies and questions to practice with.

     

    Figure out the Flow

    Your time flows differently from anyone else’s. Figure out your flow and you’ll find it’s easier to switch gears.

    It also becomes easier to see when the flow of your time is about to be so different from the norm that you need to operate differently to keep your sanity, balance, or flow.

    Examples of Flow

    Summer time flow is different from the school year for parents, teachers and grandparents and home-based workers.

    A musician has high performance seasons and quieter seasons.

    If you have custody of your children, your seasons relate to the children’s visiting schedule.

    Tax season for the accountant.

    Software release cycles for developers.

    Days you are in the office versus on the road for a day or a week.

     

    Where to start

    What seasons of time do you see in your life? How does time flow for you?

    Create strategies to manage your time differently, for each season; usually we have two, so don’t get too complicated here.

    What new strategies do you need?

    Which need to change when you have busier times?

     

    When our circumstances are different, strategies need to change a little.

    Identify the “must do” maintenance strategies versus the nice-to-do.

    Let go of the nice-to-do, for now. You’ll come back to what works, when the season or flow changes again.

     

    Flow of Time

    Flow of Time

     

    The Series:

    Create Choices to Create Calm

     

    Flexible Time Management: Create Choices to Create Calm

    February 20th, 2015

    Flexible To Do Lists: This is another of my practical strategies series, with this topic being flexibility in one’s time management. Each post will have a different focused set of practical strategies and questions to practice with.

     

    Why discuss flexibility and time management ?  Because how often do you hear people juxtapose these concepts?

    Management and system sound, to many people, strict, linear, or rigid.

    Flexibility? And time? Yes, it’s possible to have both and honestly, flexibility in the right places will help your stress level, improve your capability to switch gears, give you more choices and replenish your energy.

    I’d like to show you how  to check in on the flexibility of your “time” management system. Advice and questions as always.

     

    Create Choices to Create Calm

    One of the many useful insights discovered during my own coaching was “plan A and plan B.” But not in the usual ways.

    Having a contingency plan for plan A is about ensuring the task gets done.

    My plan A/plan B is about the person involved.

    • Plan A/Plan B gives me guilt-free permission to let go of how I thought things would turn out.
    • Plan A/Plan B gives me yet another choice or option, if one way doesn’t work out.

    When you only have a Plan A, it feels like you have no other options. Only because you didn’t think of them ahead of time.

    So with Plan A/B created before you launch into your goal, you won’t feel like a victim of circumstances.

    Letting go and switching to another path loosens the tight grip of control that is sometimes difficult to loosen. And we already know high or unyielding expectations of control are a perfect recipe for stress.

    Try having a Plan A and a Plan B for the projects and tasks which are really important to you (not for everything).

    First step then? What is really important?

    Plan A, B and C

    Plans A, B and C

     

    The Series:

    Create Choices to Create Calm

    Figure out the Flow

    Size it up to See

    Psychology Pieces

    Time: Your Exercise Plan

    February 19th, 2015

    Remember this approach to change from last newsletter? I’ve adapted it to think about your time management system and how it might work better for you.

    We need to start big picture, which you’ll see, and then work into the practicalities. And if you want even more on the practical side, that’s the focus of the next newsletter article.

    The approach came about from an article that inspired me.  In the Huffington Post, a new column named “Sophia,”is a project for collecting life lessons from fascinating people (not the rich/famous, but the fascinating). The interviewee talked about life, bigger picture; my focus here is adapting it to how we use and want to use our time.

    Open up all your senses. With respect to time management, open up to more awareness and being mindful of everything related to time. And then answer this so you know where you are headed:  What if you had what you want from your time; what would that do for you?

    Perch: Perching from above you and your days, get clear on what you want more of and less of. Where does your time go? What is the point for you of using your time well? What does that mean to you? What is and is not working about how your time flows through your life? What do you see? Can you step back and see what you would like to sustain and what you would like to change?

    Pivot: If you feel stuck, pivot. Try on a different attitude or be a different person from yourself, just for a minute. You can pivot, look around, see from afar and decide which way you will head.  Like a weathervane in the wind would.  (That’s partly what my coaching is about, stepping back, which we don’t often get to do in our busy, daily lives.) Questions to ask: What change might lead you out of the stuck place? Where could you focus first to make an impact, just one small place you do it differently and make some progress.

    Pivot and Turn for A Different Perspective

    Pivot and Turn for A Different Perspective

    Re-situate: Experiment with different routines, different ways to group or together similar tasks, doing tasks when you don’t think you have the right energy, just to change it up. How could you be more flexible, let go of what you’re holding onto perhaps too tightly, or resisting? What about your situation really cannot change … and work from there.

    Keep track of your progress: How will you know that you’re closer to where you want to be? Notice how you react. Experiment with the fine tuning the parts of your time management system that need work. Keep track of the smallest steps and progress; this will spur you on. If you feel as if you are failing at something, instead, get curious and see what you can learn about what happened.

    Use this “exercise plan” if you need to figure out how your time management system can work better for you.