Read an Excerpt
Getting Things In Order
This is my story of how organization helped one young mom go from surviving to thriving.
Most of us are far too young to remember the original comedy routines of Laurel and Hardy. Yet through the timelessness of videos and television reruns, most of us know the scoop—they always seem to get themselves in over their heads, until Oliver Hardy wryly utters the memorable words to Stan Laurel: “Well, this is another fine mess . . .”
Sound familiar? Millions of people find themselves in the midst of a mess at some point in their lives, a mess that is no laughing matter. For many, the difference between rising above the challenge and thriving despite adversity can be summed up in a single word: "organization."
When life throws you a curve ball, one of the best ways to overcome the challenge is to organize your priorities. This involves emphasizing the positives and concentrating on the opportunities, whether it’s taking control of your office and desk before it takes over your life or learning how to pay your bills on time. By utilizing those strategies, chances are your future will be filled with the kind of personal and professional growth you’ve envisioned.
Such is the case with me, as an organizational and productivity expert for a global office supplies company. I am the president of the Pendaflex® “I Hate Filing” Club, with more than 100,000 members, we offer timely advice, insightful tips and valuable expertise for people who want to become more successful in corporate offices and more organized in their home-offices, at school and in life as a whole. I give advice to those who find themselves stumped with the day to day challenge of organization. The club itself is a support group for those who don’t want their messes to take over their lives.
To see all that I have achieved at this point in my life cannot truly be appreciated without realizing what a disorganized mess things had become for me what seems just a few short years ago. It’s a story that hundreds of thousands of women and men can relate to.At the age of thirty, I was faced with the prospect of starting my life all over again. I found myself in the middle of a divorce and I had a five-month-old son to care for. Having very few options, I sold my house, moved into an apartment with my infant son and returned to the work force in order to support the two of us. It seemed as if my life had suddenly turned upside down and become chaotic beyond description. Not only couldn’t I see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel,” but I couldn’t even see the train coming down the tracks. The need to juggle myriad responsibilities was overwhelming. I remained determined, however, and somehow managed to strike a balance between raising a child, starting a new career and putting food on the table in our new home.
Following the divorce, I had to figure out a way to make it all work, and the best way to accomplish this was to organize a strict but manageable routine for myself and my son. At this point in my life I was not always the most organized person. I can remember a day in high school when I want to school wearing two different color shoes. When I first got married I needed to put a sign at the door reminding me to take dinner out of the freezer before leaving for work. More times than not, I realized too late that I had forgotten. So this left me with few options: taking time to stop off at the market or scramble eggs. But things were different now, and my new lifestyle was calling out—no screaming—for organization.
One of my first big dilemmas was that I would need someone to watch Marc while I went to work. Considering all my options (which were a frightening few), I reached out to (of all people) my ex-mother-in-law. Now before you all raise your eyebrows and sigh out loud, know that what I did was to create an arrangement that would be a win/win/win for everyone in the end.
Each day, I left bright and early from my home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, drove to my ex-mother-in-law in Yonkers to drop my son off, and then made the difficult commute to Manhattan. At the end of the day, I returned back to Yonkers, picked up my son and continued home to my apartment in Riverdale. I made dinner (thank goodness for macaroni and cheese), spent quiet time with my son and then prepared him for bed. The arrangement, although very demanding ,worked out for everyone. My son and his grandmother got to spend time together, which created a lifelong bond between the three of us.
Although I was able to overcome the daunting obstacle of finding someone to baby-sit Marc during the day and setting a daily routine, I had to keep it all together by keeping the house organized. This way Marc and I could spend quality time together, and by making sure that he went to bed the same time every night made for an easier time getting ready in the morning. I, like so many women who have experienced the challenges of being a single mother, will tell you that the situation at times made me feel like giving up. But I did not give up. Instead, I was driven to take my life to another level of success. Drawing upon previous experiences in the sales and customer service fields, I became a highly successful textile sales representative in the garment center in midtown Manhattan. I then moved on to become a marketing manager and a customer service manager. Having established an organized routine helped to prevent leaving home with cereal in my lap and a child’s toy in my coat pocket—and it helped me focus on work when at work and focus on home when at home. And believe it or not, being organized helped me have a social life. Eventually I got remarried to a wonderful, supportive man.
Through organization, I found not only peace of mind, but the ability to accomplish everything I needed to. It gave me a sense of empowerment. I felt powerful, in control and able to take on whatever life sent my way. Anything I wanted was within my reach after I established a sense of organization in the office and at home.
Turning chaos into success was not easy for me. Yet by taking an organized approach, I was able to do something much more than get my life in order: I made it better.
Besides being the president of the Pendaflex® “I Hate Filing” Club (www.ihatefilingclub.com), I am also an organizational expert for the company, one of the world’s leading maker of innovative office solutions. I’m here to help you do the same. In this book, I will help you overcome the mundane and the extraordinary. In fact, I will help you learn that organizing the mundane leads to extraordinary things.
The info, tips, tricks and tools in the following pages comefrom the club archives. They can—and will—help you transform your life. Organization can help you accomplish your goals, whether you want to get ahead in your career or better manage life's inevitable details. And best of all, this book makes getting (and staying) organized easier than you ever thought possible! The answers are all right here.