Client Scenario: Me

One of my favorite things I’ve been able to do as a professional organizer is to help moms feel on top of their lives. (Meghan has been one of my favorite people to help with a schedule – read her story here.) I love going through responsibilities, desires, priorities and figuring out how to organize schedules and routines to help people live HAPPY lives! We sort it all out together and I help my clients put the pieces together. (Often I use a process like the one I describe here.) Sometimes an outside voice is so important, because often when we are in the thick of just living our lives, we can’t always see the big picture of what could be improved or how to improve.

Recently I had to turn my professional eye on my life. Almost 3 weeks ago I did something in my sleep to make something in my back ‘snap’ (for lack of a better term). I’m still fighting my way back to good health, but luckily feel mostly recovered. While I’ve been out of commission and felt so physically worn down, I’ve fought bronchitis and had a fun night in the hospital (for something not related to my back or bronchitis). A realization I had failed to recognize occurred when one of the my doctors stated the obvious: “this should all be a big red flag to you that you are doing too much.” That was BEFORE the bronchitis or hospital stay.


My over-filled schedule was coming from a happy place. In the last month … I was happy to go all out on my kids’ and husband’s birthdays. I’ve enjoyed preparing my girls for school and getting our new school routines in place. I’ve been proud that my organizing business has grown past fitting inside my pre-determined work hours. I’ve been happy blogging my favorite tips. I’ve watched with delight as my income has grown sharing Shaklee products with so many of you. I’ve been creatively satisfied organizing and decorating my home. I’ve felt blessed being pregnant, getting to plan and prepare for a baby. I’ve loved taking care of my family. It was hard to see that it was all too much, because truthfully, I was filling my life with good things that were making me happy. I looked at my daily to do lists like a personal challenge. I was trying to do too much and did not schedule enough personal renewal time. I was all about getting things done and failing to take my advice. I recommend all of my clients to simplify their schedules and not overfill, which often involves tough decisions about where to simplify, but always results in more peace and happiness. Why did I feel like I could be an exception?!

Some images from the last couple of weeks:

This was my view from my recliner as Matt made pancakes for dinner. Matt had to miss a lot of work and he served me constantly, which was humbling for my independent nature. For the first whole week of recovery, I couldn’t even get up to use the bathroom by myself …

 This was when I was eating my birthday cake from my recliner. Of course I was turned around to face my family!

The day I was able to start driving again, I drove myself to my girls’ school and enjoyed lunch with each of them and a trip to the book fair with each. This was such a bright spot during my recovery time. Getting out of the house is therapeutic, and I think forcing myself to get out when I was able helped me turn a corner.

Look at me! This is the first day I really started to feel like myself again. I’m sure starting the iron pills for my anemia the day before helped a ton too. (Oh yeah … over half way to a new baby, too!)

And always the most fun part of post-recovery for anyone? Catching up! Look at the mess my desk had become! And yes, I’m aware I have a post-it problem. I’m working on it …


While I’ve been out of commission these past few weeks, I’ve had to take a look at my life with the perspective I’d take if I helped you approach yours. If it isn’t working, something has to change. I’ve had to make seriously difficult decisions to cut out good things from my life, so I could give my energy to better things and not stretch myself too thin.

Here are some of my changes I’m making:

– My children aren’t enrolled in any sports this year. We are hoping that at the ages of 7 and 5, this will not cripple anything they choose to do in the future. What we will do is start piano lessons at home (I was a piano teacher long ago). This choice is to make sure our family after school and evening time is not rushed or crazy. We will have time for our worthwhile after school routines of snacks, chatting with each other, homework, chores, music time, with time left over for free-play and relaxation. We will have time for family dinners and calming bedtime routines. As difficult as this decision was to initially make, it has been so freeing. I’m not opposed to extra-curricular activities, but let’s face it, I do not have a ton of energy now and had to make tough choices. I’ve decided to look at this “year off” as a gift to all of us.

– My husband requests that I take a nap every day. (Yes, he really is that nice.) After all, I am trying to grow a baby and that is exhausting. I had not been validating my body’s need for rest, but constantly forcing myself to push on. Consequently I was wearing myself so thin my body became susceptible to several bad things ALL AT ONCE. This is not a lesson I want to learn twice!

– We hired a housekeeper. You have no idea how hard it was for me to decide to hire a housekeeper. After all, I am a professional organizer, I should know how to get a house clean on an easy schedule, right? I do know how to keep a house clean and beautiful – I’ve done it for years using my easy-to-follow plan. However, this is something that I do not have to do in order for housekeeping to be done properly. I no longer have the luxury of thinking I can do it all, and I am not a martyr-type. I hope to take housekeeping back over one day, because I actually enjoy being the caregiver of my home. Now is not that season for me.

– We hired out lawn maintenance.  Now that my husband is not doing our lawn, he will have weekly adventures with our children on Saturday mornings. We hope that this is a physical activity, like sports in the yard or indoor swimming at the gym. He also loves taking our girls to the library. He truly welcomes this change of pace for his Saturday mornings!

– I’m reducing my business hours that I am available for blogging and organizing. My office hours are now Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-3 pm and Saturdays from 9-Noon. I help a lot of working moms, so I like some hours available while they are not working.

– My goal will be one blog post per week, instead of 2-3 like I’ve been doing. I know in the blogging world this is a minimum, but really, my blogging is a complement to my work as a professional organizer. I have to fit in both! Hopefully my loyal readers will continue to enjoy my weekly post. Focusing on one a week will allow me the time to create a quality article that could be meaningful to you.

– I’m giving myself time for my non-business related projects, which I’ve been missing. My favorite hobby projects involve organizing and decorating my own home. Oh, and reading …  how I love a good book. While my kids are at school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I’m only allowing myself to work on personal projects (which of course I will often share with you), personal renewal time, and things I need to do for my family, like grocery shopping and laundry. Since I won’t be blogging as frequently, I’ll often be sharing these projects with pictures I post to Facebook. If you haven’t liked my page on Facebook, take care of that right now by clicking here!

– I am saying no to pretty much anything that does not involve my Spiritual life, my family, my home, my friends, or my work. When I list it out, that sounds like enough doesn’t it?!

Thanks for your support while I’ve been missing in action the last few weeks. Sharing my thoughts with you on this blog is one of the favorite parts of my job! I get to feel the same exhilaration I feel when I leave a client’s home, knowing I just improved the quality of their life, every time I receive feedback that my tips and suggestions are helping you. Love, love, love it!

If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, don’t let it get as bad as I did. Let me help you and Hire Me today! My work hours are filling up fast, so call soon!

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4 thoughts on “Client Scenario: Me

  1. Thank you for posting this. I have also been struggling with over scheduling myself and trying to do it all. I was supposed to have a routine hernia surgery Monday but they found out some abnormalities on my pre-op blood work. It all turned out fine after further testing but that really forced me to think about what was important in my life which isn’t trying to do everything myself or housework. I have begun saying no a lot more and am focusing on my health and my family and my spiritual life.

  2. Good for you Mary! I completely understand where are you coming from and are a firm believer in listening to my body. Being a person who loves to organize as well as help others organize I too have a tendency to over-work myself–sort of like I am the exception. And then I wonder why I begin to feel overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing this–I know it helps me to hear that other women deal with it too.


  3. Mary, I am also glad to hear that you are going to take better care of yourself. As someone a little older than you and a perfectionist, your mind and body will be glad you did someday. Take care “growing” that sweet new baby.

  4. Mary – you are awesome! I think your plan totally makes sense and it is all too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do it all. That’s an impossible task! Good for you for taking a step back and re-examing priorities and kudos to your hubby for taking good care of you. :)

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