Suzanne: Hi Liz, thanks for meeting me today! For those who don’t know what a Professional Organizer does, can you tell us a little about how you work?
Liz: Simply put, I increase your productivity while decreasing your stress! That means streamlining how you work, eliminating as many of the distractions as possible and helping you focus on the truly important stuff.
Suzanne: I love your first book Order from Chaos and I use your cockpit theory in my office. How did you develop that idea? And did you modify it for your second book directed at students?
Liz: It grew out of an interesting fact I read which said our most time-consuming interruptions are when we interrupt ourselves. From there I invented a simple zone method to minimize those self-made interruptions by having what you need where you need it, i.e. a cockpit, just like a pilot. It works for everyone, including students.
Suzanne: You’ve been kind enough to help me put together the MyFinalChecklist binder, which is a way to organize your affairs in case something happens to you. It’s a lot of information to collect, as you know. If someone asked you for help putting it together, how would you begin?
Liz: First I’d look through everything to get a sense of what’s there and what’s needed. Then I’d do the easy stuff – the stuff I know without looking it up – like answers to questions (pet’s names, for example), my preferences (like cremation or burial), the process for doing things (how I pay my bills; checks, on line, automated monthly payments, etc.). Questions like that, where the answers are in my head.
Then I’d make a list of things I need to research and number those from the easiest to the hardest (i.e. contact numbers for banks, attorneys, doctors, etc.). The reason for this process is that there is a momentum to making progress and it builds the closer you get to completion. Use that momentum in your favor!
Suzanne: Sometimes, despite our best intentions, a project like this can get overwhelming – even though we know it needs to be done. What advice would you give someone who feels like they are struggling to get through it?
Liz: Projects, especially daunting ones, always go better with a partner. Find someone else who needs to create their MyFinalChecklist, have them order one, and then do it together. Meet weekly at least, promise each other what you will complete in the following week and help each other with the things you don’t understand or find difficult to think through (remember, you’ve never thought about some of these questions before). No matter how old we get, peer pressure still works!
Suzanne: Great suggestions – thank you so much! Readers can see more about you and your books at www.OrderFromChaos.com. Thank you for taking time to meet with me.
Liz: My pleasure, Suzanne!