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Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Lascols 02 2019 7Anna Lascols is the founder of Organizing Geneva and your decluttering expert.

Her mission as a professional organizer is to improve people’s lives by coaching them how to set up and maintain efficient systems to keep their time and space in order. Anna helps her clients to visualize their ideal lifestyle and works side-by-side with tem to reach their goals. These can range from redesigning their closet à la Marie Kondo to getting their paperwork under control, improving their time management skills or preparing for the arrival of a baby.

Anna is a KonMari Consultant and a member of the Swiss Association of Professional Organizers (Swiss-APO). She works in and around Geneva and provides her services is English, French, German and Spanish. She offers personal organizing sessions, virtual coaching and organizes workshops on various organizing and zero waste topics.

To learn about Anna, please visit her website: www.organizing-geneva.com.

 

13. Plan your transition copy

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

It looks like our Covid-19 confinement time is coming to an end. We have been adjusting to the situation, living and working at home for the past weeks. And now we will soon get back to normal. What is ‘normal’ though? Have you asked yourself the question? Does it mean going back to exactly the same life than you had before? Or is there a new normal – a happier, more fulfilled normal?

Most of my friends and family somehow say they enjoyed part or even all of the Corona quarantine. If you are honest with yourself, can you say that for yourself as well?

Now, why did we enjoy this time? Because we were forced to abruptly change and slow down our habits and routines. Because we had no more FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), as everyone seemed to do the same. Because we had enough time to overcome the deception and incomprehension phase and plunge into the letting go and relaxing phase. And this enabled us to naturally take a step back and enjoy the little things in life we had forgotten about. Going for a run, laughing with the kids, calling grand-parents, watching flowers bloom, talking to neighbors, doing nothing.

Is there a way to capture those instants and take them with us? To keep the good aspects of our flexible work hours, quality time, acts of empathy and mutual support, happiness with us into our new normal? To put in place some little or major changes in our lives? To do things that would have appeared crazy and impossible before the virus? Nothing is impossible, so YES!

But… yes, there is a ‘but’… we are only humans, and it is very easy to dive back into our previous good old habits without even noticing it. We can read a lot of articles speculating about what this crisis will really change in the world. Here is my answer: it is entirely up to each one of us. Nothing will change automatically, you will have to make it happen and maintain over time. Here is my advice: prepare and plan your transition. There is no better time, you might not get another opportunity like this.

Here a couple of suggestions:

12. Covid marathon
Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

I would have never imagined to write this kind of blog post. Just as all of us would have never imagined to be living in our homes for an undefined number of weeks, without being able to go out, go to work, meet our friends, bring our kids to school… we feel like in a blockbuster scenario, stuck in a couple of square meters, anxious to even go for groceries. Our basic routines are threatened, we watch the news and worry, Covid-19 is in all our discussions, we do not know what will happen next. Will the contamination rate go down? When will we get our freedom back? When can we go back to work? And when can we send our kids back to school?

Yes, all of this sitting at home would be nice if we had a couple of extra vacation days and could relax on the couch, read books, have a nice cappuccino and practice yoga all day! If you are like me, then reality does not look like that though! In reality, we have to work from home, without actually seeing our colleagues and clients, but WITH our kids around. We have to simultaneously home school them, be creative, limit the number of screen hours, explain why home is the best place to be, stay calm, cook and tidy! That is like being a 200% stay at home parent while working 100% on top. WOW! Who can do this?

I must say, the first week was pretty ok. Sun was shining, in Switzerland we are still allowed to go outside without being fined, kids are quite excited to learn things from their parents and some video calls with their best friends kept up the spirit. Yet, this was only week 1! How are we going to talk about this in week 8? Here is my prognosis: those who consider this as a marathon will win, stay mentally healthy, enjoy their family time, invent break through business ideas and be able do things at home they never had time to do before; those who prefer the sprint will end up in Covid-burnout.

You will need to hold your pace through the long run, through an undefined number of weeks. So set yourself up for success! How? Here a couple of humble tips from my side:

11. Adulting

Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Everyone knows that growing up is a challenge. For some blessed individuals it seems to be easy, but most of us stumbled upon one or the other obstacle on the way. Be honest with yourself: did you prefer playing outside or finishing your homework? Did you fight with your parents about tidying your room? Did you have to invent strategies enabling you to come home after 11pm? Did you secretly smoke with your friends thinking how cool you were? How did you end up paying your first bill, not talking about submitting your taxes while preparing your meal plan and signing up your kids for activities? How did we actually get to learn all these dull things adults have to manage?

Somehow, we got were we are right? We fought our way through the jungle, we fell and stood up again, we failed and succeeded, we laughed and we cried. We became a real adult. We can be proud.

Wait a minute, maybe some credits should also go to our parents, who were our worst enemies when it came to partying and curfew time, but who most probably gave us some hints and rules on how to grow up. Making a bed, sewing a button, baking a cake, keeping a schedule, managing a budget, eating healthy, being polite…whatever it is, thanks dear parents!

Generations changed however…believe it or not, there is a new word for growing up in the 21st century jungle: “Adulting”. Kids seem to believe that this process is so strange and incomprehensible, that some of America’s greatest universities like Berkeley created classes on Adulting. To help their students grow up…to teach them about taxes, nutrition, time management, bills and home duties. Teens are lost nowadays when it comes to all the practical admin and household tasks.

10. New years resolutions

Picture: By Glen Carrie on Unsplash

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Twenty twenty. Time for your New year’s resolutions. Want to lose 5kgs or quit smoking? More exercise, more reading, less stress? The lists are long, and…they are the same every year, aren’t they? How many times have you firmly decided it was time to stop procrastinating or get in shape, sleep better or reduce your screen time? Usually we manage to keep it up for about two or three weeks. And then the good intentions vanish, we magically seem to forget about them. Or let’s say they settle on the back seat of our brain and pop up only on rare occasions. We see them, get a little upset…and continue driving.

Why is that? Well, because most of the times we write a wish list without thinking it through. Our desires are vague, sometimes unrealistic. We forget to create a plan and have no system to actually integrate them in our lives. Most of the times, a New Year’s resolution comes with a change of mindset or habit which is not as easy to implement and maintain as we think. And unless you are a superhero, a goal or task that is not planned for has little chance to be executed. When we sit in a car without a map or someone else telling us when to turn left or right, we will not reach our destination either. Here are my tips to make it happen:

Why why why?

Take some quality time and reflect upon your 2020 objectives. Write them down and ask yourself: Why? Why do I want to lose weight? To avoid health problems? To be more appreciated by my husband? To make a better impression at work? The more you understand about your real motivations, the bigger the chance you will actually get there.

procrastinationphoto

Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash 

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Margaret Thatcher said: « Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan ». Sounds easy. But what if we plan the hell out of our work…and then get stuck?

All of a sudden, there is a white wall in front of us with no door. The project seems too complex anyways. And we will probably fail. It can probably wait a bit. And then something else comes up that looks much more urgent, and interesting, and fun. Like a Facebook ad leading us to an event invite and a blog article like this one… as soon as we look up, three hours are gone and our plan did not work out. Excuses and distractions are ubiquitous and very easy to find. Procrastination is the name of the game.

Yes, your project can wait. And there is enough interesting information out there to keep you busy and excited for the next couple of years. And you will master the situation last minute if needed. Yet, how do you feel after procrastinating? Probably frustrated and exhausted to find excuses and justify your delay. Tired from rescheduling, starting again, never having a free mind.

So what are the actual causes of procrastination? Why does our brain stop us from working our plan? There are technical reasons like the project is actually too complex or we over-estimate the time the task takes. But most of the time, the causes are psychological. Often, we are afraid of failing or succeeding and prefer to stop before heading off into the unknown. Or we are the perfectionist kind and cannot move on unless the tasks are completed to our full satisfaction. Sometimes the underlying reason behind that is actually a lack of self-confidence and a need to prove that we are perfect.

Now, think about the benefits of not procrastinating. If you get your unpleasant tasks out of the way and work your plan, you will be able to reduce your stress and frustrations and enjoy much more free or me-time. Imagine the difference between the kid whose mother has been yelling after for three hours because he kept procrastinating on his homework and the kid who had three hours of free time to play with his mates…