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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.

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.


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…

OrganizingGeneva Online decluttering copy

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Did you know that every hour, 10 billion emails are being sent around the world? Yes, life has become so much easier and faster with the internet, email and cloud services, online communication and bill paying. We have less paper flying around, can research documents by typing their name in the search bar of our computer, find all the information we need on google and store as many files as we want. Everything is virtual, or in other words not physically existing and hence causing no clutter or damage to the planet.

Wait a minute, is that true?

Let’s check some facts on the carbon footprint of those 10 billion emails. What if I told you that every email runs on average through 15,000 km of cables to arrive at destination? That an email with a 1 MB attachment consumes as much as a 25W light bulb during one hour? That data centers in Switzerland consume as much electricity as the canton of Neuchâtel? That 78% of all incoming mails are spams that cause around 20 million tons of CO2 every year? And the list goes on. In reality, the online world has a huge carbon footprint and we contribute to it every time we send an email, store a document or research information.

And not only that. We believe that emails and computer desktops banish all the admin and paper clutter. Yet in reality, we can feel as much overwhelmed by online than by offline or physical clutter. We can’t touch it, but we can see the apps and folders piling up, we lose control over our filing systems, lose time looking for information or retrieve passwords, keep offline duplicates of online invoices to be safe, feel puzzled with the new time saving apps being promoted and are spammed by useless newsletters. We spend much more time on our emails and computer admin as we think, if you don’t believe me keep a time log!

Here a couple of online organizing and energy saving tips:

Marie Kondo

Photo of Marie Kondo licensed by KonMari Inc.

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Now that I am an officially certified KonMariTM Consultant (yay!), I thought it would be appropriate to discuss this exceptional advice by Marie Kondo: Choose joy. Why? Because it changed my life, and I firmly believe the world would be much more beautiful if everyone followed her guidance.

So why is there such a hype around sparking joy? What does joy actually mean? It’s not tangible, it’s abstract, it’s vague. Is it?

The official definition of ‘joy’ is: “A joy is something or someone that makes you feel happy or gives you great pleasure.” Still abstract, right? Most of my clients take quite a while to determine if the green shirt they picked up from their pile of clothes is actually making them happy. Happy as in ‘my husband gave it to me’ or ‘I was so happy when I bought it’ or ‘it’s comfy to wear at home’? or ‘I might be happy next time I wear it’? Are these elements defining happiness, pleasure and joy? Should I keep the shirt or discard it?

This is where Marie steps in, with her new definition of joy. She is the first to add a very clear and tangible aspect to joy, because according to her you can actually FEEL it. When an items sparks joy to you, your body should first react to it, not your mind. She describes it as if every cell in your body rises, whereas you feel tired, negative and sinking when an item does not spark joy. The first time my clients experience this feeling, by picking up their favorite shirt and comparing it to another, they start grasping the idea. Others describe it as fizzy champagne, beautiful colors or shining stars. Whatever you call it, you should feel the sensation.