In parenting and organizing I see and hear a lot of people trying, in their heart of hearts to make changes. "Really, I want my house to be tidy and clean. Honestly, I try to get places on time. Truly, I long to stop nagging my kids." What gets in the way? Oh, there are probably a zillion things we trip over, but one biggie I see is focus.
Focus is hard in this day and age with distractions and information over over-load. We aren't in just a heavy rain storm of information, options, choices and communication, we are in a tsunami. In fact, I was just sitting here working on this post and had the thought, "I love my logo, I'm going to zip a text to my graphic designer, Schwa Design, and thank her." AND I DID IT, AS I AM WRITING A POST ON FOCUS! HAH! Hilarious.
People want to 'get organized'. They hire me, they relax, problem solved, "I shall be organized." That feeds the beast of novelty and change, for a while. Then they bump into themselves again, too much paper, late for appointments, messy bedrooms. "Well, this Professional Organizer has no idea what she's doing. I think I need some new containers." Off to the Container Store, the beast is fed, relaxation. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Same goes with parenting, we long to believe that taking the class, or buying the book will make your child "Your Own Book Title Here". We hold onto the latest article, to the shiny container, to the new workshop, to the hope that THIS NEW THING will change the SAME OLD US we keep running into.
I suspect we do this so we don't have to focus, really focus on ourselves. And this focus is the real deal, the wrinkles, the yelling, the procrastination and the secret thoughts that, "I'm not good enough, I don't measure up." Magic and inspiration can lie right in that scary focus on our wrinkles, our yelling our procrastination, our nagging. There is no new organizing/parenting book, blog or workshop that will make you (or your child, or your spouse) vastly different from who you (they) are.
Here's the rub, if you throw the baby out with the bathwater EACH AND EVERY time, a fresh start, a clean slate, a new you, you will never have the opportunity to figure out what works for the real you.
For this week, just until the next Nifty Tip arrives in your in box, pick ONE thing to focus on. If it's paper clutter in your way, maybe decide to file papers in your current, non-ideal, non-perfect system (do not purge, do not re-label folders with a new label maker you bought and you need to figure out, do not read a book or a blog about filing). If it's nagging, just for the next 6 days keep a notebook and write down the nag FIRST, and then see what happens. See how I did not say, "Do not nag."? Be you, AND write the nag down (do not buy a new parenting book, do not sign your child up for an organizing tutor, do not spend 3 hours discussing with your sister about how your own mother/father is the cause of your nagging and if they were only you different you would be the ideal parent). We can do all those things AFTER we spend 6 little days focusing on one small thing.
Focus and we will see our flaws, we will find some anxiety, we will feel like we don't measure up AND we will learn what works for US. We will learn that there are solutions that bubble up from the essence of who we are. These solutions are the ones that will stick. Once our own little imperfect selves are in focus we'll be able to see, really see and make changes.