Steps in organizing/coaching work as informed by the design thinking process:
Outline the project (free consult). Before working with people I set up a video call to discuss the project needs and share my process. After the call I send a proposal with the project description, process, fees, and scheduling info.
Understand goals and strategize. We refresh on your goals, review current techniques, and strategize a preliminary approach. For organizing we go through stuff and sort into categories. For coaching we review to do lists, calendars, etc.
Come up with ideas and options. We brainstorm options for systems and processes that work with your needs and behaviors. We align on an approach and design the system (storage solutions or productivity practices).
Set up and prototype to see how it works. We set up the system to see how it looks and works, assess, and adjust as needed. As sessions often occur over time, we’re able to revisit prior choices and change as needed.
Evaluate, refine, and finalize. We finalize organizing systems by codifying practices. For organizing that looks like final purchases and labeling. For coaching we define strategies that are working long-term.
Experience of the organizing/coaching process with me includes:
- Collaboration: To identify systems that really work for people, I work collaboratively with clients, guiding them on decisions, and using the co-design process to come up with ideas together. I learn more about what you need, how you work, and you are more invested and capable of maintaining the system.
- Education: I share tips and techniques while working together, to help clients learn new techniques and adjust behaviors to stay organized long-term.
- Documentation: I send an email after each work session to summarize where we are and actions. I keep a document of organizing tasks and resources for each client so that everyone has access to all the information.
- Homework: If you’re the type of person that does well with homework, there can be assignments between sessions, which can help make the work go more quickly, and be more cost-effective.
How to go through stuff
1) Keeping things. If you’ve got the space, you can keep things, you don’t need to get rid of stuff to be organized! If you want to keep things I recommend reducing the amount of space items take up (by removing packaging and consolidating), moving less frequently used items out of “prime real estate,” and labeling so you know what you have. If you want to set up a limit on how much you keep of an item you can establish a “one in one out” policy.
2) Getting rid of things. Organizing is an opportunity to purge, and to that effectively I recommend that people first group “like with like” so you can see how much of the same thing you might have. To help people separate from items I ask them to focus on realistic scenarios of us (not theoretical future what ifs) or to consider if this item could bring someone else more joy.
3) Getting started. To help people navigate what can feel like an overwhelming task I recommend that people choose a specific focus area to work on for a scoped period of time, and set up sorting bags/bins per the diagram below. I recommend focusing on bulky or easy items to go through so that you can feel successful and get a bigger win. Dense items like papers, or emotional items should be gone through later (or never if you have the space to keep these items).