How to Use a Body Double

Many of my clients use me as a body double at least part of the time. One client uses me as a double most of the time and told me that he was so happy that someone had come up with the term “body double” as he likes it a lot better than “babysitter”.

As a body double, I am near the person who is doing the project. Often that is all I need to do. My presence helps the client focus and stay on task. I am just a tool that allows them to get important tasks accomplished. I can even do this virtually using Facetime.

At first, some people are embarrassed by this arrangement. They realize that they are doing these chores all by themselves while paying me to sit there. They know they can do the work but at the same time they realize that they won’t if I am not there. This is especially true of ADHD clients.

Sometimes I am a combination of body double and assistant. I may sort the mail, open it, and hand it to the client one piece at a time. The client then does the task that is needed and hands it back to me to file if appropriate. We may chat a bit about what needs to be done but the client actually pays the bill, makes the call, or discards the paper.

A body double does not have to be a paid professional. A friend or family member can do the work of a body double if they understand what is expected of them. If they realize that they are being the best help by sitting near the person but not intruding. They can read a book or work on a crossword puzzle but just by being there the person will continue to work. I have had one client use her sister as a body double while she was the body double for her sister. One lived in Georgia and the other in Texas. They would connect by phone and for one hour would work on projects with just a word or two as they worked to make certain each was on task.

Once a person accepts that a body double can be an important tool to help hem, it can be a relatively easy way to move a project forward.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Importance of Taking a Vacation

Our work and our life style often leave us tired and a bit stressful. Getting away for regular vacations lets us leave our everyday stress and gives our bodies and minds a break. The change in our routine and getting more rest helps our body recharge.

For me, vacations allow me to spend more time taking care of myself. I tend to walk more, eat foods that are more varied, and have more down time to read and rest. I feel healthier.

When I return from a vacation, I feel I can focus and concentrate better. I get a clearer perspective on projects I have been working on. It helps me revisit my priorities and just step back and look at what is really important.

The time away from home is also good for strengthening family relationships. My husband and I have more quality time together and this last trip also included other extended family that I had not seen for a some time.

Vacations are fun! They make me happy. Not only am I happy during the vacation but also during the preplanning and imagining and then the looking over pictures and recapping the experience with my husband.

Do yourself a favor. Make yourself a priority and take some time off. It can be a long vacation abroad or just a long weekend away from home. Enjoy!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Concentrate On Your “Done” List

So often at the end of the day we wonder, “What went wrong?” We had our “to do” list. We even blocked out the time we were going to do each task. But, at the end of the day we can plainly see that quite a bit of it did not happen. We may feel bad about this.

This is where we need to take a hard look at out “done list.”

I have advocated for quite some time that after we make our “to do” list we should pick out the big 3 and be really happy if we accomplish or at least start on those 3. So, on my list for today I would have chosen:

  • Work with client
  • email clients
  • outline presentation

However, yesterday my son asked for help getting a computer and I didn’t think that would take very long. Today would be my best day to do it so that became #4.

Now, I always like to get my blog out on Tuesday so that might be a #5 but I know this is not crucial as I can work on it later in the week.

Other small tasks I work in when I have the time between the big 3 or 4.

But, as we know, life happens. I had a phone call from a social worker who wanted me to consider working with a hoarder. This became a very long call. My trip with my son took longer than I anticipated. Another client called and wanted me to locate a computer she had given me to recycle – she wanted it back to check on something. There were other important emails to handle besides the client follow-up emails.

The outline of my presentation and my follow up emails to clients did not happen. But, I did a lot today that moved my business forward. This is my today’s “done list.” This is where I should make my focus. I feel good about today as I reflect on all that I did get done. I think I’ll stop work a little early and read a book as my reward.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

A Focus Tool – Your Timer

All of us have difficulty focusing on a task or project at some time or another. Some have difficulty holding that focus most of the time.

One trick I have learned while working with my clients is to use a timer.

Project Completion Challenge:

  • Decide what project you want to accomplish. If it is a large project, break it down into smaller components.
  • Set your timer. Some people set it for 10 minutes or even less. Others set it for 15 – 20 minutes. Let your attention span be your guide.
  • Start your first task.
  • When the timer rings, stop.
  • Ask yourself, “What am I doing right at this moment? Is it moving me forward on my task?”
  • If what you were doing was moving you forward, give yourself an “Atta, boy.”
  • If what you were doing was not moving you forward, refocus yourself now.
  • Reset your timer and repeat until the task is complete or your allotted time to work on this project is up.

Some people post the task they are currently tackling on an index card or a piece of paper. That way they can glance up at it any time.

The next time you find your focus wandering, give this focus tool a try.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

A Clean Desk

A clean desk cues you that work is going to get done. There are no distractions to take away your focus. The clean area on your desk commands your attention.
Keeping your desk clean is a constant battle. Think of your desk top as prime real estate. Whatever is on that desk should be something you use daily.
Keep your office supplies close by. Drawers and pencil caddies are convenient ways to keep often-used items handy.
Keep files, paper, and other resources that you use on a daily basis within arms reach. If your desk has drawers, the items can go there. Otherwise, have a bookcase or shelves within reach.
Organize your current projects into folders, files, or binders. Take time to label each project. These can be stored on a nearby shelf or in a tub or container near your desk. Pull out only one project at a time and then restore it to it’s home before pulling out the next project. This keeps your desk clear of all but the current project but makes it easy to find your next project when you are ready for it.
Keep your desk clear of excess personal items. It is good to have one picture or a flower to make you smile, but not so many things that it begins to eat into your working space.
You should also pay attention to the floor space under or around your desk. This is an easy place to dump clutter. These distractions will only hinder your from your goal of keeping a clean desk.
With your desk area clean you will have more time and energy to devote to more important tasks.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer