Recap of ICD session “Making ADHD Quirks Work!”

At our ICD conference Rick Green of Totally was our last speaker. He had so much to share that was great and I would like to post a few of his ideas here.

One of the topics he discussed was adult strengths which when recognized can be a real asset. He listed creative, outside the box thinking, charismatic and funny, intuitive and sensitive, lateral-thinking, talkative, life-long learner, hyper-focus, enthusiastic when interested, sense of humor, loyal and curiosity.

He also shared a ton of tips, tools, strategies, and practices. Since the topic of time management is near and dear to my heart, I’d like to share some of his thoughts on time management.

One thing that really struck me was that adults with ADHD think of time as only “now” and “not now” so long term goals and deadlines don’t work well.

Rick suggested using a paper planner so there would not be distracting apps. Tasks should be under-scheduled but the agenda/planner should be over-used. Use only one calendar.

To track the time working on tasks, use a sweep hand timer (hello, TimeTimer). Know how long you plan to work on the task and what is next.

Finally he suggested we watch the video The Unofficial ADHD test. This video is funny yet right on!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Your Kitchen

October is the perfect time to organize your kitchen. The next few months will involve a lot of holiday cooking. Food drives ramp up so it is a great opportunity for you to donate various foods you have overstocked this past year.

Kitchen Strategy:

  1. Look at your motivation. What is bothering you at this time in your kitchen? Are your counter tops cluttered? Do you have trouble finding needed items in your pantry? Do you have items taking up space in your freezer that  you can’t even identify?
  2. Create your vision. How do you want your kitchen to look and how do you want to feel when you are in your kitchen? Do you want an open light filled space? Do you want space in your kitchen to do larger school or church food projects? Do you want to display some pottery or seasonal items that will make you smile every time you enter your kitchen?
  3. Brainstorm. List all the things you can think of that will make your kitchen match your vision. Some of these tasks might include: Clearing out all items you no longer need or love, looking for new storage ideas, organizing items for more convenience, setting up kitchen zones (food preparation, cooking, dishes,, food storage, and food serving). 
  4. Write out your goals. Writing the goals helps you focus. Your goals should be positive, consistent with your vision, specific and measurable, reasonable yet challenging.
  5. Develop your timeline. Here is where your calendar becomes your best friend. Look at what times you have available to work on this zone. Be reasonable. Plan for some unexpected things to come up. Break projects down into small parts. Instead of booking a day of “organizing kitchen drawers”, schedule “organizing the knife drawer” on Oct. 4 at 3:00.
  6. Now just follow the timeline. Honor the scheduled times you have set aside to do the tasks that are on your calendar. By the end of the month you will love your newly organized space and feel ready for the holidays.
  7. Reward yourself. Buy some flowers. Prepare a special meal. Do something to congratulate yourself on a job well done.
For more details of following this plan, visit my website and purchase my book, From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home, or sign up for my Zone Plan Teleclass program where I guide you through a new zone each month.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Celebrate Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day and the shortest night of the year for those of us in the north.

This year we get to enjoy a rare phenomenon: a full moon on the shortest night of the year. The last time tis happened was in 1986 and the next occurrence will be 2062.

In ancient China the summer solstice was the yin to the winter solstice’s yang. It symbolized the harmony of life, with the influence of yang reaching its peak and the switch to yin. It was all about finding the balance.

The solstice is celebrated around the world. It is a forerunner of life, fertility, and good harvest. Most celebrations take place outdoors. There are parades, feasts, and bonfires.

The summer solstice is the beginning of summer. It represents the time of fulfillment. It is an excellent time to take stock of your life and check in on how your goals for the year are going. Are you achieving what you desire for yourself and your loved ones? Are you still aligned with your goals? This is a great opportunity to reflect and make any adjustments to achieve your vision.

The summer is a great time to develop you and nurture yourself. The easier nature of summer gives us more time to make greater efforts to lose weight, refresh our house, and find more “me” time.


Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Conference Recap

I always go to conference with goals in mind. The theme of the conference this year was ICD R.O.C.K.S. The plan was to walk away from conference with information on the latest Research, have Opportunity to expand our thinking, Collaborate with peers, gain Knowledge through the presentations and from each other, and to learn Strategies to use on ourselves and our clients.
Diane Quintana and I also went with the idea of letting other participants know about our new children’s book, Suzie’s Messy Room. We had hoped to have the book in hand by conference but that did not happen. We did have a mock up and some post cards telling about the book.
The presentations were fantastic. We were exposed to:

    • Unlocking the Secrets to Teens
    • Still Someone: Working with People Who Have Memory Loss
    • Hoarding Disorder: Definitions and Best Practices
    • MESS: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House & His Act
    • Recognizing & Managing Compassion Fatigue
    • Universal Design: Making Life Easier for Everyone
    • Nervous System Resilience
    • I Have What? A Practical Guide to Working with ADHD Adults

The conference certainly did give opportunities to network and expand our thinking. The challenge now is to incorporate all of this learning into practices with myself and my clients. I have the handout material and will set aside some times to review each presentation. I have clients in mind that will benefit from all of this new research and learning.

Next year the conference is in Portland, Oregon. The theme is Blazing a Trail. Wow!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

ICD 2014 Conference Reflections – Find a Voice

I always go to conferences with some clear goals. This year at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) conference I had planned to:

  1. Increase learning
  2. Receive insights on how to better serve my clients
  3. Network with peers from around the country and even the world

I certainly make progress in all three areas. We were presented with techniques to help clients. We were given updates on  ADHD and PTSD. We heard a very moving panel discussion made up of children of hoarders. We were given samples of the most recent research in the areas of Chronic Disorganization. We laughed while we received insights from Judith Kolberg on clients’ difficulty with decision making (I got to role play one of her challenged clients). I had time to visit with other organizers between sessions and on Saturday night a group from Atlanta along with friends went out on the town to a Blues Bar for dinner.

My challenge now is to schedule time to review all of this fantastic material and make a plan to integrate it into the tools I already have.

I am looking forward to the next ICD conference in 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Happy New Year!

As the old year comes to a close, we often hear people say things like, “I hope the new year is better than the last one,” or “I sure didn’t accomplish my goals last year, or “I hope this one goes better.” Most of us had some bad things happen in the past year, but I encourage you to take a few moments and list the good things that happened. What made you grateful? What did you accomplish? What made you smile? Once you get started on that list, you will probably be amazed at how fast it grows.

Looking forward to the new year, instead of making a list of “shoulds” – I should lose weight. I should spend less and save more. I should organize my files – set an intention or two for the coming year. Develop a vision of this coming year. Gratefulness, harmony, or joy might be part of your vision. Put together a vision board and post it where you will see it. I like to use Christine Kane’s word of the year tool –

Once you have developed your vision – share.
Happy New Year!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

What Value Do You Assign to Your Time?

Time is very elusive. At the end of the day our time is used up. We can’t speed it up, slow it down, or save it. So often we are not really aware that time is passing. At the end of the day we often wonder what we did with our day.

When we do one thing with our time that means we are not doing something else. This is the Law of Excluded Alternatives. It is important to know that we do make choices of how we spend our time.

What is your time worth? As I have aged I have found that I no longer have this need to do everything myself. I chose to work on my job helping clients rather than polishing up my newsletter. I chose to spend time with my friend over the weekend rather than cleaning house. I would rather let another organizer sell items on EBay than try to do it myself. I am more conscious that I am not really saving money by doing these tasks myself. Instead I am losing time, and my time has a very high value to me.

I feel it is important to check in with yourself frequently. What are your goals? What gives you joy? Is what you are doing right now moving you closer to your goals or happiness? Is it more important to spend the day pressure washing your deck or going for a walk with a friend?

I love my business but I do not excel at all parts of my business and some parts I find very tedious. I work one-to-one with my clients but I get help with graphics and accounting. I contract our the tasks that are not my strengths or loves so that I have more time to do the things that I do really well.

In my home I contract for cleaning assistance and landscaping. I am capable of doing these tasks and even enjoy some of them but I chose to do other things with my time. I do a lot more delegating these days. My time is my life and that is priceless.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Through Transisitions

Transitions change our lives. Birth/death, marriage/divorce, lost job/new job, children move out/aging parent moves in, moving, and downsizing are all transitions that pivot our lives. Our priorities may shift. Our schedules and routines may no longer work well. Adjustments need to be made.

When transitions happen, you have to make some decisions. What are your current goals? What is your vision for this point in time? What schedules and routines still do work and what ones are no longer viable?

Now it is especially important to organize time and space for self care. You may not be able to do as much as before but daily find some time to care for yourself – even if it is no more than walking the dog or taking time for a cup of tea and a magazine. Find small ways to care for yourself and time to work on your vision.

Figure out what is core. What do you love and what do you need in your environment? What do you have that is no longer supporting you and your vision? Let go in order to make room for new ideas and needs.

If you are now living with someone new, decide together what is important to organize and what is good enough for now. Recognize that each of you have come with different standards and routines. Try to develop a system that will work for both of you.

If you have systems in place that are working – at least somewhat – keep those intact. Keep things as simple as possible. Keep on top of the most critical items and let less important tasks slide for a while. No one cares about clearing out that closet now. Ask for help when you need it.

Accept and perhaps embrace change. Organizing your time and space gives you a feeling of having some control during the changing time.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

10 Steps to an Organized Home

10 Steps to an Organized Home:

1. Divide your home into zones. Chose one zone to organize each month. Write the zone at the top of your monthly calendar; i.e., January-office, February-spare bedroom, March-living room.

2. Check in with your motivation for wanting to organize that area or zone. What organizational issues in that area are bothering you and why? What do you want to change?

3. Create a vision for the chosen zone. How do you want this area to look and how do you want to feel when you are in this area? Be very specific.

4. Put a date on the calendar for the completion of the project. This will become your “due” date.

5. Brainstorm all that has to happen to make the vision come true. Put down everything you can think of no matter how small or outlandish. This list will be modified later.

6. Write concrete goals for the project. You have a vision and a possible “to do” list. Developing written goals is your commitment. Write your goals so that they are positive, consistent with your vision, specific, measurable, reasonable yet challenging.

7. Revisit your brainstorm list and chose the items that you will implement to complete your vision by your due date. Pick out tasks that make sense and are doable this time around.

8. Organize the tasks on your list in a logical sequence. Put dates by each task. This is your timeline. Write  on your calendar when you plan to “do” each task.

9. Develop a maintenance plan to keep this zone organized. You have completed the project and your vision is realized. You want to keep it that way. Next year you can revisit the vision and do reorganization if necessary. In the meantime, put dates on your calendar to maintain what you have accomplished this time around.

10. Your project is complete. Celebrate!

For more details on how to organize your home, purchase my book From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home. The book is for sale on my website (

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

NAPO Annual Conference – 2012

Next week I will be attending the NAPO conference in Baltimore. This will be my 6th conference. I am really getting excited about it!
I always like to set some goals for myself before I head off. I want to get as much as possible from this glorious experience.

This year I want to learn about some of the latest trends, resources, and products in the organizing industry. I want to sit at the feet of some of the great experts in our field and use their knowledge to improve my services. I will listen to presenters not only for their information but for tips on how to improve my presenting skills. I will have a meeting with other organizer/presenters as well. I plan to meet and network with organizers from all over – some of which I chat regularity with on Facebook. I look forward to rooming with Jeri Dansky, an organizer from the San Francisco area.

I also plan to have some fun. I know I will have some social time with organizers from my own chapter – I believe more than 20 are attending and several are presenting. I also hope to have a chance to see some of Baltimore.

When I return, I will develop an action plan from this wonderful experience.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer