The Intentional Investment

I have decided in 2010 to be “intentional.” The definition of “intentional” is “done on purpose; deliberate.” I realized that I am surrounded by many “good intentions” but not many “finished projects.”

Have many of us have bins of art supplies just waiting to be used? How many empty scrapbooks that were never filled? How many sets of note cards never sent? How many poems, books and songs never written? We have cupboards full of never-opened cleaning supplies. I have several cans of pumpkin that were suppose to be a pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving. I have brand new journals that I never wrote in, brand new books never read, and cookbooks that have never been cracked open.

As I look around my house, I am dismayed at how much of my life has passed by without me accomplishing things that I set out to do. Where have I been for the past 20 years and what have I been doing? If I wasn’t doing the things I set out to do, then, WHAT was I doing? Where did the time go?

For the first time in my life, I recently had the privilege of hearing a Certified Professional Organizer speak at the monthly women’s meeting at The Church of Hope in Sarasota, FL – Her name is Ann Cueva, CPO, and she is the Productivity Consultant for Custom Organizing, Inc. –

I had never sat under a Professional Organizer before, although I had seen them on the Home and Garden shows on television. It was inspiring to me even though I consider myself one who knows how to organize. Her emphasis is that by “managing your time, space and environment, you can SEE (Simplifying and Enhance Your Environment) a productive professional and personal life.”

I was completely intrigued. I knew that I had let some organizational things “slip” in my life, and I just needed a little bit of encouragement to get me started by in the right direction again.

Ann shared a few basics to organization:

Keys to Simplifying Your Environment
* Take control of your environment.
* Free yourself from the clutter and that frees up the “clutter” in your mind.
* By having things organized and easy to obtain, you are less likely to miss important deadlines, you will have more control over your workspace, you can find things easier, etc.
*  Clean up the paperwork – What value is the piece of paper if you don’t know where it is?
* Clutter is visual noise.
* “Later” never comes. So often we will set things aside to “deal with them later”, when that usually does not happen. If you take care of it, and deal with it, then it is done and you can remain “clutter free.”

Take Photos of Your Environment
Ann recommended that we all go home and take pictures of each room in our house and office. She said that if you look at a photo, you will see things that you overlook on a daily basis – like electrical cords strewn haphazardly and piled up in corners, magazines tossed off to the side, piles of papers shoved in corners, etc. You will see a different perspective of your living or work space through a photo.

Set Up a One-Motion System
Ann believes that when you are setting up an organizing system, you should have things arranged in a “one motion” system. If you have to move things to get to something else, then you are not as efficient and productive as you could be.

As I was sitting there, I began to think about my own home and office (let’s not even talk about the garage and attic!) I know there are things I can do differently to become more efficient and productive. I knew there were projects left incomplete, piles of papers abandoned and brand new organizational file folders, etc that I never set up. Like Ann had said, I planned on getting to it “later.”

Well, for me, “Later” has arrived. “Later” finally caught up with me. After years of not dealing with things, I realized that I am surrounded by a lifetime of “later.” I have decided to sort, organize, toss and downsize everything in my life (except the humans and the pets, of course.) Why do I need 50 pens in the drawer when I always reach for my favorite? Why do I have 6 spatulas in my kitchen when I use the same one over and over again? Do I really need 2 sets of everyday dishes? How many coffee cups can I use at one time? Why am I keeping old boxes of Christmas cards when I buy a new box every year to send out? Why am I keeping toner for a printer that no longer works? Am I really going to make that craft project that I purchased 7 years ago? Are you hearing what I am saying?

That’s why I have decided to make an Intentional Investment. I already told you that “intentional” means to be “done on purpose; deliberate.” What is the definition of investment? “Investment” means “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” I am deliberately downsizing and de-cluttering my life with the expectation of a worthwhile result of a life filled with productivity and efficiency. I am going to daily live with the Intentional Investment of my future. I have 20 years of “later” that I am now paying for and I refuse to ever be indebted to myself again. By living intentionally now, each and every minute of each and every day, I am investing into the freedom of my future.

Can I inspire you to join me?