07 May Interview: Professional Organizer Lauren Mang
Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then is an empty desk a sign?” While this quip was made to be humorous – and said in defense of his own chaotic workspace – clutter can actually hinder efficiency. Disorganization can lead to forgotten appointments, failure to meet deadlines, and lack of priorities in job tasks.
Good organizational skills are crucial to business, but what does organization look like on the digital side? To answer our questions, we turned to Professional Organizer Lauren Mang of Let Me Organize It. Lauren is a holistic organizer and a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
What the Heck is a Holistic Professional Organizer?
It’s not as weird as it sounds
The word “holistic” tends to confuse people. When they hear it, people think of tie-dye, bare feet, and razor avoidance, but it’s much more than that. According to Lauren, holistic “basically means taking a heart-centered approach. So when we’re looking at organizing, it means meeting clients where they’re at, both mentally and emotionally. It means offering much more support rather than coming in with a really regimented session and making the client feel overwhelmed.”
There’s a lot of emotion involved with organizing and getting rid of things. People often develop emotional attachments to their belongings, so working through that and coming from a mindful approach is necessary. Lauren suggests that people “think more of holistic as being from a more mindful approach of what’s gentle and what’s going to work for the client instead of saying, ‘You better get rid of that.’”
Lauren jokes that hairdressers and organizers are often compared to therapists, but can be cheaper and more effective. Jesting aside, holistic professional organizers help their clients work through the emotional attachment without judgment and move at the pace the client needs.
What are some tips to approach digital organization?
Digital organization is very similar to physical organization
Have you ever searched relentlessly through piles or files just to discover you cannot remember where you placed that important document? Without organizing your documents, files can easily get lost within the 15 GB worth of information you have (looking at you, Google Drive).
To get started, here’s what Lauren suggests:
Your computer desktop is kind of like your actual desktop. If it’s super cluttered, and that’s distracting for you, we want to make sure that the desktop on your computer is clutter-free, as well. When you have a really cluttered desktop, it takes away from your ability to focus and find things, because oftentimes, your files are all spread out. For this reason, I recommend using folders.
The Let Me Organize It laptop, for example, has an active folder. Within that folder are certain projects such as blogs I’m working on and photos for those blogs. I’ve got a pending folder, I’ve got agendas coming up for any of the meetings that we have through NAPO, as well as the volunteer work I do. I also have the file for my archived items. Anything that I’m using right then and there, such as screen captures or photos, I will leave on the desktop. However, I usually clean those up within 24 to 48 hours.
There are two types of people in the world: filers and pilers. Filers are people who put things away, file items, and can easily retrieve their items. Pilers pile things. If you’re a piler and you’re putting all your stuff on your desktop, consider at least putting your items in alphabetical order. Doing so will help you find specific files more quickly.
The key is to keep it simple. We often overcomplicate our systems. As an organizer, I try to find the most efficient and simple way for you to stay organized.
Where do you get your ideas for your blog topics, and where do you store those ideas?
Coming up with ideas is only half the battle
When inspiration strikes, you’ve got to put your ideas down somewhere. Thinking you’ll simply remember the details never works. We’re all guilty of scribbling our thoughts on whatever is closest to us: reports, envelopes, receipts, napkins. While this method works in a pinch, you run the risk of accidentally throwing away your brainchild.
Here’s how Lauren comes up with and organizes her thoughts:
Oftentimes, I come up with blog posts when I’m working with a client. As I’m explaining something, I think, “Oh, that would be a really great blog post!” Other times, I find myself realizing it’s a good blog post when I’ve brought up a specific topic several times. For example, after sharing Family Tidy Time with several clients, I knew it’d make a really good blog post and I should type it up! If it doesn’t seem like it’s going to offend the client, I’ll pull out my phone and add my thoughts to my digital list, which is in Evernote.
Evernote is a cloud-based software service designed for creating, organizing, and storing various media files. Whether it’s a text document, a photo, a video, and audio file, or even a web page, you can store it and organize it on Evernote.
I’m a big fan and user of Evernote, and I’m also an Evernote Certified Consultant. I love Evernote because I can access it on my mobile phone, I can access it on a laptop, but I can also access it on the web if, for some reason, I’m without my phone or laptop and I really needed to add something. When I’m traveling, I can add to it offline while I’m on the plane and it will sync later.
I use Evernote to organize my long list of blog post titles or ideas. I’ll also have several notes open within my notebook of blogs. I organize these based on their various stages, such as rough drafts, bullet points, needing to edit, or ready to publish. Evernote is kind of like my Post-it Note board.
Want more information?
Get in touch with Lauren:
Reach me through my contact on my website: letmeorganizeit.com.
Email is my preferred method of communication.
Learn more about holistic professional organizers:
The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals is the only organization in the world that certifies professional organizers. There are about 360 certified professional organizers worldwide.
NAPO works really hard to make sure that the people coming into your home and helping you with organizing have the education and background that’s needed to make sure that you’re successful. Visit their website to learn more.