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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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« 1 Year x 12 Experts = 12 New Ideas | 6 Ways to Shift Your Balance »

Wanting More & Less

It’s a popular time of year to reflect back and imagine forward. If you’re thinking about change and balance, you’re not alone. Finding a balance that feels right for you includes combining a mix of ingredients. I was interested in looking at a range of perspectives on this topic, so I reached out to a generous group of colleagues (Joshua Becker, Leslie Josel, Erin Doland, Andrea Sharb, Judith Kolberg, Janine Adams, Janet Barclay, Ellen Delap, Sue West, Aby Garvey, Yota Schneider). I asked them, “With the arrival of the New Year, what do you want more of and less of to create your desired balance?” Their responses are interesting and motivating. My deepest gratitude goes to each of them for digging deep and sharing with us their plans for next year. If you’re wondering how to create more balance, keep reading for some inspired ideas.


With the arrival of the New Year, what do you want more of and less of  to create your desired balance? . . .

More Focus : Less Distraction

“More focus on the important things. Less distraction on the little.”

Joshua Becker – Founder of Becoming Minimalist


More Quiet : Less Noise

“My perfect balance would be MORE time, patience, deliberate decision-making, gratitude and quiet.  I could use a lot LESS useless noise, reactionary decision-making, pressure and distractions.  With those in place, the rest would hopefully fall into place!”

Leslie Josel – ADHD Coach, Author, & Speaker


More Sleep : Less Deprivation

“When you regularly get the sleep your body needs at night, you have more energy and are a better decision maker during the day. It's even easier to put things away after using them and keep up with chores when getting good sleep. With a three month old, I haven't been getting the sleep my body and brain crave to function at their best. In 2014, I need more sleep. I need to go to bed earlier each night so I can better accomplish my goals and feel better during the day. Good, quality sleep is like gaining super powers. I recommend it for everyone, not just moms with children.”

Erin Doland – Editor-in-Chief at


More Simplicity : Less Stuff

“I'm at a point in my life where I'm actively embracing the idea of less and am pursuing a ‘smaller’, more focused life: less stuff, simpler lifestyle, and fewer activities & commitments.  Having a less complicated lifestyle will yield more time and energy for what matters most to me these days: personal connections, healthy living, following my curiosity, learning, practicing and continuing to create a business model that most authentically represents my values and appeals to the needs of my clients.”

Andrea Sharb, CPO-CD®, ACC®, COC® & CPO® – Professional Organizer & Productivity/ADHD Coach


More Sacrifice : Less Stress

“If we're too tipped to the side of fun in life and we neglect our work commitments, that is a kind of imbalance that can cause all sorts of stress such as unpaid bills, debt, not seeing things through, or a reputation for being unreliable. On the other hand, if we work ourselves to death and don't tip things over to the fun, relaxing, recreating side of life, we can likewise be unhappy and stressed. So balance is important. I tend to take a long view on balance. For instance, when I'm writing a book, I can sacrifice friends, family, and fun because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So my life can be terrifically unbalanced in favor of work, but I know it’s only temporary. When I travel, I hardly do any work. I'm fine with knowing projects await me after I'm done goofing off. Try to be as proactive as you can about when you will deliberately unbalance your life in favor of work or leisure. And take a long view – life will balance out over the longer term. And oh yea, keep that light at the end of the tunnel nice and bright!”

Judith Kolberg – Award-winning Professional Organizer & Humble Thought-Leader


More Research : Less Tolerance

“In 2014, I want to do more family history research. Over the past couple of years I've become more serious about genealogy research (and started the blog Organize Your Family History), but I'm still not spending as much time researching my family history, as I'd like. I'd also like to tolerate small annoyances less. Life gets so much better when I take the time to move or reorganize or fix things, rather than just put up with them. This year, I want to take action to change, rather than passively tolerate, the little things that make me frustrated.”

Janine Adams, CPO®, CPO-CD® – Professional Organizer, Speaker, & Blogger


More Planning : Less Guilt

“I believe that more planning will be the key to balance for me in the New Year. Deciding in advance how I’ll spend a particular block of work time will make me more productive and profitable, and I’ll experience less guilt from not focusing on my priorities. Similarly, by planning my leisure time, I’ll face less frustration because instead of simply frittering those hours away, I’ll be filling them with pleasurable activities, which will bring me more enjoyment and fulfillment.”

Janet Barclay – Blogger, WordPress Website Designer, & Virtual Assistant to Professional Organizers


More Connection : Less Commitments

“Focusing on more and less helps me prioritize.  We can’t have more of everything in our lives.  In 2014, I want more time with colleagues and community through social media and community involvement. I plan to spend less time on larger commitments and more on smaller ones that require just one or two small tasks for completion.”

Ellen Delap, CPO® – Professional Organizer, Productivity Consultant, & Blogger


More Flexibility :  Less Doubt

“Sue West’s ‘life balance’ ingredients: intuition I listen to, understanding of who I am and what I stand for (values, strengths, character), acknowledging that I have choices more often than I don’t have them, embracing that I have limited time on Earth and in my days, wisdom, creativity, perspective to respond but not react, and curiosity so I challenge, learn and grow. Mix ingredients differently each day to sustain whatever balance looks like in those moments. When I 'have' balance, I feel it. When I don’t feel it, I know how to get back there.”

Sue West – ADHD & Life Management Coach, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®


More Veggies : Less Carbs

“A few years ago, my family and I decided to change the mix of ingredients in our diet. We decided to subtract out one meat-based dinner per week, and add in one vegetarian meal per week. Over time, we have cut out most of the red meat, pork and poultry from our diet. This has been great...except that we've gotten out of balance with carbohydrates. As we head into the New Year, one of my goals is to bring back the balance in my diet, by subtracting out some carbs and adding in more veggies and plant-based proteins.”

Aby Garvey – Professional Organizer, Author, & Online Class Instructor


More Playtime : Less Worry

“This past year I’ve been confronted with the inevitable endings and new beginnings that made me want to hide. My father’s passing and my mother’s failing health juxtaposed my twin daughters entering their junior year and madly preparing for college. No dress rehearsal for parents of twins; it all happens at once. My coaching practice, growing parallel to my daughters, is demanding a new level of creativity, focus, and discipline. What I need more of are trust, playtime, and reaching out. I can do with less worry, doubt, and hiding. Key words for me; simple, clear, immediate, meaningful, loving.”

Yota Schneider  - Seasons of Change Certified Master Coach & Life Transitions Coach


Isn’t it fascinating how differently everyone answered the question? Responses ranged from specific to general, and from brief to more elaborate. I feel so inspired by their clarity and conviction. They will be wonderful guides as I define my next steps. What resonates with you? What would you like more or less of for this coming year? I invite you to to explore with us. Join the conversation.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, successful, joy-filled, New Year with your right mix of more and less!

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Reader Comments (8)

Linda, etal, It was so interesting reading these responses, especially from my contemplative state on this last day of 2013. Each resonated with me in one way or another and I appreciated the variety that allowed me to look outside of my little corner of the world.

Sue's response really gave me pause for thought - thanks, Sue! - and I think can be of assistance to me in creating my more focused life in 2014.

What Yota had to say, "No dress rehearsal for parents of twins; it all happens at once" brought a big smile to my face, because it is so true! Yota, my twins just successfully completed their first semester of college, so I vividly recall the junior year of high school and college search process - a real growth experience for all involved. ; ) Best to you and your daughters in the upcoming months.

Happy 2014 to you all!

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

I just can say:

More love,tolerance to others, equality and compassion.

Less hate, violence, indifference and complains

Happy New Year to all.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

I must piggy back on Sue West's brilliant comments who has articulated my 2014 goals. I believe that balance isn't a permanent destination so we always need to tweak and adjust it. The key is recognizing when we must make the shift. I would just add that I aspire to have a little more focus on my own personal journey, and more trust in my instincts; less self doubt and more courage to pursue more grandiose goals.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

I loved reading everyone's responses to your question Linda. I can't think of one that I didn't resonate with.

@Erin - My twin daughters are now seventeen years old, but I can clearly remember the days of sleep deprivation. Not much sense of balance or motivation when our basic need for sleep is not satisfied. And, of course, you're right . . . that goes for everyone and not just parents of infants.

@Andrea - Congratulations to you and your twins on navigating the gauntlet of college prep and successfully completing the first college semester:-) Deep breath:-) Best wishes and much luck with their continuing journey! Thank you for sharing. I love hearing from people who've been where I am now. It reminds me that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel:-)

@Linda - Thank you for including links to previous blog posts. I smiled when I read your inspiring post from January 2013 and how we met in person for the first time.

Happy New Year all! May it be filled with goodness.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Feeling the hugs here :) and sharing some for you, from snowy New England, right back at you. I told Linda that this question she had crafted was difficult and caused ME to pause. Ii thought about this one for days and like Andrea, during my business planning for the upcoming year. I am often coaching about life balance, and my current favorite phrase is the "ebb and flow" of life balance. I don't recall if it was the client or coach who used the term, but isn't it so useful here? It's that movement, that ingredients change each day, that ebb and flow which makes balance come alive for me. And "alive" means I pay attention to it. Thanks to Linda for creating this community!

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue west

Love reading everyone's posts! I can concur with Erin on more sleep, with Yota on more playtime, and with Aby on more veggies. Thanks for sharing these new perspectives for the new year.

December 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Happy New Year! What a great beginning to the year "hearing" from all of you! I love the way you're sharing, inspiring, and supporting one another. Such an amazing, compassionate group!

@Andrea- Great takeaway…"look outside of my little corner of the world." Love it!

@Nacho- Wonderful additions to the more and less pursuits! Making the world a better place.

@Nancy- More trust, less doubt. Yes! The courage needed for your "grandiose goals" are in those baby steps. Know you'll get there one moment at a time.

@Yota- Parenting is such a beautiful journey, and one that's often hard to have a perspective on until after certain stages have passed. Mindfulness during the journey is such a gift, as raising our kids passes in the blink of an eye. What a total joy it was to finally meet you in person last year. Looking forward to more face to face time together in 2014.

@Sue- Beautiful reflection, Sue. Love that phrase "ebb and flow" to describe life balance. But even more, appreciate the caveat about the connection between movement and attention to it. Fabulous….just like you!

@Ellen- So glad you enjoyed, as I did, reading the wide range of ideas and perspectives. As I'm still sorting through the many options of focus and pursuits, I'm especially appreciate of the clarity that others have. Looking forward to editing and finessing mine. Not quite there yet, even though it's January 1st. Still mulling and simmering.

January 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, I can't thank you enough for asking me to take part in this collaborative post. What started out as a fairly simple question led to some major introspection and inspired me to write this post.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

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