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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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« Why Breathing is Next? | How to Do Next »

6 Tips for Next

When we prepare for the next step whether it’s small or big, it’s more likely that we’ll move forward successfully. Getting ready looks different for each of us. I was curious about my colleagues’ experiences, so I reached out to this wonderful group – Valentina Sgro, Cameron Gott, Anne Blumer, Seana Turner, Janet Barclay, and Sue West. I asked them, “How do you prepare for next?” Their responses are diverse and inspiring. My deepest gratitude goes to each of them for sharing their wisdom with us.



How do you prepare for next? . . .



Daydreaming is my key element when 'preparing for next.' Some might use the word ‘visioning,’ but that doesn’t quite capture it for me. I don’t like surprises; I like a lot of lead time. That allows me to do a lot of daydreaming, playing out in my mind the different ways the ‘next’ thing can look or be. Sure those thoughts lead to some solid information-gathering to form a plan of action, but it’s the creation of alternate scenarios in my mind that guide me to the path I want to take. Maybe that’s why I’ve become a novelist.”

Valentina Sgro – Author of Patience Oaktree organizing novels and short stories 



“I’m relatively new to the game of ‘prepare for next’ since most of my years I was a card carrying member of the ‘back into next’ club. As a decent responder I’d react and respond my way into what was next - school, relationships, professions.  I’d let my positive and negative emotions dictate my next move. I would often over extend myself. Now I practice a more proactive stance and embrace preparation as an absolute for what is next.”

Cameron Gott, PCC – Mentor Coach, ADHD Coaching for Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs



As I ponder on the question, ‘How do you prepare for next?’ my mind immediately jumps to, how will I prepare for the next chapter in my life? In one year my son and daughter will both graduate from college. We recently have lost one family pet and now our golden retriever has days, maybe weeks to live. I find the next chapter is preparing myself for a very, very empty nest. To prepare, I¹m going to celebrate with my children their achievements and their next chapter. And, I will make a book of memories of our family pets to commemorate them. In short to prepare for next, I celebrate and commemorate.”

Anne Blumer, CPO® – Professional Organizer, Author & Blogger



The tricky thing about ‘next’ is that it’s shrouded in uncertainty. This can be intimidating, because it feels a bit out of control. For me, preparing for what’s next includes spending time considering various scenarios, and how I would like to respond. We never know what is behind the next door, but we can put some structure around how we will open the door, the way we will take our first steps, who we might walk with, and what will bring along. It’s also helpful to minimize daily, ambient chaos to free up the energy we need to tackle something new.”

Seana Turner – Professional Organizer, Blogger & Life Coach



I can become overwhelmed by new projects or big changes in my life or my business, but making a list of every task that has to be completed helps me to stay in control. Instead of waiting until I have a huge chunk of available time to focus on the project, I can delegate some tasks and chip away at others as my schedule allows and get to the next step without having to neglect other personal and professional commitments.”

Janet Barclay, MVA – Web Designer, Virtual Assistant & Blogger 


Visualize and Verbalize

“If I cannot visualize myself in a new situation or mindset, that’s my clue that I have more to prepare. It could be that I have not internalized the new situation and its impact or the presentation’s content, the project’s steps, or the client’s particulars. Project management and coaching also teach us that we cannot control every reaction, detail, or situation. Bigger risks I process aloud with a trusted individual. Lesser risks, I use self-talk, a voice recorder, or mind mapping. All are ways to get everything out of my head, see the full picture and create space to think, prepare and question.”

Susan Fay West, COC®, CPO-CD® – Certified Organizing Coach, ADHD Coach & Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization


What great tips my colleagues shared about preparing for next. Several ideas center on having ponder-time. Other ideas include celebrating, making lists, and talking out loud. For me, next often begins with thinking, writing, or conversing. Which ideas resonate with you? How do you prepare for next? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (16)

These are such fabulous tips! I use a few of these methods myself. I am a big planner and list maker. It's easier for me to picture or imagine the outcome as I gradually make my vision come to life. About the vision - I definitely indulge in daydreaming - letting my imagination wander where it will every morning when I walk my dog. I come up with some fantastic solutions during these morning walks. Some are a little too fantastic to actually implement but others are not. Those are the ones that I use for my vision.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Wonderful tips! I enjoyed how Susan describes her clue to prepare more. That's how I am and my cue to keep on learning about something. And like Janet, I need to work in small bites as I need the time in between to process the new information, let it percolate in the back of my mind, making connections. Know this about myself taught me that I need time to prepare and feel confident to move forward.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHelena

I'm on Seana's team. I always thonk about different scenarios and what could be the worst or the best so I can train myself a little about how to respond to those.

Anyway all tips are great and all of them have important information to think about. As usual a great post Linda.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

I loved Anne's answer, we sometimes have to find a new normal. Life is about transitions, there is always a next.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Wow, what a fantastic post! These are all such great tips! I do a bit of everything here. What I am consciously working on right now is Visualize and Verbalize. I have been learning the right kind of both can be life changing!

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn Leopold

Linda, thank you for including me in this post. It's good to be in such great company and to learn from others.

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

What a great conversation, folks! Thanks so much for joining in.

@Diane- Love how you shared that on your morning walks you come up with some ideas that are "a little too fantastic." You never know where a seed idea can lead you.

@Helena- It's so interesting to see the ways we identify with so many of these strategies. And also that we don't use just one strategy, but many different ones depending on our needs and the situation.

@Nacho- Great idea about imagining different scenarios to "train" yourself into how you might respond in positive and negative situations.

@Jill- Finding that "new normal" takes patience, doesn't it? And as per Anne, some creativity.

@Autumn- Makes sense that you'd pull from a variety of strategies for "next." Sue's idea of "visualize" and "verbalize" speak of actively engaging in preparation…and just love the sound of the V & V words too. Great that those strategies have been "life changing" for you.

@Janet- Thrilled to have you with us! This is a great group and community of sharers. I encourage the sharing of different views around a concept. As you said we can "learn from others." We also identify with others as is evident from the comments. Love that!

March 10, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Just yesterday - there's that serendipity thing going on again ! - a client said that it is not "change" we resist or are uncomfortable with.

As Seana mentions, It is the "uncertainty" of the change ( I believe my client credited Bruce Mast, a Leadership consultant for this).

It's not the change itself; it is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Think on that one. :)

March 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSue West

@Diane - I'm glad to know I'm not the only daydreamer. You never know about those fantastic ideas - There was a time when I thought writing a novel was "a little too fantastic." And as I'm typing on this keyboard, I'm thinking about how today's technology was yesterday's science fiction.

March 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterValentina Sgro

@Sue- Serendipity! Love it. It's that uncertainty or unknown that can prevent us from moving ahead. In fact, often the actual "change" is wonderful. It's just challenging to think outside our boxes at times.

@Val- So many things that were "a little too fantastic" HAVE come to fruition. What is it we say, "There are no stupid questions." Maybe that goes for ideas too. At least allowing the ideas to come to percolate to the surface. From there decisions can be made if they're worth pursuing. Have the ideas first. Censor later.

March 11, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Susan is making a great point by saying that if we can't visualize what's next, we have more preparing to do. I do believe that the vision comes when we're ready to receive it.

Cameron, I've been there done that too. When I do a life review I can see how many of my big decisions were sheer responses to what was in front of me. Was that wrong? I don't think so. It's brought me where I am today and I love where I am. On the other hand, I don't choose to do this anymore. I want to be proactive. What worked then doesn't work now.

As I'm entering a new and unknown territory in my life - both kids going off to college and having experienced loss in the last two years - I'm taking a more proactive role in designing the next chapter. It includes lots of daydreaming, mind mapping, and taking meaningful actions.

Thank you for this post, Linda and everyone. You guys are the best:-) xoxo

March 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Yota- Great to hear your voice! Thank you for connecting and sharing your journey with the group. I know it's been a big time of transition for you with the girls about to leave the nest and with the personal losses you've had in this short time. I also know that you've got an amazing array of tools and strategies to guide you to your new "spring." I'm excited to see what will bloom in your garden.

March 12, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you Linda:-) It's good to be back; one day at a time. I've missed you. Joining the insightful conversations you ignite in your space is always a treat.

March 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

@Yota- Great to have you back! Looks like you've got a perfect spring launch offer with your "seed starter" coaching offer. Love it!

March 20, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

My next often begins with a feeling that the current no longer works as well as it has... that it is time to do something different, to be the next version of me... to heighten the positive in a different way. I may not know what will change, but I become more open to the possibility. I let the universe work on it until the direction gets clearer. Then it's time for planning towards actual action. That, for me, is the tough part.

March 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Lasky

Susan- Just love how you identify your "next" as a feeling. Then you allow yourself to be open to possibilities until the clarity comes. Just beautiful.

March 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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