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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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« Two of the Most Powerful Clutter Concepts | What Inspires You to Let Go of Your Clutter? »

The Freedom of Letting Go of Supposed To

My client gave me permission to share this story. During a recent organizing session we were sorting and editing when she came across one item that she wasn’t sure what to do with. She wanted to keep it, but didn’t have a place or category to pair it with.

To figure out the puzzle, I asked some questions to learn more about the item and it’s significance to her. Within a few minutes she determined that it was something she might bring out for her children to play with (supervision needed) when they had a short time to play. After a few more questions, she decided that containing it in a box with a label and storing it in her closet would work.

Just to recap, we discovered an item without a home, discussed what it was about, and determined the best way and place to store it. Labeling the box was key. What’s in a name? In this case, she came up with a label name that’s one of the best ones I’ve ever typed in the 20+ years I’ve been organizing. It says,

“15 Minutes of Fun!”

I love that. Now I want a box with that name.

What does this have to do with letting go? How often do you feel you need hours or days to have fun, get organized, or ____________  (fill in the blank)? Because you don’t, you postpone fun. You postpone organizing. You postpone moving forward. The reality is that in a short time you can enjoy, do a lot, or even a little. Days are segmented. We feel like we’re supposed to work or play in long time blocks. We don’t often have the luxury of endless, continuous hours.

The next time you’re thinking that you don’t have time to __________, remember the “15 Minutes of Fun” box and see if you can motivate yourself to use the short burst of time that you do have.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What resonates with you? Come join the conversation.






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Reader Comments (12)

I think people are surprised how fun organizing can be! They postpone it, thinking it will be painful, but then are surprised by how great they feel. And when you organize with another person close by, it is even better! I often postpone what I consider "unproductive"... which is a mistake. There is a time for work, and a time to put work aside and refresh. I'm like a computer - I need to refresh every now and then!

April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Wow, how nice was that outcome. Today I attended the funerary services to a friend. She passed away yesterday, although I'm sad I'll remember her always because she was a funny person and that reminds me having time for fun, always being present living today and not to worry about future or past.
Bertha will be my reminder of 15 minutes of fun and the joy of life.
Thank you for sharing this Linda.

April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

I love the "15 minutes of fun", we were just talking about this week how important it is to schedule family, and fun time. Great post.

April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Love hearing your wonderful voices!

@Seana- What a positive attitude around organizing being fun! I know it's fun for me, but so often for our clients it's anything but. However, with some perspective shifts and focus on improving the working environment, it can be A LOT of fun.

@Nacho- My deepest sympathy for the loss of your friend, Bertha. It sounds like she knew how to embrace joy and laughter. What a gift. It's a beautiful way to remember her along with honoring her memory by your embracing the joy and fun that life offers.

@Jill- With our lives as busy as they are, sometimes the only way to make sure we do what's important to us (i.e. be with our families or have fun) IS to schedule the time. However, we can also take advantage of those moments or minutes NOT scheduled and enjoy them too.

April 29, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a wonderful concept '15 minutes of fun'! I like to tell my clients to ask themselves this question: what is the best use of my time right now? Sometimes, the best use, when you're tired or stressed, is to take the few available minutes and close your eyes and take a short rest. It would be great to have a box to pull down off a shelf full of fun ideas of how to spend a few available minutes having fun!

April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Hi Diane- Love your question: "What is the best use of my time right now?" It's so direct and effective. As a matter of fact, you've helped me at this moment. I'm losing steam as the evening is getting late. So perhaps instead of continuing to work past my productive hours, I will give it a rest…literally! Thank YOU for the great reminder.

April 29, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great reminder Linda and way to support your client in creating a label that means something to her. : ) I have a client who is doing a great job of reminding me of the importance of 15 minute organizing sessions. This person has a couple of very large organizing projects to work through and has committed to completing one 15 minute organizing session each day. That wouldn't seem like much to most folks, but it is 1hour and 15 minutes more per week than this person has ever done and it is moving this person forward slowly, but surely.

April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

Andrea- We can easily underestimate how significant small blocks of time are for work, play or rest. Think of a smile or laugh and how that communicates something positive in a moment. Look at the progress your client is making each day (small bites) which add up to forward movement. The pace isn't as important as the consistency she's committed to. So often we use be black and white thinking as in all or nothing. But in fact, experimenting in the gray areas can be enervating and effective for all areas of our life.

April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

It brings a great outcome to me. Specially, i like the "15 minutes of fun".

May 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersuchit

And what a surprise it will be, each time they go to the "15 minutes of fun" box, as she adds to it! Think of the life skills she is teaching them: planning ahead makes things go more smoothly (with a box of ideas ready, you can have fun anytime, anywhere!); it's easy to have fun in small packages; a sense of time; focus is magical (15 minutes can be a long time if you're focused); choices are made differently in different circumstances (if you want to have the play time, choose quickly); creativity (the box and the label); and choice, as you're saying, Linda (fun is what you make it to be).... couldn't we go on and on!

She just made her life calmer by sharing responsibility for creating fun with her family. And such a nice idea to create slivers of fun mixed in with the serious parts of our days. What a role model.

So ... have fun creating your own, Linda!

May 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSue West

Suchit- Thanks for joining us. So glad you like the "15 minutes of fun" idea. Brings new meaning to fun, doesn't it?

May 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Sue- Fun and surprises are a great combo, aren't they? I hadn't thought about the teaching of life skills aspect that you brought forward. You're so right. Modeling working hard is just as important as a life skill as is having fun.

I'm always on the lookout for ways to have "pockets of fun," or quiet, or moments of gratitude. There are so many things that happen in a day, but I love to STOP and engage in the moments that otherwise might easily pass by unnoticed. By doing that, it changes my daily experience in a positive way.

May 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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