Everything (Almost) In Its Place.


It was 8:00am on a clear February morning in 2004 when the seed of an idea that would transform our lives took root. We were meeting in the big corporate cafeteria of the building where Alicia worked, lamenting the fact that it had taken us a ridiculous amount of time - three long months of schedule juggling and rain checks to finally manage breakfast together. We were both drowning in endless lists of should-do’s and must-do’s that left little room for the things that seemed to matter, like catching up with an old friend.

 

As we joked about putting “get a life” on our to-do lists and counseled each other on our respective situations, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities in our problems. Despite our different organizational styles (Alicia is detail-oriented and list-driven, while Sarah is more of a focus-on-the-big-picture and let’s-just-keep-moving-in-the-right-direction type of gal) both of us felt out of control, disorganized, and overwhelmed. Sarah wondered how Alicia could feel stressed when it appeared that she had every single thing she would ever need to do on one of her many lists. Alicia marveled at the fact that Sarah was actually anxious when she seemed to instinctively handle most of her life’s to-do’s in her head.

 

As we compared notes, we realized we had both purchased many of the same organizing products, read the same magazine articles, and listened to the same experts about how to ‘do it all.’ Yet here we were, both miserable! We realized that whatever we were doing to get organized was not working and was actually making us more anxious!

 

Alicia hated that the filing, calendar, and closet organizing systems she’d tried were too compartmentalized and too specialized to be integrated into one workable system and took so much time to learn that they became another full time job. In order to get one organizational task completed, she needed to cobble together three or four separate systems and in the end it was often easier to raise the white flag and surrender. She wanted to feel as though her life’s many details, like genes on a string of DNA, all added up to something unified and meaningful. She yearned for a manageable road map to guide her in keeping her busy life together.