19 January 2022
Association Management

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Every year, getting organized is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions people make. The reason for this is simple—according to the Mayo Clinic, clutter makes it more difficult to focus and increases stress levels. Since 2005, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) has kicked off each year by celebrating Get Organized & Be Productive (GO) Month, assisting members in improving their health and well-being. The life-changing services NAPO offers help individuals overcome a variety of challenges, such as schedule planning, responsibility management, general organization assistance, and many more.

This year, members are sharing tips in a different category each week, presenting virtual events on different organizing and productivity topics, and offering some socially distanced in-person events as well.

Tips to Get Started with Organization and Productivity
In the first two weeks of GO Month 2022, NAPO focused on organization, then on technology. According to Jennifer Pastore Monroy, CAE, NAPO Executive Director, this year the group wants to share as many relatable tips directly from the professionals as possible.

Some of the tips members have shared have been emotion-driven. According to Katherine Black, decluttering is about the art of forgiveness—specifically, forgiving yourself and possibly others for purchasing things with good intentions that have turned out not to be useful. These things don’t add value by gathering dust in your space. “Set them free, and you’ll set yourself free, too,” Black said.

To help people part with items they no longer need but still have an emotional connection to, Jen Heard developed the Love Bigger app, set to launch by the end of March, which helps find local charities, families in need, or a specific cause that you can donate to directly. “This application will help them to find people that they can love with their stuff,” said Heard. “Feeling good about where their stuff is going really makes all the difference.”

Others have focused on looking for a fun solution. To get her kids in the spirit of trying on all their clothes to find out what still fits and what needs to be donated, Michaele Tocco turns the fitting session into a fashion show. “It works like a charm,” Tocco said, and her clients and friends have started doing it, too. All you need is some music, a hallway, and a closet full of clothes.

Tatiana Espitia suggested a tip that you can apply to a variety of digital organizing programs: embrace color. “Studies have shown that marking your events with color will have a positive impact on your mood and will help you be more productive,” Espitia said. “Yellow and orange colors will energize you. Blue and green will have a calming effect. And you don’t want to use red, because it will probably slow you down.”

Get Going with GO Month
The themed weeks for GO Month will continue through the end of January. This week’s theme is productivity, next week will focus on life transitions, and GO Month 2022 will wrap up with a week centered on brain-based conditions. You can participate by following along on NAPO’s social media platforms.

No matter your entry point, the important thing is just to take small steps. “Progress over perfection is the way that we want to go,” said NAPO member Jodi Virgil. “What makes it really easy is to do it 15 minutes at a time.” She recommends doing something fun while you work, like listening to a podcast or a favorite song or chatting with a friend. “If you do this a couple times a day, a couple times a week, it can help you to keep on top of everything,” she said.

Virgil also recommends storing “like with like,” an organizing technique that groups specific items together. It is one of many tricks Monroy has learned over the years from the professionals she works with. “When your entire house is disorganized, that can feel really overwhelming,” Monroy said. “I have to create a zone where it doesn’t need to be perfect, but where I know what belongs in that location.”

Monroy, who favors upcycling and repurposing anything she can, saves everything from glass jars to Amazon boxes—she stores incoming mail in one Amazon box and puts papers that need to be shredded in another. “Not everything is going to be Instagram-worthy, because real life is messier than that,” she said. “It’s all about setting up processes and systems for your environment. How do you use your time and space, and where can you start that will help?”

“You can apply the same principles in your professional life,” Monroy said. Time blocking and grouping tasks are some of the simplest techniques you can use to improve your time management and focus.

Seeking Professional Assistance
NAPO members are pros at organizing—literally. Many members hold specialist certificates in niche areas and offer specialized services, ranging from paper management to organizing with unique conditions like ADHD to unpacking from a move. Professionals who hold the Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) credential demonstrate the highest levels of expertise, professional development, and commitment to ethics.

If you’re ready to bring some short- or long-term assistance on board to meet your 2022 goals, you can check the Find a Pro Directory on the NAPO website to locate an organizer in your area.

Joining NAPO
If you find yourself thinking that being a professional organizer sounds like a dream job, know that it’s a dream job you can attain, no matter your background. “People have come to this profession from all walks of life with so many different experiences, but what brings them all together is that they have a skill and a gift for helping people bring organization and efficiency to their lives,” Monroy said. “An organizer is like a personal trainer and a therapist all in one. It’s not just about putting labels on things. It’s also how you use your most valuable currency, which is your time.”

NAPO offers classes and education to help members learn more about running a business as well as organizing itself. “There are always new things you can learn, interesting ways of handling things, and I love it,” said member Tanya Whitford, CPO. “NAPO has everything for you. It used to be so hard finding classes and education, but now everything is right there at your fingertips.”

You can learn more about membership here.

Bring GO Month Through 2022
To keep up with GO Month in real-time, check out NAPO’s Facebook page, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter. But tips shared will also be rounded up on the #GOMonth2022 page on NAPO’s website, so you can come back to them whenever you’re ready.

Because really, you can start your own GO Month in February—or at any other time. “These tips are evergreen, so you can start your own month of organization and productivity at any time that works for you,” Monroy said. “It’s all about what works for your life.”

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