Most people are happier, healthier, and more productive when their home and business environments work well for them. We all want to feel comfortable in these situations. That should be easy, you say. Most of the time it isn't! Whether we need to be creative on the job or productive at home, designing our surroundings to be functional as well as aesthetic, to say nothing of reflecting our own distinct needs and preferences, can be an ongoing challenge.
This is further complicated by the reality that our burgeoning population continually produces more and more clutter. At the same time many of us feel a profound, if not sentimental, connection to what we possess and can find it anxiety-producing to make decisions about simplifying our environments. A few diligently try to follow the rules that society has proscribed for "organizing." For others, the typical one-size-fits-all cultural expectations can be seen as so burdensome and exhausting that they throw up their hands in despair. Time and time again I have observed the latter response, although people who are strongly socialized to "follow the rules" or who are not professional organizers might find it hard to believe!
Today's stores currently offer an infinite array of books about organizing our time and space that are filled with "proven" tips and tricks, so called, to help us function more easily and successfully. Unfortunately most of these generic formulas are just that, generic. They really don't address human tendencies that underlie differing types of organizational styles, that different folks need different strokes.
For years I relentlessly tried to find workable solutions for my clients who hired me to help them "organize" their environments. As a frontal-right intuitive, I could usually come up with a system that reflected not only my client's needs and desires but also a system they could maintain over time. While I sensed that my techniques were more than just gut-level feelings I was unaware of some of the emerging research on brain function. By the grace of God, I stumbled across Dr. Arlene Taylor, a brain-function specialist. She shared a wealth of information with me and introduced me to the work of other brain-function researchers including Dr. Katherine Benziger.
This was what I had been looking for: some validity for my own methodology that had never quite fit with the more traditional approaches to organizing. I'd always sensed that people operated differently—some had the organizing bug and others didn't. It was so refreshing to meet Arlene and become acquainted with her approach to living life in a style that matches one's own innate giftedness rather than simply subscribing to yet another marketing campaign.
My new book, How Can You Find Yourself When You Can't Even Find Your Keys? Organizing for Your Brain, is a revolutionary and fascinating approach to managing our work and home environments that will hit the market in the summer of 2003. It identifies four innate organizing preferences that represent four distinct styles typically exhibited by human beings when they try to make order out of chaos. By taking an easy written assessment readers will be able to identify with a Penguin, an Owl, a Peacock, or a Dove metaphor. By matching one's metaphorical-bird type with a custom profile of fun and totally doable organizing routines, anyone can develop a more appealing and functional environment based on his/her own preferences.
I'm excited about this concept because it has the potential to revolutionize not only people's view of how they think they ought to live but also to positively impact the organizing profession. People will finally have a tool that can help them match their surroundings to their own innate uniqueness and sustain their preferred form of organization over time. This new way of approaching "organizing" can enable everyone to be successful in their own style and, hopefully, it will diminish a tendency to be critical of others when their preferences don't match ours.
Note: Lanna Nakone is a professional organizer who is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and speaks regularly at their national conferences. She holds a Master's degree in Religious Studies. Lanna is a contributor for the Napa Valley Life Magazine and the St. Helena Star. Currently she is finishing her book, How Can You Find Yourself When You Can't Even Find Your Keys? Organizing For Your Brain. Lanna can be reached at:
P.O. Box 457
Rutherford, CA 94573