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Ask The Coach


By Mershon Bell, Life Coach


Dear Coach,


Help, I'm out of control! Not only am I disorganized, I'm stuck. Probably because of all the clutter and chaos, I can't seem to get on with my work and take action. Can you help me out of this mess?



"Disorganized in Des Plaines"


Dear Disorganized,


Disorganization is a disease…sometimes terminal to a career…that can sabotage even the most intelligent, creative, and competent person. Clutter that is within range of your eyes or ears impacts you, if only subconsciously, and keeps you from being focused. It is a toleration that drains you of energy.

Worrying about "getting organized" can assume a big chunk of your creative-thinking time.

So….how to get out of this rut? First consider, "Do I truly believe it is worth it to get organized once and for all?" If you don't have motivation and conviction, chances are you won't do anything about it anyway. DECIDE that getting organized is important and worth doing. Now, JUST DO IT! Set aside a day (pretend it is a sick day or vacation day) and focus entirely on getting organized. Take the phone off the hook, lock your door and dig in!

Once organized, the challenge becomes how to stay that way. Once again, ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" Changing old habits isn't easy. If you're willing to fight an up hill battle for 21 days, you have a chance of establishing new habits…..after that it WILL get easier. In addition, schedule a "clean-up time" once a week. Friday afternoons are great for this. Clean out all piles, get organized for the upcoming week, and leave your desk clear. Trust me, if you follow this practice, Mondays will begin to look much better to you.

Follow the WIFO principle. This means "worst in, first out". Chances are, if you postponed a project because you didn't want to do it, you spent as much time worry and rescheduling as you would have spent doing it. Get those "worst projects" out of the way first and you'll feel energized and able to sail through the more enjoyable ones. Doing this, along with the organization, will help you get unstuck.

Consider hiring a coach. If, after taking the suggestions above and accepting the "21 Day Challenge" below, you are still stuck and disorganized, call me.

There's nothing like accountability and working with someone who will keep you focused on your goals.



For the next 21 days, touch information only once. For instance, open your mail standing up. IMMEDIATELY…throw away everything that isn't important, file everything that you want to save, act on anything that needs action….if possible, this even includes paying bills as they arrive. Do this EVERYDAY.

Do the same thing with your email. Delete it, file it, respond to it. Don't save things that you think you might get to "someday". Even if it is a good opportunity, trust that there will be other good opportunities coming your way. If NOW isn't the right time for you to take advantage of it…toss it.

Organize your computer files so you have places to electronically file important email information you want to save.

Answer your phone messages promptly. This is just good business and common courtesy. Carrying over messages from day to day only creates chaos in your life and bad feelings on the part of the caller. If you're too busy to answer your messages promptly …. YOU'RE TOO BUSY. You need to refocus and check your priorities. This may mean cutting back, hiring an assistant, or saying NO.

If you accept the "21 Day Challenge" let me know how it goes.


Mershon Bell, an entrepreneur who has worked from home successfully for 14 years, coaches individuals one on one and in groups, helping them build the life they truly want.

Fax (630) 671-0722 or email ( your coaching question to her. She will attempt to answer all questions but only a few will be selected to appear in this column. Also, visit her web site at to subscribe to her email newsletter, The Business Woman's Advantage. For more information or to schedule a complimentary coaching session, call Mershon at (630) 924-7152.

You can also e-mail your comments to:
Britty the wonder dog is this month's MM


 MM's LIFESTYLES Section is also sponsored this month by CompuTrek Systems. CompuTrek does web site design for small to medium sized businesses. They did all of the design work for Click on their banner at the bottom of the page to check out their WEB SITE.

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