Jonda Beattie and I recently attended the 2021 Institute for Challenging Disorganization Virtual Conference. There were 10 world-class experts in their field presenting valuable and current information to the attendees. All of us there were inspired and re-energized by these fabulous continuing education classes. I want to share some of what we learned and why Jonda and I feel participating in classes such as these is important.
Continuing Education Classes
Anyone can call themselves a professional organizer. What sets us (and others who feel as we do) apart is that we are constantly taking classes and listening to recordings. This helps us to update our toolbox with current research.
Research on what? I’m so glad you asked! Research on how clutter in our environment affects the way people feel and behave. Also, on methods to help people who struggle with organizing. Current research on how ADHD affects organizing. And current research on the hoarding disorder. We even had the opportunity to hear from someone who has struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding disorder. Listening to him recount his journey was one of the most powerful presentations.
It was wonderful to hear from so many leading authorities on these topics. Jonda and I love adding to our organizing toolboxes. These experts gave us lots to think about. We now have fresh perspectives to incorporate into our practice because of the four days of continuing education classes.
Recap of Some of the Presentations
Since Jonda and I both started our careers as teachers it was heart warming to hear Dr. Edward Hallowell (a leading authority on ADHD) refer to teachers as ‘God’s Angels’. He also said that “what matters is the striving, not the doing or accomplishing”. We often remind our clients that being organized is a journey, not a destination. While it’s truly lovely to see a well-organized space. It can be a thing of beauty only for a second. Not too much longer than that because if you live in a space someone always comes in to mess it up. This is true and is something that everyone working towards being organized needs to accept.
Dr. Russell Barkley (also a leading authority on ADHD) spoke of the health risks that can co-occur in some people diagnosed with ADHD. This was research I, for one, had never heard before. Jonda and I are always thankful for new information. It helps us as we seek to create strategies and solutions our clients can use effectively.
Juliet Landau Pope
Juliet Landau-Pope presented on Dyspraxia. This is a condition with which I was not very familiar. What was most interesting to me, was that Juliet advocated for working in short (10 or 15 minute) segments of time. Our deck of cards: Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time guides people to do just that, complete tasks in just 10 minutes.
Andrea de Paiva
Judith Kolberg (our friend and mentor), while not among the speakers, has long advocated for taking green breaks. Working for a time and then walking outside or even just looking out a window to refresh your mind. This concept was underscored by Andrea de Paiva, a neuro-architect. I didn’t know about the field of neuro-architecture. This area of study involves looking at the brain, behavior, and their connection with the environment.
Andrea taught us that our physical space can affect stress levels and overall health. She showed us how to organize spaces to decrease stress by taking light and color into account and by adding accents from nature. She went on to say that even pictures from nature can have a positive effect. This makes good sense. It’s not always possible to bring actual nature inside. Having beautiful pictures from nature is the next best thing to incorporate.
This is just a small snapshot of a few of the things Jonda and I learned at the 2021 Institute for Challenging Disorganization conference.
Investing in our continuing education is one of the elements that helps to set us apart from others who have a knack for organizing. If you are struggling to get organized and looking for a professional organizer, ask about their education in this field. There are several different places (all virtual) to take classes. Organizers (like us) who take continuing education classes in all the different aspects of organizing are the ones to consider. For more tips sign up for our monthly newsletter.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.