Susan Fay West, Certified Organizer Coach 
Life’s big changes. We all get overwhelmed sometimes.

  • You’re stuck and want to move forward but how?
  • Adult ADHD diagnosis and ... now what?
  • Want more time but you’re not sure where the problem is?
  • Tired of running in circles?
  • Change, time management, organization and transitions work is our focus.

    Build on what you already know about yourself and collaborate with me – a coach, professional organizer, teacher and change-lover.

    Discover new ways to:

  • organize your life,
  • deal with these changes and move on,
  • in ways that make sense to you and how you’re wired.
  • Curious? Click Here to Learn More about My Coaching Services.

    Organize for a Fresh Start - organizing self-help book

    "West has written on a topic dear to my heart, getting organized to cope with and embrace change and transitions. Organize for a Fresh Start is a great roadmap."
    Judith Kolberg, Author
    Conquering Chronic Disorganization

    ADHD Support: Step #1 Build Your Team (CHADD Talk Preview)

    October 7th, 2014

    You’re an adult, with ADHD. Diagnosed or “pretty sure of it.” You may have recently discovered this about yourself, or discovered it awhile ago but at that stage of your life, it was all too much to wrestle with.

    So you put it aside. But now it’s jumped onto the front burner.

    Maybe your choice and maybe not: an issue cropped up in your relationships, at work, or for some other reason.

    But you’re ready to roll now. You’re tired of “it” getting in your way.

    You’re tired of knowing what to do. But you don’t do it.

    You have been reading and notice that you do look at things differently from some of the people in your life.

    Or you have challenges other people don’t seem to struggle with as much as you do.

    It’s time.

    OK. Awareness. But so what and now what?

    You can make some changes – more on that later – which will make daily life much easier.

    You can use ADHD-friendly strategies instead of trying to force fit something into your life. And not apologize for this.

    You can educate yourself on how to manage and make great use of your ADHD and your strengths. Because, you do have them, even if it might not feel like it some days.

    You’ll get more out of your life because you’re headed down a path of making things “fit” better for how you think, work, make connections and live.

    Because you’re aware and paying attention, you’ll discover ways to support what’s most important to you, using a variety of resources, team members, and even collaboration among professionals, to get you where you want to be.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    What Did You Miss? Or Did You?

    September 25th, 2014

    Did you miss any? Or maybe you’d prefer to read the articles all at once?  Here’s a roundup of newsletter articles sent so far during 2014, with a quick summary for each, and a link to read more if that topic interests you. Click here if you’re not on the newsletter list and would like to be.

    Last edition:

    9/9/2014Perspectives from My Summer Retreat & Why Perspectives Are Useful


    So many ways to think about this word, a favorite lately.  I’ve learned how valuable perspective is, as I’ve looked back on a particular life stage or chapter. Looking at it with wiser eyes, I can consider other possibilities that could be have been true then. I did the best I knew how to, then.

    You can use perspective to pull back from a major decision and, trying on different vantage points and/or attitudes about the decision, you’ll find different ways to look at that decision. What if I did this instead … If I believed more in myself, like so-and-so does, then I would decide to …

    This month’s main article is about a few of my perspectives, gained during my personal retreat this summer. These came from slowing down life, going off the technology grid, and taking some workshops, along with conversations I’ve had along the way. Read the newsletter here.



    6/17/2014 – What Do You Need to “Get Back to?”

    Nelson Mandela said: “The greatest glory in living lies in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

    Because if we never fell, then life would be perfect. WE would be perfect. “Too smooth” sailing, even though some days, it feels as if nothing goes smoothly, not one minute of it.

    But sometimes it feels like it’s all too much. We are stuck and don’t know or can’t find what we need to get back to it, back on track, and practicing what we know has worked for us before.

    It’s not usually simply a practical issue. Our emotions, self-esteem, and frustrations throw themselves into the mix, too. BUT the practical strategies do help build a track record of small wins, which strengthen the “muscles” of self-esteem, confidence, and hope.

    So, where last month’s article, “When Everything Feels Like a Priority,” was about what to do when everything seems to need to get done right now …  this month, I have strategies for when it feels as if things are sliding backwards, and you need to get back on track. Try just one strategy and see how it works for you.  I dare you.  In the kindest possible way. Read the newsletter here.


    And chronologically from the beginning of this year:

    01/03/2014 – Be That Person
    Would you like to increase your chances of achieving your goals this year? What could be different this time around? You’ve always had commitment. You’ve started out well. You felt you were being realistic. And then, well, by the end of the year, you hadn’t met the goal.  Flummoxed, floundering and feeling like you’d failed. Sigh.There are reasons all along the way for what might have happened, but today, I’ll focus on creating the goal, and I believe you’ll read some new ideas here. If we miss creating the “right” goal, well, a lot of the rest won’t matter.  So here we go. Suggestions for creating a goal that will work for you…  Be That Person (click to read on)


    02/11/2014 – Lost: Commitment to Goals. If found, please contact

    Today’s topic? Commitment.   Sometimes, we procrastinate getting started on a goal or a project or even a relationship.

    One reason can be that we are less committed than we think we are.  We say we are committed to the goal. But what we feel or think subconsciously is out of sync and really not on board with the goal. What to do?

    What questions can you ask yourself to know whether you really are committed to the goal? Because if the commitment’s not there, that’s going to be a problem when things get difficult or you need to push out of your comfort zone….Lost: Commitment to Goals. If found, please contact



    03/25/2014 – The Village You Choose

    In “The Village You Choose,” you’ll read about life preservers.  When you have a looming and large new challenge or life change, these people, these life preservers, will support you, educate and encourage you as you take steps into your next chapter.

    These friends, colleagues and professionals are those who respect you and believe in you, perhaps more than you believe in yourself, at that time of change. They do not step in and save you. They buoy you up when you need it and for as long as you do…. The Village You Choose



    05/06/2014 – When Everything Feels Like a Priority

    We’ve just now arrived at springtime here in New Hampshire, after what we are all calling one of the very longest winters we’ve had.  It’s all beautiful, these changing seasons, but boy, this winter we all felt closeted, stuck, claustrophobic … until finally, some warmer weather arrived to begin the big snow melt.

    So we burst out of winter and into springtime and quickly into school vacations.  LOTS of change and transitions and “stuff to do.”

    It’s as if the gates came up on all of us and we raced out of the gates. And then we sprinted too fast and tired, got overwhelmed, and are trying to swing back.

    So, where last month’s article was about working with people who work with you to assist your home or work life, this month’s article is about how to help yourself when you’re feeling like you have too much on your plate, and “Everything is a Priority.”   When Everything Feels Like a Priority
    To our imperfect lives …


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    Thanks for you attention.

    Feeling Distracted by Your Thoughts and “To Do’s”?

    September 3rd, 2014

    Distracted? It’s pretty common as we change seasons and move towards that internal back-to-school clock we all have. Back-to-school transitions affects most of us: we are either parents, or we are the second person on the “pick up after school” list, aunts or grandparents helping out, going back to school as an adult, work in one … or work with any of you !

    And we also have that equivalent of “muscle memory,” where somehow our bodies and minds remember: “Oh, it’s back-to- school time,” as if we were attending again!

    Back-to-Basics strategy

    Make sure you have a  simple way to capture thoughts/tasks/reminders and that it is always nearby.

    And it’s perfectly fine to be “old fashioned” as a client just said to me, and use paper! Whatever works for YOU is what’s important.

    Time - Stay in the moment

    Here’s an experiment - quick and easy – but it will tell you a lot.

    1. Next time you think of something you need to do,  say “Wait a second’ (or something like that. You may have a favorite way to pause.)
    2. “What did Sue say … Write it down … Find one home I can trust.”
    3. Write down your thought, idea or task … rather than doing it right away.

    Right – Future steps are: Find a home for whatever you use. Return it there consistently. Remind yourself to use it.


    It’s a simple and powerful solution to “internal interruptions” we create on our own, versus those that are interruptions by others.

    And it is useful not only at seasonal transitions, but life’s changes and  transitions, like:

    • a new physical diagnosis
    • a big change in routines
    • adding a child, exchange student, returning college student or puppy to your household
    • new job or career or role at your job
    • adding a new product or service
    • a new mental health diagnosis
    • divorce
    • a new relationship
    • death
    • caregiving


    Enjoy this back-to-school, back-to-basics advice; I hope you’ll try it to see what happens for you!







    Not sure what to do or overwhelmed and can’t see where to head next?

    Explore the blog. Skim some past newsletters or sign up for our newsletter; next edition is due out next week.

    Check out client testimonials here. I’m about to add a new one one I received yesterday.

    Or call/email to see how we might work on this together.   603.554.1948

    Vacations: My Best Practices for Leaving & Returning Easily

    August 14th, 2014

    I used to “freak out” before and after vacations, exhausting myself on both ends of my time away. Sort of defeats the “refresh, relax, retreat” point of it all though,don’t you think? Now, though, each time I go away for vacation or business, I’ve become more thoughtful and mindful about how I can make all of this more pleasant and part of the trip’s enjoyment … and I’m doing this not just for myself but for everyone around me, too!

    I used to walk around in so many circles that my dog, following me, would get as exhausted as I would.

    Exhausted, after watching me try to get organized for vacation.








    Things are changing. Just back from a vacation, I thought I’d share some of  my personal best practices, along with encouraging you to consider your own.

    My top two – what works for me – leaving on a trip

    1. Letting go

    I figured out that, really, the three most important items to take with me are my picture ID/license, money or a credit card, and my travel documents.

    Anything else I forgot to pack could be purchased wherever I was going.

    So, yes, I keep packing lists, but when it gets down to the wire, sometimes the list is messy with my cross-offs. Or I don’t use my list because I think I have it in my head. Or it’s a new place, new weather, new something.

    This one idea of ensuring I have at least those three items allows me peace of mind. If I have those, then technically, I’m ready to go.

    What lies ahead: Prepping for vacation

    Lists I use:

    • With my list of clothes, I also have a packing list of non-clothing items, e.g., camera, book/Nook, snacks, etc. The latter is more difficult for me to remember because it varies from trip to trip.
    • For work, my different, to do list: I start this list a couple of weeks ahead. I divide up my work by: What needs to be done before vacation (I can’t leave unless…); What could be nice to get done; and What can wait. These are full projects or steps of projects. Sometimes, I can get a project going, but  I really don’t need to finish it before vacation. And there is less to return to.
    • And my best practices list of how to handle transitioning into my trip and back from my trip. That’s kept inside the calendar entry for my trip so it is very visible and difficult to ignore or simply not remember it exists!

    And, because I process and think more clearly when I talk through a challenge out loud, that’s what I do as I pack. Packing is definitely a challenge for me. So many moving parts. And I’m usually excited, anxious, or sad to be leaving home, so feelings get in the way of my thinking in a straight line, too.

    Any of that sound familiar? Maybe start with my ideas and then make them your own.

    2. Cushion time

    This works for leaving and returning.

    I ALWAYS book myself out of the office a 1/2 day to a full day  beyond the actual trip dates.

    Leaving for vacation, I give myself a half day in the office before I leave, and the weekend or a weekday off from work. The time in the office ensures I get organized and leave clients with next steps or inspiration or whatever they need.

    The time off before leaving gives me time to pack. I put this right on my calendar, so that I don’t book dinner out with friends or a day trip when I’m really needing to take the time to focus on getting ready for my time away.

    This helps my mind to be more relaxed, knowing I’ve done my best to leave things behind in good shape. I can let go more easily as I head out to relax and refresh.


    My top two – what works for me – returning from a trip

    1.  Photos and unpacking

    Photos allow me to relive my vacation and are a “transition” task. So I upload, review and share my photos as a high priority after vacation’s over.

    This allows me to mentally move my vacation memories to the back of my head, as I transition into my life again.

    Unpacking does something similar, but I break up unpacking into the easy and difficult, so I get at least a little bit done right away and feel a bit more settled.

    The easy is the clothing, which mainly is laundry, right? The more difficult is the books, Nook, camping gear, all that little stuff that goes to multiple places in my home.

    That waits for a weekend; it makes its way “one step closer,” (a favorite tactic) to where it belongs, but it’s a bit of an ordeal to get it all packed away, so I don’t rush it.

    This weekend, I’ll get to relive a bit of my vacation again as I pack away camping and outdoor gear. Otherwise, all of this would likely sit around for too long if I didn’t at least get the easy part done.

    2. Cushion time

    If I’m working a weekend, say for an ICD Board meeting or a conference I’m attending or speaking at,  then you’d see in my calendar an appointment which will include one day off from work, upon my return. You’d also see notes in that day’s calendar entry such as: go grocery shopping during the day; Currier museum trip; designer’s showhouse trip; unpack/laundry, and so forth.

    I need ideas written down right in front of me for how to spend my time that “free” day, so that I do not work that day (and ultimately burn out, doing what I love doing).

    Returning from vacation, I give myself a day off the first day I’m back and spend it at home.

    Think about your own “best practices” or “playbook” of what works for you, so you can leave and return, feeling refreshed and relaxed, doing your best for yourself and those around you.


    This is my newest puppy, who is not so exhausted as Sanford used to get with my walking around in circles. :)

    Malik: Relaxed because I am !















    What is YOUR reset button to return to creative, mind wandering mode which provides perspective on what you’re doing?

    Wouldn’t that be useful and feel great?

    Read this NY Times article from where I took this, a favorite quote: “Increasing creativity will happen naturally as we tame the multitasking and immerse ourselves in a single task for sustained periods of, say, 30 to 50 minutes. Several studies have shown that a walk in nature or listening to music can trigger the mind-wandering mode. This acts as a neural reset button, and provides much needed perspective on what you’re doing.”

    The article is here ...

    OR contact me to help you figure out your own ways ( to have perspective, slow down, and use your natural creativity. 


    Back to School as an Adult: Three Ways to Create Time

    August 3rd, 2014

    You’re taking a course or courses in subjects that interest you for the first time in awhile.

    Back to School: Great Courses (dot) com

    Or perhaps you’re attending school part-time to create a new career.

    … or one of the “boot camp” programs designed for the self-employed  business owner.

    … or a certification program for your current profession.


    And you were already busy to start with! But this is so important to you.

    You want … You need … to make the time to do this well, to own this, to show yourself and those around you what you’re all about now in this new phase of your growth as a person and a professional.


    3 Ways to Create Time for Your Classes

    1. Make a commitment to yourself

    Block the times you will attend class, including travel, meals on the way to/from.

    Need quiet time before class? Block it in the calendar. Knowing ahead of time where you’ll go to have that time makes it easier to make sure you actually get yourself there!

    Will you need time after class to process and solidify discussions and the learning? While still in the school context, you’ll remember more if you take these extra minutes. (Especially with ADHD.)

    Or if it’s a self study program, choose and book calendar times so you make a commitment to yourself.


    2. Create a visual reminder

    What is it about attending school that is so important to your life?  What will you get from it, not only practically, but how will you feel as a person and a professional?

    “I’m taking this class so that … “

    And how could you put that into words or a symbol or  a picture, so that on those difficult days, when it seems the world is against you, YOU still stand up and do what you set out to do.


    3. Talk to those around you about how this is important to you

    You have friends, family, professional colleagues who care about you and your involvement in their lives. They will support you if they know more about this.

    First talk about how important this is to you. What you hope to gain. Share what you’re learning to engage them. Explain how this is important to you or your profession. Talk about how you made the decision to take the course or the program.

    Second, discuss the time you need to devote. When that will be? What might suffer, or where you could use some assistance? School won’t last forever, so there are short term shifts you could make in responsibilities.

    Review what this change does to your commitments to work and family and your own self-care habits?  What could you cut back on, if not give up? Who can support you a little more? Do you have your systems in place to make this work smoothly? Do all this now, not mid semester or mid course, when things are already crazy.


    Think what a role model you’ll be to those around you. Or how you’re taking care of you and those you love. Or whatever it is that makes this important, now, at this time of your life.

    You made the commitment. Now set yourself up well to carry through on it.


    Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.  ~Chinese Proverb