You’re sure that if he/she worked with an organizing coach, life would be better, calmer, more productive at work and at home. I know it will … but would he or she agree? This is the time of year you might be thinking, “I want to get a gift that MEANS something, that won’t just be more ‘stuff’ to add to a cluttered life.”
It’s a helpful thought … and here’s how to do it so you help your relationship and don’t hurt it.
When someone calls and asks about a gift certificate, I offer the following advice, so that the conversation and the gift are welcomed, and don’t cause a blowup in your relationship.
Who is complaining? About what?
Has she complained that she just can’t get a handle on it all? Life, the home business, the household. Think carefully, because she needs to be the one complaining. That’s where her motivation to change will come from, not because she “should” or because someone else tells her. Research tells us that when a decluttering is forced, the clutter returns, and even more of it. We can do a big reorganization, but if she doesn’t see a real need in the first place, how quickly do you think the stuff or time clutter will return? In a blink of an eye.
Starting the conversation
What did he say when he complained about too much to do or his ADHD getting the way? That’s the phrase you want to key off of to start a conversation. Because you do need to have a conversation before you give this gift. “I was thinking about when you said … and I’ve read this woman’s blog/website. What I liked about her approach/credentials was … and so I thought this might be useful to you. What do you think of the idea?”
Stuff and time clutter are conceptually like money. One of you probably is a bit more of a saver and the other more of a spender. Just as our attitudes and upbringing about money and finances are often different, so are our attitudes about stuff and time.
If either time or ‘too much stuff’ have become an issue in your marriage, an outsider, provided you both agree to this, is a useful approach. When I work with the one spouse, I work with that person’s strengths but I also understand that this organizing is different for each of us, so I can appreciate and explain what’s likely happening for the other spouse.
When ADHD, bipolar, depression/anxiety are in the mix
Many of my clients have ADHD. It shows up differently for each person and affects his/her life differently. The skills and practical strategies we work on will be different for each person.
Also, if needed, I’ll recommend education for both the spouses or the employee and the supervisor. Because it’s not an issue of “simply doing it.” Or “mind over matter.” These are neurologically based issues and you need to understand something about your condition to figure out how to outsmart it. Or to understand how to work together, so neither of you is a nag about it but together, you can deal with its impacts. Yes, it’s the third wheel and it will be, until you understand, accept and even embrace how ADHD shows up in your life.
Next chapters: divorce, death, big life changes
This would seem like an ideal situation to go through your things and your time, figuring out how to honor the past but move on. And that’s true. It’s cathartic, balancing, and filled with memories.
Here, you’ll want to ask the question even more sensitively about whether the person is ready to “begin to think about moving on, at least a first step.” My experience is that he/she may be ready to part with things, but may not be ready for the whole process. And people get ready to move on at different rates. So it’s about taking one, small step and starting the process. That’s been the best approach and the least threatening to the memories of the past.
Other options to get started
Last, if it now seems that a gift certificate is not the idea that will work, you might consider giving my book instead. It’s filled with practical strategies, room by room and includes time management advice, plus reflection questions. Its focus is on moving onto your next chapter, so if big lie changes are part of the equation, this might be a good start. Read the table of contents and a chapter at this link.
You can call first
For gift certificates or to discuss your situation before you decide, simply email me or call 603.554.1948. Happy to chat for a bit to help you figure out how to help yourself or the person you’re thinking about. I offer phone coaching/consulting, virtual organizing, and in home/in office meetings – or a combination, depending on what works best.
Happy holidays season -