Outer Order, Inner Calm

Just last week, I returned from the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas where I served as the Conference Chair. It was a tremendous honor and responsibility to lead the committee that would select the educational program and keynote speakers for the conference’s 500+ attendees from the U.S. and beyond.

We were thrilled to secure Gretchen Rubin as one of our keynote speakers. She is a New York Times Best Selling author of several books including, Better Than Before, The Happiness Project, Happier at Home and The Four Tendencies. All are fascinating reads! Her new book, Outer Order, Inner Calm was a perfect fit for our productivity and organizing colleagues. Gretchen was the Law Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she made the decision to leave her career and become a writer. She’s part of Oprah’s Super Soul 100 and even walked arm in arm with the Dalai Lama.

Being a big fan of her books, I was excited to meet her and listen to her speak. She was insightful, honest and funny! Here are some things that resonated with me that I hope will help you to create outer order in an effort to find inner calm.

1- Outer order DOES contribute to our inner calm
When our outer world is in chaos, such as a messy desk at work or a disorganized closet at home, it causes us stress. When we create order (not perfection!) in our world, we feel this immediate sense of peace and calm. Tackle one small area that is causing you the most stress and build from there. A few minutes a day, over time, can create more peaceful surroundings which will help us de-stress and feel that sense of calm that most of us long for.

2- A one size fits all solution does not work
Creating order by decluttering and organizing is not a one size fits all proposition. We are different people, with different needs and motivations. You may need to try several potential solutions for a specific organizing issue until you find one that works for your personality. For example, if you are trying to organize your kitchen utensils, some people would prefer a large crock on their countertop to house them, while others would prefer them inside the drawer in an organizer. When we create a solution that suits our individual needs, we are more likely to stick with it by changing our habits. In the process, we become happier, healthier and more productive!

3- Getting control of our “stuff” lets us feel more in control of our life
When we get rid of the things we don’t use, love or need, as well as the things that don’t work or fit, we make room for things that we value. When we have only the things we use, love or need in our home and work space, we free our mind in many ways. You’ll limit the time you waste looking for things and will actually enjoy being in these spaces. The less we have, the less we need to care for or maintain.

It’s all about making choices, cultivating positive habits and adding beauty to our spaces. When we do so, we are happier, calmer and more energetic!

Learn more about Gretchen and her books at GretchenRubin.com.