Inside the mind of a professional organizer: ‘Do as I say, not as I do’

Jessi Bushman PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Jessi Bushman PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

And just like that, we’ve approached the close of another year.

Welcome to December, the month when we attempt to accomplish everything we’ve put off for the last 334 days.

That said, the next 744 hours of 2023 represents our attempt to wrap-up a million things and see as many people as humanly possible. Make it count, right?

How do we do this? Where do we begin? How do we finally execute what fell through the cracks … again?

Regardless of how we want to improve, the million dollar question to ask is how do I evolve into the person I want to be, while embracing my demanding lifestyle which is fueled by the overwhelming media and peer pressure to find a work/life balance while multi-tasking?

Life balance does not equate to performing multiple tasks at once while attempting to improve ourselves. Unfortunately, this approach will produce the opposite results.

When we stride to succeed, organization and priority management of how we spend our time are key factors to embrace.

We have two options when it comes to improving our life balance with new methods:

1. We rely on others to show us how.

• Do as I say, not as I do.

• Practice what I preach.

2. We identify realistic goals and implement new habits to succeed.

• Trial and error.

• Research time-tested methods.

Both scenarios share one element: Time.

Time is priceless and something we have no control over. Or, do we?

Between options 1 and 2, which path are you likely to take?

Based on my lifetime observations (and my early attempts), we look for a quick fix and tend to rely on others — possibly too much — as we spend more time seeking quick results with rose colored glasses instead of doing the hard work ourselves.

Punctuality? Reliability? Personal and family organization? Family focus? Job advancement? Relationship status? Fitness? Growing out that pixie?

What’s your goal? What actions are you making? Most importantly, where is your source of influence coming from?

Realistically, we know there are a lot of people who take the credit.

It’s easy to paint the picture of doing it all. What we don’t see is behind the scenes — the assistants.

Based on historical facts, we can’t do it all, and that’s OK. Research of time-tested methods will help us understand effective routes towards our success.

“Do as I say, not as I do” is linked to John Selden’s “Talk Table,” published in 1654.

I ponder this concept regularly when interacting with others, as well as reflecting on how I display my accountability as a professional organizer.

Let’s just say, I practice what I preach and gravitate towards those who do as well.

The past two years have been my journey toward self-improvement, including the decision to follow my passion, which turned into becoming a business owner.

Initially, I fell down the internet rabbit hole looking for ideas to kick-start my success, and what I found was a lot of smoke and mirrors.

In reality, helpful tips are the result of

one-on-one interactions with peers, not social media.

I’m learning on my journey, but have accepted time, experience and networking with local entrepreneurs is the time-tested approach I’m willing to embrace to cultivate longevity.

“Do as I say, not as I do” is an overwhelming truth.

As you transition into the New Year and identify new goals, be realistic about how you spend time.

• Evaluate how daily minutes are spent.

• Identify and factor out wasted time.

• Create a solid reoccurring schedule.

• Find a positive mentor.

• Holding yourself accountable.

Time (which is priceless) and dedication to meet your goals will lead you down the path of self-enhancement.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer, member of the Iowa Professional Organizers Association and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at

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