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Wind Down at Work and Prepare for Maternity Leave

This week, you can
• Take a look at the role procrastination plays in your life
• Make final arrangements at your place of employment
• Wrap up things around your home office

LET’S SEE how clairvoyant I am. I predict that you had one of three reactions to the initial material on getting your business life ready for your departure:

• You are a gold-star student who did everything I suggested. You have been ready to leave for a long time. Everyone at work has been coached. Clients are happy. Vendors feel secure. The space itself is pristine.
• You’re a dabbler. You did some of the things but not all. But you’ve been planning to get with the program this week and finish so you can have your baby and be truly present with the experience.
• You read the material and said as they do in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York: Fuggedaboutit. You have a deep sense of panic as this week dawns and another month draws to a close. Nothing is in place for your departure. Worse-case scenario, your coworkers think you’re on top of things! Won’t they be surprised?

Take a deep breath. There’s no reason to panic. Remember one of the basic concepts of Zen Organizing is that the whole of anything is overwhelming. You need to break projects down into the parts that make up the whole in order to gain control. No one exits her mother’s womb and runs a marathon. We crawl. We walk. We run. We work in stages. And that’s what we’re going to do this month. The difference is, you’ll need to buckle down and really do the work. Let me ask you a few questions to see if we can’t shed some light on which choice you made a few months ago when this material first presented itself.


If you took the first route, you’re probably a naturally organized person. You thrive on order. You are wired very much like me. Motherhood will be a time you train your own child how to be organized. (I’m going to guess you learned from your mother.) Of course, the universe has a sense of humor so don’t be shocked if you have a child who is a free spirit and rebels against you in this area. My parents didn’t want a child who was an artist. They wanted a doctor or a lawyer. Very often in life we get what we most need, not what we want.


Were you the dabbler? It is more than likely that you are in the majority. It takes several months before the idea of the impending birth really takes hold as a reality. Is there a part of you that is reluctant to leave your job? After all in this arena you may be very successful and in control. You’re leaving this world for one that is unknown and that’s always scary. Never fear. About two weeks after the birth you will feel like an old hand. In reality, organizing is organizing and what changes are the items in your hands, not the concepts behind the work. One day it’s file folders and the next it’s diapers.


If you are the Queen of Fuggedaboutit, let’s see if we can’t find out why. That’s the great thing about life: There’s always a reason. I love helping my clients find out why they are so reluctant to get organized. If we can understand the root cause, we’re free to set something more productive in its place. Please take twenty minutes and answer the following questions in your baby journal.

• Are you always doing things at the last minute?
• Is that the behavior you observed as a child? Is it “the norm” as far as you’re concerned?
• When others have to wait for you to go to dinner or deliver a project at work, do you secretly enjoy the extra attention?
• If you gave this up, would there be another way for you to gain the attention you enjoy/crave?
• Do you ever worry about being a mom? Do you wonder if not being able to do things in a timely fashion will adversely affect your child?
• Were you always on time and super organized until a specific event occurred ? What was that?

As you can tell from these questions, I’d like to uncover the reason you tend to procrastinate. It’s going to make life as a mother more complicated if you are always late, harried, and in chaos. You don’t have to solve this issue today; just keep your thinking cap on after you complete this exercise and see what inspirations come to you. Let me share a story that may help you feel less alone.

Connie Makes the Connection

This lady is one of my favorite clients. Connie is warm, funny, entertaining, a great mom, and an accomplished businesswoman. She called me in to assist her because she has trouble getting rid of things. Her home is small and she didn’t want chaos to be imprinted on her children’s DNA as the norm. It was also no secret that her husband, Jeffrey, was at his wit’s end. Connie decided we’d work in her home office to jumpstart the changes she wanted to make. As always happens, Connie and I chatted away and almost by magic the past revealed itself. Here is what she shared with me.
Connie is the product of a broken home. Her father died shortly after the divorce and her mother remarried a few years later. Connie never liked her stepfather and from all accounts he was jealous of her relationship with her mother. The family made two significant moves during Connie’s school years. She was never consulted or informed. One day she would just come home from school and a few key possessions would be packed into suitcases. The rest would have been dumped. Was it any wonder that as an autonomous adult in charge of her own world, Connie had difficulty parting with her possessions? See whether you have a traumatic experience like this in your childhood. You want to disconnect from it, if you can, before your baby arrives. A few sessions with a therapist might work wonders. It certainly made all the difference for Connie!
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