A friend recently posted on social media about a comment made on her business Facebook page. My friend is a very talented artist and takes rocks from their natural state to works of fine art (see above). This poster had tagged their friend and said “ [Name of Friend] You can do this.” In that moment my friend’s frustration (and rightfully so) was in this poster using an artist’s page to tell someone to copy this work/idea. Plagiarism in any form is a no-no, but that’s a blog post for another day…
This was the conversation that started me to this thought process. “When is DIY [organizing or productivity] above your paygrade? …and the permission to admit it.”
I responded to my friend’s post “It’s like when some people hear what I do (professional organizer & productivity consultant) and they say they can get someone organized. I wince. Their “help” is often hindering and does a disservice to the person and to the organizing industry. [As a professional organizer,] I am trained to create habits and systems that maintain things, time, and intangible processes. But sure, go ahead and clean their room like you would at home.”
Some might say that’s snarky, but I disagree. Not everyone possesses the skills to be a master artist, nor be a master organizer, and that’s OK. There is no shame in this. If your toilet was overflowing, you’d call a plumber. If your car was driving funny, you’d take it into the shop…. And there’s nothing wrong with that. No one would fault you.
However, there’s this shame and a DIY mentality that surrounds productivity and organization (and creative ventures as well, which is why I saw the link to my friend’s artwork – and have heard similar stories from musician friends). Clients say time and again:
“I should be able to do this myself.”
“I shouldn’t have to pay someone to help me do this.”
“A neighbor [insert mother, sister-in-law, husband, brother, friend] has offered to help do this for free.”
“People have helped me a few times, but I keep ending up like it is now.”
And I just nod my head. Because, I know. I have seen it and I assure them that working with a true professional organizer or productivity professional will be different.
Just like a plumber or mechanic who has spent much time training in their trade, a NAPO Professional will prioritize their own education. They will adhere to the NAPO Code of Ethics. They have a network of colleagues and business professionals to refer you to when your project is out of their skills and expertise. Additionally, NAPO Organizers & Productivity Professionals place a much-needed emphasis on transference of skills. Meaning they will teach you the skills to maintain your systems & tackle new projects when they’re not there. Why? Because lectures lead nowhere.
When I started to build my own organizing business (I’d been organizing & creating efficiencies in every job I’ve ever had!), I went to my local NAPO Chapter. I knew that I would not be able to help others unless my education was on point. There was a lot that I learned in that first year (and continue to learn), taking classes, and learning from my colleagues. NAPO taught me how I needed to interact with clients to best transfer those skills and create successes for my clients.
Through that I was able to curate my preferred style when working in a residential setting: which is to use my clients’ learning styles and a few other factors, to shepherd the conversation, asking questions to get my client to a conclusion. When those steps are taken inside their head, instead of me telling them how to do something, it is more likely to stick sooner and permanently. I love when I can practically see the gears turning as that ah-ha moment is about to happen. Or the excited call when they “Used the ‘Laura Method’ to tackle a project on their own.” In reality it is a method tailored exactly for them.
I truly believe that you get what you pay for. Sure, someone offering free help might get a cluttered room cleared out in a few hours, but to minimize backsliding, change habits, create maintainable systems tailored to the specific needs of a person, family or business? That requires the help of a professional.
Ps. If you’re interested in checking out Ore To Art you can find them on their Etsy Store Ore to Art.