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Coach Sue West

New words, new look.
Tablet & phone-friendly. It’s here.

Designed with the Organized Assistant team, the new site and blog benefit from the specialized work Organized Assistant does with professional organizers and coaches, from website to blog to social media.  I often post the Professional Organizers’ Blog Carnival, which is Janet’s creation.  Along a theme, she hosts a ‘carnival’ of blog posts with ideas and suggestions, typically from about 12 organizers and coaches.  All in one place!
Hello again.

I make connections among experiences that sometimes other people don’t see. It happens naturally for me, as if I’m sitting up in the clouds with more perspective than usual on some days.

Today’s theme, about discovering your “personal best” came through these experiences:
  • "Am I doing my best for today?" Given whatever is going on, however I feel, how I slept, etc., how am I doing? ~ from a colleague, quoting her client.
  • "I know there is more I can do, but I don't know what to do next."  ~ a new client, who feels he has done as much as he knows how to manage his ADHD, diagnosed since his college years. But he knows there is more.
  • "You made me think differently about my time and things to do."  ~ retreat workshop participant.
The connection? Each person talks about his or her "Personal Best."

Whether it is paying your bills on time, being the best leader or manager, managing your ADHD, anxiety or other differences, being the parent you want to be, or the adult child for your parents, the question of your personal best applies.

What is your personal best? How do you figure out what it is? How or why is it important to you? What gets in the way?  

Sit back, get your tea, water, coffee or juice … and please read along with me.

P.S. Don’t know what your personal best is? Or you kind of know what it might be, but you can’t reach it? Consider short term coaching. We start with a 1/2 hour, no charge call. You'll walk away with at least one new strategy to start you on your way.  Check in with me via email or call 603.554.1948.


"Organization, Creatively" 

I recently facilitated a workshop as part of a retreat for parents, teachers and therapists, hosted by Creative Kids Yoga and Simple Soul Yoga. Presented at The Browne Center for Innovative Learning, a retreat center located in the woods, at University of New Hampshire in Durham. Join the retreat next year in early July by staying in touch on Facebook.

"Amazing. Wonderful.  This makes it so much more interesting to look at how I spend my time.”

Are You Operating at Your Personal Best ...  for Today?

Which feels better?

  • When you know at the end of a day that you've been the kind of parent you hope to be? Or when you get to the end of the day and know this is not so true today?
  • Or is it when you can tell that your prospective client really took well to your business presentation? Or is it when you know you didn't sleep well, showed up later than you wanted to for a meeting, and couldn't really tell how you did in the client’s eyes?
  • Or is it better when you kept your patience with your .... employee, aging parent, new puppy, business partner, spouse, teenager .... or when you snapped, but couldn't stop yourself, then realized at the end of your day that you weren't the person you wanted to be.

Two Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How can you more consistently operate at your personal best?
  2. And how can you let it go when uncontrollable circumstances create obstacles to your personal best?
I’ll focus here on the first question, with some 5 minute exercises. Then, I’d love it if you would join me over at the blog for more about point #2 above.

What made your personal best possible? 
You can't consistently do your personal best without knowing how to get there. Doing it is another issue, but knowing needs to come first, when you break it down.

Take 5 minutes and figure out what made your personal best possible for you on a particular day or when you were doing something at that level.  Do this and you'll know the ingredients.

Here is a list to start you off:
How did you do with foundational pieces like sleep, food, meditation, exercise – all your self-care? How did you organize that day you did your personal best? What choices or priorities did you make in how you spent your time that day and how did this matter? Who supported you and how? What preparation was useful? How were you feeling emotionally that day? Think of all the conditions which made it possible.

What IS your personal best anyway?  
Remember a time when you took on a new role? How did you learn it?  New supervisor, new parent, new mentor, business owner, spouse, or aging parent support. Looking at role models at first is a useful start. When you don’t have a sense of what your best is, you can compare yourself to others; watch, learn and take on only what you decide makes sense for you.

Take 5 minutes and think about a new role you took on when you felt you did it right. From any time in your life.

Take 5 minutes and write down what people consistently say when they tell you what you are good at or what is special or uniquely you.

Take 5 minutes and write down your strengths as you see them, your values or what you stand for, and/or what you envision as your personal best.

What is your "new" personal best, after the big change you've just been through?
This one is important when life circumstances have changed and not by your choice. This could be: a new diagnosis like ADHD or executive function differences, your spouse's dementia, physical disease or physical challenges, aging and the difference in energy level, working through things with a therapist, or working in a group for overeating, alcoholism, or clutter.

As you come through big changes, your personal best needs redefining. The first step is to realize that change is necessary, because the longer you resist, the bigger the block will be in pushing through and getting to the other side. Remember that you are not lowering any of your standards, but making them different. 

Take 5 minutes to think about what this change may help you to see or do or appreciate: what a new personal best might look like.
The best is what you believe you can do. And not what others think about you can do. We each contribute and make a difference in our own way. And even our own way will change over time, if we allow ourselves to be open to learn and grow.

Remember that personal best is not the same as perfect, far from it.

It’s about finding what works for you.

What’s your personal best? Are you there? How consistently? What's missing? When do you feel at your personal best?  And why or how is this important to you?

I’m going to continue this conversation on the blog, with the next set of questions and advice to help us all let go when things get in the way of our personal best. Please join me there.

Related Blog Articles:

A helpful guide to becoming unbusy
The word “just” – damaging to your credibility
Brene Brown: “I am not enough” – Brene Brown on Super Soul Sunday (4 mins.)
Missed our last issue? “12 Ways to Stop Micro-Managing” (at home and at work) can be found here.

ADHD Awareness

"ADHD is about the gap between capabilities and performance."
Dr. David Nowell, Ph.D., during a teleclass for the Institute for Challenging Disorganization
In this corner, I want to focus on Dr. Nowell's quote, because with ADHD and other mental or behavioral health issues, there is a gap you'll want to be aware of and learn about for yourself.

ADHD, when diagnosed, explains a lot for people:  "I should be able to handle more than I am." Or "I know I can do this but I can't GET myself to do it."
ADHD – Positive Traits
   Click for more on my ADHD Pinterest Board.
This is the gap between your true capabilities - they are in there - and the very real impact that ADHD, anxiety or depression will have on accessing your capabilities. Knowing what your personal best is and then consistently doing your personal best are two separate things to work on.

So how do we do this, begin to close the gap between capabilities and performance?

Figure out how to ground yourself.

Usually, people will say that undiagnosed ADHD feels like a constant fog, like radio static, or trying to see through a rainy windshield without any wipers at work. Grounding can be found in numerous ways: medication, meditation, walking or exercise, yoga, talk therapy, coaching, use of a timer, use of time/task system besides remembering everything in your head. Find ways to get rid of the noise and your performance to your personal best will get closer to your capabilities.

Find ways to discover your true strengths.

Certainly this is part personal discovery. Also though a hallmark issue with people who have interference, like ADHD, TBI, anxiety, etc., is a degree of inaccuracy in their self-awareness. This is why, if you've gone through an evaluation, a spouse or someone close is requested, because it's difficult to observe one's own behavior, even more so if you have ADHD or some other interference.

So take a few assessments and, with care, decide which pieces resonate and are honestly believable, or ask people close to you what they agree with. No assessment can tell you the whole story, though some will give you useful perspectives to consider. Work with a coach or a therapist if it's deeper.

You can also experiment. Practice new ways of doing things, so you can see how things go for you and therefore, what strengths show up. You won’t know ‘til you try, as the saying goes.

Do your best with organizing your days. 


Make the best use of your time. Use an ‘external memory’ to support you, without apologies. Choose your priorities instead of the day happening to you. Work on strategies and ways to do things, no matter how different they might be from the people you live with. If they work, then they are the right ones for you. No apologies.

By working on your time and self-management, you close the practical gap. You test your capabilities each day and as you succeed, you build up your belief that you can do more than you thought you could. Keeping track of systems and best practices which work for you will improve your consistency. You close that capability/performance gap like you never have before.

P.S. Don’t know what your personal best is? Or you kind of know what it might be, but you can’t reach it? Consider short term coaching. We start with a 1/2 hour, no charge call. You'll walk away with at least one new strategy to start you on your way.  Check in with me via email or call 603.554.1948.

Drop by and chat online at any of my social media sites.


Organize for a Fresh Start:

Embrace Your Next Chapter in Life

"I loved the author’s story about the “rusty nail” she hangs her keys on. This approach of the rusty nail is a metaphor for how the author approaches organizing systems. Rather than begin an organizing book with “perfect” solutions, this book is about organizing in ways that are useful and practical in everyday life. If a rusty nail is what you have and will work for you, then that’s what you do."
More reader reviews.
Read a chapter.
Peruse table of contents.


Printed version:

Available locally at The Black Forest and major bookstores. Also available at Amazon (print/Kindle), Barnes & Noble (print/Nook), my blog site, and others.

Your mind is busy.
You want to get life, home and work under control.
We might be a good fit if you:

  • are creative and/or a big picture thinker (lots of ideas; inconsistent implementation),
  • have ADHD or similar symptoms,
  • have a lifelong, “chronic” struggle with time management and organization (it just does not come naturally),
  • are dealing with lots of life changes (you know what to do, yet are not doing it.),
  • or are feeling ready to move onto a next chapter (where to start?)
You want to solve this, once and for all, get some perspective, do things differently this time, and move on.  Things, thoughts, time.

Together, we figure out goals first, so that you (a) know that this is working for you and (b) know when you have accomplished the goals and are ready to go it on your own.
Consider talking with me, ½ hour at no charge, to see how we can make some changes.
cell 603-765-9267
office 603-554-1948

I promise it will be worth your time.

What Clients Say

"It’s 4:30 and I’m still sitting in my classroom.  Not because I’m still working, though.  Because I’m savoring the peace that comes with a better organized space.  I still need to figure out a system for (that one last group of paper…)  But there aren’t a lot … so I’ll figure it out as I go forward, because finished is better than perfect.  Thanks so much for your help, encouragement, insightful questions and hard work!  You are such a godsend! You are the best!"

Read more testimonials.

Contact me at or 603.554.1948.

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