Do you often feel overwhelmed at the thought of everything you should be doing with your life? Have you lost the drive and the spark to actually do what you WANT to do rather then what you THINK you should be doing? Do you need to be more mindful of the direction that your life is taking? If the answers to those questions are yes, then you should check out The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden
The Life Organizer aims to help you shift your focus, augmenting traditional goal setting with the ease that comes from steady inner listening and mindfulness.
Q & A with Jennifer Louden
There are dozens and dozens of time management books and planner systems on the market. Why create a new one?
Let me be clear: I would be lost without Google Calendar. But calendars and traditional time management is only half the picture. The Life Organizer brings in the other half: our values, our heart, our intuition, and mindfulness. We need our to-do lists, but there’s another whole part of us that withers if we’re not making time to listen and tune in.
How does Life Organizing work?
You can do it anytime. It’s not a big deal. The way that the book is structured is that it gives you all kinds of tools that you can use in 30-seconds — on your way to pick up the kids, when you’re waiting for a meeting to start, or when your head is about to pop off because of boredom or stress. Tens of thousands of women have been using these ideas for more than 15 years in so many creative ways. From a few minutes in the bathtub on a Sunday night to a regular check in first thing in the morning – it’s completely customizable and flexible. That’s why it’s been so popular.
The Five Step Organizing Process sounds like it takes time. How can women possibly add another thing to their lives?
It takes far longer to explain the five steps than it does to do them!
The first step is to CONNECT. So much of our lives we forget we have a body until our back aches from sitting too long, or we have to go to the bathroom urgently. Connecting simply means finding your body and feeling it. Maybe take a breath, put your hand on your heart, or give yourself a little ear rub. It takes seconds.
The second step is to FEEL. This is based on the great body of research in neurocardiology. We have a brain in our heart and that brain is one of our most effective tools for stress reduction and also for opening up the higher functions of our brain; creativity, intuition, empathy.
FEEL means recall a pleasant feeling. I got married recently so my favorite memory these days is the ceremony and our dance. I take about 20 seconds to feel in and turn up the volume on those feelings of love and connection and happiness.
The third step is to INQUIRE. Drop a Mindful Question in to this opened up space. Something like, ‘What would I really love to do next?” or “What or whom do I want to say no to today?” or “What’s most important in this moment?” Then the final two steps are to ALLOW yourself to relax and listen. And, finally, APPLY or take action. Do something with what you hear, even if it’s just say thank you for yourself for checking in.
This is a mindfulness practice woven into everyday life.
You offer a different way to manage your To-Do list in The Life Organizer. What is that and how does it help tame overwhelm?
So much of our experience of overwhelm comes from the story that we tell ourselves about what we have to do. So one of the most beloved tools in The Life Organizer is to sort your list by “have to”, “could do”, and “let go of”. What women have reported to me over the years is just the permission to use that frame to look at their life – everything is not a have to – opens up the idea that overwhelm might not be this law of the universe that you must experience, that it might actually be something you have a relationship to and that you can choose to change.
Have to, could do let go, try it out when you next add items to your to do list.
You’ve been called The Comfort Queen. What does Life Organizing have to do with comfort?
It’s another iteration of the themes of my 23-years of writing, teaching, and speaking about women’s well-being. To me, the deepest definition of comfort is being comfortable in my own skin and with my own choices and decisions. To get there, over the course of all the books I’ve written and all the workshops and retreats and speeches I’ve given, I’ve realized that it’s taking the time to listen to myself and validating what I am experiencing. It’s asking, “What do I need? What do I think?” Instead of going to an expert, it’s really coming into this moment and owning it for myself.
The Life Organizer helps you become comfortable trusting yourself, your instincts and choices and directing your life more from that place. Not all of the time, but more. That’s really deep comfort.
Jennifer Louden is widely known as The Comfort Queen thanks to her first bestelling book The Woman’s Comfort Book. Jennifer has been interviewed by Oprah, and has written a total of 6 books on well-being and whole living that have inspired women all over the world. She believes self-love + world-love = wholeness for all. You can check out her website by visiting http://www.jenniferlouden.com.