Finish in Style - Organizing Works!

One of my mother-in-law's many oft-quoted and wise declarations was "Finish in style." It has been on my mind lately, as I contemplate the end of another year, and the end of the first fifty years of my life. Based on my heritage, I fully expect to live another fifty years, so it seems appropriate to consider what I need to do now, so that I can finish the next fifty in style!

In the meantime, it's not too late to finish this year in style! Make sure that your end-of-year celebrations focus on improving the quality of the relationships that make life and holidays truly meaningful. In his Strategic Coach Program®, Dan Sullivan advocates "The Four Refer ability Habits:" (1) Show up on time, (2) Do what you say, (3) Finish what you start, and (4) Say please and thank-you. Seems simple enough, and yet how often we are surprised when it actually happens. But did you notice something? All of these admonitions require organization!

In my observation, one of the biggest advantages of organizing your life is to improve the quality of our relationships. Disorganization is a recipe for relationship destruction, frustrated searches for lost items, hurried departures and late arrivals, forgotten promises, and good intentions long abandoned, poison our quality of life.

In her book, Delights, Dilemmas & Decisions, Maggie Bedrosian writes about a young man who gets on a plane in Los Angeles, and immediately falls asleep. After two hours, he wakes, stretches, rubs his eyes, and yawns. "Gosh, it seems like I've been asleep for a long time. How much longer till we get to Oakland?" "Oakland?" his seatmate questions. "This plane is going to Auckland."

This story seems to emphasize another key factor required to "finish in style:" Make sure of your destination! (Or to put it in the vernacular of the day, identify your goals.) In this age of opportunities, choosing a destination is difficult enough in itself, but getting there through all the confusion that life offers is a real challenge.

It seems to me that one of the major stumbling blocks to reaching our destination, is that we start, or feel guilty about not starting! Yet there is far more than is humanly possible, to complete. We end up wandering around on road after road, feeling exhausted and empty. In the end, we have little to show for our efforts but an empty wallet and a tired body. I often remind clients that a creative mind frequently has more ideas than the physical body can carry out.

I'll never forget the impact of hearing Joyce Meyer; founder of Life in the Word Ministries, state that often she had to give up what was good for what was best. On the business side, one of the major contributors to the downfall of a business is the failure of management to clearly identify the target market for the products and services they offer, or conversely, to clearly identify what particular products and services will satisfy their target market. On the personal side, there is no doubt that it is good to bake cookies for the homeless, but if you end up snapping at the kids while you're doing it because you're way too tired, you might question whether that is the best action.

If you are looking for ways to finish your year-- or your life -- in style, start by asking an age-old question, "What would you like on your tombstone?" A recent client answered with "She made a difference."

This column marks the end of my journey as a regular columnist for The Get Organized News. I hope it made a small difference in your life. It's been a delightful experience, and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Dale and Chris, who do indeed practice the Refer ability, Habits ? and who showed admirable patience when I pushed their deadline to the limit. I'm leaving to concentrate on my new software program, Paper Tiger, which I am committed to "finish in style," and prove once again ? organizing works!

© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at

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