For the past several years, I've been been attending various national & international conferences on behalf of my professional organizing business. Sometimes I speak, sometimes I don't, but I always have fun, which is a nice bonus I didn't see coming.
As a former teacher, I thought these organizing conferences would be an opportunity for live education outside of my local area in Austin. Taking a class online can be great, but meeting up with people in person is even better. However, I've come to find that these events impact me in many more surprising ways. They are educational, of course, but they also benefit my clients, my business, and even my personal life.
How My Clients Benefit
The most recent conference I attended was the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals 2019 Conference in Fort Worth, TX. In each session I learned at least 1 new tip to help my clients. From recognizing productivity types (to better help with weaknesses) to scheduling tips for my creative clients (all my favorite artists and writers out there), I learned common cues that trigger a tired state and how to help you overcome it.
For my small business clients, I am currently researching several new apps I learned about for workflow automation that will find you more time in your schedule. I'm inspired to get back to blogging and creating videos more often - I know you need that inspiration, too. Plus leadership training taught me how to better work and understand others that don't plan and schedule like I do. Hello - that's most of my clients!
How My Business Benefits
Not only did I learn tips while attending sessions, I had the most amazing "hallway conversations" with random people I ran into. The really interesting part was the experience level of attendees. I learned equally awesome tips from newbies and 20 year veterans in the organizing industry. So the more I learned, the more I stopped everyone I saw in the hotel with a NAPO badge. My apologies if I accosted you in an elevator, but the conversations were too good to pass up.
I learned some of the best tips at the 7am breakfast and others at midnight, so I kept my smile on 24-7. I couldn't help it surrounded by all that enthusiasm to help others. It was simply infectious. The crazy part is that technically we are all competitors, but the thought never even crossed my mind. I gave as good as I got and I felt fabulous about it.
How My Personal Life Benefits
As a mom, an owner of 2 businesses, a wife, and a human being, I didn't realize how run down I had become. Part of the reason I'm a Certified Professional Organizer® is that we try to transfer our skills to our clients so they can grow and organize without us in the future. But while we are working together, I get really invested in my client's lives. It's hard to not feel compassion for their situations and want to, well, move in and fix everything with them. That requires a healthy rest every once in awhile.
Taking a break from home and life gave me a lot of perspective about how I spend my days. Yes, I'm amazing at time management, but maybe those hours I free up in my schedule shouldn't be used for more work. 2 hour long dinners with your girlfriends are cleansing, magical, and just what the doctor ordered. Literally.
So, What's Next?
I've got an action plan put together to implement everything I learned at the NAPO 2019 Conference. I'm not doing it all at once (because burnout), but I do have dates set to start and finish my tasks. I'm going to amp up my energy in certain areas and slow down in others. So in other words, work smarter, not harder.
I'm also going to add even more fun into my business because there's always room for more fun. In fact, my favorite part of conference was getting to better know people I work with in a non-work environment. Or in certain cases, in a photo booth or on the dance floor. Who knew organizing could be so much fun?