Work-life balance is hard to maintain when you’re a busy professional woman. However, one easy route is to start off by spring-cleaning your life. Rhian Morgan talks to Vicky Silverthorn, a professional organiser, who is on hand to help you get started
As a manager or leader, you probably have a secretary to sort out all the boring bits of your itinerary.* But don’t you often dream of having someone sort out your home life, too?
Well, now you can. Popular in America, but just starting to take off here, is the world of the professional declutterer. One such life organiser is Vicky Silverthorn. After working as a PA for celebrities, Vicky saw a gap in the UK market. And one of her clients inspired her company’s name.
Vicky says: “When anybody came into Lily Allen’s dressing room looking stressed, her booking agent would tap them on the arm and tell them: ‘Oh, you need a Vicky’. So when it came to naming my company, I thought, ‘That’s perfect!’ ”
You Need a Vicky now counts celebrities like Ed Sheeran and Eliza Doolittle as clients, as well as business professionals and executives.
She helps people who are time poor to organise all of the things they never get around to. From home decluttering to office organization and financial management, Vicky can be on hand to help.
Vicky’s philosophy is that, if you make your home a sanctuary, it will improve your overall wellbeing. “You can be eating the right food and exercising but, when you live in a cluttered house, life is complicated and your mind can’t be truly free,” she comments.
For instance, organised paperwork and a basic system means you can put your hands on anything and keep on top of that tedious job that is life admin.
Vicky adds: “Decluttering lifts you physically and, most importantly, emotionally. It provides you with renewed energy, focus and headspace to function better, improving the way you work and allowing you to become a better leader and achieve more at work, at home and in life, in your working week.”
Vicky has offered some advice in order for professionals to have a happier, healthier home, and a more efficient and organised work life:
- Do it now: Don’t put off the process, grab a bag and start removing all the things you know no longer have a place in your home or your life. Get them out immediately.
- Clear Out: Get rid of the items you never use or need. This will also clear mental distractions when your work life is busy.
- Declutter your home room by room: Start with the room that gives you the most negative feeling of all. Or the one most used. This will free your mind and increase your head and thinking space.
- Get organised: Imagine the time you can save by knowing where things are. Putting your finger on what you need at the drop of a hat. Those tiny moments make such a difference to your day and your state of mind.
- Free space – free thoughts: Your productivity levels and even energy levels will increase.
- Increase your help: If you have a cleaner who just cleans, increase her hours by even a couple and add more to her list. Take chores away from your to-do list (a mini housekeeper).
- Complete admin: Introduce a pay-as-you-go PA to your home life. If things need doing and aren’t getting done, this can only improve your life quality.
- Designate an area: If you don’t have a specified home office but you frequently bring work home then designate an area. Have a place for paperwork to live. A go-to that you can also ignore when you want to stop.
- Work free – switching off: Keep one room work free. Your sanctuary free from emails, technology and paperwork. Free from clutter.
- Relax: Declutter your bathroom and make it a tranquil haven to relax at the end of the day – no clutter, no distractions. Wind down and sleep better. Light a candle in the evenings to symbolise it’s time to wind down.
- Morning efficiency: Declutter your wardrobe and start enjoying getting ready in the mornings. With no clothes that don’t fit or weekend clothes in your work section, this morning process is much more enjoyable.
- Back to basics: Keep any processes in your home basic and simple. Methodical. From filing to making dinner, getting ready in the morning – having things in the correct and efficient places makes an enormous difference to your daily routine.
- Five minutes before bed: Do spend that extra five minutes tidying away before you go to bed. You will be grateful in the morning.
- Small starts: Don’t think of decluttering your home and getting it organised as one giant job or you will put it off forever. Work bit by bit, drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard. Always finish a job started (a small job).
- Less is more: When you declutter, you will find yourself buying less, thinking more about what you bring into your home, and each time you declutter you will let more and more go. Clutter is a distraction. You cannot be as productive with it around you in any situation. It drags you down.
- One place for all: One calendar available on all devices, all things-to-do in one place. Change the name of your to-do list to ‘action’ for a more positive effect. I love the thought of making a hand-written note but for a good level of efficiency maybe it’s time to use your technology and start collating.
- Home deadlines: We have them at work so why not at home. If you are bringing work home, give yourself a cut-off point.
- Schedule downtime: If diarising something works well in your job, then you can follow it in your home life too. Put in time to stop. Time for your family.
- Take a break: Simply stand up, have a walk around, and many deep breaths. Frequently. Defog your mind for a minute. Go back into anything you are working on with a clearer head and fresh eyes.
For more on Vicky Silverthorn’s business, visit www.youneedavicky.com. *And, if you don’t have a secretary, see Vicky’s other business, youneedapa.com