Most of us are juggling so much in our everyday lives that we do not have the time to keep ourselves organized anymore. We are overwhelmed by a lot of things already that finding the time to learn how to keep ourselves in order is the last thing we could do. Jennifer Ford Berry, best-selling author of the Organize Now! series and the podcast host of The 29 Minute Mom, frees us of that burden by sharing her wisdom on being organized. Keeping life balanced and harmonized, she talks about having the right people and learning how to clear away clutter.
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Being Organized And Clearing Away Clutter with Jennifer Ford Berry
I’m celebrating women podcasters on our platform who you may not have heard of. I want you to because we have some incredibly diverse women on our platform and I love all the different topics. I’m excited to have Jennifer Ford Berry on and we haven’t gotten a chance to get to know each other. She’s the bestselling author of the Organize Now! series, which sounds timely and amazing. I want to learn more about that. You are the podcast host of The 29 Minute Mom. I love that idea because I’m juggling mom duty now on top of hosting a marathon series here. I’ve got some tips I need to get from you. How did you get started doing all of this?
It’s been seventeen years already and it’s crazy. I was a brand-new mom and I got laid off from my job in radio shortly after 9/11. Advertising got cut down for a lot of companies and I was the low man on the totem pole, so I got laid off. At first, I was super excited because I was getting paid unemployment and stay home with my brand-new baby. About three months into it, I realized that I still needed to work. I didn’t want to go back necessarily to Corporate America and live for the first 60 hours. I wanted to have flexibility but I also wanted to skip back into the business, which I absolutely love like marketing and all of that stuff. I was on a spiritual journey for about a year where I was taking a deeper look at myself because up until that point, I had gone with my plan. I’m a big planner, Tracy
Organize Now! implied that. I’m so excited because our mantra here at Feed Your Brand and Podetize and pretty much in our family is that hope is not a plan. That’s our family motto.
I always ask myself all the time, “What am I passionate about?” My plan of graduating college, getting into the business and making a lot of money is getting stale. I feel like I’m on Groundhog’s Day. Waking up every day, I wasn’t that excited. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing on this planet. I was there to make money. I kept asking myself, “What am I passionate about?” I was going through this whole entire process with this little book called Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow. I kept coming back to organizing when I asked myself what I was passionate about, but I kept trying to talk myself out of it. People do that a lot because I didn’t know anybody that fit in their box.
Seventeen years ago, the only other major organizers I knew about were like Peter Walsh was on Oprah or Julie Morgenstern had some books out, but it wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. I kept thinking, “I’m not going to be able to start a career.” It wasn’t like I wanted to be a teacher and I knew all these pantomime that were teachers. I literally knew nobody doing this business, but it was in my soul. It kept staring and saying, “Take a chance.” Finally, I said, “I’m doing it.” I started this little email called Free Weekly Organizing Tips. It was super straightforward and people loved it because it was like, “I want to get organize, just tell me what to do.” Little did I know that little email was becoming part of my first book.
Being organized for some people, especially for a lot of the entrepreneurs that I talked to, it is not their forte and it’s daunting at best. My husband, Tom, he runs the business and I’m sure you’ve talked to him many times. He’s the most disorganized person in terms of papers everywhere and his desk scares the heck out of me. Because he’s not in the office, I’ve gone in to re-arrange stuff which he’s going to be frustrated with. Those of us who are organized, we can’t stand disorganization. It’s too much noise. How does that tie into The 29 Minute Mom?
I’ve been doing this one-on-one coaching, professional organizing thing for a long time. I would say 90% of the clientele I work with both for this and for another business that I run are moms. That’s my favorite clientele and my favorite person to help because I relate. I know we’re struggling. We’re juggling so much in our everyday life and we can’t even barely keep our head above water. The number one word I always hear from my clients is, “I feel overwhelmed, Jennifer.” I thought podcasts helped me so much because they’re quick. I can put one on and listen to it in the car when I commute. I can do it when I’m getting ready in the morning and I’m feeding my soul. I call it fuel. I’m fueling myself and I feel like moms need that. They won’t stop and sit down and read a book, but they’ll listen to a podcast. I thought, “What can I give them in a bite-size piece and no more than 29 minutes that will offer motivation, inspiration and education? That will give them that boost they need for the day to make a positive impact on their life whether it be how to get more organized or it might be some inspiration from the author that we love and all sorts of people?” Something that they can listen to and they can feel energized after they’re done listening and they can put something into action to make their life better.
For those of you who tried to squeeze it in across the day, that’s exactly me. I always have my podcast on when I’m putting my makeup in the morning. I also do it when I’m getting dinner ready and doing the dishes. My favorite thing is we have an Echo Show now in our kitchen and it will play it over there. For those of you who don’t know and who are using one of those voice activated devices from Amazon, you have to sometimes ask for the show on Tune-In because that’s how it’s distributed. After you do it the first time though, anytime you asked for The 29 Minute Mom, it will show up from that point. The very first time if you’re asking for a show, Tune-In is the streaming player that is over the Amazon device. I want to let people know because if you’re trying to squeeze it in while you’re washing dishes, it’s awesome because you can’t do anything but listen. It’s the perfect time to absorb great inspiration and ideas.
The theme of International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter and I added the little term #LifeInHarmony because I want to be clear that I can’t do all that I do and get to that life balance alone. I liken it to you can’t hold a yoga pose on one foot forever. If you want to sustain that feeling of balance, you got to have a couple of people holding you up. You’ve got to have harmony in your life and you’ve got to have help and team. How do you balance all of that? How do you get to that harmonious life?
It’s interesting because I had a crazy thing happened to me where all of my business partners were like, “God wiped the slate clean.” I had one business partner that I had for twelve years. I had a publisher and I divorced them because of a breach of contract. I had a partner for the podcast and it all went away. It was interesting to me because I had to then figure out how I was going to have balance. I decided that I wasn’t going to take out any more partners per se, but I was going to have a solid team. At first, it was overwhelming trying to find the right people and all of that.
People promise a lot and deliver a little because it’s not their baby. They don’t care as much as the entrepreneur cares because it’s our baby and it’s our dream. I’ve been praying so much that God brings me the right people. Finally, it’s starting to be put into place and that helps a lot. Even Podetize, one of my girlfriends that is speaking at an event I’m doing told me about Tom. I was like, “This is so amazing because it’s a lot of work.” You have to realize this is how much time every day and I’m a stickler for time management. I want to do the things that I enjoy doing, which is speaking to guest and interviewing and all of that, but I don’t want to do the backend.
That’s why we invented this here because I didn’t want to do it either. I was like, “This is a waste of my time.”
It’s being honest with yourself and saying, “These are the things I love to do. This is where my skill set is and this isn’t and that’s okay.” Balance is definitely the team and it’s also the fuel. It’s super important to me to start my day out right. It’s important for me to do those time block increments so I feel like I’m definitely being productive and all these things that I’m responsible for. When that timer goes off, if I’ve given something an hour, you have to be okay with it as a woman. You have to say, “I did my best for that hour and I’ll get back to it tomorrow.”
It took me a long time to be okay with it because I’m extremely organized and all of that. It’s okay to have a pile of dishes until the next night. You’ve got to prioritize what you can do and what you’re capable of. Sometimes it’s different each day.
It is and there are seasons. I’m getting ready for an event, so it’s a season of like, “No, I can’t focus on my house as much this week because I’m focused on an event and that’s okay. I’ll deal with it afterwards.”
Let’s talk about events because you’ve got a new one and it’s called Created Order. You’re doing conference and it’s in Charlotte. What is this about? What can people expect from one of your events?People promise a lot and deliver a little when they are not invested in something. Click To Tweet
It’s a dream I’ve had for a while. I have this little acronym called STEM: Space, Time, Energy and Money and I think we’re all looking for more STEM in our lives. That’s why we feel so overwhelmed because we’re lacking it. By clearing away clutter, you can free up space, time, energy and money in your life. I’ve done this process with hundreds and hundreds of women. There’s a process that we use but once you get on the train of like, “I’m going to live this new way,” then deciding what’s clutter and what’s not becomes easy. Getting organized becomes easy because you know why you’re doing it. I want to teach people at the conference how to recognize and eliminate their clutter.
I want to teach them how to then get organized. I want to do it because I want them to have more space, time, energy and money for their God-given purpose which is why they were put here to begin with. I don’t think we’re here to accumulate more things. We’re here for something that was planned for us from the beginning of time. The more people embrace it, the more excited they get about life. It’s going to be a life-changing experience. I would call it like Marie Kondo meets Rachel Hollis because that’s how people can understand this right now. We have seven amazing women that are speaking and it’s a way to connect with each other and with everybody who attends and not leave them afterwards and say, “Good luck with that. We wish you the best.” It’s to create a new community of women that want to take their life to the next level.
You’re bringing up some things that I’ve had long discussions with my daughter, Alexandra, about. She’s a system and organized person and I love that part of her brain because it matches with mine. I don’t often get to have that person that can start that shorthand of how the system might work or how to organize. That’s where I feel a lot of entrepreneurs do fall apart. It’s one thing to organize your closet and your drawers and those kinds of things but we have the whole digital life of organization that’s necessary. Our businesses need organization and systems and it is usually the number one thing I find missing in people’s businesses. It’s the number one reason they can’t scale and make enough money because their system itself is holding them back. Are you finding that as well?
First of all, all things need a system. The time needs a system. I always say you’re not organized until everything you own has a home. That means paper, electronics in your office, time, where is this appointment going? It needs a specific column in your calendar. When you are in a business, sometimes it will start up because they’re creative, but they forget that you have to have organization to make this dream become reality. It’s a lot of work in between. The more organized you can become, the chances of your business succeeding will quadruple.
I don’t know if this is how you find it but podcasting systematized marketing for me. It provided the structure because it forced me to record. It forced me to make sure that I was doing something every week or every two weeks or however I structured that. We block schedule here for the entire month’s worth of content. I’ve set it up in the even more extreme situation because I run four different shows of my own that I co-host. It provided a structure in a way, as long as all the system stuff is taken care of, which is why I developed it. Once that was there, it made me be on time and it made me continuously do it. We call it getting off the marketing rollercoaster because that’s what happens. You have time, you market heavily and then when you get a lot of clients, you don’t market. Then you’ll find yourself in a dip three months later. You’ll find yourself crash landing at the bottom. Did you find that podcasting helped you provide more structure and fit that way you work?
Absolutely, because I had gotten away from my blog. I was like in a rut where I wanted to write the books. I’m in the middle of finishing up a book again and I love that process, but then after writing for hours and go into a blog post, it was getting old. I felt like it was completely outdated. For me personally, I’ve been doing it for so long. This is so crazy, but sometimes I think you need what I’m talking about clearing clutter. You need a clean slate, so I had somebody redo my website under the story brand marketing picture and all of my old blog posts from many years are gone after it.
I didn’t get freaked out because I was like, “Who cares? I want to do it differently.” The podcast was something that I started to have a lot more passion and fun with. I got excited again about having a website. I was like, “Let them go.” A lot of that information are in one of my books anyway. It’s not like it’s completely gone but I let it go and I’m having so much more fun doing the podcast. I love how you guys make it into a blog post too, so I don’t have to do it. It’s like, “I want to talk on my website. I don’t want to write books. I don’t want to write for blogging.”
It’s like I sometimes feel I’m always on the call. At least now I can say, “I’m doing a podcast, so it’s completely productive.” It has a complete business purpose. I like to be in the energy of getting to know new people and networking and doing all that. If I could do that as a part of my business structure, that set it on fire for me because I’m like, “I could do this all day,” and I’m literally doing that now. That actually fits me well. That’s where I see a lot of the successful podcasters are doing that where they’re utilizing their time in an organized way to both get the marketing done, making sure they’re getting their message across, and helping their audience. They’re also doing that networking that’s so essential to their business that you might not walk out of your office and get every single day. That’s where they’re putting that back into the structure of their business and that relationship building is serving them well in the long run.
It’s the best multitasking I can do.
Organized people hate the word multitasking because it implies you do nothing well.
Not me, I can multitask like a queen. It works for me.
I want to touch on your kids. You mentioned that it was a baby at home seventeen years ago. Now, you have a teenager.
I do. You can call me later and we can cry together because it is so hard.
This is what I tell people. It’s harder to have a teenager than it is to have an infant and you don’t understand that.
My aunt used to tell me, “Little kids, little problems,” and I used to think she doesn’t know my kids. The hardest part for me has been her driving. I’m not going to lie. I legitimately hate it because there’s so much pressure and you should let her go. How far should you let her drive? I live in Buffalo, so the snow is a factor and it’s too much pressure. Then my son is fourteen, so they’ll be driving in a few years.
I know the area well. Tom and I got married in Rochester, New York and we used to live outside of Jamestown in Chautauqua. The weather there is scary from October all the way to May.You got to prioritize what you can do and what you're capable of. Click To Tweet
At least you don’t have to worry about our houses blowing over from hurricanes or tornadoes.
I know how scary that is. Alexandra is my oldest and then we have a nine and a four-year-old. There’s something else about having survived to that teenagehood. You will survive it. There’s some amount of energy too like, “I got this. She turned out pretty good.” With your next one, when she’s out and she’s in college and you’ll get that one phone call and this is the one that I remember is when she calls me back and she says, “Mom, I bought my own car and I got it on my own credit. I did all of this because you taught me how to manage my money and you taught me how to balance my checkbook.” I cried and I was like, “I was the best mama on Earth.” To be in that moment, that will be worth every moment of that teenage angst that you had to go through with them.
I’m waiting for that. It’s funny because she’s like how I was when I was that age. We’re looking at colleges in Florida. I went to college in Florida and I think about how did my mom survive? She told me, “I just pretended every night you were in your dorm studying.” I’m like, “I’m the one in Florida so I know better.” It’s not so cold that you don’t want to leave your dorm. You want to go outside and get into trouble.
We will make sure that everybody can connect with you and find your websites and all of these and get some more information about your conference that you’re running because it sounds exciting. You all have to tune into The 29 Minute Mom. I’ve given you another great podcast to put on your list of podcasts from great women hosts. Thank you so much for joining me.
Thank you so much, Tracy, for having me. Thank you for all your hard work, you and Tom. You’re making my life easier, so I appreciate it.
- Jennifer Ford Berry
- Organize Now!
- The 29 Minute Mom
- Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow
- Created Order
About Jennifer Ford Berry
Jennifer Ford Berry is an organizational expert, best selling author, host of The 29 Minute Mom podcast, national speaker and promoter of God’s plan.
Jennifer was previously the regular organizing expert on the TV show: Winging it, Buffalo Style. Jennifer has been a guest on numerous television and radio shows. She has also been featured in many national magazines and newspapers. She is an animated speaker who has presented to the Learning Annex, corporations, churches, national conferences, mom groups and school districts. Jennifer is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. She currently resides in Western New York where she continues to work hands-on with her clients helping them to eliminate clutter and live their dreams.
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