Practicing yoga and organizing your paperwork have a lot in common.

Yoga and Organizing: Making the Connection

Karen Caccavo desk organizing, Life Lessons, Paperwork Organizing

Readers of this blog know that I enjoy making connections between my work as a financial organizer / daily money manager and the other seeming disparate parts of my life—like “mommy” to a new kitten and keeper of a sourdough starter.  (For more, explore the “Life Lessons” category on my blog).  In this post, I explore the connection between yoga and organizing.

I made yoga part of who I am, from my college years and onward. In fact before I started Personal Money ManagerSM 12 years ago, I earned my 200-hour yoga teacher certification.  My plan was not to become a yoga teacher but to learn more and feel more confident in my yoga practice.

I’m delighted to discover that what I learned in training to be a yoga teacher serves me and my clients well as a financial organizer. If you‘ve never done a headstand (or even sat cross-legged on the floor) and have no plans to, no worries.  Stick with me. There’s a lot here for you, too.

1)  In organizing, as in yoga, remember to breathe.

Sounds obvious?  Anxiety over clutter and fear about “not doing it right,” or simply diving helter-skelter into something long avoided, can make you forget to breathe.  As I remind clients who do NOT want to turn blue, breathing fully helps one think straight and hang in for the long haul.

2)  Visualize success.

Years before I could do a half-moon pose, I was encouraged to see myself in that pose.  I remember a yoga teacher saying that just visualizing myself in a headstand carried as much benefit as actually doing it (which is good news as I have not yet mastered that ).  When it comes to organizing, I encourage clients to imagine how they would like their workspace and paper flow to look and function.  Visualizing helps you set goals and motivate you along the way.


3)  Challenge yourself—gently.

In organizing, as in yoga, prepare to stretch.  Count on getting out of your comfort zone in order to get results but also remember to be gentle with yourself.  No beating yourself up over a messy desk or committing to days on end of decluttering that will just result in disappointment and exhaustion.  Experiment with different organizing options (link) and test your limits if you choose to but take care of yourself at the same time.

4)  Provide support in both yoga and organizing.

In yoga, props such a mat, chair, bolster, blocks, and a strap help you get into otherwise challenging poses.  The idea is to make it easier to attempt a pose and support your body as you attempt something new.  The same goes for organizing.  Investing in professional assistance from Personal Money ManagerSM can jump-start and support your organizing efforts and make sure you reach your goals.  When organizing your paperwork, gather and keep helpful tools within reach–from calculator to yellow markers–and give yourself enough room and time to do the job right.  Add calming or upbeat music. “Cheating” is allowed, even encouraged!  Any and all support that helps you get results is welcome.

5)  Create a “no judgment zone.”

No judgment is permitted in yoga . . . or organizing.  Our goal is not a spread in a glossy magazine or to levitate (see photo).  Instead, let’s create and maintain a clear, livable, workable space.  No one is judging you and you shouldn’t be judging yourself.  Just stay positive and celebrate all your achievements—both big and small.

6)  Bring a sense of humor.

If it’s not fun, you won’t jump in or stick with it.  That goes for both a yoga practice and organizing projects.  Make it enjoyable.  Laugh at yourself and the very human pickle you find yourself in.  Organizing in the media has taken a VERY serious turn.  But that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t have a good time!


Photo credit:  ID 86553460 © Mike2focus |