Laura Williams, Professional Organiser at OrganisedWell talks to us all things organisation and staying passionate and positive!
Where it all began...
Originally from the West Midlands, I now live in Nottinghamshire with my husband and 8-year-old daughter. We love learning new things and exploring new places but also enjoy lots of family time. I am the founder of a home organising and decluttering business and help clients across the Midlands to create calm space and time to focus on the important things. I took the leap 2 years ago after developing my first career in HR, working for large corporations in London and the Midlands for more than 18 years.
After studying my first degree in Behavioural Sciences and then a Masters, I progressed through the ranks in HR, supporting and training employees and after specialising in a management advisory role, I lead a shared service department.
This gave me invaluable experience which I now use coaching and supporting my clients with a range of home and lifestyle organisation challenges.
Day in the life
I love to start the day with my family. My daughter and I have breakfast together (I missed this for a long time so I love that I can do this!) and get ready for school. Once she’s at school, it’s all about my business. If I’m with a client, I will have already had a video call with them and had a look around their home virtually so I’ll have given thought to how to approach working with them, the task we’ve agree to work on for the session and prepared ideas on how to manage the project. I will also have packed my car with all the things I think we may need so my morning will be focused on preparing myself to support my client and getting to them in good time. Because my clients can be anxious about the task ahead and feel awkward about the state of their home, I need to arrive calm, prepared and ready to help them to make progress, whatever that means for them.
We will work together to make the changes they want to make, physically sorting through their things, thinking about what is meaningful and how they’d like to store it or dispose of what no longer serves them.
If I'm working with my client virtually, I'll call in rather than visit and we'll talk together as they work through their things with my guidance and support.
My work involves a lot of listening, coaching and supporting my clients as they become clear on what’s important and work out what they need to remove to create the physical and headspace they desire. I find that asking the right questions, offering support, techniques and encouragement makes all the difference, and we can progress tasks that had seemed impossible and may have waited years.
I am always so pleased to leave my client with a transformed space but can it be both physically and emotionally tiring. I love to come home and focus on spending time with family and relaxing.
I read The life-changing magic of tidying up (by Marie Kondo), tried out some of the techniques and haven’t looked back! When I started to create space in my home, it felt like a weight had been lifted. I felt more focused, confident, in control, not only of my home but my life.
I had worked in a high-pressure complex business environment and found myself stressed out and very unhappy trying to juggle a busy work/home/family/fitness life, as many of us do. Instead of being my sanctuary, my home was another source of stress.
I translated some of the methods into managing my life and realised that I’ve always been organising aspects of my environment and life. I discovered APDO (the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers), took their course and discovered a passion for sharing the wonderful benefits of getting better organised and decided to take the leap into this field. I love that my work now combines both of my passions!
Whilst I have lots of transferrable skills, I’ve never run my own business before, so I’m learning all the time. It can be challenging to take the time to learn, work everything out and balance it all but I love the challenge and enjoy learning. Things don’t always go to plan, but that’s part of the fun!
Owning my own business is a fantastic journey but working for myself can feel lonely at times. It’s at these times that you can get in your own way or find it hard to tackle problems and this can affect your business. My days can also be incredibly emotional, as I work with clients who are facing memories and emotions relating to their home and possessions. I’ve recognised how important my own mental health is and learned self-care strategies to keep myself healthy.
Being in control of my own schedule is an amazing freedom so I’ve been able to design my business to suit me and my family.
I take courses, read and network as much as possible to gain knowledge so that I can to provide the best service to my clients and grow my business. Meeting other local business owners has been invaluable for me as I’ve learned so much and received lots of support.
When it comes to looking after myself, I value being able to be flexible around my family’s needs and the things that are important to me. I am able to attend my daughters events, trips and be there for her when she needs support, I regularly volunteer in the local community and also do some work for a local charity that I’m passionate about.
I also ensure that I make regular time to keep physically fit and do yoga to clear my mind. I usually work from home so take myself off to different locations, walk and meet colleagues regularly.
I’ve an interest in psychology so the nature of my work fascinates me. I understood how decluttering my possessions and organising my things made my life feel easier, less pressured and less distracted, but the more I look into it, the more I love the amazing impact it has.
I’m fascinated that our brains experience ‘noise’ when we are surrounded by clutter (disorganised things), how we can focus better, be more productive, make healthier food choices and feel calmer, when we don’t have that ‘noise’ distracting us. It’s also so interesting to me that women generally seem to be affected more by clutter than men.
I’m passionate that in a world where we are constantly ‘on’ and struggling to look after our mental health, we be intentional about what we surround ourselves with and create healthy habits to support caring for our environment.
Transforming my home freed me up to focus on what was important for me and I wanted to help others to feel that same freedom. Before this, I felt so overwhelmed and unhappy but then I could see a new path for myself that enabled me to use the skills, experience and knowledge I’d gained to help other women to regain control of their overwhelmed lives.
It’s easy to get carried away with the ‘busy’ness of life but before you know it things can creep up on you. Be intentional. Focus on what you want to achieve and maintain focus by coming back to this.
I’m always amazed at what our minds are capable of and, through my running, I’ve been able to explore how to manage my thoughts and focus to achieve my goals. I’ve run for running’s sake but I had a breakthrough when I signed up for my first half marathon. I really discovered that it’s possible to achieve anything if you get intentional. Having a tough goal to work towards and maintaining that focus enables you to achieve what you think is impossible. The following year I signed up for my 2nd half marathon and walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for the 2ndtime. I was injured but still managed to complete was still determined to complete both. I discovered that my mind could enable me to do anything, despite the challenges I experienced. This is when I truly understood the power of our thoughts and that we are capable of anything!
Anything is possible! Stay positive and you’ll find a way.
Thanks so much to Laura for her blog, such a positive message! If you’d like to check out more of our inspirational women you can do here.