How Well Do You Know Your Client? … The Secret to Their Personal Productivity

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During my time as a professional organizer, I often spoke about the effect of an individual’s personality type (according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) on their organizing style. Although helpful, you don’t need a formal assessment tool to understand your clients. Nancy Borg is here today as my guest to explain how you can really “get” your clients and develop organizing systems that will work for them.


Not every one of our clients is self-actualized. It takes a very insightful individual to pay attention to who they really are. I like to call this sixth sense, one’s life rhythm.  As Professional Organizers, it takes an astute eye to assess ourclient’s preferred modalitiesEssentially, it is understanding what makes our clients tick.

We understand that each of our clients approach life so differently in accordance with their individual personality styles. I have often blogged before about individual’s unique learning styles and how these different modalities affect the way they understand organization, but I recently have realized that we must also consider their general life rhythm. Are they in or out of sync with themselves?

With our guidance, making a real connection with their consciousness will impact how they move through their lives and will organically affect their productivity. As Organizers, we must pay attention and explore beyond the realm of organization.

Let’s talk about stress. We all manage our anxiety levels in a discriminatory way. Perhaps we should ask our clients more poking questions like these?

  • Have you thought about how you handle pressure?
  • Are you a last minute person, or do you like to prepare?
  • Do you delay making decisions, or do you cut to the chase?
  • Do you get a vicarious thrill from living on the edge, or do you play it safe?

When they’ve answered all of these questions, you will gain a keener sense of who they are, and discover if they are indeed in touch with their inner self. Clearly, there are so many layers to all of us; it is so very difficult to expect a client to identify each and every one of them by themselves. That’s where we come in.  We are the objective eye. We can evaluate with a trained perspective.

These trigger questions will help delineate the familiar patterns of their life organization. Butthe real challenge istorecognize their limitations.  We are Organizers after all, not magicians. We cannot fit a square into a circle.  I have seen time and time again from clients that no matter what organizational principles I implement, their natural personality style beats out any systematized solution I provide.

One client in particular is adamant that she’s unlikely to prepare ahead of time for any meeting, manage her child’s readiness for after-school activities, or respond in a timely fashion to any social engagement. She just shoots from the hip, and is very comfortable with that. I’ve realized that her reaction to cause and effect is immediate. This formula has always been her life rhythm and will always be.

From a personal perspective, although extremely organized, I understand that I function at my optimum, under extreme pressure. As a college student and way beyond academic life, I have always performed best under duress. Somehow, whenever I leave myself with too much on my plate with too little time, I fully engage in the challenge of succeeding. The cogs start to rapidly turn, my energy and commitment morph into high gear, and I recognize that I am fueled with the pressure of a deadline. My organizational skills are heightened. I know and understand that I perform best this way.

Certainly, there is no cookie cutter pattern to living an organized and productive life. But before you can even attempt success with your clients, you must first really understand who they are at their core.  Help them to get in sync. Identify their proclivities, and what feeds their productivity. Identify their preferred learning style.  Work with their strengths and encourage them to be comfortable with outsourcing their weaknesses.

So the next time you walk into a client’s home, think about their life rhythm with as much regard as you do their spaces. Remember that it’s about the bigger picture. We must factor in all pieces of the puzzle, especially if we want our systems to fit well in their lifestyle. More importantly, we can only hope that the positive changes we make are impactful and will be sustainable after our work is completed.

I would love to hear about all of your experiences. Please join me in a conversation about your clients’ life rhythm.  What strategies do you use to get a really good read?

Photo © Jacek Chabraszewski –

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Nancy Borg is a Professional Organizer, and owner of Move the Mess. She specializes in Residential and Home Office Organization. She is a proud member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) as well as a member of a local neighborhood group; Professional Organizers of Long Island (POLI). She has integrated her Psychology background with her acute organizational skills, and provides the essential tools for her clients to improve the quality of their lives.

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  1. Avatar Seana Turner on December 9, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Great thoughts, Nancy! It is helpful to realize that everyone is different, and we each function optimally if we work within our own rhythm. I use the phrase “rowing downstream.” This includes your gifts and talents, but also your natural biorhythm, your personality, etc. Nobody feels good about themselves if they are trying to squeeze themselves into a mode of operation that doesn’t suit them. Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on December 9, 2019 at 10:17 am

    This makes so much sense. When talking with potential clients and they ask me about how I work. One of the things I describe is that I try to understand how they think, what is working, and what isn’t. I help them build off of their strengths, and take all factors into consideration. Because as so many of us like to say, organizing is rarely about the stuff. There is so much more to helping someone get past their overwhelm and to a place that they feel more organized and intentional about their life. While this can happen through the movement of stuff, it’s about so much more than that. And frankly, that’s the part of helping my clients that I love most- understanding who they are so that I can best help them with their organizing challenges.

  3. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on December 9, 2019 at 11:44 am

    These questions are lovely. When meeting and talking to new clients initially, I tend to get an idea of their life rhythm. But, I love the option to ask them directly these questions so they can evaluate and reassess before our first working session. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Avatar Janet Schiesl on December 9, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Knowing yourself is so important to creating goals and meeting them. Having someone else ask these questions is a great idea.

  5. Deb Lee Deb Lee on December 12, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I like the “poking questions.” They can help you realize your clients’ tendencies so you can create a game plan to either keep them at bay or find a way they can use those same tendencies to their advantage.

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