Do you have Shoemaker’s Children Syndrome?

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Organizing guru Peter Walsh had an embarrassing moment last week, when he found a ten-year old bottle of Worcestershire Sauce in his kitchen cupboard. As he said on his Facebook page, “My shame is so great that I officially resign as an organizer!!!” Although it was good for a laugh, it was also a pretty good example of what I call “ Shoemaker’s Children Syndrome.”

This expression comes from the old adage, “The cobbler’s children go unshod,” which means that the cobbler (or shoemaker, in more modern language), is too busy making shoes for his customers to make them for his own family. It’s a problem that afflicts all of us from time to time.

Take me, for example. I’ve been wanting to update my website for ages, and I’m constantly learning about new WordPress plugins that I’d like to try on my own site, but one of the downfalls of a having a steady flow of client projects is that my own tend to be put on the back burner for much longer than I’d like. Recognizing that I’ll probably never have a chunk of free time big enough for everything I’d like to accomplish, I’ve begun to move forward by working on smaller tasks that I can complete without interfering with my other commitments.

Just recently, I’ve replaced my social sharing plugin with one that has buttons for Pinterest and the other major sites, without wasting a lot of screen space on the less popular ones. I’ve also made it easier for you to find the information you’re looking for by adding a second menu bar and streamlining a few pages, and I’ll be making several further enhancements in the coming weeks. I’m even planning to outsource some of the work to make sure it happens on a timely basis.

Even though you’re a professional organizer, I’m sure there’s something in your life that’s not as organized as you’d like it to be – whether it’s a particular room in your home, the books you want to read, or your blogging calendar. There’s no shame in that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Practice what you preach: break that project into manageable tasks, and get help with those you don’t know how to do, don’t have time to do, or don’t want to do.

You’ll be glad you did!

What part of your life isn’t as organized as you’d like? What are you going to do to change it?

Photo © Jorge Royan / / CC-BY-SA-3.0

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Moreen Torpy Moreen Torpy on June 22, 2012 at 9:37 am

    You’ve hit a nerve here, Janet! Every so often I realize my office is approaching chaos and have to organize it before I can think clearly again. I don’t really know how it gets to this state–must be those office gremlins who sneak in at night…

    Then there are the books. Subconsciously I must think that I’ll absorb the content by osmosis! I’ve stopped going into bookstores because I can’t leave without purchasing.

    There’s my confession.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on June 22, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Thanks for your openness, Moreen. I think we all go through it and even though it doesn’t solve the problem, it always feels better to know we’re not alone!

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