I support continuing education for everyone in whatever field you are interested in. I know that you agree because you are reading blogs to learn more about organizing and to improve your skills. I continue to do that too.
This year I attended 3 conferences.
Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers Conference
This is the professional organization in Britain. It was held in London England in March. I had a chance to learn from and share ideas with Professional Organizers from Scotland, Wales, Dubai, United States and the Netherlands. I enjoyed the sessions on Minimalism, Chronic Disorganization, learning about the brain- executive function system, making videos with your cellphone and becoming a better speaker. Not so enjoyable but very necessary was a session on the new information privacy policies in Europe which also affect us in Canada. At the conference they were organizing their yearly Spring Clearing Week. I really liked the idea of Spring Clearing instead of Spring Cleaning and started using this term in my information. We really don’t do a big spring cleaning anymore because our houses, furnaces, air quality and society are much cleaner. In the past it was important to clean thoroughly after being shut inside with fireplaces burning, dirt floors, wooden walls, unpaved streets. Now it is important to take control of the clutter that develops as we move from season to season changing clothing and activities. Clutter affects our well-being so remember to do spring and fall clearing. Lastly, the food was delicious and networking fantastic.
Association of Russian Professional Organizer Conference
Association of Russian Professional Organizers
I was contacted to be a surprise North American speaker for their conference in April. We connected over Skype and they interviewed me about how I operate my business and how the industry of Professional Organizing runs in Canada. Russia is a big country. To give you a feel for the size, it has 10 time zones, Canada has 5 time zones. There were 84 participants from many parts of Russia and Japan. It was a fun experience and so rewarding to see their smiles and hear their gasps when I was introduced. The conference organizer would ask a question in Russian, the interpreter asked it to me in English, I answered in English, the interpreter translated to Russian and then the audience laughed. They run their businesses very similarly to the way most organizers in North American setup their businesses. They have the same difficulties as we do marketing effectively and getting clients. I was so excited to learn from their enthusiasm, joy and dedication.
Professional Organizers in Canada Conference
This year the conference was in Kelowna, British Columbia in November. The theme was Renew and Recharge. Many of the presentations built on each other. We started with a session about dealing with fears that hold you back from taking the next step. Write down your fears, determine how to overcome them and what steps you will take. This theme continued in a marketing session and a session on Minimalism about taking steps to change your lifestyle. In a session on bullet journaling one of the things that was touched on was about how to reflect on success and failures. It was a interesting thread that carried through a number of sessions, accidentally. This year I went to conference as a presenter for the first time. It was nerve racking but rewarding and fun. I talked about how to make your office more productive, creative, inspired and healthy but making small changes to the workplace environment. Make conscious decisions about the type of lighting, paint colour , room temperature, drinking water, having plants in your office. Stop multitasking, use music to help you focus on tasks, identify productivity pit-stops, things that draw your attention away from the task you are doing. Apply good ergonomic design concepts in your office, get enough sleep, change you working position every 30 minutes from standing to sitting, change the type of task you are doing to avoid repetitive strain injuries and change the location of where you are working because your posture will change and that causes you to use different muscle groups. The food was fantastic and it was fun to start each morning with a yoga class.
Take a fresh approach to conferences
A common thread in my conference experience is great people, food and information. But going to conferences in your professional field may start to feel unproductive after a number of years. I took a fresh approach this year. Focus on the participants and share ideas and learn from each other. Watch how other people network and improve your networking skills. Look at presentations with a new eye and learn how to improve your presentations and speaking style. Conquer a fear, become one of the presenters at your national conference. It will help you grow in knowledge and expertise. Combine your conference experience with travel. I enjoyed traveling on the tube and exploring London, England and seeing the Harry Potter movie set. Kelowna is a lovely town to walk around, hike up a local mountain or go on a wine tour. Expand your horizons learn new information, meet new people, travel to new places and improve your skill set.
Tell me about your conference experience.
Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms.
Contact her at email@example.com
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