AKRON, Ohio – For Deborah McVay-McKinney, organization isn’t all about sock drawers and spreadsheets.
It’s more about finding peace.
She believes the goal of organization should be finding balance in life, so there’s time for work, family activities and other obligations – and even fun.
But that’s not something that happens just from making lists and color-coding calendars, she believes. It also requires belief in a higher power.
McVay-McKinney, of Bath Township, Ohio, is sharing her faith-based organizing strategy in a new book, “Whatever Works for You.” It’s published by Inspiring Voices, a self-publishing service from the Christian magazine Guideposts.
The central theme of the book is that no one organizing system fits all. McVay-McKinney shares her own techniques, but she encourages her readers to find those that work best for them and then combine them with reliance on their deity.
She also encourages them not to be intimidated by people who seem to be more organized or live a more perfect life. Just getting through the day should be considered an accomplishment, she writes.
“Be faithful and organized and you will rule your world!” she tells her readers.
McVay-McKinney said she came to recognize the connection between organization and faith one Christmas season, when she was a young mother frantically preparing for the holidays. She realized she could either spend the season in a panic, or she could do her best and enjoy herself. What she realized, she said, is “It’s not all about us.”
Finding balance is about knowing your limits and what to give up or delegate, she said. And it’s about knowing you’re not alone.
Her techniques tend to involve lists – lots of lists. She’s also a big believer in finding places for things like keys, cellphones and eyeglasses, and always returning them to their home.
But not everything in her system is the kind of advice you’d find in a typical organizing book.
One of her favorite techniques, she said, is starting each day by doing something kind for someone else. Maybe it’s as simple as following through on a promise to provide information or complete a task.
“If I do that,” she said, “I feel the whole rest of my day falls into place.”
The system she developed has helped keep her life balanced as she raises her now-14-year-old daughter, fills the role of stepmother and runs a corporate event-planning service, Time to Spare. It also helped her get through the difficult time when her grandmother was infirm and her mother was incapacitated by several strokes. Her book includes a tribute to the two women, both of whom died in 2010.
What she hopes readers will take away, she said, is the knowledge that good is good enough.
“I just hope people realize we’re not all perfect,” she said. But no matter what her readers want to accomplish, she said, she wants them to know there’s a way to make it work.
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