joys exercise banish the blues

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ~Bob Marley

The Exercise

Create a playlist of the most uplifting and joyful songs you love.
The music that makes your heart sing.
The lyrics that lift your spirit.

Play the entire list at least once a day.
Dance like a fool across your living room floor.
Go ahead. No one is watching. Besides, it’s great exercise.

Then breathe in the joy swirling around you.
Bask in all that is good in your life.

The Joy

Pure happiness and a totally uplifted soul.
Motivation to get stuff done.

Tools You Can Use

iTunes or Amazon and your mp3 player or smart phone.

Whats on my Feeling Joy Playlist.*


 Let Go and Receive

“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.”  ~Ajahn Chah

The Exercise

Stop doing stuff you dislike. The stuff that weighs you down. Steals your energy. Makes you grumpy.

List daily activities, chores, people, beliefs -- anything and everything draining your energy. Then, for each item listed, identify something more lovely that will replace it or someone more inclined to complete it.

If it’s something (or someone) you think you’re stuck with, find that one thing about it (or them) you can appreciate. It’s there. You can find it. Open yourself to that.

Be open to options, not focused on problems.

What are you willing to let go of to make more space for?
Who can you get to help you with chores and activities that bring you down?
What nagging thoughts (a.k.a. beliefs) need to be spun into something more positive?


The something you let go of will be replaced by something that will make you feel lighter, freer or help you breathe easier. Try it. You’ll see.

Tools You Can Use


“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Exercise

Give the kids a few new responsibilities.

Teach your kids how to start organizing their own papers and possessions. Walk them through the steps required to complete their new task(s). Have them help you set up collection centers and explain how to use them and how they will make life at home a bit more peaceful.

This also works for grown-ups. If you have a guy, like I do, who is always emptying his pockets onto the coffee table and walking away, give him a collection center too.


Simple routines calm a chaotic home and teach accountability.

Tools You Can Use

Review how to Create Collection Centers
Use the After School Flow Chart
Read 12 Most Everyday Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them


Give Love Give Blood

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~Maya Angelou

The Exercise

Make a reservation to donate blood on Valentine’s Day. It’s the red thing to do.

Yes, I know you hate needles and an hour and 15 minutes of your time is asking a lot. It is.

But, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and less than 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood.


Not only do you get a mini-physical and learn your blood type, your one donation can help save the lives of up to three people.

Tools You Can Use

Now Go Spread Some JOYS.


Get clear find your organizing motivation

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
~James Baldwin

The Exercise
List up to three things you really want from the time you spend with JOYS, why you want them and how you will feel once you've obtained them. Get clear about your motivation for getting your papers organized.  Is it more time? Less clutter? Why? How will it make you feel? Why is that feeling important to you?

Here’s the thing: getting organized is not what you really want. What you really want is the feeling you achieve by being more organized. Once you uncover your core desires, you’ll have a much easier time sticking to your organizing goals.

Now, pick the one feelingthat ismost important to you and put it out there. Post it on Facebook, blog about it, tweet it, tell your best friend, or just decide to remind yourself daily. Just say, "Hey JOYS, I am organizing my papers to give me the confidence to take action and get more things done." Or, whatever. :) By sharing, even with yourself, you are focusing on getting what you really, really want.

Focusing on your true heart's desire is the magic to creating the life you dream of.
When you begin acknowledging how you want to feel, you will be inspired to take deliberate actions to obtain that feeling on a regular basis.

Tools You Can Use.

Now Go Spread Some JOYS.


mashup the mudane chores

“Each day holds the possibilities for great discoveries and hidden joys"
~Stephanie Ackerman

The Exercise
Change the way you think about everyday chores and responsibilities.

Identify up to 10 household tasks you dread. Then, for each task, identify the blessing you might be overlooking. Sit with your answers for a minute. A sink full of dirty dishes is a belly full of food. A gas bill is warmth on a cold night. A basket of laundry to fold is clean clothes on your back.

When you begin cultivating an attitude of gratitude, you will begin noticing you’re much happier and life is simpler. This one exercise not only helps me keep my papers organized by looking at my responsibilites in a positive light, it helps me keep my household chores in check. Dread doesn't motivate. Gratitude does.

Tools You Can Use

Now Go Spread Some JOYS.


celebrate everyday gratitude

"Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot."
~Hausa Proverb

The Exercise
Celebrate everyday life for the next week by identifying one experience, lesson, or accomplishment each day, that made you think, smile or grow. Toast it at dinner.

It could be a  project finished, a chore completed, a decision made, a fresh perspective, an action taken, a hardship addressed, a room picked up... or just the yippee feeling you felt when your guy unloaded the dishwasher AND wiped down the countertops.

New opportunities and sweet surprises are easier to see when you celebrate your life, as it is, right now.

Tools You Can Use

  • I really enjoy this gratitude prompter. Happy Rambles sends a daily email encouraging you to reflect on your simple blessings.
  • There’s nothing like an old-school gratitude journal and these colorful leather creations on are lovely.

Now Go Spread Some JOYS.


exercises in joys organizing

Benjamin Franklin said “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” What a wise, insightful man he was. Imagine what could be accomplished or enjoyed for such a little investment.

Stop and think about that. What could you achieve, experience, or create with those extra hours each week? Would you be more adventurous in the kitchen? Would you take an art class or start practicing yoga? Would you fire-up your career or write a book? Would you do something to make a child smile or a spouse feel special? Would you plant a garden or redecorate a room?

These are the simple JOYS of an organized life. They are the JOYS I have experienced over my years of ongoing organizing efforts. 

The most important thing I’ve discovered is the magic of action. Any action, big or small, can lead to a fresh idea, an amazing opportunity, renewed energy... and a whole lot of little joys. Taking steps to organize your papers creates the momentum you need to get out of your rut and get into your life.

So I bring you Exercises in JOYS.

Exercises in JOYS is a series of weekly actions (posted on tuesdays) that will help you embrace every day.  They’re about awareness and intention. They’re a collection of tips, tools and insights for creating a well-rounded, paper-organized life. Exercises to create new systems and squash limiting thinking regarding your life and your responsibilities (a.k.a. papers).

Enjoy and start spreading JOYS.


What Brings You Joy?®

home filing system color category

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” ~Tao Te Ching

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