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If you feel like you’ve spent your whole life looking for your keys and burrowing through your bottomless purse for that number you just jotted down, you’re not alone. Thankfully, the extraordinarily busy women Barbara Guggenheim (a bold name in the art world) and Nadine Schiff (a big-time film and TV producer whose husband started Ticketmaster) had Overwhelmed women in mind when they created the Ultimate Organizer, a book that keeps their hectic lives functioning on schedule. Barbara and Nadine penciled us in for a little one-on-one to talk getting about getting it together, once and for all.
Blush: What are some simple things women can do to make their lives more organized?

First of all, get all of those little pieces of paper in the bottom of your inky handbags, in your drawers, and by the telephone (don’t tell me you don’t have them) and write down all the numbers and keep them in one place, in a notebook so you’re not stressing.

Meet Barbara & Nadine B: What are your top tips for staying organized?

Make your to-do list every day, making two piles -important and not important. Make use of The Ultimate Organizer’s relevant lists and templates. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can get things done. Put all the important vital information for yourself, your partner, your children, your aging parents, your pets, and home in the organizer.

You never know what problems life throws you in today’s rollercoaster world, and you’ll be ready – whether it’s an earthquake, taking care of an aging parent, or packing for a business trip.

B: How should we organize our priorities? Every woman has to make her own decisions and priorities, but for us family and friends are first, work is second. And no one is more important than our dogs, but please don’t tell our husbands we said that. Make your passions a priority, clear the decks as fast as possible, and enjoy LIVING your life, not just administering it. Hello?! So many of us give up what we want to do for what we should do. Here’s our advice: Put yourself on top of your own to do list. If you?re unhappy, no one’s happy.

B: If you’re throwing a party what are your first steps for getting it planned?

Throwing a party can have many moving parts, and you want to remember to do them all. That’s why we created dinner/party checklists —to make sure you don’t forget and serve hamburgers to a vegan. Need rentals? Bartender? Flowers? Whatever. All you have to think about is who to invite, what’s the occasion and where, the menu and bar and follow our lists for the rest. We’ve even made suggestions for sample invites so you don’t forget to include essential information, like the address and the time. Need instructions as to how to get to the party? Just use our form.

B: How can you stay motivated when your to-do list is overwhelming?

When you feel organized and everything is one place, you tend to not have that ‘heart beating fast in the middle of the night’ thing. You know, you wake up and all the things you forgot to do and have to do and should do all come racing like a freight train through your head. We believe in trying to get out ahead of our to-do lists. Once a week, figure out the major tasks ahead of you.

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B: What’s your best piece of advice for finding balance? Try not to let the pressures of work drive out the things you enjoy. That’s why we created The Ultimate Organizer to help deal with the daily life tasks so you can get out there and train for a marathon, write that novel you’ve dreamed about or take those cooking lessons you read about. Above all, don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by all that life heaps on. Our plates runneth over, and it’s not always easy to cope. You’re watching TV about Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti, and you wonder if you shouldn’t prepare for the worst. Follow the lists in the organizer; it won’t take long and you’ll have peace of mind. As Nadine’s grandmother advised, Ask for something you need because the worst a person can say is no. In other words, don’t be afraid to say you need help. You’re a woman, not Superwoman.


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