THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 125: Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and Author

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 125: Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and Author

Age: 47
Where I live:
 New York City
Job: Professional Organizer and Author
Kids:
 Twin 15-year-olds Rebecca and Matthew

img_3Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
For several years, I would meet with two to three clients a day, five days a week. I would finish with my last client at 2:30, race to my children’s school to be at pick up before 3:00, and then start “the second shift” of chauffeuring my children to sports lessons, doctors, and other activities. While it was rewarding, it was also exhausting. I decided that taking off two half days a week meant the difference between burn out and rejuvenation. Now, I have lunch with a friend at least once a week, and have a half day in my office each week to catch up on email and the administrative aspects of my job.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
No one has it all. The really successful people have done a good job of determining priorities and have learned to say no to other obligations and distractions.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I do a good job balancing work and my children, but my husband always seems to be last in line for my attention.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’ve gotten very good at saying no to what’s not essential to me. I even did a segment on the Today Show a few years ago sharing my tips…”Say No, Not Why.”

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
This is a great question, because I counsel clients every day on how to be more efficient. Here are a few things I do:

  1. I rarely engage on social media, and don’t watch any television.
  2. I never leave an appointment without scheduling the next appointment (e.g., I leave every haircut with the next one booked).
  3. I review my schedule for the upcoming week on Friday afternoon, so I know if there’s anything that needs to be bought or reviewed over the weekend.
  4. On Sunday evening, I review my family’s schedule, so I know where everyone will be after school and after work, and what may be required of me.
  5. I have as a many parts of my life on autopilot as possible (e.g., the same Fresh Direct order every week, meals on a two week cycle, annual physical in my birthday month).

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance? 
From a mentor/co-worker? 
“When you have a lot to do, do what’s the least desirable first. It will pave the way for a more productive day.”
From your mother? “You can’t be all things to all people.” 
From your spouse/partner? 
“You’re not finding a cure for cancer; you don’t have to work so hard.”
From your kids? I got two blank stares when I asked them.

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Getting a massage.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That I would find my passion. When I graduated from college, I had never heard of professional organizing!

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
That my children are happy and healthy.

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
I outsource cooking, meal preparation, and grocery shopping.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I’d love to travel to spas around the world and write reviews about them!

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I would hate any job with no control over my schedule.

Favorite books?
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Love Story by Erich Segal, Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker, and now I’m reading Safekeeping by Jessamyn Hope.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Sunbathing. I grew up in South Florida…I love the beach.
Food? 
Warm oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon crumb cake. Actually any warm dessert will do!
Website? 
When I get a sale notification.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7.

What do you read every morning?
The NY Post and theSkimm.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: have been very lucky.
I wish I: were less intense.
My kids: 
are what’s most important to me.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
Prior preparation pays.

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_20A8891About Barbara:
JS_BusinessCard_Front_FINAL
Barbara Reich is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resourceful Consultants, LLC a firm that specializes in the organization of people, their lives, and physical spaces. Barbara earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Business Administration from New York University. She began her career at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP and then worked as a consultant at The Hay Group. She is also the Co-Founder of Never Caught Up, LLC, a firm focused on helping people maximize time and productivity while minimizing stress.

A native of North Miami Beach, Barbara formed Resourceful Consultants, LLC in 1999. She and her husband, real estate attorney Jeff Reich, live in Manhattan with their fifteen-year-old twins. Barbara has appeared on the Today Show, Inside Edition, Fox News, Good Morning America and New York 1 and has been featured in the New York Times, New York Post, Real Simple, InStyle, People StyleWatch, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, AARP Magazine, and O Magazine among other publications. She is also the author of Secrets of an Organized Mom.

Find out more about Barbara:
www.resourcefulconsultants.com
Facebook: Barbara Reich Resourceful Consultants
Twitter: @BarbaraReich
Instagram: barbarareich_
Pinterest: BarbaraReich

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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