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Article: I'm a Hopper, Are You A Hopper Too? Related Resources

I'm a Hopper, Are You A Hopper Too?
by Marnie Pehrson

As I sit here at my desk which is cluttered, but cleaner than it has been in months, my two-year-old Nate is sitting on the floor between my chair and a week-old pile of clean laundry. He's eating a Little Debbie cake and wearing a pair of my loafers, while my three-year-old is watching an educational video in the living room.

This has been a busy week with the launch of a new site for a client, and several new ones waiting in the wings. Business couldn't be better, life for that matter couldn't be better, but as business increases, I've had that dreaded feeling of ''what if this grows so big I can't manage it all?'' On the phone with a friend today, I discovered that in the past I have subconsciously pushed away success in order to keep it to a manageable level. And my friend pointed out to me, ''So you could actually feel free to be more successful if you were more organized to manage it all.'' And she is right!

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Sunny Schlenger co-author of about her book, How to Be Organized In Spite of Yourself: Time and Space Management That Works With Your Personal Style

In her book, she discusses 10 organizational styles and suggests that there are different ways to be organized based on your style. For example, there are ''everything out'' people who like to have all their paper and folders out on their desk. These people do great with vertical file systems. Then there are the ''nothing out'' people who have desks that have nothing on them and keep everything in file cabinets and organized drawers. There are also perfectionist plus, allergic to detail, fence sitter, cliff hanger, right angler, pack rat, or total slob styles.

I'm what Sunny refers to as a ''hopper.'' And according to her, many women are. See if you can relate to decide to clean your bedroom, but in the process you find a book that belongs in the living room bookcase, so you go in the living room and realize the bookcase needs dusting. So you start dusting it, and decide you may as well dust the entire living room. ''Oh my,'' you say, ''someone left a dirty dish on the end table, better take it to the kitchen.'' While you're in the kitchen you decide to wash the dishes. What happened to cleaning the bedroom?

In the hour-and-a-half it's taken me to write this article, I have put Nate down for a nap, given my 3-year-old her lunch, cleaned up a soda that spilled in the kitchen, talked to my husband who called to chat with me twice, had two ICQ conversations with a friend, and broken up one fight. According to Ms. Schlenger, to be a successful hopper you have to be able to tune things out and eventually come back to task. And if you have this ability to tune out, ''It's a gift,'' she explains. Funny, I thought it just meant I was heartless because I could write an article while a child pitched a temper tantrum beside me. I just love people who take my faults and turn them into positive characteristics!

So if you are a hopper like me, what can you do about it? Ms. Schlenger explains, ''If you're an out of control hopper, that is, if you do lose focus because everything you do reminds you of something else you should do, pretty soon you're off and running down the road, without knowing how you got there. Limiting jobs in terms of time or space is very useful. For instance, if you're cleaning out a room, normally you would find something in the room that belongs somewhere else, whatever you do, don't leave the room, because if you walk out, you're done for. So pile it by the door.''

''If you're going to work on a job for 30-45 minutes, whatever your tolerance is, get an alarm or an alarm watch something that will alert you to the passage of time. A lot of times hoppers will forget where they are and by having the alarm go off it gives them the opportunity to ask the question, ''What am I supposed to be doing? Is this the best use of my time?'' Again it's just reminders that jerk you back to where you are, and it doesn't mean you shouldn't continue what you are doing. It just means that it gives you back the sense of control that you're at a choice point of what comes next. Anything that helps you put blinders on for the length of time that you need to finish a particular task before you move on is what you're looking for. You may be able to work on several simultaneously. The important thing is to finish the task in the time that it needs to be finished.''

For more information on ''How to Be Organized In Spite of Yourself'' click here.

Marnie Pehrson is the creator of,, and and more. She is the author of inspirational books like Lord, Are You Sure? and historical fiction such as the best seller Angel and the Enemy. For more information on her projects, visit

Marnie Pehrson may be contacted at or


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