Today, we’re talking to the lovely Juliet Landau-Pope, who through her work as a certified life coach, leading professional organiser and study skills consultant, helps people manage their time and space more effectively. Where do we sign?
#1. So, what’s your favourite word?
Serendipity. The more you notice it, the more it happens.
#2. What gets you up in the morning?
The Today programme on BBC Radio 4. I’ve reverted to using a radio alarm clock because I don’t want to become overly dependent on my smartphone. What motivates me each day is knowing that I’ll face new challenges and opportunities. I really appreciate the variety of people, places and problems that I encounter in my work – all very rewarding.
#3. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?
It opens up wonderful conversations, connections and collaborations, and the educational benefits are boundless. But social media can also become distracting and divisive, leading to major problems such as cyber-bullying and procrastination. So like all tools, you just have to use them wisely. Personally, I love Facebook and Twitter. And a bit late to the party but I’m just getting started on Instagram.
#4. Kindles or books?
Books, mostly but occasionally Kindle when I’m on the go.
#5. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?
Many people still don’t know that professional organising exists as an industry. Media coverage is increasing but there are still lots of misconceptions – it’s not about tidying up! I provide practical help to declutter homes but I don’t just throw things in a skip. I coach clients to make decisions and motivate them to shift habits as well as surplus stuff. I also train adults and teenagers how to overcome procrastination and improve time management.
#6. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always envied people who knew exactly what they wanted to do professionally because my career plans were so hazy. But from early on, I knew that I wanted work that was meaningful, flexible and varied.
#7. What led you to your current career?
During my student days, I moved frequently to and from Oxford, London, Paris, Jerusalem and Cairo. I became adept at packing and organising – and friends often asked me for help. I worked for 20 years as a university lecturer, writer, editor and consultant, and became fascinated by the role of motivation. This led me to enrol in a coaching certification programme in 2008. While training, I realised I could apply coaching skills to my zest for decluttering – and so my business (JLP Coach) was born! Now I work with clients of all ages and from diverse backgrounds, helping them to simplify their space and their schedules. I offer talks and workshops on time management and productivity, and train teenagers how to get organised and prepare for exams.
#8. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?
Serendipity means being in the right place at the right time. More than a happy coincidence, it’s about finding purpose in the moment.
#9. Now can you make it rhyme?
Now that’s a challenge! How about: Serendipity, aligned with authenticity?
#10. BOOOOOM. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Be yourself and find your own path to success. I used to worry that people would laugh at me for becoming a professional declutterer. Now I’m proud to belong to an industry that makes a real and tangible difference in people’s lives.
#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
Earlier this year, Joanne Hanson offered me a contract to write two books for the What’s Your Excuse series that she created. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a book for years but was deterred by the fear of dealing with agents and publishers. So it was a huge honour to be approached directly – all thanks to Twitter! On a personal note, my wonderful teenagers bring me breakfast in bed with home-made cards on my birthday – that’s the best thing ever!
#12. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
While training as a coach, an elderly neighbour who had been widowed some years earlier asked me to help her sort through clothes that had belonged to her husband. It was an emotional day for both of us: I listened closely to the stories she told and asked questions that prompted her to decide what to keep and what to let go. I also suggested specific charities that would make good use of things she was ready to donate. At the end of the day, she thanked me and said: ‘You could do this as a business”. I’d never considered the possibility of becoming a professional organiser but she planted the idea and then referred me to a friend who became my first paying client.
#13. If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
My parents for giving me the freedom and the support to reinvent my career so many times and my friends, colleagues and clients for providing opportunities every day to learn, share and grow.
#14. Can you give us a timesaver of the day?
Where to start? This is one of my favourite subjects! Learn the positive power of the word ‘no’. Set limits with other people (and with yourself), in order to focus on what matters most.
#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?
The number of professional organisers in the UK is rising rapidly but the industry is still unregulated. The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) provides training courses (which I wrote and now lead, together with fellow board members) and mentoring, and has produced a code of ethics so we are setting industry standards. In two years, I hope APDO will become a household name so that people nationwide will know where to find a reliable and reputable organiser. I also hope that more schools, colleges and universities will recognise the value of teaching organising and time management skills. They’re not just study skills but skills for life!
#16. Where were you 24 months ago?
Two years ago I was working part-time as a social sciences tutor at the Open University while also running my coaching and organising business. I was becoming disenchanted with new management
policies at the OU and really wanted to dedicate more time to working with clients, writing a book and developing training for APDO members. A year ago I finally decided to take voluntary redundancy from the OU in order to focus on the business and although it’s strange to no longer have an academic ‘home’, I’ve never looked back.
#17. What’s interesting fact about your company?
I was the first person in the UK to combine academic teaching, life coaching with practical decluttering. I’m still the only professional organiser in the UK with my particular skill set.
#18. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My Burmese grandfather, George Mariano (my mother’s father) who edited a newspaper in Rangoon before moving to London in 1939. He died before I was born so we never met but I’d love to hear his voice and learn more about his outlook on life.
#19. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?
Positive. It’s my default, I can’t help it.
#20. Would you mind taking a selfie for us?
No, sorry! I’m rubbish at taking photos.
#21. What’s your favourite Twitter handle or social media campaign?
Can I name three? @apdouk (Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers) to read news and views from fellow organisers nationwide, including some fascinating blogs. @whats_yr_excuse shares motivational tips and blogs from their expert authors. And finally, I’m a huge fan of @TalentedLadies who provide great resources for women running small businesses.
#22. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?
“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
#23. What’s been the best part of your day?
Chatting to neighbours and other dog owners in my local park. If you’d told me three years ago that I’d find an extra hour in the day, I would never have believed it. I’m a single parent, taking care of teenagers and elderly parents while running a business and volunteering for my professional body. But adopting a rescue pup has helped me practice time management hacks that I teach others. Rain or shine, we get to the park almost every day and we both love it!
#24. Finally, anything to plug?
My new book ‘Being More Productive’ is available in print or for Kindle. Please leave me a review if you like it!