Direct Product Sales Business Takes a Giant Leap to Productivity

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At one time, Cathy Greeneberg considered herself an organized person, but life has happened since then. Having twins and starting 2 different businesses has changed all that. Read on to learn how she cleared the clutter and the stress to find a more productive business.

At one time, Cathy Greeneberg considered herself an organized person, but life has happened since then. Having twins and starting 2 different businesses has changed all that. Even still, she felt she had it pretty together and was progressing positively with her career.

But in her husband's eyes, Greeneberg's strategies did not work. He saw documents, products, toys and boxes stacked in corners of her office and a frequently time-challenged wife. “He had a mission - he has been trying to organize me for the past year. He would get frustrated and I would get frustrated,” Cathy Greeneberg said, referring to her husband. He had tried several approaches including rearranging things himself, but nothing would stick.

“Cathy and Jeff experience what is common for many couples whether it is married couples, or business partners,” shared Stephanie Calahan, professional organizer. “Frequently the challenge is that the duo has very different thinking styles and the person that is trying to help is not able to identify solutions that fit with their counterpart’s style. Add to that, we are all human and when a spouse says something -- it is personal. Defense mechanisms go up and productivity goes down.”

The clutter was stressful to Cathy Greeneberg, but the task seemed too overwhelming to tackle on her own. "I'd see it all the time and think, 'ugh.' I couldn't do it," she said. However, she has a goal. As the area’s manager for Arbonne International she knew that she had to get things under control for both her team and her own career growth. So, Greeneberg turned to professional organizer Stephanie Calahan.

Calahan is efficient, energetic and works without pause when she's organizing. "It's exciting to me," she said. "I love helping people reduce the stress in their lives."

They started by taking a survey of the office space and discussing its current state and function. Calahan also evaluated Cathy’s organizing style and thinking style. Once a plan was agreed upon, they went on a “field trip” to purchase the organizing tools they would need to get the project done. Then they got to work sorting and purging. “Sorting creates a bigger mess, but it's necessary to figure out what you want to get rid of. I call it the storm before the calm,” Calahan said.

At Greeneberg’s office, Calahan and Cathy Greeneberg methodically picked through items on the floor, underneath and on the tables, making piles of business supplies, sample products and retail products. They also checked file drawers and cabinets and removed items from crowded shelves.

"I couldn't do this," she said. "It would take me a year." But with Calahan providing the guidance, after a day and a half, the office was transformed.

The clothes that had not been worn in years were ready for donation. The 10 bags of garbage were removed. The desk space and staging space were clear. Labeled containers now hold all of her products and office supplies and remind Greeneberg where things belong.

“Many people are looking for a quick fix. They want a clean up in 30 minutes like they see on hit T.V. shows like Mission Organization or Clean Sweep,” stated Calahan. Unfortunately, the quick fix is like putting a Band Aid on a stab wound. In order for the new order to have staying power, "You've got to get to the root of why it got like that in the first place," she reasons.

Calahan shares that she has not implemented the same system for a client since they opened their doors in 2002. “Everyone has different thinking, learning, communication and organizing styles. To have one solution for everyone is to ask for a disaster,” she explains. Recognizing that Cathy’s style was akin to the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy, all of the systems developed had to be out in open view, but structured.

Clutter, procrastinating, no system for storing or filing items and being reactive rather than proactive are all signs of a lack of organization. Lack of organization can be a source of stress and frustration. It stymies productivity at home and at work.

On the other hand, being organized can be downright blissful. “I can't tell you what this has done for me. I feel like I'm on top of the world. When my office was cluttered, my mind was cluttered and now I'm free! Love it!” stated and excited Cathy Greeneberg. Her feelings of euphoria are not unusual.

“It was worthwhile to bring in Stephanie. I can’t imagine why anyone would not do this,” she stated. She has already noted the positive results of increased speed in pulling together presentations and product packages as well as increased confidence.

So what did her husband think of the change? Greeneberg worked with Calahan while her husband was away on business. When he came home she excitedly showed him her office. He gave her a huge hug and was amazed and pleased.


Calahan Solutions, Inc. ( is the premier organization firm in Illinois focusing on business, residential and life consulting. Their mission is to identify solutions (big or small) that minimize stress, enhance productivity, and maximize space so you can focus on priorities.

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Stephanie L. H. Calahan
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