Declutter Your Life Secrets of a Prioritizer

Life Balance

Kathy's Husband's Stuff

By Kathy Korman Frey

Kathy Korman Frey, entrepreneur in residence at George Washington University and founder of, begins the first in a series of posts on work-life balance issues. Who has mastered this balancing act and how? 

For the past eight months, I’ve been taking pictures of a pile of my husband’s stuff in the corner of our bedroom. That’s his stuff. 

We’re too busy to put our stuff away. We’re too busy to cook. We’re just too busy. Here’s one reason why: The number of dual income households doubled between 1980 and 2005, and many years ago, our society began to think more about “thrive” than “survive.” And thrive we did. Now we’re so busy thriving we’re worried about balance. Work-life balance -- to be specific. 

Until cloning is perfected – we better figure out some of this balance stuff. Some fortunate souls already have. These super-powered individuals possess the ability to maintain a high-paced life, which would exhaust most people, while remaining happy and balanced. Let’s be a fly on their walls – shall we?

Meet Susan, The Prioritizer:

Susan is the co-founder and president of News Generation, one of the nation’s leading radio PR firms. Susan plans her day around major priorities. She is kind of nauseatingly organized, but we love her anyway. Here is her typical day:


Business (B)
Personal (P)


 6 am


Check emails / Gym

 8 am


To Starbucks and office, tackle tough item #1 

 8:30 am


Project and client work

11:30 AM


Client conference calls

12:30 PM


Lunch and go to bank. See kids if time permits.

 1:15 pm


Internal work, financials, marketing, proposals. Tackle tough item #2

 5:00 pm


Plan for next day

 5:15 pm 


Head home to relieve nanny, spend time with kids, cook dinner.

 7:30 pm


Put kids to bed

 8:00 pm


Dinner with hubby

 9:00 pm


Run errands

Susan’s Mantra: “She who is most organized wins.”

Susan’s Secrets:

  1. The “To Do” list -- on steroids. Each night before Susan leaves the office, she makes her list of priorities for the next day.
  2. Focus. In case you haven’t guessed, Susan is incredibly focused. This is one of the major traits that came out in The Hot Mommas Project research supported by the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the George Washington School of Business. The top “balancing”women in that survey are very clear (bordering on ruthless) about their priorities and have stopped being "yes people."
  3. Location, location, location. Susan’s office is walking distance from her home allowing for quick check-ins.
  4. Clear shifts. Susan’s husband is “on” in the morning while she goes to the gym. She is the first one home in the evenings.
  5. “Hey, are you that guy I married?” Dinner is after the kids go to bed. (This may change as the kids get older.)
  6. Giving back. What you don’t see on Susan’s schedule is “speak to group of students,” but she is always giving back in the community. This type of connection is beyond important for feeling balanced and successful.

Taking a cue from Susan, here is a parting thought: We need to support each other. Work at home, work for a big company, stay-at-home mom -- we're all just trying to be happy. So, look at the person to the right and left of you and say, “How can I support this person?” Role models and mentors lead to greater self confidence and self efficacy. Do that for someone today - even if in a small way. This is not about holding hands and singing "Kumbaya," it's about doing the right thing and being a leader.

Go back to the Kitchen Share Digg Tweeter Facebook StumbleUpon Send To a Friend


  • Emma, Thanks for your comments and - update - I have been posting these pictures on Facebook for months without my husband's knowledge. My friends would sit and wait for them and laugh out loud. When this piece was coming out, I told him about "The Box Experiment" that had been going on via Facebook. He laughed and said, "That's funny!" then got all serious, looked at me, and said, "I'm still not moving the box."

    Posted by HotMommasProject, 10 August 2009.

  • Ha! Love your husband's quote. Why does that situation feel so familiar? The joys of being female. Thanks for this post, Kathy -- I am inspired and awed by Susan's efficiency. I look forward to learning more about how to live an effective, efficient life.

    Posted by meliayates, 15 July 2009.

  • This is a test post. Thank you to the readers of "DeClutter Your Life" (as I sit here inhaling Starbucks). I told my husband about the post showcasing his pile of junk. I've been posting it on Facebook for months without his knowledge. He laughed out loud - HARD - then stopped and said with a perfectly straight face, "I'm still not cleaning it up." So, at least we are getting some entertainment value there. If youi don't laugh, you'll cry.


    Posted by HotMommasProject, 15 July 2009.