What Can The Home Edit Teach us About Career Development for 2021?

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This holiday season was…different. Next to no travel. No one could go out to eat. Pandemic. Yada yada yada.

That forced a lot of us inside to entertain ourselves, and I’m no exception. I watched a lot of Netflix and cable TV, which candidly is not something I do in a normal year.

One of my new favorites was Get Organized with The Home Edit, a show about a home organizing company (called The Home Edit, based in Nashville, TN), and helping stars (along with the rest of us) get organized. If you’re down for an organizing group, you can check them out on the ‘gram.

I binged on the whole series on ironically — Boxing Day.

What I loved — beyond their infectious enthusiasm of course and their rainbow-shelved books (something some designers cringe at, but I like), was their four-step process that they consistently used over and over again, to help everyone from Reese Witherspoon organize her character closet all the way through to my favorite episode — where they helped an afterschool community center organize their craft center.

The four steps are: 1. Edit, 2. Categorize, 3. Contain and 4. Maintain.

I’m not, er….the most organized person in my house. (My family can readily attest to that, and my junk drawers serve as evidence.) However, I wondered if I could apply this 4 step process to something I DO organize religiously this time of year — my career. So, in typical new year’s fashion, I tried to use this process on my goals for the new year — and even some of my social media.

Let’s see how this process might apply to your career. Ready?

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Step 1: Edit — The gals on the show (Clea and Joanna, along with their team) begin each client intervention with a lot of questions. Like — what do you want to keep? What can or do you want to part with? What do you want to use the space for in the house? And who uses the space? Through their questions, they’re trying to determine how much stuff they’re going to have to organize.

When I looked at this step — I asked myself the following questions: what do I want to bring into the new year? What do I want to leave behind? What is no longer serving me, and what do I want to grow and foster in my career in the new year?

Another way to approach this is to get a blank piece of paper and a copy of your performance review for the year, or your current resume. Take an inventory of what projects you did during the year — what did you love? What were you proud of accomplishing? And what did you just….well, don’t need to bring more of in your life for the new year? Ruthlessly. Edit that out!

This was how I edited.

Step 2: Categorize — This is probably my favorite step. On the show, it’s the part where the sausage is being made too — in that Clea, Joanna, and their team usually take EVERYTHING out of the space they are trying to reorganize and categorize it. It is the messiest part of the show. That, and you can see the sheer volume of stuff they’re dealing with in the room.

When I thought about this step in my career, I tried to bucket things by the work. A great example where I used this was my own LinkedIn profile during the new year. I categorized all the products/services that I provide and categorized them by type of work:

  • The day job work (that didn’t change)
  • My volunteer work (ASPL — that was updated)
  • My own entrepreneurial endeavors — I categorized these into Books/Writing, Podcasting, Courses/Teaching, Career Coaching, and Speaking.
  • Then, I included one or two places to check out each of these products or services — and chucked everything else.
  • (I also edited down significantly my profile based upon step 1 above too as I categorized.)
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Step 3: Contain — This is the part of the show where the gals bring in their pretty acrylic boxes and matching hangers. (No, I don’t have matching hangers in my closet.) But, I tried to contain my work in the different containers around the internet and my resume as I updated them.

I would say that in your career, this might be a conversation with your boss during your performance review for the year — discuss what did not work (editing), what worked (categorizing), then maximizing or containing that work that DID serve you better in the new year. Important point: they were big on labeling containers too — so think of labeling the facets of your career too, if it helps. It almost blends with the fourth step here, which is….

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Step 4: Maintain — This is the part of the show that you rarely get to see.* (Maybe they almost need some check-ins after season 1 to see if the clients actually maintained their spaces?)

This has historically been the most challenging step for me. You have to keep things organized now that they ARE organized over the long haul. That and you can’t hoard everything and you can’t do everything. So, be careful what you say yes to and are willing to maintain.

How does this apply to your career? Well, on one hand, I think it’s important to be consistent on how you show up — in the sense that consistency in many channels, including social media, is what builds your network and your tribe. On the other hand, we all want to grow, change, and develop our careers over time too.

Perhaps the ‘maintenance’ part here is simply going back to our goals over the year and making sure we don’t need any adjustments. “Adjustments” were forced upon us in many instances in that last year that shall not be named, but I think and hope that we can gain back some control of our lives and careers as we move forward into the next decade.

That’s all I have for you here. Since 2021 is the first year I’m applying these steps to my career development and goals for the year, I have no idea if they’ll work or not just yet. But I can tell you that thinking through these 4 steps might be another great way to suss out what you want to do professionally in the new year.

That and, rainbows are always fun! 🌈


Erin L. Albert is an author and podcast hostess of The Edutainer. Opinions here are her own.

*There was one episode with Rachel Zoe where you did get to see how she “maintained” her closet. They had previously helped her organized it and came back for a refresh. More of that, please!

Pharmacist, author, lawyer, entrepreneur and The Edutainer Podcast Producer. Opining is my own. www.erinalbert.com

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