In Coffee Break, we catch people who inspire us during a rare break in their busy day for a virtual coffee date. We chat about what drives their personal and professional passions, how they get reenergized at home, and what they’re currently obsessing over.
If anyone is a master at multitasking, it’s Jen Robin, founder of professional organization service Life in Jeneral. As a former celebrity assistant, she’s juggled everything from coordinating schedules to planning events to overseeing entire moves — all for someone else’s life, never mind her own! After finding her passion in creating efficient systems for making life more peaceful and enjoyable, Jen struck out on her own. She now helps everyday people bring order to their lives one closet, room, or cabinet at a time. Read on to see how Jen creates order in her own life, her ideal work environment, and what Netflix doesn’t show when it comes to tidying up.
How did Life in Jeneral come to be?
I was working as a high-profile executive assistant for around six years and realized what I was doing for one person could be done on a much larger scale. I was doing everything from packing houses up, organizing, overseeing moves, coordinating multiple daily schedules, planning events, and everything in between and quickly realized that in order to be a successful personal assistant I needed to create efficient systems. I began translating what I loved most about my job and working with friends and family on the side to organize their space and make their lives more peaceful and enjoyable. That passion quickly turned into starting my own business and Life in Jeneral was launched in 2014!
Credit: Jen Robin
Tell us about your work style. Where do you draw inspiration, and what conditions, environment, or motivations do you need to do your best work?
I like a good balance of alone time and collaborating with others. I love pulling inspiration from my in-person consults, where I get to meet potential clients and see their spaces. I love transforming spaces in my mind to see how we can make their space better, more efficient, and flow better for their way of life. This also feeds into “jenerating” ideas for Life in Jeneral and how we can create better spaces, products and systems to benefit our clients. Then I like to go off on my own and really dive deep into each idea to break it down and build it up. A lot of back and forth of collaboration and alone time.
What’s a project you’ve worked on lately (professional or personal), that made you come alive?
I have been working on Closets in Jeneral [custom built-in closets] for quite some time now and I have really enjoyed the process of what it takes to create something new. It gets me so excited and happy to be able to create something that will benefit all of our clients and make their lives better. It has made me appreciate time and really pushed me to create balance within my own mind, life, and business.
What’s one thing about organization (or “tidying up”) that Netflix doesn’t show or gets wrong?
Luckily there is no wrong way of organization or tidying up and we have found that the basics of organization tends to stay true throughout multiple homes and spaces. However, it is never the same emotional process for everyone and the art of putting things back into their new home is what varies based on each individual/families needs and lifestyles.
Reorganizing someone’s home feels so personal and intimate. How do you go about gaining clients’ trust and letting them know it’s okay to be vulnerable and to switch things up?
It really starts when we have our initial conversation and understand what their goals are for the space they want organized. We really try to listen to their needs and ask questions that will help us create the most efficient flow for their way of living. We really pride ourselves on hiring a team that is compassionate and willing to understand our clients needs. Some clients are ready to start new and get rid of everything and others need more of a push or hand holding. We are overly communicative and check in with our clients daily to see how they are feeling and to truly be involved with them every step of the way.
Finish this sentence. Home is…
A space for the things you love the most.
What was the first place you called home? Your favorite place you’ve called home?
Those both have to be my current space in Redondo Beach! I have been here 6 years now and although I have updated the space along the way with new decor and containers, it has always been my favorite space.
What words of advice do you have for people facing an intimidating organizational project? Any tips for getting started?
Don’t overthink it and just start. Whether it be one section or one drawer, take your time and go through items, categorizing like items together along the way. Set time aside per day or week and little by little it will slowly transform.
What’s your favorite way to prepare for a busy day? What about to unwind at the end of the day?
I have realized this past year that in order to successfully power through a full day, I need to focus on myself in the morning. I like to carve out some time for bible study and/or get a quick workout in to center myself and feel ready for the day. In the evenings, I try and get in a short walk with my dog Charlie, or am cozied up on the couch finishing up emails.
Feeling inspired by: Oprah’s SuperSoul conversations Podcast
Reading: by Barbara Stanny
Watching: I don’t have cable (I know, I know)
Listening to: Worship music
Snacking on: Perfect Bars
Next on my to-do list: Planning our next Team Training day
On my phone wallpaper: “The Man in the Arena” Quote by Theodore Roosevelt
Win a consultation session with Jen’s team at Life in Jeneral and $500 in TaskRabbit credit to turn your house into a home after a big move. Click below for more details and to enter.