It is impossible to stay organized without action. If there’s no action on paying bills, the mail will pile up; if theres no action on the laundry, the clothes will pile up; etc. Certain points of compulsion are necessary to ensure that these actions happen.
It’s very easy to beat oneself up for not finishing tasks like decluttering, but there are usually pretty good reasons for it. Sure, laziness or lack of motivation can play into it, but what makes tasks difficult is not the actions, but the decisions involved. In fact, my favorite definition of “clutter” is Barbara Hemphill’s “postponed decisions.”
When I first started my organizing business, I called it Breathing Room. Back then I believed that breathing room is a highly desired result from getting organized. I still do. I also believe it is a vital component to organizing systems for both space and time.
Yup that’s me, enjoying a heavenly IPA at Coalhouse Pizza. That’s about as close as this 7-day-a-week business owner gets to happy hour. The laptop comes with me, so I can write posts like this one. So what’s the point I’m making here? I consider myself very organized and I, literally, make it my business to empower others with organizing, but organizing has got nothing to do with being perfect.
If the conclusion you are drawing from the combination of this title and this photo, is that your Time Management System is missing Post-It notes, then go ahead and laugh. There’s a little more to it than that, but I stand by my Post-It’s. There are a lot of time management systems out there, both paper and digital, but I have found that NONE of them facilitate prioritizing, especially sudden RE-prioritizing.
Getting organized is a very popular New Year’s resolution, but like so many resolutions, it can be a very difficult one to keep, without some simple guidelines. Here are some simple guidelines.
Being organized makes even the worst events in life better. It just requires a shift in thinking. In fact, it is quite possible to find organizing easier, when there is true adversity. I’m always surprised how often clients greet me with apologies that they haven’t been able to stay organized because of emergencies that come up.
You know those magazine articles or online features that offer “Great Organizing Tips!”? They almost always include a tip that says something to the effect of: "Spend just 10 minutes throwing out unwanted items." Often they advise to “just start with the junk drawer!” A ten minute purge can be very unsatisfying without three key guidelines. So the secret to the 10 minute purge is actually 3 secrets:
If you find that your biggest organizing challenges come from the trials of being a mother, A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization is a great resource. It’s written by Debbie Lillard, a mother of three children and a professional organizer since 2003.
I have touched upon my system of Project Corrals in past posts, but today I am going to go into it in more detail. As always I believe a good system is an EASY system. This system involves an easy habit I call the weekly round-up, which I will demonstrate using my own projects and tasks as an example. The most important takeaway I got from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity is this.
I have found that the number one reason we struggle with tasks is that they are actually projects, that we TREAT like tasks. So what’s the difference between a project and a task? The easiest way to answer that question is with another question: How do you eat an elephant?
A while back I described how to organize your to-do’s by comparing them to newspaper headlines. Today I want to share an actual model of what that might look like. To summarize, the front page of a newspaper is made up of a series of short compelling headlines. Each headline may have a short blurb, but it always has a connecter to the full story inside. Much of the time, what piles up on our desks are full stories.