Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maintenance Organizing

Just like losing weight or getting fit, once you get where you want to be, you can't quit or all your hard work will be lost. Being organized is much the same process where there are huge improvements early on but maintenance is needed to keep things the way you want them.

Create spaces that you will like to look at.  When you like the way something looks you are more likely to keep it looking that way.

Pick up items that don't belong in the space and evict them on a regular basis.  If you are going to a room upstairs and see items that belong there pick them up and take them with you so that you are not wasting the trip.  You can also have a bin or area to hold items that are going to a different area so that you can take them on the next trip there.  I often have papers, mail or other items that need to go to my car.  Instead of running to the car every time I find an item, I lay it on the counter next to the door into the garage and then take all the items the next time I go out to the car.

Define what belongs in an area.  Simply by deciding what belong in an area you are also defining what doesn't belong in the area.  If you have defined a drawer as the silverware drawer, you most likely will not put a screwdriver in there because it is not silverware.

Avoid miscellaneous areas the lack of definition makes it harder to decide what will go there or more importantly what will NOT go there.

Determine when you will do maintenance organizing.  You get to create the rules but you also have  to be the one to enforce them. So make rules that you can live with.  Don't tell yourself that you will organize an area every Sunday night when you know that is a time you prefer to spend with family.  Instead choose a rule that has you picking up the clutter after you use an area or before you leave the area.  There will be much less to do and it will be easier to do right them rather than come back and do it later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quit procrastinating!

Procrastination is one of the all time big time wasters.  We all do it and we know it, but there are times that it just seems impossible to get ourselves motivated to start or finish a particular task.  Here are a few I do when I can't seem to get myself motivated.

What is keeping me from starting the task?  Sometimes it is a simple as I am exhausted or the task is very low priority. I am OK with these answer and I will give myself a bit of slack.  But other times I find myself putting off a chore because the task is large and overwhelming or there is a emotional aspect that I am not ready to confront.  When I look at the reason that I am having difficulty with a project it becomes easier to find a way to overcome the procrastination and get to work.

One form of procrastination is procrastination by perfectionism.  Essentially someone will put a task off indefinitely because they are unable to do the project or task to their standards of perfection.  I fall into this category when it comes to regular cleaning of my house.  I like things really clean but I hate running the vacuum unless I can move all the furniture and really dust everything.   Consequently, I often end up waiting to vacuum until the dust bunnies of cat hair look like they will spontaneously create new cats.  (I always vacuum at this point since I am one cat away from being a crazy cat lady.) After I realized what I was doing, I began to give myself permission to vacuum without moving furniture.  It worked!  The floors stay clean and I don't have to do a complete detail of the house that takes days to complete.

For large projects, break them down into much smaller ones that can be done as individual steps.  I love the idea of writing cards but actually sitting down and doing it always trips me up.  So I break it down in to steps.  I address the envelopes one day, then I will stamp the return address another and put postage on in another step.  Finally, I will actually write the messages.  By the time I get to writing the messages the task doesn't seem so bad and it goes quickly from there.

Good luck on your project.  If you need more help finding the motivation, give me a call at 740-334-1928.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Find an organizing system that WORKS for YOU.

There is no one single way to organize anything.  Of course there are proven systems that work for many people but none of them work for everyone.  Organizing systems need to be specific to the person and situation.  A system is working when it is easy enough for you to do without having to think about it too much or force yourself to use it and it is producing the results that you want.

When choosing a system, here are a few things to think about.

What kinds of systems already work for you?  If you prefer paper to electronic, you most likely will not enjoy using an electronic calendar or vice verse.  Don't choose a system if you know it has not worked elsewhere for you.

Where will you be using the system?  Will you always be in one space or does your system need to be portable?  I am often out of the office all day.  I also hate carrying a tons of things with me but I always have my smartphone with me. So I know that anything that I can do on my smartphone will work well for me.  For others, using a phone for tasks other than calls is irritating.  They also may spend most of their time at a desk where a calendar or planner can easily fit on the desk.

Is the system easy to use?  Most systems fail simply because they don't work with our natural tendencies.  If we have to think too hard about using a system it will not work.  The placement of a trash can is a great example of this.  Many times trash builds up and fails to make it to the trash can if it is not more convenient to put it in the can rather than somewhere else.  If wrappers collect in your car, put a bag or can in the area they collect so that it is just as easy to throw stuff away as it is to throw them on the floor.

Finally, if the system that you choose doesn't work, don't blame yourself.  Look at why it didn't work and either rework the system or choose a different one that works for you.  Remember you are tayloring the system to you not you to the system.