“I would love to get organised, but I just don’t have the time”, or “…but I just can’t get started, I need a kick in the b..t” are complaints I get a lot in my practice as a Personal Organiser. Mostly uttered by people who do want to get organised, but are put off by the perceived size of what lies ahead. Which is a pity, because there is an easy – and organised – way to get started.
Is it really a time issue, or is it lack of discipline, or fear of change that is in your way? Have you ever asked yourself the real reason for not getting organised? I’m not talking about or to people who are not in the least bothered by their lack of organisation, I’m addressing those who are, but manage to come up with every excuse under the sun why they’re not. What have you got to lose by giving it a serious try?
How to get started
Isaac Newton said: “A body at rest, remains at rest. A body in motion, remains in motion.” In other words: if you don’t make the first step, you’ll never get anything done.
Yet it doesn’t require quantum leaps to get the process going. Whatever your excuse for not getting organised, baby steps at a time will set the wheels in motion for you.
- The most important thing you need to do is make a firm promise that you will get started. Make that commitment to yourself, and if it helps, make it to others as well.
- Your second job is to think about those areas in your life where you feel you need to get organised, and make a list.
- Next: choose the item that you want to get started on. This can go two ways: either pick the area that you most want to get organised, or go for a less important, but very easy one. The benefit of the latter is that it’s excellent practice, and more likely to get you motivated to keep going than when you start with something you’re actually not really ready for, yet (unless you can break it down in smaller projects).
An example: if your kitchen is the first area you want to focus on, don’t regard it as one major project. The thought of that can be so overwhelming that it puts you off completely. Break it down into smaller projects, e.g.: 1. Under the sink cupboard, 2. Drawer, 3. Another drawer, 4. The fridge, 5. Crockery cupboard (maybe even subdivide into top 3 shelves and bottom 3 shelves), etcetera.
- Pick a time to start with your first project. Choose wisely: don’t go for a time of day when your energy is low, or just before an upcoming appointment. Are your energy levels, like mine, peaking in the morning? Start your first project then. As you get more experienced, you can experiment with different times of the day.
- Preparation is king: make sure you have everything set up and ready to go. Absolute necessities are: 1. Bin for donations, 2. Bin for waste, 3. Bin for doubts*, 4. Cleaning equipment.
Recommended: 1. A cuppa or glass of a favourite drink, 2. Music that either relaxes or pumps up, 3. Munchies, 4. Pen and notebook to jot down anything that comes to mind.
Finish the project. Best is to keep at it in one go, but even if you prefer to work in intervals and need breaks in-between, just come back to the job until it is completely finished.
Satisfaction = encouragement
I’m pretty sure that once you’re done, you’ll experience a sense of satisfaction that will motivate you to pick your next project and keep going. Don’t get too excited and try to get everything on your list done in the next day – that is counterproductive and defies the whole purpose of the exercise. Take it a step at a time, and you’ll slowly but gradually grow into becoming a more organised person.
Recommended reading: The Great Declutter. It’s free and concise!
*Bin for doubts: if you really cannot decide whether to toss or keep, put the object in this box. If you haven’t touched it after, say, 6 months, then still toss it.