This is the way… to Organize!

Posted by Lisa Higdon, Professional Organizer on February 01, 2013  /   Posted in Blog

After she read last week’s blog, my cousin wrote me a lovely note saying that it reminded her that our grandmother always took time to pick up before she went to bed each night, even washing dishes that had been used after dinner. I never remember my grandmother being frazzled about her house. I remember that her house was in order, and she had time to sew, play solitaire, and do jigsaw puzzles. What’s different for women today? We know that for my grandmother, caring for her home was her job; and granted, I knew her when she no longer had four girls to care for. She also wasn’t being pulled in many different directions like we are today.  But it got me thinking that some of the “old fashioned” ways of getting things done could still serve us well. One of these is to assign a specific task to a specific day.


It’s like the song, “This is the way we wash the clothes, wash the clothes, wash the clothes. This is the way we wash the clothes so early Monday morning.” A chore assigned per day. Of course, this was written at a time when the washing was much more labor intensive. There was no putting in a load and leaving it while you attended to other things. Maybe that wasn’t as bad as we might think. Now is that we’ve got so much distraction, and we often have no systems in place to keep us organized. Assigning a task to each day is just that. A system.

Since I do my writing on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I decided it is a good time to do laundry. Doing it two mornings a week means it isn’t necessarily finished every time. I can live with this. If you can’t, choosing a day to get it completely finished would work better for you.

Look for things that should be done on a regular basis; things that tend to be forgotten. For me it’s cleaning. I’m good at picking up, but real cleaning – not so much.

So this is what I’ve come up with:

  • Monday: Cleaning up the bedroom. This room tends to gather miscellaneous stuff. I need to spend a chunk of time on it, on regular basis, picking up, dusting it, and changing the sheets.
  • Tuesday: Laundry
  • Wednesday: Washing floors. The bathroom and kitchen floors need a good washing regularly – not just a lick and a promise.
  • Thursday: Laundry
  • Friday: Cleaning my shower. Again, it’s some that needs more regular attention.

Great plan! You can make a great plan too. Make a list of the things that need more regular attention than they are now receiving. These are the things that you know are just getting away from you. Pick a few. Even one can be enough to begin. Consider which day, and what time of day will work for each task. There you go! You have a plan.

This idea can be used for office practices too. Billing on Mondays, correspondence on Tuesday, follow up phone calls on Wednesday… And exercise! This is especially good if variety would keep you going. Spin class on Monday, Wii Fit on Tuesday, treadmill (while watching favorite tv show) on Wednesday…

The key is, of course, implementation! How do you do it? Just like you wrote it. Post it somewhere visible and take one day at a time. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it, just go on to the next day and the next task. You’ll get it next week.

Soon things will become routine. We put the garbage out on a certain night, right? External forces made us develop that habit. We can develop habits from our internal forces too. Try it for a while.

This is the way…!

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