Organized to Organize

Posted by Lisa Higdon, Professional Organizer on January 12, 2013  /   Posted in Blog

So. How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along? It’s only been 11 days. Really! You may be thinking that you’ve already broken yours, or that you never did get started. It’s okay. You are reading this, so making changes must strike a chord for you; but it’s really hard to jump in and do it. Any day can be your January First. It’s just a matter of making the commitment and having a plan.

Last week I wrote about New Year’s Resolutions versus Goals. For example, the difference between the resolution to lose weight, and the goal of losing 10 pounds by April first. The difference is that a goal is specific.  When you have a goal you can organize yourself to achieve it. But what is the driving force that will motivate you to get started? The answer is FEELINGS!

There’s an old saying that dieters use: No food tastes as good as thin feels. But if you don’t know how good thin feels, how do you get started? You have to imagine how you want to feel.

To apply this to organizing goals, think about what parts of your life being organized would help. How would that change feel? How do you want to feel when you walk into your house? How do you want to feel when it’s time to make dinner? How do you want to feel when someone shows up at your door? How do you want to feel when you sit down at your desk?

Next, consider why your house, kitchen, desk, etc is not creating these feelings. Is there never any food in the kitchen? Is the messy porch an embarrassment? Is it the desk cluttered with things that interfere with your work? Be specific. The messy porch could be broken down like this:

When someone approaches my house I’d like to feel proud of it. I’d like people to feel welcome and safe. At this time, there are kids’ toys and old paint cans on the porch. It’s cluttered and possibly dangerous.

Take some time and write out your vision. This is the beginning of clarifying and organizing your goal. If writing things out isn’t for you, have a conversation about it with someone. It would help if that someone is also affected by the disorganization.

Now you can come up with a specific goal. The kids toys need to be purged and sorted and put in a permanent place, and the paint cans need to be disposed of. Yes, you knew that on some level but this is concrete, especially if you write it down. It may still seem overwhelming at this point. The key is to break the goal down into manageable steps:

Step 1: contact the city to find out about what to do with hazardous waste
Step 2: do whatever that is
Step 3: purge the toys
Step 4: discard the purged toys
Step 5: put away the kept toys in an appropriate place

Set a realistic end date for completion of your goal. Doing all the steps in one day is probably too much – that’s why the job hasn’t been done before. Take one step at a time. Be okay with the fact that some steps may take more than one day to complete.

You have just gotten organized! I realize that this example lacks detail. I could write a blog about each step. The main thing is to get yourself going. Set a goal, make a plan that does not overwhelm you, and get started!

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