Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Two Words That Might Be Keeping You From Getting Organized

I have found that there is one particular phrase that can keep you from getting organized. It's a phrase I hear repeated over and over again in my clients' homes. It stops organization projects in their tracks. What is this powerful phrase? "For now." Yup, that's it. Just two words. Is it even possible that two little words can have such an effect? Definitely. There are plenty of times when doing something "for now" is perfectly fine, such as temporary solutions until a final one is put in place. For example, if your new furniture isn't going to be delivered for another week, you can keep your books in that box for now. That's not the situation I'm talking about.

The problem I'm talking about is all about procrastination. It's not taking the time to figure out where something should be kept, or not putting things where they belong right away. As you're going through a pile of clutter, do you shove those last few items on a shelf "for now"? Do you put the folded laundry into piles and leave them there "for now", to be put away later? What about dropping that spoon or plate into the sink when the dishwasher is empty? You could bring it all the way to the dishwasher and keep the kitchen neat, avoiding a second step later. Often just a few more steps can bring you to the final step. 

One way to break yourself of the "For Now" habit is to time how long it takes to finish the job. You'll realize that it's usually just a few minutes, or seconds, even. Once the laundry is folded, putting it away is just a few more minutes, and the payoff is a tidy room. If you have files set up for bills, don't just stack the pile on the desk, go the extra "mile" and put them right into the files. It's very simple, but very effective. Some clients feel that it breaks your momentum when you are working on a project to stop and finish those little jobs, like filing. Leave some time at the end of any project to finish it up. Bring things all the way back to where they belong in the house, put them in the proper place, finish up the job. Right now. 

The fact is, looking at unfinished projects is just psychologically draining. Those little piles have big consequences: they add to the feeling of being overwhelmed, create a cluttered environment, and keep you from being organized. The next time you hear yourself say you'll put something there "for now", stop and ask yourself if you can put it somewhere for good. It's a subtle change that will bring you well on your way to having an organized home... and life!

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