I had the pleasure of working with a teenage client the other day. My daughter warned me that it was going to be tough to get a high school student organized, but I felt up for the challenge. Even the mother who hired me warned that her daughter did not seem motivated to do anything. But that did not deter me. Often it’s the tension between a parent and child that halts any progress towards organization. Suggestions from a third party often seem novel and interesting compared to a parent’s constant nagging to “clean up your room” or “get your schoolwork together.” I’m happy to say the session went well and we were able to clean up her bedroom, schoolbag and even make a plan for upcoming school projects in a matter of three hours.
What I notice about teenagers is yes, they can’t be bothered with organizing for organizing sake. They have better things to do. So if I suggest some habits that only have to be done once a week, I am much more likely to gain compliance. If this works for teens, why not adults who can’t find the time to do tedious tasks every day? So here are 10 simple habits you can do ONCE A WEEK to stay functionally organized and motivate your family to help you with a lot less stress:
- Go through your mail pile. Throw out envelopes, filler and sales offers you don’t want. Move reading materials to your magazine rack or favorite chair, bills and action items to your desk and receipts and statements to your filing cabinets.
- Straighten your bedroom. Put books on the bookshelf, wash the sheets, pick up clothes & shoes off the floor and move items out if they don’t belong there.
- Put your clean clothes away. In my house each person’s wash is done once a week so you only have to put it away once.
- Wipe down the bathroom sink and toilet, wash towels and washcloths.
- Clean out your pocketbook. Put make-up back in the bathroom; ATM receipts in your checkbook ledger or in a file and dump the trash.
- Clean out your car. Climb in the back of that minivan and see what the kids have left. Hopefully it’s not stuck to the carpet!
- Kids can clean out their backpacks on Friday. Give parents any papers they need, trash old assignments if you can. Put other study materials in the right subject folder.
- Go through your bills and put them in date order. Pay anything that’s due in 2 weeks.
- Take a basket and straighten the whole house, moving things to the right room. Start at the top and work your way down.
- Take your planner or calendar and plan out your week with your spouse & kids if necessary. I like to do this on Sunday nights.
What things do you do once a week just to stay on track? Leave a comment.