Professional organizers often get called when a person is overwhelmed, at their wit’s end or when a situation has reached critical mass. Their disorganization has caused them stress and they need an object third party to come in and tell them what to do. Everyone’s situations are different so my solutions are as varied as my clients. However, there are some general rules or “absolutes” that I have found which organized people follow and disorganized people don’t. I discuss these in my book “Absolutely Organized – A Mom’s Guide to a No-Stress Schedule and a Clutter Free Home.” My reason for writing this book was to illustrate to people (specifically busy moms) that “You don’t have to live this way!” If you are constantly running and never have time for yourself, if your house is in a constant state of disarray, if you are winging it every day without a clear idea of what happens next, know that it doesn’t have to be this way and you can change your situation. Let’s talk about how and where to start.
The first thing you have to do is identify the worst or most out-of-control area of your life and start there. Finish this sentence, “If I were more organized I could…” and let that become your goal and your motivation. Write this down and post it somewhere you can see it every day. You may be motivated to have more quality time with your children, or have more time to yourself, or you may just want your house presentable enough to have company over, or organized enough to find what you need. So decide what you want. That’s the first step. Organized people are not afraid to make decisions and move on.
Secondly, make a plan. Mary Kay Ash said, “Plan your work and work your plan.” Jumping into a project without a complete plan is really just setting you up for failure. I find that even a few minutes of planning each day, saves a lot of anxiety and run-around in the long run. If it’s time management – plan your week. If you have a house project or work project to tackle – plan the steps and write a list of what you will need. Include other people to share the workload whenever possible.
Third, make an appointment and schedule enough time to work on this priority. Do you need a few hours every week? A few days set aside? Whatever time you need, schedule it in your planner. Nothing is going to happen by accident.
Fourth, remember your goal. When you are in the midst of a project and you are feeling disheartened, remember the goal. It’s also a good idea to visually post your goal so you can remind yourself all the time what you are working towards.
Fifth, finish working on your project and move on. Don’t be a perfectionist. If it’s time management you need help with, try adapting one good habit at a time. Don’t try to change too much at once. If it’s a physical project, get the big stuff done first and then the finishing touches. Finish one project before you move onto the next. Check something off your list and feel proud that you have accomplished it. Reward yourself by doing something fun and relaxing.