"Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is eliminate the task.
Downsize. The rooms you don't have, don't need to be cleaned.
Donate. The items you don't own, don't need to be organized.
Delete. The projects you don't take on, don't need to be finished.
Is this a problem that needs to be solved? Or is it a problem that can be eliminated all together?" – James Clear
You Can Do This!
Create A Growth Mindset.
Repeat after me,
“Organisation is a learned skill, and I can learn it.”
I am not a naturally organised person and I learned how to be organised - if I can learn this, ANYONE can.
Learning a new skill takes time, effort, energy, and many repetitions. Organisation is a skill worth learning if only because it makes your entire life easier. Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t come easily, it WILL come with practice.
I get a lot of people tell me that they are not tidy, or can't organise themselves, but I reply with, "You're not tidy... yet." You can and will be in the future if you're willing to put the work in.
You CAN do this. You CAN have a tidy home that supports you. Believe in yourself. And if you need help - you know where I am.
“A home that is filled with only the things that you love and use will be a home that you love to use.” – Joshua Becker
Dealing with procrastination
“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” - Olin Miller
Write a Cloud
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” - Mark Twain
When I am feeling overwhelmed, I write it all down on a piece of paper – I don’t worry about putting it in order, but just write it down as a cloud. It can include big things such as “Design course” to small things such as “put toilet paper in bathroom”. I do it just to get the things out of my head. From there, it usually becomes possible to write myself a list of achievable things that can be ticked off and then the act of ticking things off helps flip me into hyperfocus and I can get a lot more done. The brainstorming literally just helps me take the first step from “Rabbit in the headlights” to moving. Sometimes, if you can’t even start the brainstorm, it helps to ask someone to help with it. That could be a friend or relative or a professional.
“You will never be completely ready. Start from wherever you are.” – C.J. Hayden
Another reason for procrastination, or perhaps doom scrolling on your phone, is that you simply don’t know exactly what it is that you are meant to be doing. Keep a To Do list on somewhere you can access it (I use my phone) so that you always have a list of jobs that you can do. When you wake up in the morning, or at some specified point during the day (perhaps after the school run, or even before bed for the next day), write down the most important thing for you to get done that day. Don’t worry about the rest of the list, just one thing.
Reduce the overwhelm by breaking down the task
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs” – Henry Ford
For me, the secret to overcoming procrastination is to reduce the overwhelm. Often, we don’t want to do something because it seems like too big a task. I know that when I have a vague idea like, “I need to clean the horses’ tack” that it just seems too big a task. So, I need to break it into manageable chunks. What’s the first thing that I need to do in order to get the tack clean? I need to bring the tack into the house – even smaller if necessary is that I need to put my boots on to go outside to collect the tack. Then I need to fill a bowl with hot soapy water. Then I need to put the numnahs in the wash, then I need to put the stirrups and bits into the water to soak etc etc etc. Break your job down into the smallest steps that you can, write them down and then tick them off job by job. Focus on the step, not the staircase.
Don’t get caught up on perfection
“The real secret to a fabulous life is to live imperfectly with great delight.” – Anon
A lot of people won’t start on something if they feel that they can’t do it perfectly.
It’s so easy to not start something because you are worried you won’t be able to do it perfectly. Or it’s so easy not to finish something because it’s not perfect.
One thing that I find when working with people who already know about the method is that people can get stuck on categories because they are trying to find the perfect solution and get it exactly right before moving on to the next. I really try to encourage people to move beyond that - don’t faff around perfecting storage in the kitchen if that is preventing you from tackling the overwhelming categories in the living room.
Remove the perfection obstacle with the phrase, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly”.
Can’t bring yourself to clean the kitchen? Just wipe down the side.
Can’t face decluttering your whole home? Fold your washing.
Don’t have time to fold all your washing? Fold one or two tops.
Don’t allow the feeling that you have to get it all done to stop you doing anything. Take tiny baby steps. Make your bed. Do the washing up. Put a wash on. Brush your teeth. Wash your face.
Plan with a time
“Stop waiting for the perfect time to get organized. Take this moment and make some progress.” - Heidi Leonard
I find a visual diary extremely helpful for planning what I need to do. Every week I draw out my diary, put in the immovable appointments, and then look at the rest of the time that I have spare within the diary. I then decide when I am going to do the things I need to do, and I write them in my diary. If I then get stuck in overwhelm, I can look at my diary, remember what I was meant to be doing and get on with it.
Set a timer
“Nothing inspires tidiness quite like knowing you have 15 minutes before guests arrive.”
Setting a timer is a great way to focus your mind. You can say, “I am going to spend the next 15 minutes tidying up”, set a timer for 15 minutes and away you go. You’ll be amazed how far you can get when you are under time pressure, but also when you know that when the buzzer goes off, you can move on to something else. The flip side of this is, “Don’t work till exhaustion”. Stop before you get too tired as if you come away from something absolutely exhausted, you will be less likely to start again another time.
Know what your next step will be.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe
Before you walk away from your task, write down what the next steps will be to make it easier to pick up another time. If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing, it’s harder to start, whereas if you think, “Oh yes, next thing to do is to read that document”, it’s easier to start again.
“It’s just easier when you’re here Mummy” – my daughter Beatrice
This one is a biggie. I know how many people say that it’s just so much easier when I’m there! The accountability doesn’t have to come from a professional though, it could be a friend or relative who you agree with that you will do something at a certain time. In the world of micro businesses, there is a move towards having time when you have a call together during which you just work on something. You’re not talking to each other; you just know that you’re not alone doing something.
Lean into it
“A good system shortens the road to the goal.” – Orison Swett Marden
Sometimes it’s amazing how productive you can be when you are avoiding a certain task! Have a list of short tasks that need doing – these are some that I thought up, but you should write your own list:
Make your bed.
Pick up dirty clothes
Put a wash on
Fold some laundry
Put away clean clothes
Do the washing up or load the dishwasher
Put the clean dishes away or unload the dishwasher
Clear the sides.
Wipe down the kitchen sides.
Check for expired/left over food.
Recycle cardboard boxes.
Empty the bins.
Return five things to their homes.
Recycle your junk mail.
Which leads me on to:
The Ta-Dah list
Some days I get to the end of them, and I think, “What exactly have I managed to do today?!” Perhaps my day has been split up with endless demands from children and I’ve just not managed to settle to anything for a decent length of time. When that has happened, I write down everything that I have managed to do. If I’ve been particularly tired, I may even add things such as, “Got out of bed” or “Fed children”, but usually by the time I’ve written down all the things I’ve achieved, I feel really good about what I’ve managed.
A spoonful of sugar
“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!” – Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins was not wrong. It can help to have something nice to do whilst you are doing other things, such as listening to a podcast whilst doing the ironing or planning a treat for when you are done with the job. This way the task becomes more appealing.
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