For most people, being organized takes practice. Why? The simple reason is that you are talking about changing behavior. Be kind to yourself and realize that you need time and repetition in order to create new habits and behaviors. One of the things I ask my clients to do is to reward themselves for making small, positive changes. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Here are strategies to remember for practicing organization: Practice daily. Commit to practicing the new habit for no less than 2 weeks, optimally you want to commit to 6. Reward yourself in meaningful ways. Remember that organizing is a process. You want to establish habits or a system that is easy to maintain. You are never done organizing and life isn’t predictable. Having optimal habits and a system helps you get back on track when something unexpected happens. Call me if you have a question!
This week Outside In Organizer and Makeovers is offering more organizing tips for optimal planning, preparation, and practice. At the risk of sounding like my girl scout self let’s talk about being prepared! These are the basic elements of preparation: clear goals, reasonable time allocation, and availability of necessary resources. Goals are essentially your destination. You want to be absolutely clear about what you want to accomplish before you set out to do something. This is the critical first step because it will help you organize how much time you will need to allocate to reach your goal. It is also the foundational step for clarifying what resources you will need to get the task done. TIP: write down your specific goal. Identify a realistic amount of time to allocate for the task. This will include time to prepare – research, gather resources, hire experts, make phone calls, travel to and from stores, etc. TIP: work backwards. When do you need or want to get it done? Work backwards from your deadline and set aside time well before that to accomplish the various steps. Have you identified the specific resources that you need to accomplish your task? Remember that resources include not only materials, supplies and equipment. Resources include the knowledge and sometimes, outside expertise or research that you will need to make decisions and execute your plan. TIP: create a to do list that has sections such as “information needed”, “materials and supplies”, and “costs. Have fun getting organized, treat it like a project and think of yourself as the Project Manager! Got questions? Call the Outside In Organizer!
September is the perfect time to organize. The change of seasons lends itself to making plans and preparing for all things new. This week I’ll share tips that will help you plan, prepare, and practice for this time of year. Today, let’s look at what you might want to start planning. Planning is simply a matter of time management. Going back to school and work means a change from your summer routine. You will need to plan for a different schedule and commitments. Start a checklist including items such as: 1. Annual doctor appointments. 2. Holiday preparations. 3. Converting your closets to fall and winter clothes. What else do you need to put on your checklist that will make your life easier and more organized? Take time to sit down and create a manageable schedule that allows for time to do these tasks.
Professionally, I do not advocate for a paperless office for my clients (or myself). My experience as a former educator strongly suggests that the very act of writing something down adds benefits both in learning and memory. I advocate for a balance (see TIPS below). That said, paper clutter in the office or home has no benefit. As a Professional Organizer in San Diego I am witness to the pitfalls of excessive paper…health problems (piles of paper collecting dust and impeding a clean office)…safety problems (heavy piles of unfiled papers, injuries related to lifting or tripping over piles)…stress-related issues (constant complaints of overwhelm and frustration)…and financial problems(late or duplicate bill payments, lack of productivity, lost time looking for important papers). Before I share the Outside In Organizer Approach’s TIPS I want to share an interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/jobs/pen-and-paper-still-practical-in-the-office-workstation.html?ref=global Outside In Organizer and Makeover TIPS: 1. Purge unnecessary papers. Ask yourself these 3 questions to help you decide: What do I need to keep the hard copy for? Is it something I need to act upon, or is it for information purposes, only? If it is informational, only, can I access it when I need to refer to it in an electronic file or the internet? 2. Sort the papers that you need to keep. Create an easy to maintain file system so that every piece of paper has its place. Streamline your system and use broad categories to avoid files that only contain 1 or 2 pieces of paper. 3. Create a tickler system for action items. A lot of my clients are afraid that if papers are out of their sight they will forget to act on them. Admittedly, leaving them out doesn’t insure that they will work on them! The answer? A dated tickler system that aligns with your calendar. This allows you… read more →