It only takes fifteen minutes to make a difference.
by Amanda LeBlanc
Here it is, another year. Even though I am against New Year’s resolutions, I know that many of you make them and even more of you break them! Since there are a lot of people who make getting organized their New Year resolution, I will give you a few tips that will help you follow through and not fall off the wagon on day two!
Even if your goal is to get your home organized, you need to start with your time. Most people complain about not having the time to do the projects in their home that they want to. Well, that’s just poor planning. Every successful person has a plan and estimates the time it will take to execute the steps of that plan. If you are serious about making a change this year, then you have to be serious about the plan to get there. Time management and self-discipline can make or break you, so let’s have a little chat about time management. You need to look closely at how much time you have available in a day. Next, add the tasks that are non-negotiable, i.e. taking kids to school, cooking dinner, etc. After you have looked over how your time is being spent and what free time you have left, then you will be able to determine what amount of time is realistic to spend each day getting organized. I would say you need at least 15 min a day, but no more than an hour. What!? Could it really be that it only takes this long each day? Well, yes and no. I didn’t say it was going to be a quick process, but I don’t want you to burn out and quit.
By the way, call me an old fart at 36, but as I have said time and time again, I still have a paper planner and I write all of this down. I have learned that when it comes to managing my time, I am a visual person. I need to see tasks for the whole day at one time. I need them to be color-coded and have tasks blocked off in time segments. I guess I am saying this because there are a lot of new gadgets and technology that we can feel pressured to try, but know who you are and don’t fight it. I like paper and pen; I am not a gadget girl.
One of my hoarding clients came to me after years of therapy and was ready to make a change. She booked us to help with her closet. The closet was at least 20’ x 20’ and it was packed floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall. She had to wait eight weeks before we could get to her project. Since she had been in therapy, she had worked through some issues and was ready to let go. I told her to go in to the space and set a timer for 15 minutes a day until we could get to her project. During that time, I wanted her to bring two boxes in the closet; trash and donate. I told her to pick a corner and just deal with the items she wanted to throw away or donate.
When I returned eight weeks later, I could not believe the dent she had made on this space. I was surprised that she was able to let go and that she did so much on her own. I asked her how she did it and she told me, the egg timer! She said she had always felt so overwhelmed in the space and felt like she needed to take off a week from work just to tackle it. This new method of only having to spend 15 minutes taught her that little steps would take you a long way. It also broke the project down into manageable steps. She wasn’t trying to donate, throw away and create new systems for what she was keeping all at the same time. This is the second aspect of being successful, breaking projects down into smaller tasks.
I see people walk away from goals or resolutions because they try to tackle too much and it overwhelms them. Don’t let this mistake derail you from what you really want. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen if you take you time and work the plan. Maybe organizing the laundry room is going to take four small projects, but at the end it will be a project worth having and one that is complete.
Good Luck, Happy New Year, and until next time- Keep it Organized!