Dieting, working out, and getting more organized continually top the list of New Year’s resolutions. All three, however, typically fall by the wayside by February. I have no hard science behind this, but my theory is these three tend to be the hardest to consistently maintain. There’s no shortage of advice out there but have you ever considered finding the motivation that successfully works for you? Let’s look at four of my favorite methods:
Treats (not just for pets) – Motivating yourself by using the treat method works well for many people and there are endless ways to implement this. For example, you want to organize your desk but keep avoiding it. Consider setting a 30-minute timer with the goal of a tea-time break (or glass of wine) when you finish the project. The rewards can increase in scale depending on the size and scope of your project. Maybe you’ve been putting off a mammoth project that will have significant benefits if you could only complete it. Rewarding yourself with a vacation could be a significant motivator. As the new year approaches, consider what rewards motivate you, then draw up a short list of projects you want to accomplish next year and the intended reward that will be yours after completion.
Body Doubling (not just for actors) – Body doubling works well for those who become more productive when surrounded by one or several others. A professional organizer colleague once told me she worked with an author client who hired the organizer to sit in her office while she wrote. You may think that’s crazy, but I counter the client had identified what she needed to keep her motivated. As professional organizers, we often function as body doubles, maybe not just sitting in a chair, but working alongside our clients helping them declutter, or implement organizing systems in their homes. “If you weren’t here, I’d never do this” is a refrain we frequently hear from our clients. A body double doesn’t have to be a professional organizer, it can also be a patient, non-judgmental friend or relative.
Accountability – Finding an accountability partner is a great way to stay on track with your organizing goals. This method works for those who function well independently, yet need a little extra push to ensure they complete their tasks. An accountability partner can be a coach, professional organizer, colleague, or friend—someone with whom you have communicated your goals and who will check in with you to make sure you are on track.
Scheduling – This simply means allocating time on your calendar for your projects. Instead of arbitrarily planning to do a task, you schedule it in your calendar as if it were an appointment. It gives a framework and a deadline to keep you on track. I use the scheduling method for practically everything on my to-do list. Between using the treat method and scheduling, I find I’m able to complete most of my projects on time.
Which of these methods resonates with you or do you use another method? I’d love to hear. Meanwhile, now that I’ve completed writing this article, I have a cup of tea and a biscuit waiting for me!
Wishing you a very happy and productive New Year!