The One Organizing Mistake You Need to Avoid

Do you have a gargantuan organizing project you’ve been putting off because you don’t have time to do it? Don’t we all?  We tend to approach large projects as a task that needs to be accomplished when we have a large chunk of time. I am guilty of this mistake also, but not anymore!  Being extremely goal-oriented, I would wait until I had several hours before tackling a large task so I’d be able to complete it in totality. I then realized I was procrastinating because,

a. I didn’t have enough time to complete the task or,
b. I didn’t want to do it

I now divvy up almost any task into small time increments. Almost any task can be broken into bite-size pieces. A few examples:

  • Organize an area of your house. Instead of dedicating an entire weekend to address a particular area, break it up into 30-minute sessions.  Four thirty-minute sessions totals two hours of organizing if you do it four times a week, and a whopping eight hours if you do it over an entire month! You can do anything for thirty minutes so that daunting project you were dreading now becomes attainable.
  • Pet-hate chores. As my family can attest, I have many pet-hate household chores. Folding laundry is one of them. I have now taken to divvying up folding laundry. Each time I go upstairs, I take several items out of the clean laundry basket and fold them. It takes less than 30 seconds. By the end of the day, a chore I was neglecting is now complete and my laundry folded and put away. (I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I do the same with emptying the dishwasher!)

I figured if this strategy works for me—a lifelong goal-oriented person who likes to devote large amounts of time to a project—it will most likely work for many other task-driven individuals.

Last year, I began a full house decluttering project. Armed with bags for trash and donation, I set a timer for 30 minutes and began decluttering my nightstand. When the timer went off, I stopped decluttering and continued the following day. Some weeks, I carved out more 30-minute sessions but even if I were on a roll I would stop after 30-minutes. I knew this would incentivize me to continue since I hate not completing a project.

Within a couple of months, our entire top floor was decluttered, and the organization of every room was improved. So, if you find it challenging to start a project, or even complete a project, give this strategy a try and let me know how you get on!

Happy organizing!

Haverford Trust recently asked me to speak at their Women’s Speaker Series event at the Sofitel in Philadelphia. Here’s a short two-minute clip from the event where I discuss this very topic.

How to Eliminate Procrastination Once and For All

Do you struggle with procrastination? Learn this simple strategy to eliminate procrastination.