Crush Housework: Action is Easier When You Know How
If you wish to listen to the podcast that accompanies this blog, you can find it here.
And no action is happening unless someone takes charge. Go ahead and start that project of clearing out and managing stuff. It’s been sitting for ages awaiting attention. Right? It’s taking up space in your home. It’s chewing up real estate in your brain. But nothing is happening. Are you thinking, “well I would if I could? If I knew where to start that would be super helpful. If I could make time, I’d get to it. Just tell me how!”
Since you asked, here’s my take. Learning our ABCs was fun and easy as we gleefully sang our way through the alphabet. Did it occur to you that you were learning? Imprinting those letters in our heads provided the foundational building blocks for our eventual reading skills. Suppose nailing daily tasks was that simple?
Any skill proficiency whether it’s organizing, cooking, differential calculus comes easy to some and is trickier for others, if it’s not your cup of java, don’t bail. Follow the A-Z strategies below to stridently accomplish your to-dos. There are no guarantees that they will work without occasional tweaks on the road to some new habits.
Pick one letter a day to work on. If you are a linear thinker go from A to Z or Z to A. If you are a non-linear processor, print this out, cut up the sections into strips, put them in a jar, and pull out a new letter each day.
Why not sing or hum those ABCs or other tunes during chores to while away the minutes? “Hi-ho, Hi-ho it’s off to work around our homes we go.”
The A-Z’s Of Organizing Your Time and Space
A. Action. Seriously, go for it. Take any action to move you forward. There is no failure. Period. There are only systems that do or don't align with the way you think or process. Don't know where or how to begin? Ask for help from someone who has the tools or connections to get you started or move you through the process. Analyze glitches and hiccups and adjust as you would a recipe to taste or shopping for new clothes until you find a look and feel that works well. Assign times and days to chores and projects to afford you autonomy, direction and accountability. Ask a friend to help keep you accountable.
B. Breathe. Lose yourself in deep breaths and you'll forget how much you despise what you're doing. Believe you know how to do it and just begin. Buddy up & binge clean one room or one space. Boil the project down into bite-size chunks if it seems too big, and beckon a friend to assist. Break every 30-45 minutes or so for a refresher. Begin again. At the end, be a pal, offer a yummy treat or movie night as thanks. Banish time wasters until you have met your goals or need a reprieve.
C. Comfort is your friend. Too hot, too cold, too dark, too bright, too itchy, too noisy, all of these are distractions. Consider clothing that will satisfy your body for greater productivity and calmness. Create clutter-free environments that will nourish your mind. Choose music or a podcast that will get you pumped or chill your nerves.
D. Dispose the items and thoughts that no longer serve you. Donate! Someone will delight in your old treasures. Divide your calendar activities between personal, professional, family obligations, and household maintenance. Devote time for self-care. If you're not feeling divine, work becomes harder and you'll be miserable.
E. Eat smart. Energy zappers won’t do you any favors when you need brainpower or vitality.
F. File to the level of detail that works for you. The more specific the easier it is to find what you need. Too detailed, you won't do it if that's not your thing. Flexibility is fundamental. Forget making piles. Finish using something? File it. Handling it only once is faster than sorting through massive mounds to figure out where things go and ferry them to storage destinations. Fracture large, scary projects into bite-size pieces. Forge ahead one step at a time to keep your cool and on pace.
G. Get a jump start on the day by waking up a 15-30 minutes earlier than you need to be. Give the Snooze button a boot. Greet the day by arising 10-20 minutes earlier than you need to. Spend the time meditating or stridently accomplishing to-dos for a less stressed out morning. Gravitate toward activities that gratify, energize and fuel your passions. Gratitude is getting a lot of buzz these days understandably. When we're grateful for what we have, our minds don't get bogged down in jealousy and inadequacies for what is lacking.
H. Horribly tech glitches, cancelled appts, etc. happen. Hatch an alternate game plan for when things go wonky. Hold yourself accountable to your dreams and goals. Honor yourself with rewards for jobs well done. Habits solidify through repetition. You'll harvest success with continual reinforcement.
I. Insert items requiring full brainpower or high physical energy during your ideal peak performance hours. Listen to your intuition for when it's time to stop, readjust, get a mood booster, or tackle a chore buster.
J. Jot notes just as to-do items pop into your head so you don't forget or segue from your current assignment. Keep paper and pen, chalkboard, whiteboard, post-its, or electronic notes handy around your house, office, or notepad in your purse. Jettisoning weight from your head and onto a list will free up brain space for clearer thinking and higher performance. Joyful activities to save your sanity should be part of your weekly regimen.
K. Kickstart your day by knowing where your keys, phone and purse/satchel are to get out the door quickly. Keep keys and purse on a hook near the door you typically use (but out of sight of windows and potentially prying eyes). The backside of a coat closet is keen for privacy. Knock out boring chores like folding laundry with distractions such as interesting podcasts, tv, or headset phone calls to catch up with your gal pals. Be kind to yourself for any blunders, knotty situations are bound to happen.
L. Lists. Jot to-dos, doodle or use Apps like Habitica so you don't forget and you stay on track. Let go of the things that you loathe, aren't useful, or harbor negative memories. Look why suffer? Sorry lousily you have to retain tax, financial, and legal files even if they aren't sexy. Lamentably, not my rules.
M. Minimize. Managing time and space is more efficient with less stuff mucking up surfaces and activities on the calendar. Mind the number of tasks per day or mitigate too many responsibilities by delegating to avoid overwhelm. Maybe say “NO” when one more thing will flip you over the edge.
N. No time? Notice if your schedule is hampered by time wasters. Track your activities each day for a week. Nominate assistants to help take things off your plate or aid in completion or to keep you on track. Numbingly stuck? Ask for help from a friend, relative or organizing professional.
O. Organize based on your calendar. Business meeting in the morning? Pack paperwork and essentials in your computer bag right away. Opting to exercise at lunch? Toss workout accessories in your gym bag, and place in your car the night before or keep a gym bag in the trunk. Put a note on your washing machine to grab workout clothes for laundering. Orderly pairing of clothes and accessories for the week will eliminate morning indecision. Hang tops and bottoms together and sling necklaces and bracelets on the hangers for quick dress and go. Observe what techniques work for you and opt out of the ones that don't. Open your mind to new ways of doing things for increased productivity and greater efficiency. Old habits may not be serving you.
P. Prep lunches and breakfast ingredients before you clean up the kitchen at night for rapid grab and go. Also advance prep dinner ingredients for quick assembly when you arrive home uninspired and spent. Use a chopper to rapidly chop veggies. Measure and assemble dry ingredients. Pop the mixture in a slow-cooker for a ready-made dinner in the evening. Practice new routines to get the hang of them before giving up.
Q. Quiet time is important to stimulate creativity, gather your thoughts, and be relaxed as you work through the day. Quench your thirst, hunger or need for movement every few hours. Quit whatever you are doing when your brain or body signal it's time to stop your quest until you feel refreshed. Quell desires to check email and social media until you have completed a goal.
R. Routines make remembering easier. To trigger reminders, elect times that make reasonable sense for you to build a habit such as brushing your teeth before bed and when you get up. Review your accomplishments at the end of each day and cross off completed tasks or finished projects. Recognize that change is rarely instantaneous and you're doing a rad job as you relearn.
S. Synchronize your clocks ahead to build in a cushion of an extra 5-10 minutes to allow for traffic, detours, or tech glitches. Signals! Set electronic alerts for upcoming appointments, tasks, etc. Signal task wind down with a 30 minute alert before you need to leave the house or prepare for your next appointment. Switch on a 5 minute warning to pack up, grab your purse or computer bag, and head to the potty, and a STOP alert when it is time to “get out the door”.
T. Tidy daily. Thorough house cleaning goes much faster if straightening up is minimal. Take a few minutes to clear your desk surface nightly or each time you leave it to start your work fresh each day. Timer reminders on social media such as Facebook will help you limit surfing to maximize minutes for other uses. Track this option down under Settings & Privacy on Facebook.
U. Use your electronics sparingly. Up against a deadline? Unplug to avoid getting sucked into social media, emails, gaming, and uninvited intrusions.
V. Vary your sitting vs standing and hunching activities to avoid strains on your body or prolonged physical inactivity. Vital refreshers can provide more vibrancy and stimulation than valiantly pushing through when tired or aggravated. Vertical storage options to keep surfaces free for use is a very versatile idea if possible.
W. Wisely weigh whether documents need to be retained. Keep important documents in a fire proof/waterproof safe or safety deposit box. Warning: fire and waterproof designations are relative. Do your research before purchasing to ensure adequate degrees of protection. Watch for personal information (social security and credit card numbers) before tossing. Shred if possible. Recycle discardable paper. File away what you need to keep. Wasted space filled with unneeded papers and worn out stuff costs money, time, and lost storage area.
X. 'Xtra TLC is 'xactly what you need to rejuvenate during periods of high stress so be kind to yourself.
Y. You can do the things you yearn for. Yes, have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Yield to the support of others when it gets too big. Yuckiness is likely initially, but in time you will make progress emotionally and experientially.
Z. Zero in on what makes you happy. When the going gets tough, zip through a task that jazzes you then zoom back to the necessary ones when you feel more resourced to zap them. Zillions of things were once new to you, yet over time you became a zealous master of most.
Hopefully there are some helpful take aways from this list so that the next time you’re quizzical about where or how to deal with organizing dilemmas, the solution will be as easy as the ABCs.
As always, if you’re struggling with a specific home organizing dilemma or just need general assistance to get sorted, feel free to reach out to ThePracticalSort.com. Let’s chat on the phone, no cost, no obligation to figure out how to move you toward your goals. Have a wonderfully practical day.