Ask Your Guru – Overcoming Organizational Inertia

How [do you] start getting organized when you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start?
Claudia

Claudia:
We sure hope we can help you out – and our readers! Come on Buttoned Up followers, do you have some advice and help for Claudia too?

Getting organized can be overwhelming, we know, but you CAN do it if you take it one baby step at a time. You have what we refer to as Organizational Inertia – so overwhelmed it stops you from even starting! The real trick is to start doing a few baby step things each day and it will slowly pull you out of the disorganization and it will be easy then to maintain it!

So here are some tips we hope will help kick start you and get you over that overwhelmed stage and into an action stage:

1. Write it Down & Make It Fun

Since getting organized can seem overwhelming, put on some music YOU like when you begin. Write down what needs to be accomplished – put it all down on paper. What you write down gets done. That doesn’t mean it gets done all at once, on the contrary, we want you to look at your list and then break it down into manageable tasks that take no more than 30 minutes. Be specific when you write down the task – not ‘organize finances’ but rather how you will do that – ‘create files for our finances,’ ‘pay bills by the 15th and 31st’, ‘balance the checkbook,’ etc.

2. Top Three

Now that you have your list and your tasks that take only 30 minutes to accomplish, you can document your plan of attack. So pick the top three you would like to accomplish and are most important to you to do. This is following our 80/20 rule – focus on the most important things. Once these three are done, pick the next three, and so on.

3. Commit & Schedule It

Now for the three priorities you really want to accomplish – commit to when you will get it done! Give yourself a deadline to meet and write it next to the task. If one job you know will take several days to get done, schedule the time over several days when you know you will have the time to tackle the job. If you want to do it all in one sitting that’s great, but some jobs can’t be done that way without getting overwhelmed again and exhausted, so be brutally honest with yourself about your stamina as well as other demands on your time. Now, while your favorite music is playing and you have your plan of attack, schedule the tasks in your calendar as an activity that demands your time. If you schedule at least one task to accomplish per day (night if you work) than before you know it you will be organized!

4. Buddy System

Having someone help you can make all the difference. Ask for help and offer to help them back with something they need. It doesn’t necessarily have to be help organizing; maybe it’s gardening, or watching their kids. You get the picture. It’s more fun to work with others and you more gets done in less time.

5. Establish Routines

Life is busy and messy. That’s just a fact we all live with; things will get messy again. The challenge is to keep the space organized and up to date to avoid getting overwhelmed again. The best way to do that is to establish routines. That can mean you do all the dishes before you go to bed at night; you file the bills as soon as you are done paying them; you go through the mail daily and discard the junk; you clean the bathroom up before you leave in the morning; you hang up your coat and clothes immediately; if you take it out, you put it away when you are done. Avoid the things that tend to distract you from keeping your routine (TV, Computers, Telephone/cell calls/texts, Email, etc.). Routines will help make the most of your available time and actually give you more time to do the things you want to do.

Good luck and let us know if these tips worked for you! If any of our readers have additional ideas for Claudia please include them in the comment area below.
Alicia