Forget about why you have a collection of STUFF, or how it got there.
Decide what you are going to do with it, so it's not just 'Stuff' anymore.
Inboxes and psyches all over the world are stuffed with stuff with no end in sight. As volumes keep increasing daily, many find it overly stressful.
To make progress in organizing 'Stuff', at some point you will need to get engaged with it physically. It's true, thinking and analyzing has value, yet the power of action trumps contemplation. Action means results.
Maybe it's time to jump in... ?
It's not enough to stand on the high diving board and think about jumping. You have to get your feet wet by jumping and making this dive a reality.
Thinking too much can be counterproductive. Sure you want to make a plan for the best course of action, yet replaying what you will do over and over in your head is not going to get you moving forward.
Sometimes we like to think we're 'thinking' about something when really we are just going over again what we already know for fear of taking the next step.
Many times my clients want to give me detailed stories about why their e-mail is out of control, or they have not managed to process the piles of papers on their desk, or even why the spare room has become a dumping ground.
It's like when we find ourselves here, piled under something we just don't want to deal with; we go to great lengths to explain what it all means and why the stuff is still here. In this way it can all be justified. The more we let everyone know what great thought has gone into it, we feel we can justify the space and energy it's sucking up.
I listen attentively and then I just start asking questions. What's next? What do you want out of this space? Where will this go? Do you need this?
Here's the part where I see them twitch. (Don't you care about my reasons?!) Well, yes and no. I get it, but my job is to get you past this and on to making a decision. Thinking on a different level about this 'stuff', now we are looking at getting past the frustration and irritation that comes from replaying our story over and over again. No more avoiding.
What's the next step? Where will we put this? Will doing this, or keeping this really add to my life? Resolution, clarity and completion is our goal. My job is to help you with the process. You are the one who'll need to figure out what it means and what you want to do about it.
Does thinking about this create a subtle feeling of angst for you, like the thought of jumping off the high diving board? That's OK I promise, it's natural. Taking the pledge to action is risky business. We wonder if we'll be disappointed in the results if things don't work out just as we imagined and thought they could. How deep is that water anyway?
The reality of what will happen and what's possible will only be realized when you take the leap and shift into action. Your talent and creativity will kick in as you crack down on your plan. There is a huge pool of possibility waiting for you.
Want to learn about how to be better engaged with all the things grabbing your attention? Enjoy this 'click back' to my post on the Secret to Avoiding Inappropriate Engagement
Determining what ‘needs’ to get done, what ‘should’ get done and what ‘could’ get done, and in what ‘order’ is ‘Prioritizing’.
We all know that our priorities are mainly going to be items that come directly from our goals. However, along the way there will always be priorities that come to us that we didn't expect or plan for.
We also find that during our journey towards our goals, that we find new possibilities spring up that catch our eye. Why is it that so many tasks make there way onto our lists, yet crossing them off is so challenging? With all that we want and need to do, how can we get it all done?
We can't. Longer days and increased productivity could mean getting a few more things done, yet there really is no magical way that we will be able to complete all of the tasks and ideas bursting out of our creative minds.
We have to cut something off our lists inevitably, yet we want to do so without feeling like we failed somehow. This will mean we need to prioritize our list down to what is meaningful and toss out the unimportant stuff that can bottleneck our work and overwhelm us.
To help us stay focused on what truly matters here are 3 basics to prioritizing that bursting To-Do list:
#1 FOCUS ON 'VALUE' OVER 'DEADLINE'
Instead of dealing with every item on your list based on its apparent deadlines, first separate your ‘to-do’ list into ‘Valuable’ and ‘Not so Valuable’.
Another thing to watch for here is ‘crises’ that others push on you at the last minute. Don’t let poor planning or follow through from someone else become your issue unless it is important enough.
#2 WHEN ADDING TO YOUR LIST, LET GO OF SOMETHING ELSE TO MAKE ROOM
Like your hallway closet has a limit to how many coats and shoes it can hold, so too does your calendar. If you are going to take on a new project, and you already have just enough time to get what you need done, decide what you are going to give up to make room.
You can not continue to pile on projects and responsibilities without clearing a few items off your plate. If you can delegate or hire help to enable you to do more, than do so, yet before you commit ask yourself if you really have the time and if the project really has the value.
Tip: be careful not to sweep things under the carpet ‘for now’ as this habit can lead to a mountain growing under you that you wont notice until it’s too late.
#3 DECLINE DOING THINGS THAT DON'T HOLD VALUE FOR YOU
Saying ‘no’ can be hard, I know. It is after all something that I struggle to get better at myself. As helpful, loving and creative people we want to help, support and show just how much we are capable of when it comes to new assignments and opportunities.
You may have read my article ‘Don’t let others ‘Should’ on you’ and sometimes the case is that we ‘Should’ on ourselves. Learning to say ‘no’ can be difficult, yet it is a valuable skill if we want to stay focused on what is truly important.
When assignments come up ask yourself if it aligns with your overall goals, or if it is too important to let go. If you answer is ‘no’ then decline to get involved.
Want more tips of how to stay engaged effectively with everything grabbing your attention? Read on for the 'Secret to Avoiding Inappropriate Engagement'
Have you ever wondered if the look of your desk has prevented you from receiving a promotion? Maybe, maybe not, yet according to CareerBuilder .ca it could.
You may want to think about tidying up your desk. According to a new national survey, it could cost you a promotion.
- QMI Agency
"CareerBuilder polled more than 230 Canadian hiring managers and found nearly 40% tend to develop negative perceptions about staff with cluttered workspaces because it suggests they are either disorganized or a slob. Three-in-10 employers say they are less likely to promote someone with a chaotic desk.
Of the 420 workers surveyed,
"Workers are being asked to take on more projects as companies function with leaner staffs, which could be resulting in more cluttered workspaces," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.
"While chaos on your desk space can indicate a busy workload, it can also imply a lack of organization. The good news is that workers can fix this problem quickly and reverse any negative perceptions of their performance."
Haefner recommends scheduling a weekly clean up time and prioritizing “to do” lists as well as clearing out unnecessary digital clutter such as emails.
Desk look too much like this?
At one of our local chapter meetings of Professional Organizers in Canada, we had a wonderful psychology student come by to talk to us about her research into hoarding. It certainly was one of our better attended meetings, which was no surprise to us as we know that more and more people are identifying with some of the traits this condition is known for.
It was was very interesting to learn about the perspectives and various traits people exhibit that have tendencies to hoard, and also what some mistake as hoarding yet are only really either untidiness, collecting or even just a difficulty in making decisions. Since I am no expert on the disorders that lead to hoarding, I won't go into this topic to deeply.
The big 'take away' of this meeting...
Our speaker, Kristie, explained some of the major challenges people with this newly defined disorder suffer from. Clearly the ability to make decisions about things, and being able to trust they are in the drivers seat to make the hard choices of letting go is key.
One big thing to remember when helping someone through the process of making decisions and letting go is that trust can be damaged in a heartbeat. When someone, trying to help, starts throwing things away without letting the individual be part of the decision, there can be no progress in the long run.
As an organizer, no matter who I am working with, the choice is not mine to tell a client what they should or shouldn't keep. What I can do is help them to define their own goals, set some criteria in which things can stay or go, and help them get the work done.
In case you were wondering why is it so hard for some to part with things, try imagining this for a moment...
If you can imagine this I am sure that you can also imagine how hard it would be to come to any conclusions about what to toss, let alone what categories things will be sorted into so you can organize your space.
Sure, it's going to take longer to sort and purge and get organized when working with someone experiencing these challenges, yet unless they are the one making the choice for themselves the skill it takes to maintain a level of organization it not going to be theirs.
The client needs to be the driver.
It is the client that must decide the rules by with decisions to keep or toss are made. They must be the ones then making the choice and parting with the items.
We as organizers will assist. We will help them come to those choices by asking questions, by empowering them, by supporting them through the process, by reminding them of the benefits they told us they want to enjoy as a result, and by assisting when needed with the physical work that may be too much for them.