When Plans Go Awry

I know it’s Friday, but this week my family and I are on vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth, so I’m on a slightly different schedule this week with blogging.  I had planned on writing more time management tips, but then things went awry with our vacation plans, and because of this, I discovered a few things I thought I’d share with you today instead.

photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc
photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc

Getting organized is a journey.  Sometimes it will feel like you are making giant gains, and other days it feels like your sliding backwards.  It happens to all of us, whether we are organized or not.  That’s what happened to me this week.

We had planned our vacation to Disney at the beginning of February, thinking that we were going at the perfect time — no crowds, great weather — and we thought we had planned out the perfect schedule of events and dining as well.  But no matter how organized you may be, things don’t always go your way.  Sometimes there are things you have no control over:

  • a storm moving over Florida and shutting down rides JUST as you are about to get on,
  • large crowds from up North taking their Spring Break vacations and making the lines longer than you expected,
  • shuttle buses not arriving on time or not at all,
  • teenagers (enough said!)

Within a day of arriving, my organized and well thought out vacation was in disarray, and even though I made a Plan B, that got messed up too!  I think we are on Plan D now, but as I type I hear thunder out my window and I realize that I may need to create a Plan E, F, and G as well.

Sometimes, when we are on the journey to get organized, that’s just what happens.  Being organized does not equate with perfection.  Perfection is not our goal; getting a life is! So when you hit road bumps on your organizing journey, don’t let that frustrate you or lead you to think that you will never be able to get organized — you will!  You just have to go with the flow and do the best you can with the hand that’s been dealt to you.  And that, my friends, will become easier for you as you learn and implement organizing principles each and every week.

I know this may not be the Fun you expected on this first Friday in April, but I hope it gives you something to think about and a little encouragement too.  We are in this together, good or bad, and I know you are doing great!

So I’m off…back to the rain, the rides, and the crowds…grateful for this time with my family and a break from the daily grind.  I’ll be back next week with more time management posts, so be ready!

How have setbacks discouraged you from getting organized? How can you overcome that and keep going?

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

P.S. How are you doing determining your time? Are you surprised by what you’ve discovered?

 

 

Understanding Our Time

It’s a new month and April promises to be a busy one!  I don’t know about your house, but here at ours, we are constantly finding ways to keep the calendar full.

With summer looming, you may already be thinking about the end-of-school, summer vacations and activities to keep the kids busy so you don’t lose your sanity.  Like you, I know how easy it can be for our schedules to become overloaded and our patience stretched if we aren’t careful with our time.

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc
photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

Time.  It can be our best friend and our worst enemy.  No matter how hard we try, we always seem to be battling it.  So how do we win the battle?

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some ideas and tips to help you manage your time better so that when summer finally rolls around, you’ll be able to enjoy those days relaxing and spending it with those you love most.

But for today, I want to help you understand your time better. I’ve discovered that most people generally handle time in one of two ways:

  1. They underestimate how long a task will take.  Because they haven’t planned properly, they are forced to add the unfinished task to their already busy schedule and end up juggling more than they can handle.

OR

  1. They overestimate how long a task will take. By assuming that it will take longer to complete the task than the small window of time they have will allow, then they don’t even bother attempting it and just end up adding another task to their already lengthy to-do list.

Can you possibly relate?  I know I have been guilty of looking at my time from both points of view!  So how can we fix the problem?

The best way to avoid underestimating or overestimating our time is to gain an accurate account of how long it actually takes to do something.  When we know approximately how much time it will take to complete a task, then we can plan accordingly and make the most of the time we have.

So my challenge to you today is this:  for the next week, try to time how long it takes for you to complete a task (for example, emptying the dishwasher).  Once you’ve timed yourself three times for that particular task, then determine the average time based on your results.  Once you have the average time, you will be better able to judge how best to use your time when it comes to that activity.  If you know you don’t have enough time to complete the task, plan to do it at a better time; if you find that you can complete the task with the small pocket of time you do have, then do it and scratch it off your list!

If you take this challenge, I think you’ll be surprised at the results.  I also think you’ll be surprised at how transforming it can be for your schedule and your life.  Remember, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference.

Are you up for the challenge?  Leave me a note and let me know what you discover.

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Fun: Another Favorite Organizing Product

Not only is today FUN Friday, it’s also Good Friday!  I hope you have a blessed Easter holiday!

Since I haven’t shared one of my favorite organizing products lately, I thought I’d do that today.  This product is not an unfamiliar item to most people, I just think it doesn’t get enough credit for the job it does.  And what is it?  The wonderful Paper Shredder!

Paper shredderYes, I can hear the oohs and aahs exploding through the Internet now.  I know that you may not consider it a valuable asset, but I honestly couldn’t live without mine!

A paper shredder is a great organizing tool because it helps with paper management, protects you from possible identity theft, and substitutes wonderfully as paper filler for packages (okay, the last one was a joke, but it could be a possibility!).

If you’ve never considered having a paper shredder at home, that may be because you are thinking of the heavy duty, jumbo shredders associated with an office workplace.  That is not the case anymore.  You can purchase portable shredders that you can hide in a drawer and then simply place over a trash bin when you need to use it, or you can buy shredders that come with a trash bin and shredder combined.  Those are generally small enough to keep handy, but still out of sight. Our paper shredder is a combo one, and sits underneath WH’s office desk – it’s out of sight, but still easily accessible.

If you are totally against purchasing a paper shredder for your own personal use there are other options available to you.  Our subdivision has a mobile shredder come to a central location in our neighborhood each spring and fall for an entire Saturday, and anyone who has need of their services can stop by and drop off their papers to be shred.  I think this is either a free service paid for by our HOA, or there may be a small fee.  Regardless, mobile shredding is very popular these days, and you could look online to find one that might serve an area near you.

Another option to consider for paper shredding is your local UPS store.  They allow you to bring in your paper and use their jumbo shredder for a fee, or you can leave it with them and they’ll shred it for you for a slightly higher fee.  I’ve done this twice when I’ve had large piles of paper that my small home shredder couldn’t handle (my annual file purge at the beginning of the year), and it’s been wonderful!

Whether you own a shredder, use a mobile service, or go to a store, I hope you will consider the benefits of having and/or using a paper shredder in your organizing.  You’ll be amazed at how this simple and efficient product can impact your paper piles and files.  You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal

 

 

 

 

 

How to tackle clutter

Our month of madness is just about over!  We’ve learned how to stop procrastinating, straightened our closets, organized our home offices (even if we didn’t have one), and prepared for the arrival of spring.  There is only one thing left to tackle before we stop the March Madness around here, and that one thing is Clutter.

Messy closet

Yes, we all have it in some form or another; perhaps, some of us more than others!  But left untouched, clutter can be a major hurdle in the journey towards getting organized.  Today I want to talk about what clutter is, how it affects us, and steps we can take to remove it from our lives.

What Clutter Is

Clutter is defined as untidy stuff (a messy collection of objects) or a disorganized mess (a condition of disorderliness or overcrowding).  Some words closely associated to clutter include: mess, litter, disorder, confusion, untidiness, chaos.

For some of us, clutter may simply be our purse or a kitchen drawer.  For others, it may be a closet or a room.  And yet for some people, it may be the entire house.

Regardless of the size of our clutter, we have to be aware that we have an issue with it, and be willing to do something about it before it takes a major toll on our lives.

How Clutter Affects Us

Most people don’t think that clutter affects their lives because they know how to find things among all the chaos, so they are functioning just fine.  But the truth is, clutter robs people of their energy and their happiness.  How many times have you heard someone say they can’t ever have anyone over to their house because of all the clutter and mess?  When we allow our lives and our homes to be overtaken by clutter, we are creating barriers to friendships, joy, and peace.

Not only does the clutter affect our external environment, it also affects our internal one.  Living in a constant state of clutter eventually takes a toll on our mental and emotional well being.  Worry, frustration, and scattered thoughts (to name a few) are by-products of our external clutter.  The emotions tied to our clutter can drain us of energy and productivity, until we get to a state where we just don’t want to deal with it at all.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Steps to Tackling Your Clutter

If you want to deal with your clutter, but don’t know where or how to start, here are a few ideas to help you:

  • Call it what it is – Clutter is clutter.  It’s a mess, but it is not you.  It has nothing to do with your personality or your identity as a person.
  • Know that is can be dealt with – No matter how much clutter you may have, it can be cleaned up with time, effort, and an understanding of the problem.
  • Understand that we all have clutter in some form or fashion – You may have vastly more clutter than someone else, but you can take comfort that they may have some stashed somewhere too!
  • Be willing to deal with it – If you admit that you have a clutter problem, then you’ve taken a giant leap towards getting rid of it.
  • Ask for help – Many times clutter is tied to a psychological issue.  When you start to tackle it, you may need to have a friend work alongside you to keep you accountable and motivated.  If you find that it’s way beyond that, you may need to call in a professional to help you.
  • Start small- Choose a small space to start or work in small amounts of time.  By doing this, you won’t be overwhelmed, and once you’ve completed a small area and can relish in the beauty of a clean space, you’ll be motivated to keep going!
  • Implement the organizational process I mentioned in earlier posts this month.  Ridding your home and spaces of the clutter is as simple as A,B,C and easy as 1,2,3.
photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc
photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc

As you work your way through the clutter, you may be tempted to keep things because you have sentimental ties to items, you think you’re going to use it at some point, or you just can’t bear to part with it.  If you find yourself in this situation, ask these questions to help you determine if you need to keep it or let it go:

  • Do I use this often?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • Does it still fit?
  • Do I love it? (The rule in our house is that you have to LOVE it to keep it)
  • Do I have duplicates of this?
  • Am I keeping this for sentimental purposes, or out of guilty or worry that if I get rid of it I might hurt someone’s feelings?
  • Is it out-of-date?
  • If I got rid of this item, how easily could I get another one?
  • If I got rid of this item, how much would that impact my life?
  • Is it broken or too damaged to repair?
  • Could someone else benefit from having this?
  • Could I rent or borrow this, so that I can let it go but still have some type of access to it?

These may be hard questions to answer, but once you’ve found the freedom from the clutter, you’ll be happy you asked them!

Whew! I don’t know about you, but this has been a heavy topic to deal with. Believe me, I try really hard to keep these posts to a word limit (my WH says I write way too much), but there is just so much to cover! Please know that my goal is not to overwhelm you with words, or “clutter up” a post, I just want to help and encourage you towards getting organized.  It’s not always an short process, but is definitely worth it!

I think we’ve had a successful month trying to get organized.  Maybe next month we’ll keep it on the lighter side!  Hopefully you’ll feel a little lighter, too, as you implement all that you’ve learned here to gain the life you want.

How can tackling the clutter in your home or space make a difference in your life? 

Your organizing friend,

Go 2 Gal