Has this ever happened to you? You decide that this time it’s going to be different. This time you’re really going to get organized and stay that way, too. You start off with a bang and make great strides on your organizing projects for the first few days, weeks or maybe even months. Then, suddenly, wham! You hit the proverbial brick wall. Out of nowhere, something gets in the way of your progress. Maybe your kids get sick. Or perhaps your babysitter quits or you have to spend more time at the office. Perhaps you’re discouraged because the projects you’ve finished seem to be unraveling as you move onto the next project on your list. Whatever the cause, losing your organizing mojo is nothing short of frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the organizing journey. Here are ten simple ways to start shifting the momentum back in your direction so you can get your organizing mojo back.
- Restore order in a space you’ve already organized. Here’s some good news: Once you organize a space, it really is much easier to get it back in order than it was to organize it from scratch. So take a few minutes to tidy up one of your finished projects—or better yet, a finished room. Nothing will restore your organizing energy like visible proof of your success.
- Finish a small project. If you haven’t finished a complete project yet, pick a small project and finish it ASAP. Don’t worry if it’s not the most important project on your list, simply focus on creating a small corner of order and completion. Then, step back and admire your results. Your finished project will restore your confidence and remind you that no matter how long the road ahead may be—you can do it!
- Create a project list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s really important to get all of your project ideas out of your head and onto paper. Now, trust me when I say this will feel like the wrong thing to do. The process of creating your list will make you feel worse than when you began. But when your list is done, you will begin to feel relief. When all of those nagging projects are out of your head and on paper, you can use your brain power for something more constructive than constantly reminding yourself (or berating yourself) about all the organizing projects you want to finish. So make the list, and then, shift your focus to a single project.
- Look at the little picture. Once you’ve put together your project list, you’re free to forget about the big picture for a while…it’s already captured on your list. Instead, focus on just one small piece of your organizing puzzle. Pick one room to focus on, and then break it down into small steps. Focus on one shelf, one dresser drawer or one small pile on the floor. When that is done, move on to the next micro project. Check in with your project list when you run out of things to do…but until then, keep taking small steps, one step at a time.
- Assess what you really need. Sometimes your loss of momentum could have less to do with the organizing project itself and more to do with other things going on in your life. So take a step back and take stock of what you really need. Are you getting enough sleep? How about water? Exercise? Nutritious food? Everything is easier when you feel good—so do what you need to do to take good care of yourself.
- Recognize what is in your control and what isn’t. If the event or circumstance that caused you to lose your momentum is something that is truly out of your control, accept that. Don’t beat yourself up over what you can’t change, but instead, look at what you can control. What can you change? If organizing on the weekends no longer fits your schedule because of a change in your work or family obligations, could you carve out shorter organizing sessions during the week instead?
- Do what worked before. When you started your organizing journey, you probably felt super excited. Go back there for just a minute and remember how that felt. What were you anticipating? What were your reasons for wanting to get organized? Write this down on a piece of paper. Next, think about the action steps you took. What did you do to get started? Do that again. It worked for you before…chances are really good it will work for you again.
- Record and celebrate your progress. When it feels like the road ahead is long, it’s important to recognize how far you’ve already come. This will be true now and further down the road on your organizing journey. Develop a simple way to track your organizing progress. You could count the number of bags of items you have donated, or tally the number of minutes you spend each week tackling your projects. This visible record will remind you of your success anytime you feel your enthusiasm faltering.
- Get up and organize for fifteen minutes right now. That’s right—step away from the computer and do something that moves you in the direction of your organizing goal. This works best if you set a timer so you know for sure how long you’ve worked. And really give yourself permission to make fifteen minutes of progress. Take note of how great you feel when the timer dings. You never know, you may just want to keep going for fifteen more.
- Know that what you’re experiencing is normal. Finally, if you lose steam midstream, know that this doesn’t have to be the end of the road. It’s just a bump in the road. And bumps in the road are perfectly normal. Don’t beat yourself up, but instead remind yourself that you’re simply human. Then, use one of the other nine strategies above and see which works best for you.
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