One of the biggest challenges people face with trying to stay organized is finding the time and energy to do so. This is an important hurdle to overcome. If we don’t take the actions that help us stay organized, in time, we will experience the negative consequences of disorganization like physical clutter, running late, forgetting to do things, and experiencing higher levels of stress.

Getting yourself to take action even when you don’t have a lot of time, or even when you don’t feel up to the task at hand, has some serious positive consequences! But still, sometimes it can be challenging to psyche ourselves up for taking these actions. Sometimes we need a little extra incentive and motivation. And that’s what our next secret is all about.

Why You Should Time Dreaded Tasks from

Dreaded tasks often take less time than you think.

I remember years ago working with an organizing coaching client. She was telling to me about a suitcase which was sitting on her bedroom floor, still packed from the trip she had gotten back from many days before. She said this was a common problem for her. She traveled often for work and really dreaded unpacking her suitcase every single time she returned home from her business trip.

I challenged her to empty her suitcase as soon as we hung up the phone. But, I added a twist. I encouraged her to pull out a timer and see how long it actually took her to completely unpack her suitcase. My client took the challenge.

Now I don’t recall exactly how many minutes it took her to unpack her suitcase. But what I do remember is that she was absolutely shocked by how little time this dreaded task actually took! In her mind, dealing with her suitcase was a monumental task. In reality, it was pretty darn small.

Now whether you habitually unpack right away, or suffer from languishing suitcase syndrome yourself, I bet you can relate to this story. My guess is there are tasks that regularly find their way onto your to-do list and stay there for extended periods of time because you simply dread doing them. So today, I invite you to figure out how long these dreaded tasks actually take.

Here’s why: If you find that they take less time than you thought, you’ll break down your resistance to doing these tasks next time…and this has some terrific benefits. It really doesn’t make sense to let a task linger when you’re ultimately going to do it anyway. Do you see my point?

If you really don’t have the time to do a task, or you’re taking care of other higher priority tasks, then sure, sometimes tasks really do need to hang out on your to-do list for a while. Sometimes waiting to take action is the best decision.

But, if you’re choosing to do less important tasks over more important tasks simply because you don’t like a particular important task, that’s a different story. Likewise, if you’re avoiding a task because it feels big and time consuming, when in reality it isn’t, avoiding the task simply creates bad energy.

Going back to the suitcase example, ultimately the suitcase will get unpacked, so if it takes five or even ten minutes to do it, why not do it right away? When you do, you’ll avoid a lot of negative energy and I would bet you’ll avoid some negative self-talk, too. Plus, you won’t have to trip over your suitcase for the few days it typically sits there waiting patiently for you to take action. :-)

Speaking of action, let’s get busy putting this secret into action.

stop signTake Action:  Figure out how long it really takes.

Your assignment is to figure out how long basic household tasks really take, including basic tasks that will help you stay organized. Here’s the best part – you can do this action step as you go about your regular day. Simply do the tasks you need to do and time how long tasks take. Then, simply record your times. You’re welcome to use the Action Guide from the class to get started.

I hope you have enjoyed this mini series and sample from my online class The Secrets of Staying Organized.

What tasks do you dread most? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for sharing.


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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