So my “Bug Me List” has become even more pressing to get many of the items complete. My mother is in the process of selling her home and the funny market of California means that her house may very likely sell before she finds a new one to purchase. So returning the kindness and love she showed us in letting us crash at her home while we searched wasn’t even given a second thought. Very shortly she maybe joining our household…only challenge is the clutter/lack of organization that currently holds our guestroom and its closet hostage and our garage. Getting a systematic and planned start to my reo0rganization just became top priority.
That brings me to my plan. As I mentioned in my post on Project Organization: “The Bug Me List”, the list I created of bug me items poured into a six page list. Obviously I can’t do everything on the list right now and truthfully the sheer massiveness of it could stop me in my tracks. But the old saying is true, you can eat an elephant, one bite at a time. So here is how I create a plan when dealing with overwhelming odds…otherwise known as tasks.
Take a Deep Breath
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and when you exhale say to yourself, “I don’t have to do it all in one shot.” If you look at the entire list as one thing to be accomplished, you will get overwhelmed and if you are anything like me, procrastination becomes your best friend. But by looking at the list and consciously acknowledge that each item on the list is an accomplishment, then the list turns to a list of results you are working toward rather than a to do list to scratch off.
Once the sanity of being able to accomplish goals returns, I find it the most helpful to break it down. I personally use a modified Franklin Covey approach to do this. I go through my list and classify each item on the list based on the categories below. Note: An item can be identified as more than one category such as it can be both urgent and important and a major overhaul.
- Urgent – The fire items that need to get done ASAP but may not create major change or even be important.
- Important – The items that improve day to day function, making life more efficient and organized, often creating the biggest impact on stress relief.
- Inexpensive – Something that will not cost a lot of funds or time if it is an extremely precious commodity in your life. Note on Time: most things take time to accomplish but if you are say a doctor who is on call and works away from home almost 24-7, then time becomes an extremely precious commodity.
- Expensive – Something that cost either lots of funds or a huge time investment.
- Minor Overhaul – something that will create a small impact in what you want to accomplish.
- Major Overhaul – something that will create a major impact in what you want to accomplish.
On my list I have things that range from creating a messaging system where family can leave notes, reminders, etc. to help foster communication, complete master bath overhaul, kitchen remodel, purge filing, incorporate husband’s filing, augment current filing system to fit new family dynamic, clean out guest closet, create new utility closet organization, clean “junk” drawer, doors on cabinets that don’t fully close and so on. As you can see several of these may fit into multiple categories.
Theses lists become the basis for which I decided what to tackle first. I personally recommend looking at each list and prioritizing them based on which would within each list create the biggest difference in my overall goal. For example, on my urgent list is guestroom clean up, guestroom closet organization system, garage purging of clutter, garage filing and papers, garage organization, etc. Looking at these specific items, the one that would create the biggest impact both on making way for the others items on this sublist and others sublists, but that would meet the urgent need of creating space for my mom is all the filing/paperwork that is floating around the garage and guestroom. Filing would also include the family and business files I have in my office.
I generally recommend picking about 5 things from these lists that can be done, generally including the urgent and important first. Write them down. I always include one minor overhaul item so that I can feel a sense of immediate accomplishment. Funds/time permitting, I include one major overhaul or expensive item. These are my steps toward the goal of a more organized house. Until each item is achieved off this new and smaller and therefore less overwhelming list, I do not look at the larger list. This helps keep things from getting overwhelming and maintains a sense that these things can in fact be accomplished.
Mu first 5 items are purging, reconfiguring and incorporating new files within my filing systems, reorganization of a utility closet, new storage solutions for guestroom, bar junk drawer, and messaging system. See my next posts on filing organization.