My 17 hour day yesterday consisted of the following: Church, Panera Bread, Container Store, Barnes & Noble, Orvis, car wash, oil change, put Container Store purchases immediately to good use, hang wall art in my room, consolidate my belongings into one room of storage, shift some furniture around, unpack my desk, put all of my framed pictures up around my room, cook dinner, cut hair, write in journal, go to bed….
Ok, I know, you don’t really care. I wouldn’t either. It sounds stressful for a Sunday (it was). I went to bed a bit flustered because I felt rushed into Monday morning, which seemed to be approaching much too fast. BUT… it was worth it, and here is why:
How many things are on your to-do list at home? (I had a lot.) How long have they been on the exact same to-do list? (Mine have been for 7 months…) How often do you think about that to-do list as you look around your apartment, room, home, etc.? (It bothered me every time I looked around the incompleteness of my room and the stifling clutter which haunted me with every evening and weekend spent at home.) I put it off. I did other things. I spent plenty of time at the mountain house. You know the drill… I procrastinated in every way possible.
Let me save you the stress and mind-clutter. STOP PROCRASTINATING. Start on these five actions tonight:
1) Get the to-do list out of your head.
Write it down. I prefer sticky notes, white boards, notebook paper, sidewalk chalk… Anything that can help you get the ideas out of your head and onto paper. Think of this as The Giver transferring memories and alleviating the related stress or Dumbledore placing his memories into viles for use in the pensieve so as not to carry them around with him and risking the loss of very important information.
2) Display the to-do list somewhere prominent.
I put a white board and a bulletin board on my wall in my room. You don’t have to go to that extreme, but put the to-do list somewhere you will see it constantly and be reminded of your task for the day. Bathroom mirrors, bedside tables, and the coffee pot are all great places to put a list and not forget about it.
3) Buy whatever it takes to get organized.
But, be reasonable. Think of what would be most helpful to get organized, and make a shopping list. Go to the Container Store or other favorite outlet and stick to your list unless you see a more innovativem cost-effective solution to the original problem. This does not mean costs less, it means it solves the problem in a more efficient, effective, creative, fun, or visually pleasing way, dollar for dollar. Make a list, buy the stuff, pat yourself on the back for taking action today.
4) Cross at least one thing off the to-do list every day until it is done. Period.
Shopping only gets you through one day, and it is by far the most fun thing to do on your to-do list. Pick one task, put it on your calendar for tomorrow night (tonight you will be shopping at the Container Store), and have some sticktoitiveness (Yes, that is an awesome, and real, word). Don’t try to do too much, or you will get discouraged. But, most importantly, DO NOT TAKE A DAY OFF. The one exception I will grant: for every seven tasks, plan NOW for one day off. Don’t change the day off because you are tired or don’t feel like getting it done.
Going home tonight and doing one thing to reduce the clutter in your life can be as simple as: Iron your shirts; assemble a shoe rack; hang wall art; take out that pile of trash; make a delivery to Goodwill.
5) Relax and revel in your success and peace-of-mind.
It’s day 12, you had twelve things on your list. You’re done, your room/apartment/house is not only clutter free, but organized, and your brain now has free-reign over it’s creative capacity. Use it wisely, and go give the world something it can’t live without.
6) Come back to this post and post a comment about what awesome thing you do the day after you complete your to-do list or the feeling you had as you completed the list. (Ok, I know this is #6, but I selfishly want to hear about it.)
I am gearing up to do some serious work on personal projects on nights and weekends at home and it could. not. get. done. unless I could concentrate… Unless I could free my mind to be creative and stop worrying about the to-do list. So I finally did.
And let me tell you – I am tired today, but I could not be happier about the level of organization to which I will return tonight when I leave the office. I can sit down at my desk, open my computer, and start creating epic content, building designs, and creating ideas on my freshly hung white board. And I am excited.