Happy New Year! May 2015 be filled with unexpected moments of joy, good health and that special happiness that comes from being organised.
It’s the end of the first proper work week of 2015 and if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably found this week a bit of a struggle.
After the dietary excesses and lack of routine over the festive season I’ve found it really difficult to go to bed on time, wake up early, and get to grips with the new diet (more on that in a future post), as well as focus on work. Yip, it’s been tough, and I’ve no doubt you share my pain.
New Year’s Resolution – Be Organised
Of course, the first proper week of the year is also the time when any New Year’s Resolutions are put to the test. Everywhere you look headlines and advertising banners are screaming, “New Year, New You!” like silent cheerleaders when it probably feels more like a case of “New Year, Same Old You”.
Most years I have a pretty diligent approach to resolution making and goal setting but this year I decided to keep it simple. Instead of spending hours working through all the steps of Your Best Year Yet! and making list after list of things to work on before promptly forgetting about them, this year I have one resolution: BE ORGANISED.
It turns out that I am far from unique in my quest to be organised. According to Statistics Brain Getting Organised was the second most popular New Year’s Resolution for 2014.
It may sound simple but this is probably the most difficult resolution I’ve ever set myself. Being organised means changing lifetime habits that have become part of who I am. Not necessarily a part of me that I like, but they’re ingrained into the fabric of my being all the same.
Procrastination leads to Overwhelm
Take procrastination. If procrastination was an Olympic sport I’d be bringing home gold for England every time – if I got round to it.
Procrastination has led me to having an email Inbox that is constantly filled with hundreds of unread messages and a study that is full of clutter. Piles of books on every surface including the floor and papers that haven’t been filed for the past five years. Every drawer and bookshelf is filled to overflowing and there is no space for anything new. All this because usually my first thought when dealing with anything is, “I’ll deal with it later.”
Sometimes I delay because I want to think about my response before I reply to an email. Or I might be in the middle of writing something and don’t want to interrupt my flow to file my credit card bill. And before I know it, months or years have gone by and things have piled up and I find myself in my current situation, which is, quite frankly, a state of OVERWHELM.
I haven’t even got on to the subject of my clothes and the state of my wardrobe and drawers, but you get the picture.
The Problem with Clutter
I knew that I had a problem with clutter when I started getting distracted watching movies and TV. Instead of concentrating on the murder or drama that was unfolding on screen I would find myself focusing on the background and feeling envious of a character’s clean desk with nothing on it besides a laptop and phone, or the simplicity of a neat bedroom. It looked so perfect and beautiful.
It’s not that I have anything against being organised. I admire people who are and I constantly aspire to be like them. I do some of the things that organised people are meant to do, like making task lists and keeping a diary. But my task lists are so long I write them in books, so I have a To Do List notebook with pages and pages of tasks, not all of them crossed out. The result is, I feel burdened. It’s hard to relax and enjoy guilt-free time when you know you’ve got several volumes of Things to Do awaiting you.
I’m not alone in feeling this way. Gretchen Rubin, author of the inspirational bestseller The Happiness Project sums up the situation perfectly when she writes:
“I was also weighed down by the invisible, but even more enervating psychic clutter of loose ends. I had a long list of neglected tasks that made me feel weary and guilty whenever I thought of them. I needed to clear away the detritus in my mind.”
Which is where my New Year’s Resolution comes in. Because being organised is going to change all this. I know that decluttering and having more space and feeling on top of things will have an amazing energising effect on me, it’s just a case of having the will and making the time to do it.
Six Steps for Being Organised
I’ve come up with a six-point plan that will help me in becoming more organised.
Take action now.
No more procrastinating. When it comes to emails, post and text messages, I’ve adopted the mantra, “Just do it now”.
Get rid of the clutter.
I’ve been asking myself questions like, “Do I need this?” “Have I looked at or used this in the past year?” “Why am I holding on to this?” This also involves being ruthless and throwing things away.
Plan when to do certain tasks.
Instead of just having one long To Do list, I am trying to develop the habit of assigning certain tasks to certain days. So simple, yet easier said than done.
Do things in chunks.
Set aside time blocks. So, one hour for filing. One hour for emails. And so on.
Do not be distracted by things like Facebook.
Set a deadline for some tasks.
I aim to have decluttered and tidied up my study by the end of January 2015.
Now that I’ve made my resolution public, I am accountable to you. I will post up the before and after photos of my study when I’m done. I’ve already made a start and cleared my desk and done some filing. And it felt good. Here’s to being organised.
What About You?
Does any of this ring true for you? Are you organised? Do you procrastinate? How do you cope with your tasks? If you have any tips on how to be organised and deal with clutter, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment in the box below.
Read more about my previous New Year’s Resolutions: