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Special Report

Special Report

7 Keys to Organizing Your Life and Decreasing Stress

Organizing our lives feels like a full time job—from paper, mail, and electronic information, to work, child and pet care. Our heads overflow with too much data.  For those of us organizationally challenged, we find ourselves struggling to tread water, often overwhelmed and panicked.

Here are 7 keys that can help you stay focused and on track and to manage life more effectively:

Plan Your Day—Everyday

By planning each day, focus on priority tasks that need completing while giving attention to your goals and outcomes. If you start by planning your week on Sunday, tracking the important tasks you need to complete, events to attend, relaxation/playtime, calls to make, and people to see, you create a map of the terrain you need to cover.  Within that week, you can break down each day, the specifics to address and what time frame each task will take.

Keep yourself accountable by committing harder-to-complete tasks by calling an Accountability Partner who will hold you to the things you said you’d do. You can “bookend” challenging tasks by calling someone before and after to ensure you get things done things you’ve avoided.

Remember: there are only 24 hours a day and we can only do so much. Set a Stop time for your day and leave remaining tasks for another day.

Get Support and Delegate

The era of living life as the Lone Ranger is gone. It’s now imperative to ask for help and support in whatever form you need. Hire a trainer at the gym, a business coach to advance your career, a cleaning person to keep your home tidy or an organizer to get your space in shape. There is no shortage of support to assist us. There is plenty of free support, including 12-step groups, local business centers with professional mentors, low cost assistance at community colleges to sliding scale therapy and bodywork.

And whenever possible, delegate. If you calculated your hourly rate and what it’s costing you to do menial tasks, you are losing money. Hire the support you need, so you can get on with the more important tasks at hand.

Simplify Your Life

As an organizer, I see many clients with too many things and activities crowding their time and space. It’s no wonder it’s so challenging to focus. While we may love all of the things in which we are engaged, if there’s no time for ourselves, we placed ourselves at the bottom of the list.  Buying and having more things, contrary to our consumptive society, is not going to contribute to our happiness and peace of mind. Many of us need less, not more stimulation.

We each process information and accomplish tasks differently. We need to find a pace that fits our speed so we complete our tasks without burnout. There are only so many hours each day and we need strategies to keep  balanced and in sync with our internal harmony and rhythm.

Take time to go for a walk outside, turn off your electronic gadgetry and read a book, an interesting article, do a doodle, call a friend, or listen to soothing music.

Self Care/Take Time Out

We are ineffective to ourselves, our families, partners, our business and the world if we are stressed, sick and in pain. Self-care is paramount if we want to make it for the long haul. Daily exercise, proper nutrition, rest, sleep, drinking water, eating well, enjoying our work and making a contribution to others are essential.

Daily meditation and a spiritual practice give us a connection to something beyond our limited sense of self. By connecting to an Energy that provides guidance, direction, support and insight, we tap into a greater source and support. To think there is nothing beyond our human self, directing the cosmos, can cause us to feel futile in a world of challenges and change. As we care for ourselves, we have a well from which to give that is full and not depleted. We offer our gifts that support and empower others, generating greater good to the planet.

Get Your Key Places Organized

Order is the first law of the universe. Without it, we have chaos, stress, lack of focus, confusion, overwhelm, and we find ourselves doing daily battle with our home and work environments. Knowing what we have and where it lives is important to making systems function.

Clearing away excess, especially clutter, is the first step. I continually find clients with too much paper, unopened mail, cardboard, plastic bags, product packaging, out dated clothes, electronic cords with no mate and more. Clearing out drawers, cupboards, cars, closets, and our garages are great places to start. Eliminate what you don’t need—recycle, donate, sell or discard. Move it out.

Then contain what you have in containers/bins that work for the space. And get out of cardboard boxes.

Find new homes for your things in places where they are used, and less utilized items can be placed further away and higher up. Label your containers and know what’s in them so you can find what you need when you need it. The key to effective organizing is getting systems in place so you use them and keep the order created.

Implement New Behaviors

This relates directly to #5. Only by implementing new behaviors can you hope to keep your home and work spaces organized. If you habitually throw mail onto the dining room table, pile random papers on your desk and toss clothes on the floor, then clutter will ensue. You need to practice new behaviors that run contrary to what you’ve done so you can have a space in which you can live and function.

I’ve heard it said, if you want different results, you have to change your behavior. Only by doing something differently, will you have different outcomes. It does no good to go to the gym for a month and stop or go only sporadically. And it’s the same if we want to have a space that functions—we have to instigate new behaviors so we can maintain the order we’ve created.

We may need new behaviors regarding how we work, socialize, how much TV we watch, our food consumption, exercise regime and the like. As we actually change our behaviors, we can experience new and improved outcomes.

Follow Through and Show Up—Intention and Attention

90% of life’s success is showing up and following through on things that need our attention. Follow through is key for generating sales in business and generating trust among referrals, clients and fellow business people. In order to build our presence in any group, we need to show up, have repeated face time and recognition and to be top of mind when others are in need of our services. These two points require order in our schedules and good time management so we show up punctually and with consistency. One of the fastest ways to erode trust and goodwill with others is to be repeatedly late. When we have our time and schedules in order, we have a much greater chance of achieving these two points.

These ideas are intricately intertwined by asking a key question, “what is my intention and where is my attention?” This helps clarify where we are now, what we intend to do and where our energy is focused. Many of us have no idea what our intention is and often our attention is scattered in many different directions. By honing our attention to the present moment, on the task at hand and then funneling that through a deliberate intention, we harness a power and energy that generates great success.

Changing our behaviors and forming new habits is not an overnight occurrence. It takes patience and practice, one day at a time, to implement these new actions that will ensure greater order, peace of mind and focus.

Learn more about organizing by exploring this website and blog: www.creativespaceorganizing.com

Reach professional organizer Steve Adams at (510) 501-1213 to discuss organizing your home or office.