One Bite at a Time

Are you vacationing at home this week and hoping to use the time to get organized?

One of the biggest organizing mistakes that people make is thinking that a huge chunk of free time will solve their organizing issues once and for all.  They usually end up frustrated — and just as disorganized — by the end of it.

So what’s the right way to tackle your organizing project?  The same way that you eat an elephant — one bite at a time!  A bunch of small successes will add up to one large success.  Here’s how to get started.

1. Make a plan.  Compile a list of all of the areas in your home (or office) that you want to organize during your time off.  Then assign each mini-project to a time period (e.g., “Tuesday afternoon”, “Thursday morning”).

2. Set your expectations.  As you get ready to start each mini-project, decide what your goal is.  Do you want to process every single paper in the pile on your desk?   Or do you just want to get the pile of papers sorted so that it can be processed another time?  Knowing what endpoint you have in mind will keep you focused and prevent frustration.

3. Work in small increments.  If the mess is overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, pick a small area and get that done.  One way to select an area is to take a paper towel roll and look through it.  The amount you can see in that small circle will be just enough for you to tackle.  When that is done, move on to another small area, then another.

4. Take frequent breaks.  After you finish each segment of your organizing project, get up and stretch, have a drink of water, eat a snack, etc.  If you keep working without breaks, you will burn out quickly and abandon the project.

If the week ends and you haven’t tackled every disorganized area, don’t be discouraged.  Celebrate your successes, and set aside small amounts of time in the coming weeks to continue tackling that beast one bite at a time


  1. Carmelita Fernandes on May 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    It’s amazing the way physical clutter piles up! Had thought I was pretty well-organised until I read this blog.

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