Plan Ahead

Plan AheadAs a child, I remember being very amused by a sign that said “Plan Ahead” but on which there was inadequate room for the letter “d” at the end, requiring it to sit on the next line. As a Professional Organizer, I pride myself on managing my time and my obligations, anticipating what needs to get done and by when so that I can meet my deadlines calmly and with confidence.

And then there’s last Thursday.

I had offered to take photos of the final dress rehearsal of a play being produced by the theatre group with which I have been active for many years. I’ve done this many times before and thought I was fully prepared. I arrived at the rehearsal with my iPhone fully charged (and with my charger in my bag, just in case). I took several hundred photos in the first 45 minutes, and then I saw the message: “Not enough storage”.

Over the next few minutes, I did what I am now calling my iPhone Fire Sale. I dumped as much off my iPhone as I could, The first to go were photos that I had taken before that day. That enabled me to take more photos, but I was afraid I was going to run out again. So during intermission, I started going through my apps and ditching the ones that I don’t use frequently. That did the trick, and I was able to make it to 800+ photos without running out of room again.

So where was the breakdown? Why had this happened? As I was cursing myself and dumping data off my phone, I remembered that I usually clear the pictures off my phone in advance of photographing a show, but had neglected to do that this time. I also have been adding a lot more apps lately, some of which — like Evernote — hold a lot of data.

What’s interesting is that I clean up my phone fairly regularly. I frequently review and reorganize the apps on my phone. I didn’t think I had much on there that wasn’t being used. But during my panic mode, I started evaluating my apps much more stringently – was this app on there “just in case” or was it something I was really going to miss if I deleted it? The end result is a leaner and more streamlined phone.

This is a good metaphor for what we should be doing in our everyday lives. Rather than waiting until an emergency, we should be continually reevaluating the stuff that we have gradually acquired and thinking about whether it really needs to be there. Often, these decisions don’t get made until we are relocating, or until overnight visitors are coming and we need to clear out some space for them. By then, we are in panic mode and don’t always have the time to make good decisions.

Start with your smart phone or your computer desktop. Warm up your decision-making muscles by getting those in shape. Once you have some successes under your belt, you’ll have the confidence to move on to the more complex areas of your home. Don’t ignore the “out of storage” message that your home might be giving you!




  1. Cary Prince on March 4, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    What a perfect metaphor, Sharon! “Out of storage” can apply to so many areas of our lives: by making space we can breathe again, have gratitude for what we do have and lead a more fulfilling life.

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