Posts Tagged ‘personal organization’

When To-Do Lists Don’t Work

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

When To-Do Lists Don't WorkYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Generally speaking, a list is a good thing because …

When you write a list, it helps you focus. When you follow a list, it keeps you on track and moving toward list completion. And when you cross off list items, you feel productive.

And yet, despite proven results and positive qualities, lists don’t always work for everyone, every time because …

When you have to make a list, it means you have lots to accomplish. When you have lots to accomplish, you suddenly don’t want to do anything but sit on your couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream.

In other words, making a list is making you procrastinate. At this point, you’ve entered into a mind-game between your lazy self and your productive self, and your lazy self is winning!

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to fight back by creating a NOT To-Do List to help you get organized.

The NOT To-Do List is exactly as the name implies – a list of things you do not want to do.

For example …

The Not To-Do List for Housekeeping

  • Throw shoes by the front door
  • Let mail pile up on the kitchen counter
  • Forget to file bills at the end of month

The NOT To-Do List for Time Management

  • Hit the “snooze” button on the alarm more than once
  • Check email more than 2 times per day
  • Turn on TV while getting ready for work

With the NOT To-Do List, you’re giving your lazy self permission to be lazy while, at the same time, giving your productive self permission to get things done.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

The Moments That Make You Disorganized: Common Clutter Traps To Avoid

Monday, November 10th, 2014

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

The Moments That Make You Disorganized: Common Clutter Traps To Avoid

If you are trying to get organized, close your eyes for just a minute and imagine the moments that make you disorganized. Think through the last day, week, month, or even year(s) of your life … and you’ll see them there, as obvious as the big pile of clutter on your desk.

While it’s true that you should set goals to get organized – and stay motivated to see these goals through – it is often easier said than done. It’s almost as if human nature dictates you’ll be enthusiastic to start, but then quick to drop interest as time goes by.

As Zig Ziglar, the beloved American motivational speaker, once said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

It’s important not to rely solely on your motivational prowess to get you through the moments that make you disorganized. The key is to accept the fact that your motivation will run out at some point and plan strategies to get you through “cluttery” situations.

Here are the top five moments that make you disorganized, and what you can do to outsmart them.

1) Snoozing

The problem: Hitting the snooze button is one of the most popular morning-time activities in the world. There’s no sleep benefit, as the rest you get is fragmented and, thus, non-restorative. There’s also no time management benefit, as the rest of your day is 9 … 18 … 27 minutes (or more) behind schedule.

The solution: There are lots of tactics to keep the snooze button at bay, including putting the alarm on the other side of the room, setting multiple alarms, or even super gluing your snooze button so that it no longer functions. However, the real solution starts the night before – making sure you go to bed early enough to get the right amount of ZZZ’s you need.

2) Dumping

The problem: It’s easy to drop things where they are, not necessarily where they belong. Whether it’s mail on the counter, clothes on the floor, or junk in your purse, the clutter will continue to pile up if you allow it.

The solution: Everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten, right? This includes putting an item back in its proper place after you use it. It’s really as simple as that! After all, it takes just as much energy to put the socks on the floor as it does to toss them in the dirty clothes bin, so why not get it right (and tidy!) the first time.

3) Shopping

The problem: Our world is becoming increasingly consumerist, especially in countries like the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. So much so that, according to the book A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, “self-storage has become a $17 billion annual industry in the United States, larger than the motion picture business.” So if you keep shopping, you will eventually outgrow your home and have to feed the self-storage monster by getting an extra storage unit to accommodate all your things.

The solution: When shopping in the store or online, don’t let impulse get the better of you. You’ve likely heard of “think before you buy.” In other words, do you really need it? But better yet is “wait before you buy.” Wait three days – are you still thinking about the potential purchase? 80% of the time, you will have either forgotten all about it or decided it’s not a good idea. The other 20% of the time, you will still be pining to have it. If and only then, should you proceed to checkout.

4) Memorizing

The problem: One of the biggest reasons you forget – birthdays, appointments, tasks, deadlines – is because you fail to write stuff down. You have 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts running through your head each day, so if you are hoping to simply remember everything based on memory alone, the odds are stacked against you from the start.

The solution: Create a “tickler” system, which allows you to remember the who’s, what’s, where’s, and when’s of your life. It doesn’t have to be a complicated system; it can be as simple as a sticky note on the bathroom mirror. But it needs to fit with your organizing personality and routine … otherwise, you won’t use it and you’ll be back to square one.

5) Adjusting

The problem: Life is full of ups, like graduation, marriage, and birth. It’s also full of downs, like divorce and death. When you go through a period of adjustment, it can be difficult to stay on track. You may find you are overwhelmed, distracted, or perhaps even devastated by the change. As a result, clutter – clutter that you normally wouldn’t have or allow – creeps into your home, work, and life.

The solution: Create or get back to your routine and organizing systems as soon as possible. Relying on these tools will help you build a strong barrier to clutter, and they will also give you a massive sense of constancy and stability as you move forward to the next chapter of your life.

© 2007-14 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, apply for a complimentary 60-minute Get-Organized Strategy Session today!