Start the New Year on the Right FootThe new year is here, and as you look back, have you done everything you wanted to do this past year? Is your house more organized? Is your life better planned? Do you have more free time? Do you have more space in your closets? Did you get to spend more time with family and friends and less time looking for things you lost or misplaced?
Hopefully the answer to these questions are yes. But for some of you, it has been more of a struggle. For some, you are still buried under mounds of paperwork, and surrounded by piles of unwashed clothes (most of which don't even fit you any more.) Some of you have been so overwhelmed by life, that you can't seem to get yourself on track.
Well here are some tips that will start you in the right direction so that the new year can be better for you. The most important part of this being--it's a start. Because being organized isn't learned in a day or week. Nor is it accomplished in a day or week or month. It is a life-long process, that once begun, will be easier and easier to maintain over the months and years ahead.
Goal-setting is important because unless you know where you are going, you don't know how to get there. Take a good look at the past year. What did you accomplish? What didn't you accomplish? Why didn't you get done or do all that you wanted? Was it because there were unexpected illnesses? Or was it because you didn't plan enough ahead of time to work on your goals? Perhaps you wanted to take a class about computers, but kept putting it off until it was too late to register. Or perhaps you wanted to join a book discussion group, but never bought the books. What DID you get done? Be proud of these things. Congratulate yourself on accomplishing these goals.
So now it's time to write new goals. Think of old things you didn't get to do. Are these still something you'd like to do? Think of new things, too. Then analyze these goals with a critical eye. What are the odds that you will accomplish everything on this list? Would you be disappointed if some things didn't get done again this year? If so, maybe those should be your priority. Are there things you wanted to do that just aren't important now? Leave those things off your list.
Also look at the reality of your list. Do you really think you will have time for an evening class? Will you have the money to take an exotic vacation? Do you think you'll have the resources to organize your pantry? Will you have the time to clean out your garage and make room for your car? Prioritize your goals. What would make the biggest impact on your life? What would be easiest to accomplish and celebrate? What would reduce your stress rather than add to it? Will your goals give you more time with your family, or less? Think in these terms when deciding on and prioritizing.
DEVELOP A PLAN
Once you have set your goals, there is still work to be done. You need to make a plan to achieve each of these goals. For example, you decided to clean out your garage so you can park your cars in there. You make this a priority. You will need to schedule time to do the cleaning. You will need bins, garbage bags, labels, etc. for storage and disposal. You will need to contact your local charitable organization to schedule a pick-up. And you may need to call a professional organizer for help. Some book up to three weeks ahead of time, so don't call at the last minute.
Or you may decide to redecorate your living room. Make a list of the vendors you need to visit, such as flooring, paint, furniture, etc. Will you need the help of a professional designer? Do you know someone, or will you have to make some calls? Do you need this done by a certain date because of an upcoming event at your home? Keep all these things in mind when creating your plan.
Once you write down your plan, you may realize that your goals are unrealistic. Be prepared to change them as you go, whether at the start, or mid-way through the year.
LOOK AT YOUR CALENDAR
Now that you have your plan written, take out your new calendar. Start jotting down tasks you need to do by a certain date. Also take a look at upcoming events you have scheduled. Do you need to do anything for these events? Will this add substantially to your goals that you may need to revise? Did you set a goal that conflicts with something on the calendar? By looking for these discrepancies ahead of time, you will lessen the chances of disaster in the future.
Most important, don't rely on your memory. Write everything down
that you want to do, need to do, and when you will do it. If you
need to order a cake for a party, write it down in your calendar at
least a week before the event. If you need to make reservations for
a trip, write that down several months in advance. If you need to
purchase shelving for the garage, write it down to do during the
sorting process. They will be there and waiting for you when you are