One common question I hear from the people I work with is, “How do I stay focused on the task of getting organized?” It can be hard work sorting through our stuff and making decisions about what to part with, and we may be tempted to look for distractions when it gets boring or emotionally difficult. Here are some techniques for staying focused the next time you tackle an organizing project: 1. Define your goals – Let’s be honest, most people don’t really enjoy cleaning up messy areas of their homes. In order to get motivated and stay motivated throughout the process, take a few minutes first to figure out why you’re doing this. Is it to park your car in the garage, to make a workspace for that new hobby, or to have people over for dinner? Having a goal in mind helps when you feel like throwing in the towel. Write your goal on a piece of paper and tape it on the wall to remind yourself to keep going during those moments when you’re tempted to quit. 2. Use a timer – Setting a timer for your organizing sessions can help you stay focused and also prevent overwhelm. Spending just an hour on a project is a realistic goal and it’s easier to stay on task knowing a break is coming soon. You can use a simple kitchen timer or download an app like BeFocused onto your phone. Whatever option you choose, I recommend one that ticks like an analog timer: the sound quickly fades into the background but serves as a constant reminder of the job at hand. 3. Have a rehome container – So you’ve blocked out some time on a Saturday morning to clean out the basement. You start sorting through the things there and you find that one item you’ve been searching for. It doesn’t belong in the basement, though, it belongs in the hall closet upstairs. You take it there, realize the hall closet is a mess, and you start cleaning up that space. Now, you’ve gotten completely distracted from your original purpose of cleaning the basement! If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to keep a bag, box, or basket on hand for the things you’ll find that belong somewhere else in your home. Instead of taking them to their appropriate location right away, place them in the “rehome” container, and set aside a few minutes at the end of your session to put them away. By staying put in the space that needs to be organized, you’ll be more focused and able to get the project done and checked off your list.
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