Featured Article: "Make the Time" to Enjoy the Upcoming Holidays
When people hear me speak or find out what I do, one of the most frequent statements I hear is "I need to find time to organize my _________." (You fill in the blank)
What they are really saying is "I have not made the time to organize __________." (Fill in the blank).
Let's face it, everyone's "to-do" lists are overflowing, but somehow we all "make" the time to do those things that are important to us - we call them our priorities.
Often times when working with a client who has a very large project and sometimes an unrealistic expectation of the amount of time it will take to complete the project, it is important that we review priorities, daily obligations, volunteer activities, family needs, work schedule and so on. This helps put the project into perspective and manage expectations. It also helps eliminate the guilt someone may feel if everything on their list did not get crossed off.
At the beginning of this year I started working with a new client - I'll call her Maggie.
At the time, Maggie's project consisted of organizing a large storage closet, an office and a few other rooms in their home. Their project quickly snowballed and they ended up with:
4 custom closet systems designed and installed
a remodeled kitchen
re-purposing three rooms (on different floors) to create new spaces for offices and guest rooms
new paint, carpet, window coverings and furniture for several rooms
downsizing years of accumulation
an addition to the workshop
most of the rooms and closets organized
The ultimate goal when we started the project was to be able to host Christmas at their home for their entire family. Maggie's original goal of organizing the large storage closet, the office and a few other rooms was not only realistic but she also set a realistic expectation to accomplish her goal.
Maggie realized that scheduling regular organizing appointments with herself as well as with us helped her to achieve her project goals. While Maggie enjoys the end results of the organization, she did not enjoy organizing without a buddy. At one point about 2/3 into the year when the project snowballed and the goal completion date remained, I could tell that it was getting very overwhelming for Maggie and it was time to sit down and review the project plan.
Armed with our "to do" list of all areas still needing work and five blank monthly calendar pages for August - December, we did the following:
crossed off the days in December when we knew the project has to be completed
crossed off days for a few long weekends away
crossed of six weeks for a business trip
crossed off a week for a golf tournament
The end result? Only 45 days between August to mid-December to finish all of her projects.
We listed completion dates on the calendar for each of the remaining projects. It was at this point when Maggie looked at me and said "Now I know why I've resisted doing this exercise - it's very overwhelming."
Yes, it was overwhelming to know how much was still left to be completed, but with her projects planned out and completion dates on the calendar - Maggie began to feel in control again.
Maggie has many activities that she enjoys outside her home that consume time, in addition to the time she spends with her family. The conclusion Maggie made was that during this year, she would cut back some of her time she spent on sporting activities and volunteering. She knew she had to make the time for this project, so priorities had to shift temporarily.
I've shared Maggie's story with you because I believe the following information may help you with your future organizing projects:
Organizing projects always take longer than you may think or plan for.
It's a great idea to have a goal or completion date in mind that corresponds to an event at your home. There's nothing like a looming deadline to inspire and motivate you to stick to your plan.
Once you catch the organizing bug and you realize how great you feel from the results, you will want to do more.
The importance of creating your "to-do" list and setting realistic completion dates for each "mini-project." Break each project down into manageable pieces or "mini-projects" that you can accomplish in 30 minutes, 2 hours, 1/2 day or a day.
Realizing that there will be days that you are not available to work on your projects.
Understanding that some activities must shift temporarily in order to accomplish priorities.
This is the time of year when many people start thinking about the holidays and what needs to be done in order to prepare for entertaining.
If your goal is to entertain over the next 2-3 months you may want to consider the following:
Select a "project completion date". Create a list of those things you want to accomplish by your "project completion date".
Estimate the amount of time you think it will take you to complete each action item (Remember – projects always take longer than you think.)
Get a calendar that you can use specifically for projects. (I recommend the Weekly Grid Pad where you can create your own weeks and track multiple projects at one time.)
Start filling in your calendar with date that you expect to complete each project or "mini-project".
Be sure to leave an extra week or two just before your event, just in case projects take longer than you thought. This way, you won’t feel stressed and doing things at the last minute.
No amount of organization can give you more than 24 hours in a day, yet one of the many benefits of having organizing systems is that you will ultimately end up with more time each day.
Judith and I will be teaming up to help you Conquer Chronic Disorganization. Chronic disorganization is disorganization that undermines a person's quality of life and recurs despite traditional self-help efforts. Many just don't know where to start. By attending this seminar you will receive ideas to help Conquer Chronic Disorganization.
When you register for the teleseminar, you will have the opportunity to submit your questions before the teleseminar. Judith and I will attempt to answer as many questions as possible during the hour long seminar. We won't be able to answer them all, so be one of the first to submit your question so it gets answered.
If you are not able to attend the seminar during this time - don't worry, we will make the seminar available to all that signed up for the seminar so even if you can't attend you can download it and listen to it on your MP3 player or PC.
Featured Product: BusyBodyBooks - Family Planner & Fridge Pad Planner
The Un-dated, 7 Column Weekly Grid Pad has 52 undated weekly pages for the larger family and lots of space to list all of your To Do's.
It's magnetic, so you can place it on your Fridge, or hang on the wall.
Moms can coordinate individual family members, meal plans, babysitter schedules, holiday planning home project planning and more!
Students stay on top of their school projects, responsibilities and activities.
Professionals can track progress of work projects, clients and meetings.
The Weekly Grid - 2008 Calendar helps you eliminate stress, save time and simplify life.
Between the beautiful covers, you will find everything a busy mom needs to coordinate up to 5 family members:
1. A planning calendar to record birthdays and anniversaries
2. Another calendar for next year's appointments
3. Months at a glance - for a quick overview
4. Handy, perforated shopping lists
5. Two inside pockets
6. A Bookmark
7. Contact Pages
8. Lots of Notes Pages
9. Film Laminated Covers
This calendar is very versatile and helps with the following:
1. Moms can coordinate individual family members, meal plans, babysitter schedules and more!
2. Students can stay on top of their school subjects, responsibilities and activities.
3. Professional can use it at work to track projects, clients and meetings.
Because no one likes surprises, we want to let you know now that our fees will be increasing at the first of the year. If you are thinking about getting your organizing project done before the new year and want to take advantage of our existing rates, please contact us today to secure your time. We look forward to being your organizing partner and helping you take control of your time, space and stuff.
Not sure what to give that loved one? Don't want to give them any more "stuff" they may not need or want? Gift Certificates make a great gift - enable those you love to take control of their time, their space and their stuff. Contact our office for pricing. 425.670.2551
"A big thanks to Julie and Terri for helping us to clear our clutter from our workshop and craft area in an effective, easy, non-judgmental way. My husband was blown away by the transformation, and we are liberated by the extra space and less "stuff". Thank you again, EC!" -Joyce and Marshall Rafferty - Seattle, WA .
A great way to try us out and get some organizing done at the same time! For a limited time, we are offering an amazing NEW client organizing special. If you are not an existing client this is a great way for us show you how we can eliminate your chaos.