Two or three weekends ago I had a day full of too many projects to accomplish and constant distractions that got in the way. It started out with organizing – a good thing, really. My intention was to at least finish two of the projects and get started on another. More specifically, I had three major projects:
- get caught up on my writing club history scrapbooks
- put craft project items in one stack and get started on the project
- sort through documents, magazines, and books left out for current needs
I did manage to place the things I needed for the projects into three separate piles. Then the distractions began.
First, I needed to print pages to fill in the writing club scrapbooks. The printer ink ran out right off the bat. Project 1 immediately went on hold.
Second, I found all craft project items except the huge stack of long glue sticks that I saw not too long ago. Project 2 immediately went on hold.
Third, there was an enormous amount of documents, magazines, and books I have been using for unemployment requirements, writing projects, and blogging meetups. Project 3 immediately became the first priority.
If you’re like me, you can’t even think straight with piles of paper and books covering your desk or table. Years ago I learned how to deal with this problem when I attended a Franklin planner seminar. The seminar speaker’s name was Rory Aplanalp (if you get a chance to attend his seminar, go). One thing about that meeting I recall is if your desk is covered with paper, important documents, and junk mail waiting to be filed or trashed, move all of it over to the side into one pile. If you were looking for a particular paper before, you’re bound to find it now. You’ll go through that stack until you find it – and you’ll probably discard a large amount of junk mail while you’re at it.
Prioritize Your Projects
Which priorities need to be completed by a certain date? The ones that will cause even more problems if you don’t attend to them immediately. List those as your A’s. The necessary, no-way-around-it things to do.
Next, make a B list. Things on this list are necessary, but they don’t have to get done today.
Everything else on your list goes on your C list. Those things are important to you, or you wouldn’t have written them down. However, they can wait awhile. Nobody is pressuring you to get them done.
The ABC listing style is what I learned with the Franklin planner. I paid bills, managed homeschool, wrote a book and completed many to-do lists that way.
Organize Your Clutter
Now that you have your priorities set in place, you can organize. Actually, you’ve already organized your thoughts on paper, your ABC to-do list. This helps to declutter your mind from an overwhelming list of things to do.
It’s important to also organize your clutter like I did with my scrapbook and craft projects. Moving Project 1 and 2 out of sight was the next step for me. Otherwise, just seeing them would distract me and make me feel pressure to hurry and get to them. My writing club scrapbooks go in a cubbyhole in my desk area. Now that I have printer ink, I’ll add the scrapbook updating to my Priority A list soon.
Decorate your desk or work area in an attractive way with your favorite colors, baskets, or upcycled containers. Make it fun. That way, you won’t dread the projects waiting for your attention.
One last thing, go through clutter one box at a time, 30 minutes at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. In other words, don’t overwhelm yourself with impossibilities. As you continue to prioritize and organize, you can finally feel a sense of accomplishment.
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