Make Time for Organizing
February 17, 2017
How To Make Time for Organizing in Three Easy Steps
If you’re like most people, you’re struggling to find enough time to organize.
I may not know your personal situation, but I can guess that:
- You have a lot on your plate – so much that it overwhelms you.
- Organizing usually gets pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.
- When you do have some time to organize, you never seem to get far.
I understand. I really do.
My struggle is not necessarily finding the time to organize, but finding the time to write all the blog posts and articles I want to. Honestly, I’m not that different from you when it comes to time-related challenges. But In my quest to “find time” to write, I’ve learned something: You’ll never find the time to do what you really want to do. Never. So if you want to accomplish something, like getting organized, you have to make the time.
Of course, if making time were easy then we’d all be doing exactly what we want, wouldn’t we?
So rather than tell you how to find time, I want to share how to turn things around and make the time, in three straightforward steps:
1. Do an honest audit of your week by keeping a time log. Before you can make time in your life for anything, you have to know how you’re spending your time.
For one week (or longer) track exactly how you’re spending your time. You could use a spreadsheet, a piece of paper, or an app (check out this list of the 20 best time-tracking apps).
Once the week is finished, review your log and ask these questions about each task:
- Was this necessary?
- Did it have to take so long?
You might be surprised by the answers to these questions. Most likely the activities you recorded weren’t necessary and probably shouldn’t have taken so long; meaning, you could probably eliminate or shorten them and fill the time with another activity (like organizing!)
While it may be a painful task, logging how you are spending your time is essential if you want to make time for the things that matter. Jeff Goins puts it like this, “Time is like money. If you don’t track it, you run out.”
2. Cut out or cut back. While it may seem that all your activities are important and necessary, the reality is that at least some of your activities could be cut out or cut back.
Of course, this is a personal decision and what may be important and necessary to you may not be for me, and vice versa. It would be impossible for me to say what you should cut out or cut back on.
However, here a just a few ideas you might want to consider.
- Any commitments you don’t really enjoy or wish you hadn’t signed up for. Don’t keep doing something because “if you don’t do it, on one else will” or you feel guilty if you don’t help out. Don’t waste time on activities that don’t satisfy or aren’t really meant for you to do.
- Time-wasting activities that don’t add to your life. Again, what those activities are looks different for each person, but if a task really isn’t adding value to your life, why keep doing it?
Cut back on…
- TV watching. While I’m not suggesting a complete TV blackout, perhaps cutting back just a small amount of time (30 minutes) will allow you to do other things.
- Anything you might be able to delegate out. Whether that’s asking family members to help or outsourcing an activity (like housecleaning or lawn services), letting others help with some of your activities can free you up so you can focus on other things.
3. Schedule it. The truth is, if you want to make time for something, you have to schedule it.
Why? Because what gets scheduled gets done.
So rather than letting your calendar control you, take control of your calendar and schedule time for organizing. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, mark it in your calendar and honor that commitment.
Once you have an idea of how you’re spending your time and how you can cut out or cut back on certain activities, don’t just stop there. Take the next step and schedule time on your calendar for organizing.
I know this isn’t easy an easy process. Trust me, I speak (or write) from personal experience.
I recently made the decision to drastically change my schedule so that I could make more time for writing. It has been hard to change things around and honor the boundaries I’ve placed upon myself, but in doing so I’ve been happier and more productive.
The same can be true for you. Stop looking for the time to get organized and start making it instead. And when you do, you’ll find what you’ve really been looking for all along.
Could these steps help you make the time for organizing? Are you willing to give them a try? Leave a comment and let me know!
Written by Liana George, professional organizer and blogger at the popular By George Organizing site, which has lots of tips, videos and even decluttering challenges to get you excited about organizing. She also provides professional organizing services in the Houston area.