How to Flick the Organizing Switch from Procrastination to Action

By Michele Connolly

How to Flick the Organizing Switch

Are you always thinking you should be more organized? Rebuking yourself for poor personal systems? Self-flagellating over household clutter?

It’s time to step away from the whip.

Deflating the twin peaks of perfectionism and procrastination

Few of us rush headlong toward the things we ought to do. ‘Should’ just isn’t a great motivator. If it were, the diet industry would collapse overnight under a stampede to the salad bar.

Instead of seeing simplifying, sorting and systemising as the organizing equivalent of steamed vegetables, try de-shouldifying them.

By removing the must, your organizing tasks lose the power to make you feel like an inept child. Which means you stop thinking your efforts have to be so perfect. And when things don’t having to be perfect, you’re less likely to avoid them with procrastination.

But if you don’t HAVE to, then why WOULD you?

When you stop nagging yourself about what you should do, you liberate stores of preferences, energy and momentum. You flick the switch from procrastination and frustration to action.

Here’s how it works…

1. You discover what you want to organize

When you silence the I-really-should-clean-out-the-garage-perfectly-in-one-exhausting-afternoon-and-get-totally-filthy-and-cranky voice, you hear a Gee-I’d-like-to-organize-my-shoes/files/confetti-collection whisper.

Wanting to organize – now that is motivating! No nagging required.

2. You free up the energy spent procrastinating to actually do stuff

Procrastinating requires you to play both the shrewish nag (You should do it now!) and the passive aggressive avoider (I’ll do it later…mutter, mutter). It’s exhausting!

Getting out of that game will release energy to do actual, productive tasks.

So what if you start with the fun stuff? That has a benefit too…

3. The momentum – and good feelings! – move you on to the next project

Once you organize something you want to organize, you’ll get a taste for it.

Quite simply, doing anything that brings you a positive outcome – tidy shoes; accessible files; um, sorted confetti – will make you feel great. Confident, proud, pleased with yourself. And you’ll want more of that! So you’ll move on to another project for your next organizing high.

Try it for yourself!

If you’re stroking your chin dubiously now, I understand. You have to try this for yourself and see if it works.

Simply look for an organizing task you’d like to do. Shoes, music, photographs are all good places to start.

But as soon as you hear a should scratching about (I really should put those in color-coded boxes with typed labels) look for a want instead (I’d love to hand-write multi-colored labels).

Let me know what happens!


3 thoughts on “How to Flick the Organizing Switch from Procrastination to Action

  1. Pingback: Changing my heart « Seeking joy, pursuing love

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