Why does decluttering and organizing take so long and why is it so hard?
BOOM. I just spent my morning planning out a year's worth of content for my blog. I did it using the " batching " concept: doing a singular task that requires that you only use one skill set so you instead of switching mental gears over and over you just stick with one.
Switching gears takes A LOT of extra mental energy so avoiding doing that is a far more pleasant and satisfying way to work. Batching is great because you get RESULTS. And when you get results you feel more successful. When you feel more successful you are more willing to keep going.
Batching is very relevant to decluttering, organizing and cleaning. If you are constantly switching between those tasks, it takes more effort to get something done and it usually takes a lot longer.
For instance, Amelia* is working on her paperwork. She has a 5 inch pile of papers in front of her; some of them are hers and some are her kids' papers and she starts to sort them into piles. She works for a few minutes and then she notices that her files are kind of a mess. She starts tidying them up and grouping them together. As she moves them around, she can see that her desk is covered in dust bunnies and old coffee cups so she decides she wants to put those mugs in the kitchen and grab some cleaner to clean off the desk properly.
She leaves the room, goes to her kitchen with the coffee cups and realizes that she's hungry. So she fixes herself a snack and then she sees that her mom texted her a while back so she sits down at the table to text back...
Annnnnnd she comes back to her desk at the end of the day and realizes that she didn't get anything accomplished earlier, which reinforces her internal story that says,
"I suck at organizing. I will never get a handle on my paperwork. I don't know why I even bother. What is wrong with me?"
Nothing could be further than the truth. Ain't nothing wrong with Amelia. She just hasn't figured out that it takes both FOCUS and a willingness to STAY IN THE ROOM (literally and figuratively) to make progress.
Batching is all about FOCUS. It can be learned and it is a game changer.
Use devices to bring your attention back to the activity at hand if you are prone to acting like Amelia.
Write FOCUS on a bright post it note and stick it right in front of where you are working.
Or set a timer on your phone to go off at 15 minute intervals. So if you start wandering away the timer will remind you of what you were working on.
And think about what activity you are focusing on. Are you cleaning/tidying? Decluttering? Organizing? Those are all different activities even though we think of them as one category.
Always, always, always clear a space in this order:
Declutter: start with the big, easy stuff, then medium, then do the details LAST
Organize: like items with like items, contain whenever possible
Beautify: edit out what doesn't light you up, fewer colors are easier on the eye and read as "calm", ditch the packaging, less is always more
Otherwise you will spend waaaaaaaaay more time than is necessary organizing stuff that you really don't love/need/want/use. Which is a waste of your precious time. Pluck out the stuff that you KNOW you don't want. Add it to your "charity" basket. Get it out of the space. Otherwise you are just moving stuff around.
It's all about redirecting your focus. That's it. There's nothing wrong with Amelia and there's nothing wrong with you, even if sometimes you feel like you are the mouse in, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."
PS What do you think, Snickerdoodle? Do you ever batch things like cooking, yard work, filling out paperwork, or doing laundry? How do you stay focused on the task at hand? Let us know your best tips in the comments below!