Resolution – An Organized Life

What a joy it would be for me to feel organized – in my home, with my schedule, in my life! This would be a good New Year’s resolution, but it seems that making resolutions are not the “in” thing anymore.

Someone on social media posted the idea of stating intentions instead of making resolutions. Intentions are not as strong as resolutions, so if they are not kept, there is less guilt or regret. Sometimes, though, a little guilt can help a person make changes.

Another popular option is to pick a theme or word of the year. If I choose that route, my theme for 2018 will be organization. Being disorganized permeates and disrupts every part of my life.

Where Do I Need Help with Organization?

The biggest area of my life that needs immediate organizational attention is my possessions. Since my husband passed away, I have collected boxes of his things. I’ve also been going through other rooms of the house – the kitchen, bathroom, and garage, so far – and have boxed up items that he used, but I have no need for. While doing this, I’ve found even more items that I used to use, but no longer enjoy.

Often, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about getting organized is keeping an up-to-date calendar. My schedule may not be as busy as many of yours, though, since I work at home, don’t have children at home, and don’t have many random appointments.

My to-do list is more important than my calendar.  I like to keep a running list of phone calls to make, activities to complete, and purchases to research and make.

Many people think about life goals – this seems important – but I’ve never had the time to actually sit down and think about where I want to be in 10 years, 5 years, or even, at the end of this year.

Tackling Each Area

With suggestions from readers, friends, and relatives, I have come up with a plan to achieve the lofty goal of becoming organized this year.

Possessions

I started following the Get Organized Wizard several years ago. The problem was that I didn’t want to pay for any of her more in-depth programs.  I enjoyed reading about being organized but didn’t really put any of her ideas into practice.

My sisters and I all struggle a bit with having too much stuff. We’ve talked about solutions in the past and have tried some of them together.  Last year we tried Declutter 365, a plan by Taylor Flanery, where one area is decluttered every day. I made it through the first three days – one of my sisters lasted about a month. I’m trying it again this year, but I’m going beyond this program.

My sisters, sister-in-law, and I exchange gifts each year for Christmas. One of my sisters gave each of the rest of us Marie Kondo’s book, entitled,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I started reading it almost immediately. Although I’m not sure I will apply all of her magic to my situation, she teaches a solid method. One of her key principles is to look at your possessions to find the ones that bring you joy – anything else should be discarded.

Kondo’s clients have discarded bags and bags of possessions that have finished fulfilling their purpose. As I look around my house, I realize that much of my clutter no longer brings me joy. I highly recommend the book, even if you don’t follow it completely. Kondo is inspirational – in the couple days that I have been reading the book, she has helped me to think differently about everything I own.

Between “tidying-up” and “decluttering,” my home is already starting to look better. And it’s only January 2!

Calendar and To-Do List

Some readers use paper, others use digital, but many of you use a combination of both for keeping track of your schedules. My mom has a calendar on her desk where she writes all of her appointments. The calendar is actually a wall-type calendar that shows a month at a time. Many of you use the same.

My daughters use the calendars on their phones so their schedule is with them at all times. If an appointment comes up, they can immediately put it on their calendar.

One of my sisters uses Google calendar, so she can easily share it with her husband. Another sister uses Cozi – a scheduling app that can be shared by all members of the family.  At the beginning of the school year or sports season she enters all the events into the app, so everyone know when and where they need to be.

For a to-do list, one reader uses Wunderlist, and another uses Trello, but the majority use scrap paper or Post-It notes.

Several Choices

Over the past several years, I’ve looked at and tried several different programs and planners. Some were too simple; they were very pretty but offered no more than a basic calendar.  Others were a bit ridiculous, including checklists for every activity the author thought was important.  Drinking water is important, but I don’t need to be reminded to drink eight glasses of water every day of the year (with eight check boxes per day).

Still other systems were too complicated, focusing solely on goals, with every activity relating in some way or another with a certain life goal. The first step would be to establish detailed goals in every aspect of your life – only then can you plan activities.

Planners like the Passion PlannerInk and Volt and others look at goal setting in a more reasonable way. They offer in-depth advice with space to break down the goals into weekly tasks. Although this sounds interesting to me, it goes a little farther than I need for now.

General planners can be set up with a page for each week or a page for each day. They often include pages for long range planning, pages for project notes, and places to record addresses and special events like birthdays and anniversaries.

My Planner Choice
A Page in My New Franklin Covey Planner

In the end, I decided to go with Franklin Covey – a company whose planners I had used several years ago. I chose a spiral-bound weekly planner that has the calendar on one side of the page with space for to-dos and goals on the other side. I’m also going to be using the calendar on my phone for appointments and trips, but I am most comfortable having my calendar and to-do lists together and physically in front of me.

Goal-Setting

I’ve spent much of my life rolling with the punches or taking life as it comes – reacting to life instead of acting upon it. I do not want to lose the spontaneity that this type of living brings, but on the other hand, living more intentionally could bring me more pleasure.

I recently took out a library book to help me start thinking about my life goals and goal setting in general. The book is Stephen Covey’s First Things First, a book about looking at priorities.

In addition, the ideas gained from the Passion Planner and Ink and Volt will help me think about goals.

What Does This Have to Do with Travel?

If I am more organized at home, I will have more time to travel – at least that’s the plan. I do think, though, if I am more organized I will be able to relax more while I am traveling and therefore, enjoy the travel more fully.

In the introduction to her book, Marie Kondo says “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.”

I hope my organization will carry over into all areas of my life, including travel planning.  Sometimes, life seems to get in the way of planning the next trip, so the the time abroad is spent doing on-the-fly planning instead of visiting the sites.

One reader suggested that she breaks her travel planning into smaller tasks that she then adds them  to her to-do list. For an upcoming trip, she thought about everything that needed to be done, dividing the tasks over the weeks before she leaves, so she will be well-prepared for the trip.

An Organized Life

With all this help, I can’t help become organized, right?  Seriously, though, there are tons of helpful resources available to help with organization – these are just a few. I do have hope that 2018 will be my year of organization.

Have you made resolutions? Or intentions?  Did you choose a word or theme to focus on throughout the year?  Have you used any of the above resources?Share your comments below.

4 comments:

  1. I mostly use Google calendar nd reminders to keep track of my schedule and to do. I have used the calendar for a while, but started using gmail inbox about a year ago which combines my emails and reminders and makes it easy to check off completed emails and tasks and it auto files them under general categories. This has really helped me stay on top of personal email. This year since we recently had a new addition to our family there are a few areas in my home life that I’m finding my previous ways of handling need some adjustment to better accommodate our needs. One key area is laundry management so I’ll be exploring better solutions to that process until I find what works this year.

    1. Since I live alone, I wasn’t worried about laundry and just piled my dirty laundry on the bedroom floor. Recently, at IKEA, I found a small collapsible laundry basket. Now I use that – much neater, lightweight, and easy to pick up and carry to the laundry room. A huge improvement! Here is a link. I’m sure with time, a new system will evolve for you – just about the time that your children’s nap and play schedules change.

  2. I’ve read The Fly Lady years ago and if my memory serves me right, she recommends setting a period of time for a sorting or organizing task; say 1/2 hr. It worked for me to know I was not going to try to spend all day in any one place or closet or drawer. My goal right now is to get 1 box of “stuff” a week out the door.

    1. I did Fly Lady years ago, too, but I don’t remember much about it. Unfortunately, I need more than a half hour at a time – and I need to get rid of more than one box a week. My schedule doesn’t permit me to keep working as hard at this as I have been this past week, so I’m tackling the areas that bother me most. As long as I’m making progress, whether a little or a lot, I’m happy. Good luck on meeting your goal!

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