Remember those days of luxury when you lived by yourself and had total control over every inch of your space? It may or may not have worked for you, but you were the only person it affected. But now you find yourself sharing space with your honey…and crap is everywhere*? &#! If you find yourself doing battle around the clutter in your shared home, remember these three tips:
#1 Neither of You is “Right”
When we choose to share space with others we give up some of those rights of autonomy in exchange for having to compromise and make the home livable for all who use it. Negotiate change from a perspective of how spaces need to function, not who is right.
#2 Allow for Personal Spaces
Whether it’s a single drawer or cabinet or an entire room, it’s helpful for each of you to have some space that only you oversee and get to keep however you want. Have clear boundaries about who is responsible for which spaces. And decide which spaces are managed jointly. Good fences make good neighbors.
#3 Manage Your Own Mess First
It’s so much easier to see where the other person has a problem. But step back and take stock of your own clutter collections first. Managing your own messes will help disarm your partner and show them you’re committed to making the home better for both of you.
Easier said than done, of course, and sometimes these conversations get waylaid by emotional charge. Tackle one small area at a time to build up the communication skills and get help if you get stuck! An objective party – a trusted friend, therapist, or professional organizer – can help you separate out and solve the practical issues of decluttering. Remember your goal: creating a home that nurtures your relationship and life together. Co-managing a home is one way to show love and respect for your sweetie.
Tip: Start your day with a routine that primes you to be in charge
All of us, at one time or another, get that sinking feeling of having way too much to do in way too little time. It’s demoralizing to feel overwhelmed by the routine tasks of everyday life. While barely treading water with the routine tasks, it doesn’t take much – a flat tire, an unexpected potluck, a roof leak – to push your schedule into full chaos. How can you reclaim your sanity and sense of control and competence?
Here are some strategies from a recent workshop we took from Productivity Coach, Steve Kirch.
Make Conscious Choices
Busy is a choice, but often doesn’t feel like it. You may not feel like you have choice or control over your time. But even in the most obligated person’s schedule there is enough wiggle room to create space for reflection, planning, and some choice-making. Regaining control of your schedule and your life, starts with making a little time to evaluate the bigger picture and consciously deciding what tasks are essential and where they fit best in your schedule. Otherwise, we get pulled from our important goals into other people’s priorities.
Purge, Purge, Purge
One of the most essential things to do is re-evaluate how much you take on. Just as our spaces get cluttered, so do our schedules. Given your personal priorities, figure out both your essential tasks and those that make you truly happy — and fit those in first.
Create a Morning Routine
It doesn’t have to take oodles of time to plan. Start with 10 minutes of any day and be intentional about how you are going to spend your day. What are YOUR critical few priorities for today? The ideal time to do this is first thing in the morning.
Consider getting up a little earlier and incorporating this short morning routine that grounds you for the day and helps you feel in control of the ship:
- Stretch or move
- Drink some water
- Plan the day (check your calendar)
Get Things Done
Try these strategies for actually getting tasks done:
- Time blocking – group like tasks together and schedule a block of time to complete them before moving on to a different set of tasks or project.
- Pomodoro Technique® – work for 25 minutes, don’t work for 5 minutes, for 4 rounds –then take a longer break.
- Don’t check email first thing in morning.
- Know your biological prime time – what is yours? Try and schedule important tasks during this higher energy time.
- If you’re naturally distractible (ADD), structure your planning time to avoid distractions and consider silencing your phone or putting it on airplane mode to avoid interruptions.
Try to incorporate one or two of these tips into your day and see how it feels. If you need more help, consult with a Professional Organizer, Coach or Productivity Specialist. Asking for help can be one of the most productive tips of all.