We may want to get reclaim our dining room table or our linen closet from the throes of entropy. But that isn’t usually enough to get ourselves to make it happen.
Resistance to our goals shows up in different ways for different people… boredom, sleepiness, getting distracted, anxiety, procrastination, avoidance. So how do you get around your own resistance to meet your organizing goals?
Being overwhelmed can stop us in our tracks. We freeze because the project feels too big and scary. There are some techniques to managing that overwhelm. Rather than tackling the whole project, take one small step. How about:
- Working on just a corner of a dining room table or
- Cherry-picking only the catalogs and magazines or
- Moving the shredding bag and recycling bin next to the table
- Removing only the mail that looks critical and leaving the rest for now or
- Doing a rough sort and gathering only large categories of things: for example, paper, items made of cloth, dishes, other people’s things
I don’t have time for this! I’m too busy! There’s other important things to do!
It may be very true that you are busy and other things seem more important. But this project you are looking at must be costing you something or it wouldn’t be bothering you…mental distress, distraction.
- What value will you gain by finishing this project?
- How is this project you’re putting off affecting your daily life?
- What is it costing you in time, money or distraction? …late fees, family arguments, inefficiency?
- Get clear on why you’re doing it
- Schedule a session and see how far you get.
- If you’re waiting for this magical block of time to appear, unless you make an appointment with yourself, you’ll always feel too busy
- Ask a friend to keep you company while you work on it or commit to someone else to make progress
I might need it! I paid a lot of money for it! Someone gave it to me!
We all have these objections. Not valuing your current life as much as you value money you already spent and can’t fully recoup…or letting someone else’s generosity keep you from having your home the way you want it is debilitating.
- Save that resistance for things that are truly hard to come by, not for things that are easy to borrow or replace, like novels and cheesecake pans.
- Ask yourself “Is it really that precious to take up valuable space in my home and my life?
- Is the value of having it on hand worth the everyday cost of keeping it, taking up space, requiring cleaning or care?
- Don’t let the “maybe/somedays” stand in the way of living comfortably right now. How about that specialty appliance that you have been meaning to use…Is that bread maker/ice cream machine/panini press taking up valuable space on your counter or in your cabinets?
- To keep from getting stuck, try dividing the items in question into three categories: “YES” – “NO” – “MAYBE” to maintain forward momentum while sorting
Sometimes our resistance isn’t literal or immediately obvious. Maybe you’re avoiding that pile of papers because you have a huge bill due…or clearing out a space means facing memories of someone who used to be in your life.
Hold that vision of the how great it will feel to have made progress on your organizing goal. The cumulative effect of slight behavior changes can improve the course of your life. Be kind to yourself, some resistance is pretty intense. If you truly get stuck, move onto something else or reach out for a helping hand.