Thursday, July 24, 2014

When Organized Is Too Organized

I love good organization. Give me lists, bins, and labels any day. I could spend hours making to-do lists or organizing a closet and it would only feel like minutes. But sometimes I let my love for organization get the best of me.

There is a point where planning can go too far. In this post I recently wrote about how goals are only goals until you do something and the same is true about planning and to-do lists. This is a form of goal-setting, and you cannot forget about the “do” in “to-do.”

It’s not just over-planning that can be a problem, but over-organizing can be too. It’s not enough to work out an intricate system of baskets, bins, shelves, and labels – if the system doesn’t work for you, you are essentially unorganized anyway.  Organization is meant to make your life easier and more livable.  If the systems you have in place add more time to your tasks and make life more difficult, then you need to make a change.

As with almost everything, planning and organizing can cross into that “too much of a good thing” territory, we just need to keep it in check. Also, something that works great for someone else could be absolutely terrible for you; you need to fit things and systems into your lifestyle – not the other way around.

Have you ever over-planned or over-organized you life? What systems work for you? Which ones don’t? I would love to hear!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I recently wrote about goals and how the only way to actually achieve them is to do. Well, something that is usually standing in the way of doing is procrastination. I can tell you that from first-hand experience.

Procrastination has been, at times, my biggest fault, causing me to turn in papers late, push deadlines at work, or miss the closing date for job applications for what could have been the perfect position.

I have tried many methods to overcome my terrible habit of procrastination, some have been utterly unsuccessful, but I have shared some methods below that I find work for me.  I change up my method depending on the circumstance, but it’s best to figure out what works best for you specifically.

Incentives – Sometimes I will tell myself I can have or do something if I do a particular thing or task by a specified time. I like to do this if it is something that happens on a regular basis, so I can group them together. A common one for me is, “If I am up by (a certain time) every day this week, I can stop at Starbucks on my way to work on Friday.” Grouping things let’s me use the incentive approach without overdoing it (and without overspending if it’s that kind of incentive) and it extends my efforts over a number of days – something that is beneficial in breaking old and creating new habits.

Create shorter-term deadlines – Sometimes my procrastination stems from having way too much time to actually complete something. In this sort of situation, I find it helpful to create a new deadline for myself that is at a closer date so I have less time to let it fall off my radar. If it is a project that can be broken down into smaller portions or steps, I assign a deadline to each one. If it is a small project but with a far-away deadline, I tend to do one of two things: 1. Complete it right away to get it off my plate, or 2. Create a Bring Forward (BF) in my calendar to remind myself to start the project at a certain date prior to the deadline.  I usually try to just get it done, but if there are too many things on the go then starting later is helpful.

Create additional accountability – Outside of work, most of my projects are personal and I am completely in charge of the deadlines. Sometimes, though, I need a little extra “push” to stay on top of my deadlines. Additional accountability can be created in many ways – a contributor, a client, a mentor, a significant other, or even a family member or friend that you share information about your current projects with who checks in with you from time to time.

There are many more methods to overcome procrastination like getting organized, figuring out the cost of your “wasted” (procrastinated) time, or identifying the consequences of not being ready for the deadline, to name a few. What is especially important is to recognize that you are procrastinating and sometimes it is important to figure out why. There could be a deeper reason causing you to turn to procrastination that needs to be taken care of before you try to stop procrastinating.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Moving Update

Hey everyone! I've been pretty busy moving these past few weeks. It seems like I chose my most busy time to move - thankfully I've been able to do it slowly and in pieces or else I would probably be going crazy right now.

I am moved in as much as I need to be, but I have a lot more things that I need to sort through at my parents house and in the extra room here before my roomies move in at the end of the summer (and before my parents go crazy with my stuff scattered all around the basement).

Here are some photos from my move. I didn't really take that many, to tell you the truth, but these are the ones I was snapping over many days.

Our living room, prior to pretty much anything being moved in.

Our dining room. Our kitchen is the doorway to the right, just behind my suitcases. I didn't get a photo of it for some reason.

My bedroom after having lived here for a few weeks. I was sleeping on a futon mattress on the floor and had just cleared it out, getting ready for the delivery of my bed, before I took this photo.

Building #likeagirl.

Aaaand the product of my building! One of two pantries for our kitchen. We don't have a huge amount of storage space and once there are three of us women living here, we'll need the extra space.

 (Almost) All of my books. I didn't have my bookshelf brought over yet (it didn't fit in my car and my dad was out of town), so I stacked them in the third room while I waited to bring it over. Thank goodness we're moving in at different times and I can use this space for now, or the living room would be even more of a disaster.

 Makeup can be fragile and my dad and boyfriend just don't quite understand how delicate it really is. The only solution was to be absolutely certain that I was the only person handling it! 
Yes, that is a big box of makeup. I still haven't unpacked it because I have nowhere to put it. The whole "less space than I am used to" is really affecting my love of makeup.

And finally, some of my dresses riding shotgun on one of the trips over. I packed a lot of my clothes in suitcases long before I actually moved, but I just couldn't be bothered to do that with my dresses and I didn't want them to wrinkle either.

Have you moved recently? What is your strategy for actually getting things put away? I am going at it so slowly! Even if I set aside time to get things done, I get so distracted by the minor details and leave large boxes sitting in the living room for weeks without being touched. Help!

Friday, July 18, 2014


I have a bit of a problem with goals. Not in creating them and imagining them and pondering them, but I have a problem in following them through.

Goals are great. They give us something to strive for, they give us inspiration, and they can be that light at the end of the tunnel in those times where we feel like we’re barely trekking through. But goals, in and of themselves, cannot create change.  It is what we do with those goals and how we work and strive to make them a reality that brings about change.

I am great at making goals and making lists and even at making lists about what steps I need to follow to achieve my goals, but, thus far, I am really not that great at actually achieving them.

So, I am making a change.  I will look at all of my goals, choose one or two at a time to focus on, and I will achieve them. Some will be simple and will take one movement or effort to accomplish; others will require more planning, preparation, and time to accomplish.  I will rejoice in every forward movement and learn from every backward step, but – no matter what – I will keep moving and doing.
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