For years, I thought that I “should” put my photos into photo albums. But, guess what…they rarely ended up there. I applaud those who have beautifully arranged scrapbooks complete with captions and decorative touches. They spend the time to create, because they enjoy the process. So, I finally gave up the idea of “should” and put my pictures in a box. Of course, most of my photos are now digital, but that’s another story.
My point is, don’t let your “should” mindset get in the way of completing a project. The definition of organized includes “to systematize.” The type of system that you use needs to fit your natural habits, or you won’t use it. That’s when clutter piles up and gets out of control.
Here are some examples of “should” getting in the way.
Filing. Personally, I detest filing. So, my question for you is, do you really need to keep everything that you have waiting to be filed? Perhaps some of it could be shredded or recycled. Ask yourself if you could find the information elsewhere if you were to discard the papers. If you need proof of a transaction then, yes, keep it. (If you have questions about this, call me.) But, if the information is replaceable, make it easy on yourself and toss the paper. Don’t feel as though you should keep – and therefore have to file – everything.
Incoming Mail. Where do you automatically walk when you come in with the mail? Do you go into the kitchen? Do you tell yourself, “I should put these bills in my home office right away, but I don’t have time…I’ll do that later.” Then, why not set up a station to handle incoming mail right by the door? Or, in the kitchen where you naturally gravitate? Make it easy on yourself.
Reading Materials. My brother is a voracious reader. Once, he told me that while he was on a plane flight, he was reading AARP statistics (sheeeesh!). If you are that kind of reader, then your reading pile probably does not stack up. On the other hand, if you are telling yourself that you “should” read those magazines, newsletters and newspapers, then I am giving you official permission to toss them out. At the very least, contain them in one basket; when it’s full, you have to throw some items away before you put in any new materials.
Dishes. When my son was an infant, he was a high-maintenance baby. I was lucky if I had a few minutes to empty the dishwasher. So, when I got to the silverware (the last part), I upended the entire basket into the drawer in one swoop. Really! Then, I did a happy dance. At that stage of my life, getting this task done without interruption was worth celebrating. If you like your flatware divided, great (me too). But back then, it felt good that I did not let “should” get in the way of done.
One of my tasks as a Professional Organizer is to challenge you to think of new, easier ways to do things. Here is your assignment for the next week: see if you can identify areas of your life that you procrastinate. Ask yourself if “should” is stopping you. Then, see if you can create a different way of managing this chore that suits you better.