There are a number of statements that I have heard people say over the years with regard to their organizing projects. They are the top mistakes that you can make when thinking about getting your space and time under control.
1 – “If it can't be perfect, why do it?”
Wanting to do a good job on your projects is admirable. However, the drive for perfection has ruined the success of many projects. Perfectionism paralyzes even the smartest people. Consider the consequences of not doing the project at all vs. the need for perfection. Then, see what you can do to eliminate that procrastination technique!
2 – “I can change! I know I can. This system worked for ______ and I know I can make it work for me.”
We are different — right down to our fingerprints. Assuming that the system is right and you are broken is not the right way to go. Instead, find a system that works for the way you naturally think and learn. You will experience a much better outcome.
3 – “When I have time, I'll get to it.”
If you are struggling to find time, then you have an even bigger need to get organized! Did you know that the average person wastes 150 hours a year just looking for stuff?!? To make it worse, the average executive wastes 6 WEEKS A YEAR just looking for information and other items. Imagine what you could do with that extra time. Pick 10-15 minutes a day and get started.
4 – “I know I have not used it in years, but I will!”
If you work or live in a space that has loads of extra space, then this comment can be okay. However, most people I talk to tell me that they don't have enough space. If you have to search through stuff that you don't use to find the things you do use, you are wasting time. Be honest with yourself and let go of unused items. It will free up your space and time for more important things.
5 – “I do what the books tell me. I have like with like, but nothing ever gets put away.”
Like with like works in some circumstances, but there is another rule to consider. Store items closest to where you will use them. For example, if you have a container that holds all of your scissors, you will likely never find them in that container! Why? Because we get the scissors out and take them to the space where we use them. To walk back to a centralized storage location just does not happen very often. Place items that you use on a daily basis within your arm's reach. Things uses less frequently can be farther away and so on.
6 – “I have a fantastic 48 step plan.”
Any system that has too many steps is likely to fail. Put the KISS (keep it simple stupid) process into play. If it takes a long time or is too hard to reach, it is likely you won't do it.
7 – “Planning — smaning Organizing is easy. You just get in there and do it right?”
A little planning up front can save you lots of time now and in the future. Decide what the purpose for each room / space in a room will be. Then, as you have new items come into that space, you will be able to ask yourself if the item fits the space's purpose. Let's say you work out of your home. You have identified a room (or a corner) that is dedicated to your business. You find crayons and books in that space. Now that you have defined the space, there is no question that the items do not belong there.
8 – “I found the cutest container yesterday! I love the little drawers. Now, I just need to figure out how to use it.”
If you purchase organizing containers and tools without knowing how you are going to use them, it is likely that the containers will become clutter! Instead, sort and purge first. Then identify specific containers and tools that are needed to complete a project and purchase them.
9 – “No one can help me with this stuff. I have to do this alone.”
Sometimes, when we create a mess, we feel like we need to clean it up on our own, but that is untrue. Some of us are better than others figuring out systems to get organized. Consider finding a co-worker or friend that is organized and ask if they will help. Or, you can hire a coach to help you figure it out. Seeking help when you need it is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.