taking a break

It’s been a tough few months around here and I haven’t paid enough attention to some of my 2015 goals. Something has to take a back seat, so I’m taking a blogging break.

I’ll be back in a few weeks and I hope to report that I’ve been productive when I return. Until then, keep working on your own projects. Every little bit you accomplish is a step in the right direction!

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happy anniversary!

I started blogging about The Clutter Book five years ago. Since then, I have learned so much from readers of the blog and the book, as well as people who have attended my book talks and workshops.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Organized by Marcie, the 5th anniversary of the blog and the upcoming 5th anniversary of The Clutter Book, we will be releasing (finally!) an ebook and companion workbook.

Details will be announced here, so stay tuned.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of the blog and the book. Here’s to many more years of organizing and productivity!

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reactionary workflow

I learned a new term today: reactionary workflow.

Every time you stop what you’re doing so you can answer an email or a text, you’re reacting to someone else’s needs.

Most of us spend our days reacting to circumstances around ourselves, instead of moving forward the projects that are important to us.

Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen, encourages readers to schedule time for the work you want to accomplish. Otherwise, you’re constantly in reaction mode and going home with that “what did I do today?” feeling.

Find a place to keep track of the actions you want to take so you can follow through on them. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just functional.

Stop reacting and start acting in your own best interest. You’ll get more done without working longer.

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top 5 reasons organizing efforts don’t work

People often tell me they haven’t been successful when they try to organize their spaces. Although everyone has a different story, they usually fall into one of the reasons listed below:

1. You started too big. Instead, limit the scope of your project. You probably aren’t going to complete an entire garage overhaul, for example, in one afternoon. Instead, take on a manageable piece of the room and schedule another manageable piece for another day.

2. You don’t have systems in place. You say you want to organize your closet, but you don’t have anywhere to put out-of-season clothes, which take up all the available space. Instead of piling on a chair the clothes you currently wear, make room for them in the closet. Select a place for out-of-season clothes that is not as accessible (attic, basement, spare room, etc.). If you don’t have another room, get creative – use the space under your bed or at the top of the linen closet, for example.

3. You didn’t give yourself enough time to try out a system. Studies show that it takes at least 21 days of consistent effort before something becomes a habit. Before you declare that your filing system doesn’t work, be honest about the number of times you actually filed papers. Are you surrendering before you’ve really put any effort in?

4. You don’t know when to stop. Getting it done is more important than getting it done perfectly. Look for the maximum impact – putting the clothes in the closet, not putting them in color-order; putting papers in a folder, not putting them in reverse-chronological order. You can always modify the way you store or display items, after you’ve created habits to put them away.

5. You think organizing is an event. Organizing is a process and requires maintenance, like personal hygiene or cleaning your house. No one says, “I did laundry, why do I have to do it again?” Consider your organizing project a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in this one for the long haul.

What’s your greatest organizing challenge?

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product review – li’l davinci art cabinet

School is out and you’ve vowed that this summer you’re finally going to go through all those masterpieces your kids have brought home from school. While you may feel that you can’t part with any of their artwork, choose the ones that you like best or that show specific milestones (a stick figure, a recognizable face, a house, your family, etc.).

The Lil Davinci frame displays one 12” x 18″ picture and stores up to 50. You can change the display seasonally or when your child brings home a new creation.

Whether you choose to display your kids’ artwork or keep it in a memory box, sort through the collection once a year and let go of the pieces that don’t inspire. Take advantage of these summer days, when it’s too hot to go outside, and choose the pictures you want to keep.

If you dread throwing out any of them, send some to relatives who would enjoy sharing your kids creativity. Remember that teaching children how to sort favorites from mediocre work is a skill they will benefit from, at school and beyond.

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what’s in your garage?

It’s National Garage and Storage Organizing Month! As the weather is warming up across the United States, now is a good time to take a look at what you’re storing in your garage, shed or carport.

Instead of waiting for a full weekend when you’ll feel motivated to tackle the project, choose one area to work on each week. Group similar items (sporting goods, gardening equipment, tools, car-care supplies, etc.) and determine where you will keep each. If you use the lawn mower every week, for example, you don’t want to have to dig it out from behind the pool toys each time.

There are numerous products made for organizing garages. Before you buy anything, however, take a look at what you already have for storing your stuff. In addition, you want to make sure that you’re not storing junk. That means discarding anything that’s broken beyond repair, that you have multiples of, or that you just don’t use anymore.

Dedicate a box to donations and take it to a non-profit when it’s full. Alternatively, you could set up a date for a pick-up, which might motivate you to finish the job. Then you’ll be able to pour a cold drink, admire the cleared-out space and find what you need, when you need it.

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book review – solving the procrastination puzzle

Timothy Pychyl is a professor of psychology who writes about procrastination. Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change is a short book, making it easy to get through quickly.

Dr. Pychyl asks the reader to identify excuses used to justify procrastination, then to take action to meet stated goals. You may know that it’s important to break large projects into manageable tasks; in addition, Psychyl encourages readers to pre-decide – figure out how you’re going to handle situations before they arise. Forget about willpower. You have a limited amount and it’s too easy to put things off when you’re tempted by some other activity.

Each chapter in the book begins with a short phrase. Here are some of my favorites:

Procrastination is failing to get on with life itself

Feeling good now comes at a cost

I won’t feel more like doing it tomorrow

Like my oft-repeated advice “Just do something,” Pychyl says “Just get started.” You don’t have to finish, you don’t have to do it perfectly and you don’t have to feel motivated. Sometimes, just taking the first step is enough to get momentum going.

Finally, he discusses personality types and propensity for procrastination. Regardless of your tendencies, however, there are actions you can take to reduce procrastination, if not eliminate it altogether.

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