Posted by Sue on Oct 23, 2013
“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” ~ Vince Lombardi
Eleanor has lived on Maple Street for 27 years. Of those 27 years, 24 of them have seen sincere attempts to clean out her attic. Back in ’88 she moved the entire contents of her old attic plus the inherited furniture, trunks of old photos and boxes of linen tablecloths from her mother and grandmother into the attic on Maple Street.
Each spring she sets out to “finally organize this junk!” She puts a date on the calendar, makes sure she’s got enough boxes and garbage bags on hand and then digs in with hope and gusto. After several hours of combing through dusty boxes and crumbling paper, she decides to take a break and get back to it, “a little later in the summer,” which, predictably, doesn’t happen.
Where did the hope and gusto go? Why, after 24 sincere attempts, is Eleanor’s attic still a disaster zone?
Gigantic projects like Eleanor’s are overwhelming, tedious and unrelenting. How do you keep the hope and gusto alive when the road stretches out before you, seemingly without an end or even a signpost in sight?
Here are 5 strategies to keep you going when the going gets tough:
1) Break it down: Take any overwhelmingly huge project and split it up into bite-sized pieces. Either divide the space into sections or deal with one category of stuff at a time.
2) Set a timer: Determine your organizing-stamina (how long you can work without going bonkers) – no longer than 3 hours – and set a timer. Spend the last 15 minutes picking up, putting away and dealing with the garbage, give-aways and recycling.
3) Celebrate the baby steps: Don’t wait until you’re completely finished to acknowledge your efforts. Give yourself small rewards along the way.
4) Delegate: Many hands make light work; and as the head honcho, you get to decide who does what. If you’re in charge of sorting and organizing, maybe your spouse can cart out the garbage and deal with the recycling.
5) Set up accountability: When you’ve told your plan and intentions to someone (besides the face in the mirror), it’s harder to change your mind and escape for a latte.
Any one of these 5 strategies will help you keep hope and gusto alive, even when the project feels like untangling a ball of coagulated spaghetti noodles. Combine all 5 and you’ll be soaring with the eagles!
If you have any comments or stories to share, please use the space below. I’d love to hear from you!