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The “Plenty of Time” Myth

Posted by Sue on Jun 1, 2012  

Confessions of a Professional Organizer, Chapter 4

Last weekend I reviewed my organizing map and target dates (see my last blog post). By now I should have completed organizing my knitting supplies and gotten rid of the defunct electronics. To date, it’s Chaos 2, Sue 0. So much for target dates.

Lesson learned: Just because I put a date on the calendar doesn’t mean I get the work done.

Second lesson learned: Get more realistic about how much time I really have.

Third lesson learned: Don’t be so hard on myself.

It’s the second of these lessons that I want to look at here. When I scheduled to work on my knitting supplies two weekends ago, I looked at my calendar and thought, “No problem. Daughter Ruth is graduating from college on Sunday; I’ll have plenty of time to complete that organizing project on Saturday.” Yeah, right. Graduation on Sunday meant traveling to Boston on Saturday for her art opening at 5:00. My ever-hopeful, magical-thinking brain still thought I’d have plenty of time (are you beginning to see a pattern here?).

To make the art opening at 5:00 I had to leave Vermont at 1:00. Still, no problem. But then I remembered that I hadn’t done any of the weekly housecleaning. And the “plenty of time” I thought I had disappeared into a bottle of spray cleaner.

A similar “plenty of time” mishap occurred this past weekend. This time the organizing project took second place to our traditional gardening weekend. Although my magical-thinking-plenty-of-time brain figured I’d just squeeze in a little organizing on the side, reality had other plans.

Was doing these next steps in my barn organization project just not a high enough priority for me? I don’t think so. I do think that I wasn’t acknowledging that there is “a time for every purpose under heaven;” and the purpose of these last two weekends were graduating a daughter from college and planting a vegetable garden.

In reflecting back, there are three questions that will help determine in the future whether my target dates and organizing map are truly doable.

  1. What else is on my plate?
  2. What do I have to say “No” to in order to say “Yes” to my plan?
  3. Is there preparation that I can do ahead of time to make the project easier?

 

I’m going to use these questions this weekend and see if I can’t make more progress on my plan. I’ll report back how well they worked next week.

If you give my reality check questions a try, let us all know how they worked for you.

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