Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Client Questions - Is Backsliding Failure?

Q I had cleared most of my desk and office and was enjoying being able to see the desk and find things again. Then we had to put a rush on a project and now, two week later, I feel like I am back where I started. In a mess! Is this normal? Will life ever be different?

A In a word, Yes and Yes. Backsliding is a normal part of trying to improve one's level of organization and, for most people, periods of disorganization are a pretty normal part of life. The difference between the generally organized person and the generally disorganized person is there ability to respond and return to a higher level of organization when the flurry dies down. Try these tips to stay on track and return to the track when you feel derailed.
  • If you have a large project on the go, take a tip from the designers and find a container to hold all the project material. If it is paper and the project is too big for a file folder or box folder, get a box, basket, bag or anything else that suits your office and the project. Using a single container will ensure that all the pieces of the project stay together and that the project itself doesn't spread across all your other work. At the end of each day, commit to putting all the project pieces back into its container.
  • If you find yourself backsliding, remember that this is a normal part of progressing in organization. Its ok, you're ok. Avoid beating yourself up. Focus instead on how much you enjoyed being more organized and how much you look forward to catching up again. Renew you commitment to yourself to greater organization and move on.
  • Clear off your desk - even if you have to put everything into a big back to do it. A clear desk will help you think more clearly, breath better and generally function at a higher level.
  • Break down the problem into small, chewable chunks and pick one chunk at a time to work on. If necessary, spend 15 to 30 minutes a day sorting through the paper, regrouping the projects back into their files or containers. You may find that asking a friend or colleague to help will get the job done faster. Try offering to swap organizing time.

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