Declutter Your Time And Prioritize

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I never have. Probably because typically by the middle of February I forget all about them. We’re one month into 2019 and I’m asking how many of you made New Year’s resolutions and are still focused on them?

A few years back, I adopted a different approach.

I decided to select a single word to guide me throughout the year. Usually, it’s a word that represents something I need to work on either personally, professionally, or both. 

My family got a kick out of the very first word I selected back in 2014 – PATIENCE. It’s something I work on to this day!

Without fail, at the end of each year, I feel like I still need more time to focus on the word I selected. I’ve come to realize that this is all part of the process. Each of my word choices seems to build on the next one. My words have been: PATIENCE, FOCUS, CLARITY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLICITY.

(I have also found that some words work out better than others -and that’s ok)

For 2019, I’ve selected the word: PRIORITIZE. I can’t forget the word by mid-February because I posted a reminder above my desk where I see it every day.

Why did I select this word? As you can see from my prior word choices, I’ve been working on simplifying my life over the past few years. Those who have been reading this e-newsletter for a while probably remember the minimalism challenges I hosted in the past. You may have even participated along with me.

These challenges helped tremendously with reducing the physical clutter in my home.

Now I am ready to declutter where I spend my time and energy. Since I’m less distracted by my surroundings, there’s more room to prioritize the demands on my time – both personally and professionally. Setting a few goals for the year is all part of this exercise. In order to prioritize, you have to establish the goals that you want to reach. Unless you prioritize the tasks and opportunities that come at you on a regular basis, it’s hard to reach your goals.

There are hundreds of self-help books available that offer innovative ways to set goals. Over the years, I’ve read many of them, but I believe that it all boils down to three things:

  1. You have to write the goals down and display them where you will be reminded
  2. You need a plan
  3. You have to be honest with yourself so you can regularly prioritize

Sharing your list with a friend also helps you remain accountable.

This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Pretty quickly this is what I’ve done so far:

  1. I’ve written down what is most important to me this year, and why – It’s relatively easy to identify things that are important to you, but articulating “the why” makes all the difference.
  2. I created a list of a few short and longer-term goals – Some of what I want to accomplish this year are short term in nature, other items on my list will take longer to materialize.
  3. I made a promise to myself that I’ll not get lost in the day to day, and will check in on my progress regularly.

That’s where prioritizing comes in.

I’ve written before about managing daily to-dos and it’s very similar. I’m great at making daily to-do lists – but turning to-dos into ta-das requires prioritizing with intention. Yes, it feels great to cross things off the list each day, but are those crossed off items helping to meet my goals? I’ll let you know how I do at the end of the year.

I love one of Stephen Covey’s top ten quotes:

Have you ever tried picking a single word to guide you through the year?

How do you prioritize your to-dos and turn them into ta-das?

Please share your word and/or ideas in the comment section below.

Ta-Da Tip of the Month

Speaking of Decluttering. Have you watched any the new series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix? Many of my friends and colleagues have asked me what I think.

I’ve read her books and have watched a few of the Netflix episodes so far. Her approach to “Tidying Up” is similar to what most professional organizers and productivity consultants I know do as well.

What amuses me most is that she shows up each time in a skirt and white sweater. I can only assume that choice of outfit is made for TV. I suppose I could wear a white sweater and skirt too if I wasn’t working right along with my clients. Marie seems to leave them to do most of the heavy lifting on their own.

My approach is to work with my clients. I find that the skills transferred during our work sessions are more sustainable. It’s great to declutter initially, but sharing and creating new systems with my clients ensures they will be able to maintain order in their spaces when I’m not there. That’s the greatest value my services offer.

The client outcomes portrayed on TV – “the magic”– are real and heartwarming. Those “aha” moments like you witness in each episode are what I find most gratifying when working with my clients.

My bottom line: Marie is enhancing the awareness of the Professional Organizing and Productivity industry – so I’m all for that. If you haven’t checked out this Netflix series yet, I recommend you do. Ta-Da!

6 comments to Declutter Your Time And Prioritize

  • Sharlene Kelly

    Excellent insight! My word for this year will be “deliberate”, both personally in how to live life and professionally in helping clients with their retirement.

  • Awesome advice – thank you Diana.

    I have two words this year Purposeful and Peaceful.

  • Elizabeth Nigro

    Making decluttering and prioritizing easier suggestion/recommendation: As our New Year’s resolutions for 2019, we agreed to continue the one made in 2018, which was to spend 1 hour/week looking at a “corner” of the house, starting in the basement. We examine the entire contents of the corner, taking everything out of it if necessary, and then tidying it up. Prioritize indeed. Throw out, give away, or keep. In an hour, we called a halt. This year, the task is SOOOOOOO much easier, having been through the first round already. This time, in the basement, we focused on stuff we can donate to Homes for Humanity or like organizations. We found old file cabinets from the “file cabinets and door” office table days and old college chairs, etc. These are now out of the closet and in the hall so we will HAVE to contact the organizations to get the stuff out. This past week’s focus took on two (not one as last year) closets upstairs. Try it. One hour/week is an easy assignment which makes prioritizing easy too.

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