"Accountability breeds response-ability" - Steven Covey.
Oh how true this is! Welcome to my FIRST EVER blog post. Eeek! So how did this all come about? Well.... One day, (or rather one late night once MiniTingle had finally gone to bed), I was feeling brave and decided to put myself forward to write a guest blog post for a national charity (blog post coming soon!) Now this blog post is on something totally up my street, I know the subject inside and out, so it’s well within my comfort zone, so I thought I'd put myself forward, and got accepted. Then, horror or horrors, I realised what this actually meant...
It meant all the things I'd been putting off would actually have to get done. I'd need my get my website created. I'd need a ‘proper’ email address. I'd need to get a blog up and running. I needed a photo of myself for my blog! All things that are outside of my comfort zone and I'd been procrastinating about for months. Now however, I had to get it done. A National company was relying on me to come up with the goods. APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers) had organised the opportunity, and were banking on me coming up with a blog post, and I had a deadline. Now I’ve always been the kind of person to be amazing at procrastination, although since decluttering I’ve become a lot better for that. The reasons most people procrastinate are:
They don’t know where to start
They don’t think they have the time
They feel out of their depth
They feel overwhelmed
There’s no accountability, so they CAN leave it for another day!
I now know a lot of people that need to declutter their lives fall into the same ‘type’ of person as me. Decluttering can seem overwhelming. Like anything when things are outside of your comfort zone and scared to make a start, as you just don’t know where to start and don’t want to get it wrong! Meanwhile the issue becomes bigger and bigger in your head. It becomes a 'thing'. Once it’s a 'thing' you then leave it until another day and before you know it a year has gone by and you either have written the idea off completely and resigned yourself to never doing it, or its still there burning a hole in on your conscience. Making you feel bad....
Decluttering helps people like me, as once your home is in order, you have more time. Things are organised so you can get a job done quickly, as you know where everything is that you need to get it sorted. This then gives you confidence to work up to bigger jobs.
By hiring a professional organiser to help you declutter you can give someone else the responsibility of knowing where to start and what to do. You make the time as you realise by decluttering and organising it will transform the way you live and make your household happier, and your organiser helps you stay truly focused on what needs to be done. You get to real progress which makes the whole task much less daunting. Most people are shocked to realise just how much can be achieved in a short space of time, and also that their motivation to carry on (with a small ‘homework’ task) is at a high as they feel empowered and back in control. You become accountable not only to yourself but the organiser too, so that means the ‘deadline’ happens and cannot be put off. Like most things, the actual ‘doing’ of something is far less painful that the initial fear of doing it.
If you chose to declutter yourself here’s some tips to make yourself accountable to get the job done:
Tell someone you’re going to do it. Either a trusted friend, colleague or post it to facebook! People are nosy so will ask how you’re getting on!
Give a specific time and date and write it down. Make sure you organise time so that nothing else gets booked in on that time (work, childcare etc)
Be realistic about what is achievable – it’s unlikely that decades of clutter can be cleared in a few hours!
Be specific about what area you are going to declutter – otherwise you may end up getting sidetracked.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself first. Make it a priority. This is just as important as anything else you could book in at that time.
Put your phone on silent and make sure you will not be disturbed.
Make sure you take regular breaks (set an alarm if possible). Decluttering can be emotionally tiring, so do it in short bursts (try a 10 minute break every 60-90 minutes, and make sure you keep hydrated).
Take a ‘before’ photo – this will help you see just how much you’ve progressed and will keep you motivated.You don’t have show anyone this, just use it as a reminder for yourself.
Don’t be afraid in case it seems worse before it gets better. It’s normal that midway through you may find the room messier than when you started – keep going – it WILL be worth it!
Have an ‘exit plan’ for your discarded clutter. If you don’t get things out of your house on the same day you will not get the good feeling like you should, and things may have a tendency to sneak back into your home.
Don’t let friends or relatives look through your discarded items. Well meaning comments such as ‘oh but I bought you this’ or ‘that’s too good to throw away’ aren’t helpful and can make you feel unnecessarily guilty.
Take time to acknowledge what you’ve achieved and update the person you are accountable to, to let them know you’ve done it!
So as you can see, a deadline and accountability works wonders! Blog post: Done! Email address: Done! Photos: Done! Next week is NOW (National Organising Week) So watch this space for the guest blog that started this all off !