Here's how to stop procrastination and get that clutter free home!
So here we are in 2020, personally I can’t believe how quickly time has flown, it only seems like a couple of years ago since we were hearing all about the millennium bug and wondering if planes were going to fall out of the sky as we said goodbye to 1999! Usually at this time we take stock of where we are, and where we want to be. People do New Year’s resolutions, with all the promise of a fresh start, things being different and making positive changes to their lives. I’m enrolled on a year long marketing course, and in the Facebook group for it people were commenting yesterday about how bad it was they’d only just started, and how they’ve failed already. I just wanted to shout IT’S ONLY THE 6TH OF JANUARY!! Stop beating yourself up – you’ve a WHOLE YEAR to get this done. You know what? It doesn’t matter if you start to change on the 6th of January or the 6th of December. What is important is that you ACTUALLY START!
That’s the kicker though isn’t it? Actually starting. So you might look at your house post Christmas, looking like a bombs hit it, the kids are back to school, maybe you’ve gone back to work. Back to the daily grind and you wonder how things will ever change. Laundry is once again in piles all over, the kids want to know where stuff is and at some point you need to figure out what’s for tea and tackle those pots. You’re fed up of living in clutter and chaos, but just don’t know where to start. You have no time, even less money, and it all just seems so overwhelming, and rather depressing that you can’t image anything ever changing…. But you desperately want it to. Then you tell yourself, “but it’s not THAT bad” in an attempt to make yourself feel better, but it doesn’t really work.
STOP. This doesn’t have to be your life forever. That’s just the procrastination talking. Change is possible. It is doable. You just have to understand why you’re procrastinating, and figure out ways to counteract it – and I can help with that!
The main reason clients call me is that they are feeling stuck, and they only call me when the situation becomes so untenable they can’t take it any more. Once they meet me and we come up with a plan of action they wonder why they didn’t contact me sooner as they feel the absolute relief that things can change. When you’re stuck, and don’t have a plan or don’t know where to start it’s so easy to feel totally overwhelmed and helpless. This reason for procrastination is an easy one to sort out though. You ask for help. Either by booking in a free no obligation consultation with me, or by popping into my Facebook community here and getting support there. Start small. Pick one small area, or one small category to work through. To keep motivated give yourself a set amount of time or a very doable task and reward yourself once it’s completed, a sit down with a cuppa and biscuit always works well! Making a start on a small thing will give you motivation to keep going, but you must start small if you’re doing it alone, otherwise you’ll run out of steam half way through (just as its messiest) and be in a worse situation than before you started. Start with one shelf, one small drawer, or go through your socks or pens! A bit at a time. Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint. One step in front of the other.
It may be that you feel there’s no point to starting, as you can’t sort out other people’s stuff, or it’ll only get messy again later. There’s always a point. If you concentrate on your own stuff and things you can control I promise you life will be that little bit easier. It’ll give you a tiny bit more time to be able to combat the rest of the mess. It will also give you a sense of control and motivation to know that as your stuff is in order, things can change and it can be done. It’s quite possible that it might rub off on family members too, or at least they’ll be easier to convince when they see you having your life in order! With regard to it getting messy again later, that’s ‘project based thinking’ which I address later on in this blog, but also by not addressing it now, it makes a bigger mess for you to sort out at some point – you’re just putting it off.
Thinking you have no time as always a big issue. You DO have time, we all have time. Time is there no matter what. What you actually mean is that you’re so busy with everything else that it’s not a priority. It’s not a priority because living takes precedence and at the moment in a cluttered house you’re spending so much time and energy just surviving by fighting fires as they appear. Thinking back to the last few days, how much time have you spent looking for things? Feeling a little bit of panic trying to get organised, trying to keep on top of everything? There is no way around this – you have to MAKE it a priority. The good news is that once you have decluttered and organised you’ll no longer be fighting fires and the change is worth it! You will have more time, more energy, will feel so much lighter and you will be in control of your home rather than your home controlling you. Decide a time in your diary, use reminders, start small with a 20 minute session, set an alarm. Remove distractions, as someone to look after the kid turn off your phone and the TV and make a start!
I can’t magic up time, but what I can do it support you by helping you tackle things step by step at times to suit you. In the community group (Untangled by Tingle : clutter to calm community) you can message for help and people will respond with suggestions and ideas to try. I’m there too to give my input. If you’d rather a 1:1 you can book a Skype consult of an hour that we can do at a time to suit you, for example once the kids are in bed. (For more info on skype consult see this link here). if you’re wanting practical help to get it done and a 1:1 session make a call me to today and get booked in, I can do 2, 3, 4 hour sessions or a full day depending on what you need. Taking time out of life to get things done may sound like an extravagance but in all honesty, its essential for stopping the cycle of drudgery once and for all and for enabling you to have a happier, healthier less stressful life.
Money is for many a big reason why you procrastinate. You might feel that financially you can’t get rid of anything as you can’t afford to replace it. This is a fallacy. By holding on to things it makes it harder to find them when you need them, or you forget you have them, so end up buying more. You keep things taking up ‘rent’ in your home rather than having the cash in your pocket and the items in the shop just on the off chance one day you might need them. This doesn’t make good financial sense. It may be that you put off booking a session with me as you feel that the cost is out of reach. I totally understand that. I charge £30 for an online Skype consult and £35 per hour for me in your home, so it’s not cheap, but sometimes you just have to invest in yourself for the rewards it brings. I know that it can feel like such a large amount of money to find so it just doesn’t seem do-able. If it’s so out of reach it’s totally impossible, please don’t think I can’t help you. Why not pop into the community group! The community group is a safe, non -judgmental space where my untangling community can ask for advice, support and make themselves accountable to ensure things get done. It’s full of people in the same position as you that want to make changes but are unsure how to do it. This year it’s my intention to work more in the group to help it be more active, so I will be doing more Facebook lives in there and webinars to help you declutter and be organised. You won’t get the same experience as in a 1:1 but it’s still a very good starting point. If you’re uncomfortable being part of an online group look at saving up for a short session. Just because you book one session doesn’t mean you have to book more. Sometimes one session is enough to make a big change and as you learn my methods you can keep going by yourself. I always give ‘homework’ of things you can tackle when I’m not there if you feel comfortable enough – so don’t think the work stops at the end of our session – it could just be the start. Don’t forget you can ask friends or family to support you so on occasions for birthdays etc you can ask they put money towards a session – they can either contact me directly to buy you some time in the form of a gift voucher, or give the cash to you. It seems like a big cost up front, but it pays dividends later. Once you declutter most clients find their finances are given a boost. By selling off unwanted items to bring cash in, as well as finding long forgotten cash/giftcards/premium bonds/valuables sometimes can pay for the cost of a session by itself. Your attitude towards buying will change saving you money too. You will know what you have and where it is, so there’ll be much less panic buying and more than likely less shopping sprees as you’re content with what you have in your home and you like how it is.
I shared a post on Facebook recently from one of my colleagues about lots of clients that hoard are perfectionists. I was definitely one of those clients. I still am to some extent, but I battle my brain daily to counteract it. “Progress not perfection”, and “it doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done” are mantras I use to remind myself stuff, and not put it off. Sometimes the fear of not being able to do something well means you put off doing it at all. I get where you’re coming from, that’s why having sympathetic support (like me) to help you get started and to confirm you’re doing it right (and well enough!) can be so empowering. It can shut those mind demons up long enough to make progress and give you a concrete example reminding you that it can be done for next time.
Procrastination thrives on being able to make valid excuses. Sometimes it’s that the job is too big! It feels overwhelming, you’ve no time to do it now, you will do it later but then life gets in the way and before you know it its 2020 and you’re still in the same position that you were back in 2015! B y breaking the task down into smaller components it makes it much more achievable. What’s also helpful is by making yourself accountable. So write down specifically what you’re going to do and when – and then make yourself accountable by telling someone – whether its telling a friend, a colleague or by posting your plan in our community group! We can hold you to it! By keeping yourself accountable and by getting someone else involved it means you’re much more likely to do it.
Sometimes its not that the job is too big that’s the reason for procrastination – but the total opposite! That it’s too small or insignificant to bother. You tell yourself I can do it at any time, I can do it later, it won’t take long. For example washing pots, like I mentioned earlier about project thinking, it starts off being one pot that’s not worth the time and effort to wash, and it then becomes two, then three, and before you know it the counter top is full and there’s no space to wash or dry anything! Tackling it then becomes a ‘project’. Project thinking is very common among cluttered houses, and those of us with a tendency to clutter. It happens for many reasons – there’s one school of thought that it means we are more creative and see the bigger picture in things – I can live with that! It’s hard to train your brain to be individual tasked based, but when you have a clutter free home it is easier. If you’re not sure what I mean by that let me give you an example. Before, when I had a cluttered home, there would always be things on the kitchen side. Laundry, paperwork, and bits and bobs that couldn’t fit in the junk drawer. Putting a dirty cup on the side meant it just blended in with the rest of the stuff. My brain would say no point filling up a sink just to wash one cup, wait until there’s more to do. That’s the project based thinker in me. In theory that was me being efficient. It wasn’t. It would carry on until there were no clean cups left in the house (and I love my cups, I have lots of them still!) and then I was forced to complete the ‘project’ by spending ages washing up in a hurry as I was desperate for a cuppa and running late for something. Now I live pretty much clutter free, one cup on the clear kitchen side stands out. Like really stands out. It ruins the look of the kitchen. My brain is still project based, but I fight it by reminding myself how nice it is to have clear kitchen sides and that it will literally take less than a minute to do. So I do it. These kind of brain conversations have to be actively worked on, but it’s easier to work with them in a clutter free home than it is in the middle of clutter and chaos. I can see it’s worth the effort for the reward it brings.
Procrastination is just putting off decision making. It may seem harmless and damage limitation but it’s not. While you procrastinate, the nagging thought of you not having done something yet doesn’t go away – it stays there in the background making you feel rubbish for not doing it, you then have to reinforce reasons as to why you haven’t done it which makes you feel even worse AND that it’s even more impossible to do. You may start to talk in terms of calling yourself lazy, and ask yourself why can’t you do it when other people manage to? I can assure you that no one living in a cluttered home is lazy – most of the time it’s quite the opposite as living this way takes up so much time and energy. What I can tell you that by finally stop procrastinating and taking action today, YES, NOW, things can change. Don’t put it off. Join my group, book a session, call a friend and tell them your plans, clean that cup, make that start. You can do it…and I will help you all I can.