Finish Big Projects With This Tip!

Have you ever wondered why some people can work with more focus on just one organizing project than the rest of us? There they are, just chugging away like the Energizer bunny while we are slouched in a chair with our feet up, sipping gratefully on coffee. Even just a few short hours of non-strenuous physical labor can frizzle minds and sap any last scrap of energy or motivation.

Don’t worry, because I have a handy tool for you that can make all the difference. I call it The Automatic Decision Maker, and it slashes fatigue by helping you make a bunch of decisions up-front, all at once.

You see, organizing projects are tough even if they don't involve moving around quickly or lifting heavy things. The fatigue often comes from making many small decisions all along the way. When I first started booking clients, I would schedule eight hour workdays, especially if the job was mainly sorting photos and papers. What I didn’t realize was that over several hours, all the small decisions add up and decision-making fatigue eventually sets in. It begins to get impossible to make even the most basic decisions like, “Should I keep this old magazine or toss it? Should I send this sweater to Goodwill or the Women’s Shelter? Do I need this receipt? Should I try to sell this at a garage sale?” I soon figured out that even six hours of small decision making was too much to tackle in one day.

However, even a short time of organizing can still be draining. That is, unless you use The Automatic Decision Maker.

This is actually just a sheet of paper with a list of items on it that you made decisions about before starting your project. For example, you can put junk mail on the list. Then, the second you see a piece of junk mail, you don’t even have to hesitate about throwing it out. Since it is on the Automatic Decision List, you have already decided that you don't need to keep it. No hunting to see if there are still coupons in it, no keeping it for the advertisement you saw in it for zip lock bags. It goes right in the recycle bin without a second thought. Presto!

One fantastic side benefit of The Automatic Decision List is how easy it is for other people to work with you. We are all grateful with friends offer to help us out, but you know how it can be. Your helpers frequently need your input, and this creates its own type of fatigue. The Automatic Decision List solves this! Your helpers can consult the list to and make swift progress purging your items. Your train of thought will stay intact, and you won’t be anxious about the fate of your items when you can't see what your helpers are doing.

There are many things that unquestionably belong on a Automatic Decision List, but most times the list is customized to your own needs. For example, one person may be perfectly fine with clearing out all her unfinished craft items. Another person may decide to put jewelry kits on the Automatic Decision list, but make individual choices about the scrapbooking items along the way. Some clients jot down “clothes that don’t fit me right now” on their, while others write “Clothes that are more than two sizes too big for me”.

Of course, there are things that, as a professional organizer, I do recommend for everybody’s Automatic Decision List. Here are 20 items to get you started:

  • Wire Hangers

  • Junk Mail

  • Bank Statements

  • Credit card Statements

  • Clothes that don’t fit

  • Invitations to past events

  • Broken toys

  • Old cell phones

  • Broken small appliances

  • Non-Disney VHS movies

  • Leftover party decorations

  • Atlas and maps over 3 years old

  • Badly expired food and medicine

  • Unfinished craft projects

  • Samples of perfume and soap

  • Class notes and sermon notes

  • College textbooks

  • Outgrown baby items

  • Memorabilia that doesn’t bring joy

  • Gifts you do not use or like

Of course, there is no need to put all of these things on your own list. Choose five and go from there. For example, I will be tidying up my attic this month and I have chosen these five items for my Automatic Decision List.

  • Gifts that I do not use or like

  • Class notes and sermon notes

  • College textbooks

  • Memorabilia that doesn’t bring joy

  • Unfinished craft projects

Even though my attic is small, it is still a big project because it stores many sentimental things and items that require tough decisions. I could easily get sidetracked or quickly burn out. But armed with my trusty Automatic Decision List, I will be able to stick with the task longer, make more progress overall, and not need as much coffee and chocolate to get through the job! Best of all, I won’t be completely worn out by the end. I will be able to survey my job feeling accomplished and eager to get started on another project.

So give it a try for yourself! And leave a comment about how it helped you.

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