Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 23: Make it Easy

By now you've likely figured out that staying organized is about two things:
  1. Over coming resistance to doing things which keep you organized, and
  2. Figuring out those things you need to do to stay organized and making it a consistent routine or a habit to do them.

Today's tip is obvious once you mention it. Making a task easier makes it easier to do it.


But it's a pretty powerful little tip. For example, in about May of this year, our answering "machine" --which is a service we pay for from our phone company-- became full. (I mean the "mailbox," right? That's what it's called now?) I hated checking messages. Hated it. So, I stopped.

There was no end of irritation to putting the phone to my ear, lowering it down to punch the buttons, putting it back to my ear to hear the next instruction, lowering it to punch a button, then raising it to my ear to hear the message, then lowering it to press "7" to clear the message--and on and on and on it went. Ninety per cent of the messages are the aural equivalent of junk mail, anyway.

But, in late September, I had to clear those messages. I wanted to make sure I got the message about whether or not I got my current job.

It's been clear ever since. What did I do? I made it easier to use the menu pad on the phone by using the "speaker phone" function on the handset. Now, there's no more raising and lowering the phone. I simply hold it in one hand and punch the numbers with the other.


I like to clean the fixtures in the bathroom every morning. For a long time, I kept the micro-fibre cloths in the kitchen along with the cleaner. It occurred to me that I could make it ten times easier just to keep the cloths and an extra bottle of cleaner in the bathroom.


Are there things you dread doing?
Is there a task which takes longer than you like?
Is there a recurring task you can stream-line?

Write down all the steps involved in doing the task.
Then, brainstorm ways to make it easier.

Look for places in the process where you get stuck. Brainstorm ways to make it easier, or more workable for you.

For example, when doing the dishes, sometimes, I used to not want to start because I knew they wouldn't all get done. I had too many to fit in the drain rack. I most certainly did not want to take the time to hand dry those dishes--so, I'd have some left-over on my counter and it just didn't seem worth my effort. (Do you recognize the voice of perfectionism?) So, eventually--and with help--I figured out that I could put a dish cloth on my kitchen table and stack the dishes there to dry.


But even so, doing the dishes--even when it's a manageable amount is a difficult task for me. I often feel lonely when I do them -- and it is the kind of mindless activity that can let your thoughts go to unpleasant places. So, to make it easier on myself, I decided to listen to the radio. I even bought a little radio to sit on my window sill to keep me company.


Any doh moments in your life?

ETA: You can catch all the posts in the series here.


Mary Jane said...

Could you tell me where you purchased your tv stand and your dark coffee table/storage chest in your living room? There seems to be many choices out there but I cannot tell if your tv stand is a corner unit or just placed in the corner of your living room. My home is a 1 1/2 storey home also.

Alana in Canada said...

Hi Mary Jane. The TV stand is a corner unit. We purchased it from IKEA many years ago. I am not sure they still would have it. I believe it was from the LESVIK line of furniture.

The ottoman/coffee table storage chest I purchased at Home Outfitters--a Canadian retail chain. I have seen many on the market, including Walmart.

I like the cosiness of a 1 1/2 storey. We have what Sarah Susanka calls a "lived-in roof." You won't find them in new builds. Roof construction is totally different, now.

Anonymous said...

New "doh" moments. You're spiot on regarding making things easier to overcome resistance to do tasks. I have very few duplicates except for scissors. My hands hurt all the time and opening packages is difficult. So I keep scissors at point-of-use. In kitchen to open everything, next to pet supplies to help with bag food and flea treatment capsules, next to mail area to cut my address off junk mail (so much easier than shredding the whole envelope). etc. lip like your blog. Gail

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