January is Get Organized (Go) Month. The month-long event is dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of getting organized by hiring a professional organizer. (Source: National Association of Professional Organizers/NAPO)
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, while most people are caught up in the festivities of welcoming in the New Year, just as many are hard at work making a list of New Year’s resolutions, which they are determined to accomplish within the first few weeks of the coming year.
We resolve to lose weight, to go to the gym every day, to stop procrastinating and, above all else, to get organized. The pressure to succeed and to achieve these Sisyphean goals is enough to make us forget what we resolved to do in the first place.
This year, instead of making a long list of New Year’s resolutions, I challenge you to try making just one promise to yourself. I call it the “The 20-Minute Solution,” and trust me, it works!
The 20-Minute Solution is as easy as it sounds. All you have to do is get up 20 minutes earlier each morning and give yourself just one—and only one—task to perform each day. Daily projects can be as simple as folding the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, writing a thank you note, balancing your checkbook and paying bills, or in my case, getting up at 5:30 a.m. to write this column before deadline.
The idea behind the 20-Minute Solution is to do something each day that can be accomplished in just 20 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much you can do in such a short amount of time and how good you will feel about yourself.
The key is to get up early in the morning, before anyone else wakes and before the events of the day take over. This is not about getting the kids ready for school or sewing a button on your husband’s shirt. This is YOUR time to do the things YOU want to get done that will simplify YOUR life and make YOU feel more relaxed in your surroundings.
When working with clients, I show them how much easier it is to tackle a big project, such as organizing their home offices, by breaking the task down into several 20-minute stages rather than trying to do everything at once. Approaching a project in smaller time increments makes it seem more doable and less intimidating, which naturally results in the successful completion of the task.
Getting—and staying—organized takes time, but I can promise you: What you accomplish in three 20-minute sessions rather than one uninterrupted hour will astound you. With the New Year in full swing, you’ve got nothing to lose—go for it!