I want to reorganize my upstairs so I will have a guest room and so the entire second floor will function better. But I’m the master at getting sidetracked. You probably know that about me by now if you have been hanging out here long. I’m good at dreaming up ideas, even rather good at accomplishing many things in life, but not always so good at following through on all of the things I really want to do. I think I have more ambition than time.
I also think I have organizational and decorating ADD. That is probably pretty close to the truth.
Did any of you read “Sidetracked Home Executives” back in the day (Ok, YEARS ago?)? If you haven’t heard of that book or the “Sidetracked Sisters” you can find them now via FlyLady (even before Flylady I was into the S.H.E. sisters!). Anyway, their book was hilarious to me because it reminded me of myself. I can have the greatest intentions EVER to complete a project and along the way I find myself swept away into some other wonderful idea that wasn’t really a part of my plan but sounded fun at the moment. I am the classic S.H.E.
Sometimes I am sidetracked by crazy and unnecessary but fun rabbit trails, but often I am simply pulled away by other urgent obligations that keep me from completing my original project in a timely fashion.
So if you are like me, how can we stay on track when we start an organizing or decorating project?
Here are two of my basic but tried and true methods for getting the job done if you tend to get sidetracked!
1. Set realistic goals and deadlines.
It helps me if I set a realistic completion date and a few goals for my project. It works best for me to set a goal that coincides with some other event like company coming over or whatever. I am motivated by a REAL deadline, not just a date.
In fact, if necessary I have been known to INVENT an EVENT (like inviting people over on a Friday night) so I’ll finish a project by Thursday! Being a recovering “perfectionist procrastinator,” the near and looming deadline is what keeps me going.
2. Keep your focus on what counts.
Only let yourself get sidetracked by things that MUST get done to maintain your routines and your family’s sanity (like feeding your kids or keeping the dishes washed) and slap your wrist if you start a new project in the middle of your main project, even if it is a good idea.
Getting sidetracked away from your project because you need to feed the kids, your dog just threw up on the floor, your mom came to town and decided to make you slipcovers, or five college students unexpectedly decided to spend the weekend at your house* is understandable and OK. Have mercy on yourself, real life happens! You need to expect those types of interruptions to happen in the middle of most projects so allow time for them and be FLEXIBLE.
But getting sidetracked because you decide randomly to organize 22 years of pictures in shoeboxes when your real goal is to set up a guest room and re-purpose closets is NOT OK. Do not ask me how I know this.
The idea of organizing family pictures is brilliant. You might REALLY NEED to organize them. But the decision to organize photos NOW, for instance, in the middle of moving furniture around to set up a guest room, is not so good. That rabbit trail will keep you from accomplishing your mail goal.
What is my solution for rabbit trails?
Keep a notebook with a list of things to do “after the completion” date so you can get work on those “rabbit trails” later.
Are you easily sidetracked?
Tell me your sidetracked stories so I know I am not alone!
*in my case, all of the above have happened this week in the middle of my project.