An annual reality check can help you reorganize


POSTED: Monday, November 23, 2009

Another year is almost over, and I'm wondering how your year has been organizationally and time-management-wise.

Have you made some positive changes? Are things more in control? Do you have a greater sense of satisfaction?

This column begins my annual recap, beginning with tips and action steps for the first third of the year. Let's see how many you've acted on.

1. On Jan. 9, I wrote of the importance of starting a project promptly, citing research that showed that starting any plan within four days of making the decision is vital to its success; waiting longer makes it easier to put off doing altogether or totally forgetting about it.

Did you let timing be your ally? What are some things you made a decision to do and started promptly?

2. On Jan. 23, I shared that almost 98 percent of what we do is by habit—since a habit can be changed in 21 days, I encouraged you to change one habit a month.

How many new habits did you develop this year?

3. On Feb. 13, I wrote that clutter is the deadly enemy of efficiency, and how a cluttered desk impedes productivity and breeds crises.

Did you address your desk mess? Are you savoring the pleasure and productivity you've gained?

4. On Feb. 27, I shared the compelling phrase “;purging of all the dross of triviality.”;

Have you been purging the trivial—the unnecessary, inconsequential, unimportant rubbish—from your schedule, home and office? Do you have more time for that which is really vital and meaningful?

5. On March 13, I cautioned against hurry for wealth and success at the expense of a balanced life. William George Jordan said it so well: “;In the race for wealth, men often sacrifice time, energy, health, home, happiness and honor—everything that money cannot buy, the very things that money can never bring back.”;

Have you identified imbalance in your life, making boundaries between work and personal life, and thus restoring a welcome balance?

6. On March 27, I asked whether it was possible to have a job and a life too, offering seven basic steps to become more efficient. I also shared Strategic Coach Dan Carroll's “;Entrepreneurial Time System.”;

If what you were doing wasn't working, did you dare to try something new? Are you getting important things done, tying up loose ends each day, and having a better balance, finding you can have a job and have a life too?

7. Hoarding is now being recognized as a growing problem, with more than 1 million chronic hoarders in the country. On April 13, I presented tips from the book “;Buried in Treasures”; by Tolin, Frost and Stekette.

If clutter has been causing parts of your home or office to be unlivable or unworkable, have you been disposing of things? Have you been controlling acquisition?

8. On April 27, I asked, “;Just how did that clutter accumulate?”; and gave four common reasons: indecision, perfectionism, frugality and creativity. We sometimes keep unneeded things for what we consider good reasons, but doing so can take a toll.

Don Aslett wrote in “;Clutter's Last Stand”; that “;getting the clutter out of your life can and will rid you of more discouragement, tiredness and boredom than anything else you can do.”;

Have you dared to decide to let go of some things and be more realistic about what you will need and use for future projects you'll actually do? If so, are you encouraged and re-energized by the freedom gained?

That recaps the columns and tips from the first third of the year. How many have you acted on? How much difference is there in your life now?

See you in three weeks for more of this year's recap!

Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Her column runs the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Contact her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).