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A Do-able Game Plan

Do you get backlogged, swamped and practically paralyzed with procrastination like I do?  Sometimes surfaces, closets, drawers or cupboards get to be such a heaped up mess I don't know where to start - so I don't, at least until the clutter reaches critical mass and threatens to detonate.

What we need is a game plan.  Baseball, golf, tennis and then football season will soon start rolling.  Do you think they go into it without a game plan?  No way.  They also have a start and a finish, and innings.  Without an ordered structure, the game would be lost. 

So it is with the accumulation of clutter in our lives.  Here's the Plan - it will probably take less than an hour; an hour and a quarter at maximum.  We're going for four short quarters or innings here.  Preparation:  you probably have a timer, even on your oven, watch or alarm clock.  Locate it.  Look around a pick one - just one - trouble spot.  Mine is my desk, closely followed by the dresser and night stands in my bedroom.   Select a single messy area.  Write down the time.

First inning:

Set timer for 15 minutes.  Get together your supplies - trash bags, some boxes or baskets, dust rags, cleaning materials - whatever may be called for in order to unload that spot.  Turn off the phone or assign someone to answer it, and announce to everyone in the place that you are not to be interrupted except for genuine emergencies (time-outs).  Put on some of your favorite energizing music and get yourself a favorite refreshing (non-alcoholic) drink.  Get this done before the time goes off.

Second inning:

Re-set timer for 15 minutes.  There's four goals: 

  • Urgent to do immediately

  • Keep and store or file

  • Sell, give away or donate

  • Throw it out

Start at the top; lay hands on the first item.  Don't dither or try to process it or get waylaid.  Just decide, then dump it in one of the above four categories.  When the timer goes off, stop whether you're finished or not.

Third inning:

Reset timer for 15 minutes.  Put away everything in the "keep, store or file" category.   Take the "throw it out" bunch to the trash.   Place the "give away" by the front door or on the porch to take to your favorite charity or second hand store on your next trip that way.  Or call for a pick-up if they do that.  

Fourth inning:

Reset time for 15 minutes.  Process everything that needs to be done - make those calls, pay bills, write notes or emails, etc.  If you haven't finished when the timer goes off, reset the time and go into overtime.

When you're done, check the time.  If it's under an hour, you've won!  Now, celebrate your victory over clutter!
 

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