Professional Residential and Business Organizing in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003

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What's Your Motivation?

You have probably heard us say that when organizing, it is best to "Start Small".  Starting small could be setting a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and focusing on one project.  Starting small could also be focusing on one pile, or shelf or drawer at a time.  But even though that focus is small, it is still often hard to get started, especially when the task is overwhelming.

We have recently seen some of our customers become motivated while working with us.  Just this week a homeowner loaded his tree lawn with piles of items that he had been neglecting for months.  Last week, after seeing progress on an area of her home, another customer felt motivated to do her 'homework' and tackled other areas in our absense.  So, we wonder, what is the motivating factor.  

What gets you motivated to start an organizing task, and keep moving forward on a task?

We can all probably agree that procrastination is a great motivator, and can readily admit that it has motivated many of our monthly newsletters.  We have seen first hand how the fact that company is coming over is a great motivator to clear the clutter on the dining room table or in the guest room.  The deadline doesn't change, but as it gets closer and closer, the task is more and more on our minds, anxiety may increase, and that feeling of dread grows and grows....until we actually start and/or complete the task and put it behind us.

This brings us to another motivator: To-Do Lists.  The To-Do Lists helps unclutter the mind by putting all those tasks in one place, either on paper or electronically.  Seeing items on that list disappear, or to be able to cross something off the list are often great motivators.  At the end of the day, you will be able to see just how much has been accomplished.

Another motivation may be a reward.  At work a bonus or increased sales are things that many of us strive for, and that financial reward propells us forward to get the files in order and the desk cleared for a clearer mind.  Many individuals use other rewards for a job well done: going to a movie, taking a walk, purchasing something for themselves.  But oftentimes the reward is more intrinsic-----the satisfaction of a job well done, and knowing that the task is now behind you and crossed off the list.

Often having a friend or family member to hold you accountable helps to motivate.  If you tell someone that you are going to organize your files next week, and ask that person to follow up and see if the task was accomplished...very motivating.  Another take on this is to have a friend or family member participate in the organizing activity with you.  Perhaps they will have a unique idea that you had not considered when organizing a set of files.  Or they could be there to offer feedback on what clothes should be kept or donated to others.  We know from experience that having a someone there (like a Professional Organizer) to keep you on task helps many to start and finish organizing projects.

Finally, the motivating factor of music cannot be ignored.  The beat and tempo of some favorite music is very stimulating and increases motivation. "Physical and mental endurance can also be enhanced by music's capacity to draw our attention away from the negative aspects of a task."   (Why Does Music Motivate us by Mark Fenske).  In other words, if you look upon organizing tasks negatively, then music may be just the thing to keep you on task.

What did we miss?  Do you have other motivational tools to help you complete an organizing task?  If so, be sure to let us know by sending an email to; we will share (anonymously) with others.

Happy Organizing,

        JoEllen & Muffy


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December 17, 2020
Thanks for your support of Organizing 4 U! We're glad you have been a part of our 17 years as Professional Organizers. At this time, we want to let you know that at the end of the year we will be officially retired.
Happy Organizing, Muffy &...
May 21, 2020
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