I started the reorganization because I had overflowed items from my office into my guest and master bedroom.
These mainly were items that I wanted off my desk or didn’t have a home for, so I moved them out of the way and into other rooms.
I was tired of having things all over the place and moving them when guests were using the guest bedroom.
So, I decided to tackle the project of reorganizing my office, pulling those things out of the places they didn’t belong, and finding everything a new home in my office.
So, I broke it down into pieces, very, very small pieces.
This is what my to-do list for this project initially looked like:
I knew I wanted to sort items into boxes to help figure out what needed to go where. So you see the categories like pens, pencils, post-it notes, paper and binder clips, a box for small items, and a box for larger items.
And you can see I allowed myself 2 hours to sort through the things from my master bedroom and 3 hours for the guest bedroom. While I purposely guestimated more time than I needed, I was very surprised to find I drastically overestimated the time required to sort those items.
Sorting the items from the master bedroom took me 20 minutes, and the guest bedroom items took me 40 minutes.
It seemed like such a huge task to sort those items! I was sure it was going to take a while.
That’s why I broke it down, so that it didn’t feel like a huge, overwhelming project that had to be completed immediately. Instead, I could just focus on one small task at a time.
Once I sorted my closet, desk, and other randomly placed items into my boxes, my office looked like this:
As you can see, I had a rather large mess lot of items to put away again. I did wonder what I got myself into, but I took a breath and tackled one part at a time.
Putting everything away did take longer than I anticipated, but I had the project started. It felt doable because I broke it down into working a couple of hours here and an hour there.
It looked like this:
And finally this:
But what does this have to do with you?
A project is anything that takes more than 1 step to complete.
Break every project into smaller, manageable steps.
For me, sorting through items in 20-minute increments made it very doable and easy to get started. I felt like I was making progress.
Again, break your projects and goals down into smaller steps.
And, if I wasn’t the type of person that could organize my office like that, I could hire someone to help me out. There are many very talented professional organizers out there that could have come in and helped me sort through everything and ensure the project was finished and done well.
If you need help figuring out how to break a project into smaller steps, hire someone to help you with that.
A project like “cleanup/organize office” feels enormous and unmanageable, but “do this 20-minute step” is much more doable, and you can wrap your head around it.
Everyone’s situation is different, so if you want some help in this area, reach out, and let’s talk.
Working on that project was uncomfortable, pushed against my comfort zone hard, didn’t come naturally to me, and I wasn’t always motivated to keep going.
And yet I did, and the project was a success in the areas I needed it to be.
So, how did I do it?
The truth is there wasn’t just one thing that allowed me to complete this project. It was a combination of things.
Below I’ll share what I believe were the most significant contributors to completing the project.
My future success depended on me learning this skill.
While I wasn’t motivated to do this project specifically, I knew that not doing the project would mean I’d continue to have crappy results in my business. Basically, this skill was so important I knew that all my future success would be built on what I learned through this project. Not doing this project would mean my business would not move forward.
I was clear about my deadlines.
Because the project was uncomfortable and pushed against my comfort zone, it was super important to be very clear about what needed to be done and when. This allowed me to put on blinders to the larger project and only focus on the specific task in front of me.
Knowing that I wanted to start sending invites x days before the project began meant those deadlines weren’t moveable. Once I sent the first invites out, I was now committed to the date. It was out there.
I spread the work out over time.
I also made sure that the work was getting done, but was spread out. This allowed me to keep my energy up. I generally have more energy and attention in the morning, so I made sure those uncomfortable tasks came first.
I regularly reviewed my progress.
I gave myself time to review what worked and didn’t and adjust. Because the skill I was learning didn’t come naturally to me, I paid attention when something felt more in line with me (more down my alley, more me) and made a note of it to repeat later.
I had clearly defined tasks.
I was very clear about the tasks that needed to be completed. My task wasn’t to “invite people.” The tasks were to “make a list of at least 25 people that I think will benefit from this” and “personally invite that list of people via a phone call.”
It helped to focus on today’s task (or tasks) for the project. And because I spread the work out, I usually only had one 30-minute to 1-hour block of this to do each day. Once it was done, I could move on to tasks that felt much easier.
The bonus was how great it felt to have the task done and be able to move on.
I remembered my bigger goal when things felt hard (my why).
When things felt difficult, I’d take a deep breath and remember what I saw on the other side of this project. I’d remind myself why it was important to do this.
This sounds a bit like my first reason above, but this one is a bit deeper. The first one, my future successes depended on me learning this skill, is more of a nuts and bolts reason.
This reason is more of a mindset shift. It was about reminding myself that I could do these hard things and why it was important to step into being a person who did this hard thing and what that would do for me.
Again, it wasn’t just one of the above reasons that allowed me to complete the project that, on some levels, I did not want to do. It was the above reasons together that made the difference.
I’ve read multiple places that what makes a goal successful isn’t just about remembering why it’s important to you. It’s about putting the systems in place that support the work of doing hard things—remembering your why is one crucial part of that.
What questions do you have around doing projects in your business that feel uncomfortable or push against your comfort zone? Or share your experiences with this. Let me know in the comments.
Over the past week, I’ve done a lot of dancing in my office chair. You see, my private Facebook group, Productivity for Women Entrepreneurs (join us!), DOUBLED in size last week and I do a little happy dance everytime someone requests to join.
And I’m having conversations with people as they join and something that’s popped up a couple times is “I’m spending a lot of time doing things, but it’s not turning into money.”
I’ve spent some time thinking about this the last few days.
The truth is, there’s a lot of things that can contribute to that situation.
This week, I want to talk about the difference between urgent and important.
While they are related, they are not the same thing.
Let me share a conversation I had with someone a while ago.
Rhonda and I were talking (that’s not really her name) and she shared that she needed to make more money that month. So, we talked about everything she was currently working on and wanted to get done.
After a bit, Rhonda said: “You know, I really need to send this client an invoice next week. I probably should have sent it two weeks ago, but I’m just too busy.”
I’d like to say that I’ve never heard anything like this before, but I have.
Why does this happen?
Because sending an invoice is important, but it’s not always considered urgent – until it’s really urgent.
Now, I’m not saying that this is always what’s going on in the situation of someone “doing a lot, but it’s not turning into money.”
However, it is something to look at.
So, for this week’s Wednesday LIVE with Evie, we’ll be talking more about the difference between urgent and important. You can watch the video here.
We all have 24 hours in a day, how are you going to use yours?
This quote, as normally interpreted, says great, famous and fabulously successful people reached their goals with the same limitations in a day as you — 24 hours — and you can reach your goals too with some perseverance, smarts, and a good attitude.
And would it surprise you to learn that I really dislike this quote?
I don’t find it inspiring at all.
I find it very annoying.
Now, before you start wondering if I’ve had a bad day or something, let me share my history with this quote.
I first heard this quote about a year into my business. I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. My business wasn’t making any money and I was doing a lot of work for NO return.
And hearing this quote when at that place, instead of seeing the possibility for myself through the quote, I beat myself up with it.
I made everything I was doing and had been doing wrong and bad. Because while all those other people had created success with their 24 hours, I had put myself in debt, worn myself out, and didn’t feel successful at all.
I heard the quote and felt like I should be doing more. I felt guilty for any time that I wasn’t spending being productive.
And I compared everything I knew about myself to everything I knew about “those successful people.” And I always came up severely lacking.
The problem was I didn’t know about the crappy, stressful, overwhelmed and self-doubt filled days that I’m sure all “those successful people” had — I only saw the success.
But I compared my crappy, stressful, overwhelmed, self-doubt filled days to the success I perceived them to have.
And it felt like someone above me said “catch this foundational tidbit I’m tossing down to you” and I looked up just in time to see a brick hit me in the forehead and knock me to the ground.
Ouch! Next time can I have a hug instead?
When I heard this quote all I could see was how I was failing to use my 24 hours — I was doing it wrong. Crap.
So, that’s why I don’t care for this quote, because when I first absorbed it I used it to knock myself down and not to build myself up.
This is also why you’ll never hear me repeat this quote.
It might be wonderfully uplifting and motivating to people who are feeling excitement and success, but to anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed and doubting themselves, they might hear this quote the way I did.
Final two thoughts:
Hearing this quote, or any other motivational quote, and feeling beat up by it is okay. It could be an indicator that you’re a stressed or overwhelmed. That’s valuable to know. When you know or recognize stress or overwhelm, then you can do something about it.
If you say this quote, or any other motivational quote, and the person hearing it doesn’t take it the way you intended don’t make them wrong about their interpretation. Do notice it. Do get curious. Ask how they interpreted the quote and talk about it.
And this has made me wonder: what uplifting quotes do you find annoying or have you beaten yourself up with in the past? Share in the comments below.