At some point in an organizing project, I pause and make a list of all of the outstanding projects that remain. The items are usually accompanied by little square checkboxes. Checking these off becomes the goal of our remaining time together. The side effect of this cure is that many clients tend to start bouncing from task to task. We may be designating categories for wall file pockets when locating the label maker sends them over to organize the supply drawers. Or, we may be clearing off a space in front of the computer screen when unearthing that unpaid bill sends them off to sort every bill in the office.
This is when I politely say, "Lets finish this first." It's these four little words that immediately straighten our path.
Clients often tell me they have trouble getting started. What I've come to notice is that the real culprit isn't getting started on an organizing project, but rather, finishing the one that has been started. When eight projects are started and none are finished, it gives the illusion of nothing being started. Let completion be your goal.
Which is the best project to complete first? The one you are working on in this moment. If you're in the middle of compiling today's to-do list, finish that before checking email. If you just threw some receipts on your desk, sort and file those before pulling every paper out of your tote bag.
"Let's finish this first" is all it takes for my clients to sit back down and give that almost-done task the last five minutes it needs. Next time you find yourself a little over-motivated, say it out loud. It's what you'd here from me if I were sitting right next to you.
Do you have trouble finishing what's in front of you? Have you ever been frustrated at how much time you spend organizing, only to look at an office full of half-started projects? Do you have ideas for staying focused while working or organizing? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!