I mentioned yesterday how much happier I’ve become now that I’ve set my bar a lot lower when setting goals. Of course, this isn’t a principle you want to apply to finding a mate, but it works wonders for getting things done.
Say you have a giant stuffed closet, garage, cupboard, or some other task that makes you want to gouge your eyes out rather than look at it/in it. You know this project isn’t going anywhere and eventually you have to do it.
First off, these types of projects are rarely as bad as our minds build them up to be. The three methods I use to get stuff done are:
- Divide the project into sections, and attack it one section at a time. (Best for bigger projects.)
- Set an alarm, and stop when it goes off. (Best for smaller projects.)
- Do the project you hate the most first. (Best for a series of projects.)
When I clean out my closet once a year, I divide it into sections. I have a top section, which is what’s on my shelves. The middle unit is what’s actually hanging in my closet, and the bottom section, which is where I keep all of my shoes. For each section I go through and sort what needs pitched and what stays.
The key here is that you don’t have to do all the sections in one day. Revel in the satisfaction you feel from accomplishing something toward the beast of a chore.
Here’s another example: Every time I did laundry and had to put away our clean towels or sheets in one of our few precious storage cupboards in our apartment, I’d grumble about how it was so cluttered I could barely fit them in there. Finally, I got so irritated that I had to tackle it. I set an alarm for one hour, and wouldn’t you know, when I had my attention fully devoted to organizing the cupboard, it only took me 45 minutes.
The idea of doing the project I hate the most first, is a strategy for getting stuff done I use practically every day. As soon as I got home from work today, I started hunting for freelance writing and editing gigs and set out a couple of resumes. I used to be excited about hunting for freelance work, but now that I’ve been on the prowl for more than a month without a catch, it’s kind of lost its luster.
Speaking of getting stuff done, I did accomplish my three most important things for today. I searched and applied to some freelance jobs, I got groceries from Trader Joe’s, and I wrote this post. Just in case you’re wondering why I’m highlighting that I do my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, it’s for two reasons:
- Adam and I have consistently noticed that we save anywhere from $30 to $50 when we do a round of serious grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s versus Albertson’s.
- Granted, I could be wrong, but I feel like Trader Joe’s has a healthier selection of food. They definitely have a wider variety of organic products.
So, shopping at Trader Joe’s helps me meet two of my goals for 2009:
- Better manage my finances.
- Eat a healthier diet (more fruits and vegetables, less red meat, more organic items).
Tomorrow, my three most important things for the day to accomplish haven’t changed other than I’m swapping out going to Trader Joe’s for going to the gym or some other form of exercise.