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Clutter Campaign - Commit Your Time

Decide When And Where To Start

Decide when and where to start. You have the same amount of time each day as did Thomas Jefferson, Einstein, and Mae West. It's all in where you choose to focus your attention.

If you still catch yourself thinking, "This will never work," or, "I'll never succeed," you are right.

If, however, you can focus on three liberating words, you are closer to your clutter-free future. Those words are: FROM NOW ON...

It all starts now. From this very moment you commit to:

? Sort today's mail as it arrives, instead of stacking it in a pile till later

? Question every new purchase to be sure it deserves space in your life

? Hold to the vision of your ideal environment and reject any excess that intrudes.

Focus first on today. Don't let another thing in your door without choosing to do so. Once you have stemmed the tide of "stuff" flowing in, you will have more time to go back and clear out the past accumulation. Recognize that this campaign against clutter will have setbacks. And get up again the next day and say to yourself, "From now on...."

Here are six options for you to explore:

? Reclaim the time you spend looking for things - Some of the time for your clutter campaign can come from the time you save by not losing things. Identify three things you often have to look for and assign each one a specific "home."

? Track the actual time organizing takes - Most people postpone an organizing project for fear that it will eat up several weekends. Then they are surprised that they have either overestimated or underestimated the amount of time needed. Start recording the time needed for specific tasks so you will know when you have time to do them.

? Break projects into bite-sized pieces - Even the largest project requires some research or preparation tasks that can be done ahead of time. Or an entire household or business can be organized one closet, one shelf, one drawer at a time.

? Schedule a Marathon Mania - Sometimes you just need to plod in and get it all done. Block all distractions, bribe yourself with a few appealing incentives and wade in and do it.

? Hire a professional - There's more help available than you ever thought of. There's even a National Association of Professional Organizers, people who can offer expert services.

? Exchange services - There's someone in your circle of friends or contacts who might be very talented at exactly the help you need. And maybe you have some way to assist them. Explore trading services with someone. Put up a notice at your office, church, gym and explore the possibilities.

The now is always new. Start now.

? Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com

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