CalendarAll of us have at least one lackluster project that we’re definitely going to finish. For sure. Maybe tomorrow…or this weekend or next year…or some other time. In the very distant future. These unfinished adventures keep the garage disorganized, the closet cluttered, the email Inbox full, and the scrapbook empty. When too many of these projects accumulate, there’s often a temptation to feel so overwhelmed that we throw in the towel without finishing any of them. So how to make progress? Hopefully one or some of the following ideas will shine light on a to do list near you.

Capitalize on Organization Motivation

As I mentioned in a recent blog post, if there’s a project that you think you should do but you can’t seem to get motivated to do it, consider waiting to take action until you’re “chomping at the bit” to accomplish the task. This may seem counter-intuitive coming from someone who loves organizational bliss the way some people love chocolate. But let’s remember that an organized life isn’t about being perfect – it’s about being peaceful.

Doable Deadlines Complement Organization Motivation

As we all know, a little advance planning makes any seeming bear-size project a manageable adventure. And this is often easily accomplished with the help of doable deadlines. Doable deadlines are realistic, self-created due dates for lackluster tasks of all kinds. Before identifying a doable deadline, take into account your work, social, civic, and church commitments, and any other obligations that comprise your weekly schedule.

The point is to be realistic and to set your doable deadlines when organization motivation strikes. Whenever possible, self-created due dates should be considered non-negotiable except for extenuating circumstances. While these circumstances may vary depending on your definition of “extenuating,” my rule of thumb is that they’re non-negotiable except for an urgent situation involving myself or family or friends.

Doable deadlines provide a helpful sense of structure for the project at-hand. After you identify a doable deadline, clear the decks and refuse to schedule anything else that day. This allows you to actually enjoy the process of completing the project because you know that there’s a definitive end time and then the natural result of order, cleanliness, grace, and peace will prevail.

Doable deadlines help each of us demonstrate the motivation, discipline, and follow-through that’s needed for finishing projects so we can move forward with life’s more meaningful activities, including spending time with family and friends, going to the opera, curling up with a good book, running a marathon, or attending a Brad Paisley concert (from which the hubster will, inexplicably, run in the opposite direction).

Suggested Next Steps

This week, take a few moments to think about your lackluster tasks that travel from one to do list to the next. Why are they on your radar in the first place? Do you want to organize your attic so the proverbial Jones family will be impressed with it the next time they’re comparing their attic to yours? Or did the attic organization project make it onto your to do list because you genuinely want to have an organized storage space directly below your roof? If a sense of organization is important to you, think about why it’s important and your motive behind this project.

Then when organization motivation strikes, identify how much time you’ll need to thoroughly clean and organize your attic. Think about your availability and determine how many hours at a time you’d want to spend in said attic. From there, mark your calendar for the days when you and the attic will become one. Of course, these are the days when almost nothing should be allowed to interfere with the project at-hand (even Brad Paisley, if possible). Before you know it, your attic will be organized and you’ll be beaming with the beautiful radiance that accompanies your version of organizational bliss.

The Best Part of All

You’ll feel peaceful about a job well done that was accomplished in a time frame that worked well with your schedule. No stress, no forced activity. Instead, you expressed genuine interest and motivation in accomplishing a goal. That goal was met, and it’s sure to support your version of organizational and logistical bliss today, and in the future. So gather your long-term to do list, and let’s get started!

* Photo by Jonathan Eggers