How much trouble do you have finishing things you start?
In our last house – which we lived in for 7 years – the final bits of painters tape were removed from areas I couldn’t reach when we had to get the house ready for sale. 7 years. That’s how long they were stuck to our walls.
I can’t bash my husband for it cause I’m guilty of it too. When I was pregnant with my first, my sister-in-law embroidered a birth announcement for me to finish and frame. All I had to do was add the date, weight, and baby’s name. That “baby” is almost 31 years old and has a son of her own. Needless to say, the sampler never got finished.
Sometimes, especially with big projects, we get most of it done and then get bored with it and distracted with the next exciting thing.
That’s what happened with the house and the painter’s tape.
We had to do a lot of work on that house initially. Once a wall was painted, my husband was moving on to the next big project. Removing painters tape is a 5 minute job; it could wait. Problem is, it waited for 7 years.
In the case of my birth announcement sampler, I couldn’t finish until after the baby was born, and who has time to sew with a newborn?
But there are times and circumstances where you can reasonably be expected to both start and finish something in one sitting.
Take the mail, for instance. Professional organizers say that it should be handled once, preferably as soon as you get it.
Sort through and discard anything you don’t want. You may want to use a shredder for some of it.
Now deal with what is left.
I pay my bills online, so the bills are placed in a pile and added to my planner, which pretty much lives on my desk. The next time I am at my desk, I note all of the bills on my calendar with due dates and amounts in green ink. (I color code and green is for money.)
Anything else with a date attached, like an invitation, goes in the planner as well to be added to the calendar.
Things like statements for retirement accounts go in a pile to be filed. We get our bank statement online but truthfully, I haven’t balanced a checkbook in more years than I can remember.
When you’re cleaning around the house, especially everyday cleaning like cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, be sure to do it all from start to finish. There’s nothing worse than waking up to dirty dishes or pans in the sink.
For things that seem overwhelming, set a timer and find out how long it takes. A typical day’s clean up of the kitchen for me is usually about 10 or 15 minutes tops. Thanksgiving cleanup is no more than 20-30 minutes. That makes it easier to tackle because you know it won’t take long.
When you’ve got things that need to be straightened or organized, do manageable parts of the whole. For instance, my pantry has 4 shelves and the floor.
When I decided to clear it out and organize it, I did one shelf at a time. The top shelf has rarely used items, so I didn’t even tackle that. The floor is just dog food, garbage bags, and water bottles so that took five minutes to empty out, sweep, and restock.
The bottom two shelves were a mess, so I did one at a time, days apart. It probably took me less than an hour total. Be sure you have time to do what you start so that you can finish. That’s why you don’t tackle the whole thing at once.
Where can you find small tasks that can be done start to finish?