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Downsizing – 9 Questions to make the move easier.

Why can it be so hard to get a house ready for downsizing?

Downsizing is a major life change.

When we decide to downsize, we are not just changing our physical location.

We are also leaving behind a larger home that holds memories of our past and present lives. The smaller space we move into will initially be unfamiliar – and it will shape our future.

Downsizing is, in essence, a significant life transition.

Many of us tend to resist significant changes in our lives, and that’s quite understandable since we are human beings.

The brain’s primary function is to ensure our survival and well-being, which means it tries to keep us away from potential risks or dangers.

This explains why we might feel uneasy or fearful when faced with impending changes, whether they are unwanted or unexpected or even desired and planned.

Downsizing is a lot of work.

Downsizing is a major undertaking that requires significant physical, mental, and emotional effort and can be quite time-consuming and energy-consuming.

Our brain not only strives to keep us safe but also tries to conserve energy and pursue pleasure.

This is why it’s normal to experience feelings of resistance, confusion, anxiety, stress, or overwhelm when we begin planning for the move.

However, these so-called ‘negative’ emotions are just a normal part of being human, and they should not be viewed as a problem or obstacle.

We can still achieve our goals without feeling positive and excited all the time.

Downsizing requires decluttering (= saying goodbye).

When we decide to downsize, we are essentially moving from a larger place to a smaller one.

This means that we cannot take everything we currently own with us and must say goodbye to many of our belongings that we have accumulated over the years.

It can be emotionally challenging to let go of items that have been with us for a long time. We must make many decisions about what to take along and what to leave behind.

Decision-making can be mentally demanding, and it is important to view decluttering as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, our values, and our priorities.

By doing this, we can define the decluttering (and the downsizing) process not just as a necessary task but also as a chance for personal growth.

How can we make it easier to get ready for the downsizing move?

Yes, downsizing can be a daunting process, but it becomes much easier if we take the time to prepare properly and approach it step by step.

Starting the preparation as early as possible can help us avoid rushing and feeling overwhelmed.

The success of the downsizing project depends on our mindset and actions.

    • We need curiosity to become more self-aware,
    • courage to make tough decisions,
    • and determination to take action even if we don’t feel like it.

Ask yourself these questions – and your answers will help you get started:

    1. What will be the major topic (purpose) of my future life? If my life were a book, what would the title of the current chapter be? What would be the header for the future chapter of my life? For example, the current chapter title is ‘Taking care of the family and the family home/story’; for the next chapter, I chose the heading ‘Exploring the world and myself.’
    2. What are my current thoughts and feelings about the move? What are the reasons why my future life in the new place will be good? How can I feel grateful for all the years I spent in my current place while also opening my mind and heart to my new home?
    3. What are my thoughts and feelings about the area I will move to? How can I start to familiarise myself with my new surroundings?
    4. What is my current lifestyle? Do I plan to change my lifestyle after the move? What will my daily life look like in the new place? What will be the same, and what will be different?
    5. What makes me feel at home? What do I need to feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed at home? What do I like about my current home, and how can I bring those things into the new place?
    6. How much space will I have in future? What percentage of space will I have in my future home compared to what I have now? For example, if the new home offers 40% of the current space, I will not fit 100% of my current stuff into it, nor 80% or 60%.
    7. What furniture, appliances, and devices do I currently use every day? What have I not used for a long time? Which of the currently used pieces will fit into the new place?
    8. What areas in my current home, or categories of belongings, contain a lot of stuff that I no longer need or use? For example, forgotten storage areas in the basement, attic, or garage, or certain ‘overcrowded’ categories like clothes, books, and paperwork(*). Can I start with a quick round of decluttering right now?
    9. How can I practice the powerful decluttering question, ‘Does it serve me? – Do I need, use, or love it?’ I want to be brutally honest, and if the answer is ‘no’ three times, it has to go!

(*) An overabundance of physical and digital paperwork accumulated over a lifetime can make the move more difficult than necessary. 

What’s your relationship with your paperwork?

I compiled a set of 7 questions that will help you gain clarity.

You can download them here:

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Your Daily Life – Simply Organised – Some Inspirations

The purpose of the Simply Organised Newsletter is to make your daily life easier:

The Simply Organised Newsletter is supposed to help you on an ongoing basis – every week – to get things sorted out and simply organised – so you can gain more time, space, clarity, and energy in your daily life – and more joy.

The purpose of the Simply Organised Newsletter Summaries is to make it even easier to make your daily life easier 😄:

The job of the summaries is to do just that: summarize the core messages, quick tips, and little exercises that I discuss in more detail in the newsletter emails. 

So, if you want more background information, detailed examples, and case studies, you should sign up for the Simply Organised Newsletter.

However, if you want just some quick inspiration, you can decide to go through the ‘Your10-Minute Challenge’ Series, or to

Read the Simply Organised Newsletter Summaries here:

#1 – A clear definition of the goal is important. However, a deep awareness of the desired outcome is more important for success.

Don’t try to design an action plan directly after you’ve chosen a new goal.

First, determine the reason behind your goal (usually a feeling) – the desired outcome.

Because it’s the desired outcome, not the goal, that will help you keep your motivation and determination high while you work on reaching your goal.

You find the desired outcome behind your goal by asking, ‘Why? Why is this goal important to me?’ And when you have an answer, you ask again, ‘And why is this important to me?’ Again and again.

(You will find a detailed example of the ‘Why?’ process in the newsletter email.)


#2 – Why you want to give yourself a fresh start at your desk every day. The benefits of the ‘Clear-up your desk’ routine.

Every evening, clear up your desk, even if no one else is noticing it, and switch off your computer, even if you think that’s not necessary.

The ‘Clear up your desk’ evening routine makes today’s evening AND tomorrow’s morning more enjoyable.


#3 – There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t feel like starting a new bigger task or complex project. You are just a human being with a human brain.

Fortunately, you are not your brain. You can take control and help your brain to relax and gain confidence:

    • You make the task or project smaller and easier, less risky.
    • You deliberately increase the probability that your first steps result in quick, visible results.

The ​‘Handbag Decluttering & Organising’ Exercise​ is one of the countless little but useful projects you can use to prove to your brain that your survival is not at risk if you start new tasks and projects.


#4 – Getting Things Done: The 2-minute rule.

Sometimes, it’s the small and easy tasks that cause us stress. Because we just don’t do them.

However, we can decide to get really good at small-task management:

CLICK HERE to learn about the 2-minute rule, a very simple and efficient tool that helps us get the little things done as soon as they show up.


#5  – Yes, it’s important to ‘value’ our values. But do you know your values? Do you know what’s most important to you?

If you are interested in getting a better understanding of what’s truly important to you and what you value the most in your life,

you can play around with two different sets of questions.

Check these articles:

​https://letgo-moveon.com.au/knowing-and-living-our-values-gives-life-structure-and-stability/​

​https://letgo-moveon.com.au/new-habits-help-you-change-your-life-but-do-you-know-what-you-want-to-change/


#6 – Of course, your email inbox is necessary and useful. But are you aware of the many other inboxes that help you organise and manage your life?

An inbox is the most fundamental element of a well-functioning organising system.

Little Exercise

Pick one of the inboxes you regularly use in your daily life.

Now, have a closer look:

    • What does this inbox actually do for you?
    • Does it do its job well? Reliably?
    • What would happen if you no longer had it?

(Read the newsletter email for examples of inboxes.)

If you want to learn more about the purpose and benefits of inboxes, you can CLICK HERE.


#7 – What are your TOP 3 PRIORITIES? And what are you going to do to honour them?

Your priorities give your life direction and guidance.

If you regularly check and update your priorities, you are well prepared to act and react with confidence when you are faced with bigger or smaller decisions in everyday life.

Now might be a good time to deliberately choose your top priorities for the coming 12 months or for the next phase or challenge in your life.

If you are not so sure what your current priorities are or if you struggle to pick the top 3, you can ​CLICK HERE and do a simple and fast exercise​ – to get 100% clarity about what’s really important to you right now.


#8 – Every single little action you take matters. Because it creates results. And because it proves to your brain that you are the one who is in control.

Little Exercise

    • Pick one thing you want to improve or change.
    • Decide to start super-small and drop the ‘it has to be perfect’ idea.
    • Now, define what you will do, just for 5 or 10 minutes.
    • And then do it.

#9 – 2 decluttering questions that are very powerful – but might feel a bit uncomfortable.

Do you plan to do some decluttering work – and feel stuck?

If you don’t feel motivated to get your stuff sorted out and to let go of any clutter, or if you are motivated but feel unable to decide what’s actually clutter and what’s not,

I suggest you ask yourself these two questions:

    • Who will most probably (have to) clear up my belongings after my death?
    • And what do I want them to think about my stuff – and about me?

This exercise can bring clarity and help make decluttering decisions easier.


#10 – A powerful goal-setting strategy: ‘Killing two birds with one stone’.

How can we increase our motivation to take the steps that get us to the goal?

Adding a second goal/outcome to the original one can help increase our motivation and willpower – and, therefore, the chance of achieving our first goal.

Consider this little example:

    • The decision to join a running club not only helps you improve your fitness (original goal), but it also helps you to meet new people (additional goal).

Little exercise

What is a goal that you struggle to achieve because you don’t feel motivated to take action?

Ask yourself:

    • How could the actions I need to take to achieve this goal also help me reach another attractive outcome? What could that be?
    • What might be additional benefits that I haven’t thought about yet?

#11 – Do you hate paperwork organisation? The paperwork inbox could be the solution you were looking for.

A well-functioning paperwork inbox can act as the one and only pillar of your paperwork management system. (​For more detailed information about paperwork inboxes CLICK HERE.​)

It’s a very simplistic system – but it works – if you stick to the rules.

The inbox-based paperwork system

The combination of 3 simple rules ensures that the purely inbox-based paperwork system does what it’s supposed to do: help you organise and manage your paperwork. (You can ​read more about the 3 rules HERE​ – but you don’t have to.)

Rule 1: You collect all incoming paperwork in one inbox.

Rules 2: You conduct regular check-ups and use them to make decisions about the stuff in the inbox.

Rule 3: If necessary, you take immediate action.


#12 – Your future identity depends on what you choose to think today. You can decide today how your future identity will look like.

When you decide to make bigger changes in your life or when you start to move towards achieving new goals, you are not only starting to do something differently.

Because before you can start to act differently, you need to start thinking and feeling differently.

Imagining your desired future identity will help you start to think, feel, and act like the person you want to become.

Little Exercise:

Step 1: Define your new identity

These are just a few examples of new-identity ideas:

    • ‘I am someone who is really good at time management.’
    • ‘I am a mindful person,’
    • ‘I am a conscious shopper.’
    • ‘I am the chief organiser of my mind, home, and life.’

Step 2: Describe how you will think, feel, and act differently.

Example:

My future identity: I am a successful ‘declutterer’.

What I will think: I am good at making decisions about what I no longer need. My mind and my home are clutterfree and organised.

How I will feel: I feel competent and confident.

What I will do: I’ve developed useful habits and routines that help me keep my home clutterfree and organised.’


#13 – Do you ever question your thoughts? – Why you need to be very careful about what you are thinking.

If something is not as we want it to be, if we have a result in our life that we don’t like, we often believe that something is wrong with us. Or we blame certain ‘unfair’ circumstances in our lives.

Feeling incapable, out of control, and stuck is the consequence, and making any changes to the unsatisfying situation seems impossible.

However, we can do something about it.

We can change the results we currently have by changing the thoughts we currently have.

Answering powerful questions is a great way to test our current thoughts.

One of these thought-testing questions is: ‘If I didn’t believe that, then what would I do?’

Examples:

    • Thought: “Decluttering the garage is a huge job. It’s too much work.” -> Question: ‘If I didn’t believe that it’s a huge job, then what would I do?’
    • Thought: “I’m not the right person for this job. It’s a waste of time to apply.” -> Question: ‘If I didn’t believe that I’m not the right person for this job, then what would I do?’

#14 – Read this if you want to declutter your home. And also read it if you don’t want to declutter your home.

I have never met a single person (me included) who doesn’t have any clutter – if we define clutter as anything that doesn’t serve us (any longer).

What about you?

Are you aware of the clutter in your home? Or are you a ‘I have no clutter’ believer?

No matter what’s your answer – I suggest that you do the ‘Clutter Percentage’ Exercise​ to get a clear – and true – picture of the clutter reality in your home.


#15 – Why you want to choose and pursue a goal – even if you don’t have a specific goal right now.

Of course, we usually decide to set goals for ourselves because we want to achieve or get something that we currently don’t have in our lives. Or maybe we want to change what currently is to something else – usually something better.

However, goal setting not only gets us on track to move towards our goals.

​Click here​ to read in more detail about the positive side-effects of setting and pursuing goals. And about the process of goal setting.

(Or get some inspiration by reading the ‘case study’ in the newsletter email again.)


#16 – How a conversation with your future self can help you achieve your goals. Easier and faster.

This little exercise can be fun. And it can be extremely helpful if we feel a bit stuck.

EXERCISE

Talk to your much older future self.

Imagine your future self being much older than you are now. You can expect her to be much wiser and more mindful and knowledgeable at this stage of life.

Picture yourself sitting together with your future self, having a relaxed conversation with her. Don’t forget to take notes while you are talking with her.

STEP 1 – Choose a topic.

Choose the area of your life that you want to discuss with your future self. Tell her what you wish to change, improve, achieve.

STEP 2 – Ask powerful questions.

Now ask her these 3 questions:

    • What does she recommend you should stop doing?
    • What does she want you to start doing?
    • What does she think you should continue doing?

Don’t judge or evaluate, just write down whatever comes up in her (your) mind.

Don’t push away what you don’t like to hear. Take your time to think it through.

STEP 3 – Create an action plan.

Choose one or two of her recommendations about what you should stop, start, or continue doing.

Compile an action plan: List all the things you want to think, feel, and do differently.

Then, start realising your goals.

Don’t postpone, take the first step, talk with her – now.


#17 – How to get out of confusion and into action if you think you don’t know what to do.

Feeling confused from time to time is a very typical human experience.

The result of feeling confused is, of course, feeling stuck and overwhelmed.

And not doing anything.

Fortunately, it is not so difficult to move ourselves out of confusion and take action.

EXERCISE

Next time you think you don’t know what to do or how to do something, write out your problem and then write out these two questions – and your answers.

    • ‘If I did know what to do, what would I do?
    • And then, what would I do next?’

Trust yourself; your mind will find the answers.


#18 – How a new evening routine can bring some light at the end of the day. Stop asking, ‘How was your day?’

Asking another person positive questions not only helps that person lighten up their mood, but it also helps us: Making the effort to think about a good question and hearing ourselves asking it opens up our mind to the good experiences in our life.

Give it a try, play around, and experiment with asking other questions in the evening than just ‘How was your day?’

These are some suggestions:

    • Tell me three good things that happened to you today.
    • What was the best conversation you had today?
    • What are you most grateful for about your day?
    • What made you laugh today?
    • What did you do that was just for you today?
    • What was the best part of your day? Why?
    • Etc.

#23 – Why we don’t do it if we ‘don’t feel like doing it’. And what we can do to make us ‘feel like doing it’. It’s not that difficult.

The good news is that this ‘I-don’t-feel-like-doing-it’ issue can be solved.

The not-so-nice news is that it takes some thought work. But that’s doable.

​CLICK HERE​ to read how to take action – even if you don’t feel like it.

​A Weight-Loss-Goal example and a little exercise​ demonstrate how working on our thinking helps us get things done.


#24 – How is your life going? – Achieving clarity about your current life situation can be a game changer.

Even bigger tasks can be made doable and desirable if we divide them into a series of small steps.

Make a firm decision today that your task is NOT ‘a big thing’ but rather a series of small, manageable steps.

Start by taking a small step—just one—and commit to taking another one tomorrow. Focus on just one small step every day. Consistency is key.

(Read the newsletter email again. It includes a very helpful exercise. We used the small-step approach to make a big task – like the assessment of our current life and what we might want to change about it – easier and more attractive.)

#26 – Each day offers us a huge pool of learning opportunities. Each and every day. It takes only five minutes to make use of these opportunities.

A little evening routine can help us to live every day more intentionally.

EXERCISE

Every evening, sit down for 5 minutes (or do it while you brush your teeth), look back at the day that’s just ended, and answer these 3 questions:

    • What worked well today?
    • What didn’t work?
    • What am I going to do differently tomorrow?

CLICK HERE to read about the details of the exercise. ​https://letgo-moveon.com.au/3-little-questions-help-us-make-use-of-every-day-intentionally/​


#29 – Why you want to invest 2 minutes each day in your mental and emotional wellbeing. Positive thoughts and feelings help you create positive outcomes.

Did you create a ‘Treasure Chest’ for yourself at the beginning of the year? A little ‘container’ that you fill with positive and good-feeling thoughts every day?

If your answer is no, no problem, you can CLICK HERE to learn more about the details of the treasure chest exercise now. Because – you can start a Treasure Chest exercise at any time of the year. You could start now!

I pick every day one of these questions and answer it in my Treasure Chest:

    1. What is a current topic about which I want to have more positive or powerful thoughts and feelings? – Example: “My paperwork and information systems work perfectly for me. I have peace of mind.”
    2. What is a positive thought/feeling that I want to have about one of the important people in my life? – Example: “It’s always fun to meet my friend XYZ. I enjoyed the evening with her yesterday.’
    3. What’s something I am particularly grateful for today? – Example: ‘I am glad I found this book on Amazon. And it’s so good to know that the author wrote not only this one but several more. I am looking forward to reading them all.’
    4. What am I proud of today? – Example: ‘I managed to get the streaming service 9Now connected to our TV. This means we can watch the Australian Open live. And it is proof that I can successfully manage technical stuff!’

#32 – Your Essential NOT-to-DO List. This will free up space in your To-Do list. And in your mind.

Unlike a traditional to-do list filled with tasks we plan to tackle, the ‘Not-to-do’ list is about letting go of old aspirations that no longer serve us.

Letting go is not giving up – it’s making an intentional decision to focus on goals that align with our current values and desires.

Here are a few examples/suggestions of things you might want to consider putting on your ‘Not-to-do’ List – to free up space for what truly matters to you now:

    • Cross off those overseas travel plans if the idea of long flights doesn’t excite you anymore. Why not explore beautiful places closer to home?
    • Give yourself permission to quit hobbies you don’t enjoy anymore. If the guitar is gathering dust because you don’t enjoy playing it, don’t feel guilty about letting it go.
    • Do not aim to run a marathon if this idea no longer appeals to you. Instead, consider daily physical activities that you enjoy and that are easy to fit into your schedule.
    • Remove ‘learn to speak fluent Italian’ from your goals. If your travel plans have shifted and language learning feels more like a chore than a passion, it’s okay to let this one go.
    • Stop planning to renovate the entire house. Consider smaller, manageable updates that will make your living space comfortable without the overwhelming commitment.
    • Let go of writing that book. If it has become a source of stress rather than a source of joy, it might be time to reconsider if this goal is (still) right for you.

Start your Not-to-do list now!


I will add new newsletter summaries to this list as soon as I send an email with a new newsletter to my Simply Organised Newsletter subscribers.

If you want to ensure you do not miss any new newsletter summary, you can become a subscriber here:

Your 10-minute Challenges help you get Simply Organised.

The 10-minute Challenge series is part of my weekly Newsletter, ‘Simply Organised.’

I introduced this series after some of my subscribers suggested making the newsletter emails even shorter, less complex, and more practicable.

The purpose of each challenge is to help you organise yourself and your life better.

The challenge could relate to managing your home, your physical paperwork and digital information, your to-do list and calendar, and, of course, to managing your mind/mindset.

The beauty of these 10-minute challenges is their simplicity.

They’re designed to be quick – just 10 minutes! -and easy, allowing you to experiment without investing much time.

You’ll know almost immediately if the suggested exercise is beneficial for you. If it is, incorporate it into your routine. If not, simply move on to the next one.


‘Your 10-minute Challenge’ Series

#1 – Declutter your phone. (NL #20)

Take 10 minutes to uninstall the apps on your phone that no longer serve you. 

Go through your list of apps and ask yourself about each of the apps (and answer honestly!):

Do I need this? Do I use it? Do I love it?

If the answer is three times no, the app doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t deserve space on your phone (and your mind). It’s time to uninstall that app.

#2 – Take control of your priorities. (NL #21)

Take 10 minutes to choose and appreciate your top 3 priorities.

Start your day by taking 5 minutes to assert control over your time and tasks. Choose your top three priorities for the day: the three tasks, appointments, or activities that you believe deserve most of your time, energy, and attention today.

Then, in the evening, take another 5 minutes to evaluate where you actually spent your time, energy, and attention. Did you focus on your priorities? Is there room for improvement? Is there anything you want to do differently tomorrow?

#3 – Take 10 minutes to take care of your self-care. (NL #22)

Allocate (at least) 10 minutes of your day to self-care activities.

This could be anything that rejuvenates you, such as exercising, talking with a friend, meditation, or indulging in your hobby.

Remember, investing in yourself is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

#4 – Make yourself feel good about one small area in your home. (NL #22)

Choose one small area in your home and spend 10 minutes (or more if you want to) to sort out what you no longer need.

Examples of areas you could focus on:

    • A kitchen drawer: Remove utensils and gadgets you never use.
    • The fridge: Clean out old leftovers and expired items and organise what’s left.
    • Flat surfaces: Walk through your home and remove ‘the too much stuff’ from coffee tables, shelves, counters, etc.
    • The socks drawer: Get rid of socks that are worn out or missing their partner.

#5 – Spend 10 minutes doing nothing. (NL #25)

(This challenge was submitted by a subscriber – Thank you, Pippi L.)

Schedule 10 minutes in your calendar and spend them not doing anything. You might allow yourself to look out the window, but that’s it.

This is a great exercise to calm you down on a hectic day. It gets you fully into the present, the here and now.

#6 – Invest 10 minutes to create space in your email inbox. (NL #25)

Do a quick run through your inbox, deleting any irrelevant emails and unsubscribing from any newsletter you are no longer interested in.

If you need less than 10 minutes for this task because you don’t delete many emails, it could mean you are assigning too much relevance to too many messages that don’t deserve it.

If it takes more than 10 minutes, no problem. You can decide to continue the challenge tomorrow.

#7 – Spend 10 pleasurable minutes planning your next ‘Pleasure Day’. (NL #27)

When will you have your next ‘Pleasure Day’? And what do you plan to do and not do so you will enjoy yourself and the day? 

Invest 10 minutes now to plan and ensure that the next Pleasure Day is going to happen soon:

    1. Choose a date for the next Pleasure Day and put it in your calendar.
    2. Inform the people in your life who might want/need to know about it.
    3. Start a list of the things you will allow yourself to do on that day because you enjoy doing them. – These could be things that you look forward to eating, drinking, reading, watching, etc., maybe because they usually are on your ‘not-allowed’ list.
    4. Also, collect some ideas about the things you will not allow yourself to do because you don’t enjoy them. – Examples: No difficult conversations, annoying household chores, work-related work, healthy but boring food, time-consuming grocery shopping or meal preparation (unless you love doing that), etc.

#8 – Start breaking an unwanted habit – in 10-minute steps. (NL #30)

Letting go of an unwanted behaviour gets easier if you build a new habit – postponing the habitual behaviour for (at least) 10 minutes.

    • Example: If you want to break the habit of grabbing your phone anytime you feel a bit bored, frustrated, nervous, etc., you can decide to build this new habit: Whenever you feel like picking up the phone, you tell yourself, ‘No, not now’ and put the phone away for (at least) 10 minutes. Tip: Make your phone lock screen something that will remind you of your intention: a photo, image, or a quote, whatever works for you.
    • Another example: If you want to reduce the amount of coffee you drink during the day, you could place a sign ‘No, not now’ next to the coffee machine to remind you to postpone the next cup of coffee for a bit (at least 10 minutes).

At the end of the 10 minutes, you might do the postponed behaviour/action. And that’s fine; the goal was to postpone it only, not completely drop it.
However, after some time, you will probably notice that you often no longer feel the urge to do the unwanted thing after the 10 minutes have passed. You might even forget to do it. 😉

#9 – Give yourself more sleep. (NL #31)

Decide when you want to go to bed today – and then go to bed 10 minutes earlier.

#10 – Give yourself more time. (NL #31)

Decide when you want to get up tomorrow morning – and then set the alarm 10 minutes earlier.

#11 – Get rid of one useless thought. (NL #33)

This can be a tough one because your brain will not like this task.
The human brain believes that all thoughts are useful and must be kept.
 
Lean back and explore a thought that comes to your mind often.
If it doesn’t serve you, write it down.
 
Then, question it.
 
Examples:
    • Thought: I don’t want to do this! – Questioning it: What if I did? What if I decided I wanted to do it?
    • Thought: I don’t know how to do this. – Questioning it: What if I knew? What would I do if I knew how to do it?
    • Thought: Monday is a terrible day! – Questioning it: Is this true? What else could I choose to think about at the start of the week?
    • Thought: There is so much clutter! – Questioning it: What if it’s not all clutter? What if it’s just a few things I haven’t sorted away yet? And just a few that I need to get rid of?
 

I will add new challenges to this list as soon as they are published in the Simply Organised Newsletter.

If you want to ensure you do not miss any new challenges, you can join the newsletter here:

Your top priorities make it easier to plan and organise your life intentionally.

Living intentionally means that you deliberately decide how you want to live – and what you want to do to create the life you want.

It means that you don’t let life just happen to you and purely react to its circumstances and challenges.

Instead, you actively define what’s important to you and how you want to experience and live your life.

You are well aware of your priorities and proactively make changes that move you toward the life you want to live.

Your priorities give your life direction and guidance.

Planning your life with intention doesn’t have to be an intimidating or overwhelming exercise.

If you regularly check and update your priorities, you are well prepared to act and react confidently when faced with bigger or smaller decisions in everyday life.

Your priorities also direct and guide you when you must manage a significant life challenge:

    • A planned transition like entering retirement, becoming an empty nester, downsizing,
    • or an unexpected event like divorce, the loss of a job, a critical illness, or the death of a loved one.

How do you choose your priorities – and direct your life in the way you want it to go?

The following exercise will help you decide what you want to focus on whenever you feel it’s the right time to plan your life intentionally.

For example, at the beginning of a new year. Or when you’re going through a major life change. Or whenever you feel a bit stuck or lost.

EXERCISE:

Step 1: List the important areas/topics of your life. (You can use my template worksheet to get started.)

Step 2: Rate on a scale from 0 to 10 how satisfied you feel about each life topic.

Step 3: For each topic that is not fully satisfying, decide how important it is to make changes now (or soon, like in the coming year, next month, etc.).

Step 4: Choose your top three priority topics.

Step 5: Define the desired changes for each and make an action plan.

Steps 7, ff: Take the first action step. And then the next. …

Example:

The person who filled in the example worksheet assigned the highest priority to topic No. 1, ‘Significant other’. She is currently single and wants to change that.

Besides this area, she has four other topics with a higher priority rating. I recommended going through these four again and picking 2 finally.

Because focusing her attention on the top 3 priorities will help her also to focus her energy and time, and her actions and activities.

This super-focus on the desired changes will help her realise them more easily and quickly.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN!

Worksheet

You can give yourself an easy start and use the list (see above) of life areas/topics to evaluate your priorities.

DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHEET TEMPLATE HERE.

The worksheet will be useful and help you do the exercise as fast as possibleeven if some of the topics aren’t relevant to you. Or if you feel highly satisfied in many areas of your life.

->     Leave the satisfaction-level space empty for those topics that are currently not important to you. (Like in the example worksheet: topics 13 and 14.)

->    And when you go through the list again to assign priority ratings, leave the spaces for those topics that have a high satisfaction rating and currently don’t require any changes empty. (Like in the example worksheet: topics 2, 5, 11, and 17.)

Don’t walk away after filling in the worksheet!

Instead, take the next step(s):

Use what you now have – the awareness of your top 3 priorities – to define a few significant goals for the next phase of your life and create a broad action plan. And then start moving, little-step-by-little-step. Start living the life you want. 


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

Your Paperwork Inbox – The fundation of your paperwork management system

Inboxes are a ‘natural’ basic element of all functioning organisational systems.

In all areas of our lives, we find places and containers that act as inboxes that help us get things done and efficiently organised.

(Check Article 1 and Article 2 for a quick recap.)

In this series, we focus our attention and discussion on those inboxes that help us organise critical elements of our daily life – our time, space, paperwork, projects, and tasks efficiently.


Today, we discuss

The paperwork inbox.

Many organisational inboxes allow us to follow our preferences and choose a physical or a digital version.

Like for example, the inbox for our notes. We can choose a physical notebook to collect and organise our notes or use a digital note app.

It’s different with our paperwork inbox. Usually, we can’t decide to have only one paperwork inbox:

Most of us need to keep a physical and a digital inbox:

    • If you prefer to keep your paperwork management system in physical form, you will still have to manage some information digitally. You probably receive a range of important documents – like clinic reports, online shopping invoices, and investment reports – in digital form. And even if you decide to print those out, you need a place to temporarily collect/store them digitally.
    • If you decide to organise and store all your paperwork digitally, you will still need a physical box to collect important information and data that enters your home on paper. The next step is to scan and digitise the data you want to keep and transfer it directly to your digital folder (or first to your digital inbox).

The physical paperwork inbox is a fundamental form of an organisational inbox.

That’s why I chose it as the starting point for discussing the inboxes that help us organise our daily lives.

As we have seen in the second article of this series, even the simplest inboxes require consistency and reliability/commitment from our side. They can’t function properly if we don’t treat them properly.

Let me go through the three rules of efficient inboxes and apply them to the physical paperwork inbox to demonstrate what I mean.

The RULE NUMBER 1: “Everything and always!

Everything that belongs into a specific inbox must always end up in that inbox.”

You could have a functioning (although very simplistic) paperwork-organisation system even if you decided to do nothing else with your papers (no sorting, decluttering, filing, etc.) but just stuck to Rule 1. 

You are in a safe place as long as you always put every piece of paper that comes into your home in your paperwork inbox. Because you can be confident that you will always be able to find any piece of paper you need to find.

That’s good to know, I think.

Many of my paperwork-overwhelmed clients find massive relief in the idea that they actually don’t have to organise their papers if they don’t want to. They just must be committed to collecting them reliably in one place.

And yes, the idea that we must follow only one simple and easy rule to manage our paperwork is super-attractive.

However, the simplicity and ease come at a price.

These are some of the disadvantages of the ‘one inbox & one rule’ paperwork system:

    • You know exactly where all your papers are, yes, but you have no certainty about what’s precisely stored and potentially hidden under the piled documents in your box.

    • Over time, you not only accumulate vast amounts of paper, but you also pile up a lot of clutter. Because much of the information and data we receive on paper has an ‘expiry’ date, the papers that carry those data become worthless and meaningless – but continue to take up space in the paperwork inbox.

    • If you need a specific document, like your lease agreement or marriage certificate, you know you will find it in your inbox, but – depending on the age and size of the paperwork inbox – you might have to invest a lot of time to search for it.

    • You also need to invest in storage space. Sooner or later, your paperwork inbox fills up, and you need to open a second box or transfer the content of the inbox into an archive box – which then needs to go somewhere. And quickly gets ‘siblings’. This paperwork (and paper clutter) family will soon occupy large areas of your basement, attic, or garage.

You can drastically increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the one-inbox paperwork system with the help of Rule Number 2 and Rule Number 3.

Rule Number 2: “Regular check-ups!

Choose a routine (daily, weekly, monthly – whatever makes sense) for your inbox check-ups – so you always know at least broadly what’s in there.”

Rule Number 3: “Regular decisions and actions!

Make decisions, regularly, about what to do with the stuff in the inbox – and then do it.”

Combining Rule 1 with Rule 2 and Rule 3 ensures that the purely inbox-based paperwork system does what it’s supposed to do: help you organise and manage your paperwork.

The ‘Rule 1 + Rule 2 + Rule 3’ Working-Process

This is how the three rules work together:

Rule 1: You collect all incoming paperwork in the inbox.

Rules 2 and 3: You do regular check-ups and use these to make decisions about the stuff in the box. You then take, if necessary, immediate action.

The frequency of the check-ups depends on the amount of paperwork coming in and its importance. And it depends on how urgent it usually is to take action.

A weekly review is usually ideal; in some cases, a monthly check-up is sufficient.

Decisions and actions during check-ups.

At check-up time, you empty the inbox.

Then you take paper after paper up and ask yourself a series of questions – and you answer/decide and act immediately:

Question 1 – ‘Do I still need it? Really?’

    • “no” – Very often, the honest answer will be ‘no’. In this case, you decide to throw the paper away – and you do that immediately! The paper goes into the paper bin or shredder.
    • “yes” – If you decide you still need this paper, you ask the following question:

Question 2 – ‘What do I need it for? Reference or Action?’

    • “Reference’ – If you decide to keep the paper for reference purposes, it goes directly back into the inbox.
    • ‘Action” – If you decide you need to do something with this paper, you ask the following question:

Question 3 – ‘Can I get it done now?’

    • “no” – If you can’t take action immediately, you return the paper to the inbox.
    • “yes” – If the answer is ‘yes’, you do what needs to be done with the paper. – And then you ask the following question:

Question 4 – ‘Do I still need it? Really?’

    • “no” – If the paper is no longer needed, it goes in the paper bin/shredder.
    • “yes” – If you decide to keep it (for reference purposes?), you put it back in the inbox.

If you follow the three rules consistently, the paperwork inbox can act as the only or an essential part of your paperwork management system,

because it ensures that

    • you always have a clear idea about what’s currently in the inbox;
    • you don’t allow clutter to build up in the inbox – which saves you time and space;
    • you take action on any piece of paper that needs your action;
    • you still have all your paperwork in one place and know where to go when you need anything.

Conclusion:

    • It’s easy to install and maintain a well-functioning paperwork inbox. (3 clear rules and a simple check-up/decision/action process)
    • A well-functioning paperwork inbox can be the only pillar of your paperwork management system. It’s a very simplistic system, but it works – if you stick to the rules.
    • A well-functioning paperwork inbox can act as the port of entry of your paperwork management system if you want or need to organise your paperwork in a more complex and sophisticated way.
      • In this case, you follow the process described above: You collect all incoming paperwork in the inbox. You do the regular check-ups, and you ask and answer the questions listed above; you decide and act.
      • However, you don’t put anything back into the inbox!
      • Instead, you transfer reference papers to your filing system. Any actionable documents that you don’t directly act on are moved into your task management system.

I will discuss the organisation and maintenance of more specialised paperwork inboxes in future articles. 


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

The 3 rules for a well-functioning inbox

In the first article of this series, I talked about why we need inboxes – if we want to get good at getting things done and organised.

I listed the inboxes that easily come to mind – like our email inbox, our mailbox, and the in-tray in the office.

I also came up with lots of other examples of containers or places that we use as inboxes in various daily life circumstances.  And I talked about the purpose and benefits of inboxes. 

This is a quick summary:

What are inboxes, and what’s their purpose?

Inboxes are temporary storage areas for things that need to get done/organised in the future.

These storage areas

    • offer an easy and quick way to get things out of the way,
    • ensure that individual items don’t get lost,
    • are supposed to store things temporarily,
    • make sorted-away items retrievable,
    • offer quick overviews of pending tasks,
    • help sort and prioritise items.

Today, I want to discuss what we need to do to make an inbox work. We need to follow just a few rules.

Important requirements of a well-functioning inbox.

Inboxes can only do their job – help us get things done and organised – if we do our job.

A set of rules helps us to do our job properly.

There is ONE RULE we must stick to ALL THE TIME.

It’s the absolute minimum requirement of any organisational system.

It’s also the only requirement – if you are happy with the very basic and simplistic results that a very basic and simplistic organisational system produces.

RULE NUMBER 1: Everything and always!

Everything that belongs in a specific inbox must always end up in that inbox.

Examples:

Think about your calendar. Your calendar can only reliably help you organise your time if you transfer every appointment and every otherwise time-bound commitment to it.

Or consider your paperwork inbox (which I will discuss in more detail in the next article):

Your paperwork inbox doesn’t have a chance to work efficiently if you don’t feed it reliably and consistently. If you, for example, put the mail into the box on some days, yes, but leave it on the garage shelves or place it on the kitchen counter or somewhere else on other days, your paperwork inbox can’t function properly.

You can only easily and reliably find that important invoice that you need to pay today, for example, if there is definitely only one place where it could be – the paperwork inbox, the place where every piece of paper lives before you need it or decide what to do with it.

You could have a functioning (although very simplistic) paperwork-organisation system even if you decided to do nothing else with your papers (no sorting, decluttering, filing, etc.).

As long as you just stick to this one rule and consistently collect all your paperwork in that one inbox, you are in a safe place. Because you can be certain that you will always be able to find any piece of paper you need to find.

Additional rules that drastically increase the worth and efficiency of your inboxes:

RULE NUMBER 2: Regular check-ups!

Choose a regular routine (daily, weekly, monthly – whatever makes sense) for your inbox check-ups – so you always know at least broadly what’s in there.

As said above, you will survive without checking your inbox regularly, but you will feel more in control and in charge – you will feel better – if you make sure that you know what’s going on there in that box.

Regular check-ups are a necessity if you want to follow the final rule – the one that will help you to actively get things done:

RULE NUMBER 3: Regular decisions and actions!

Make decisions regularly about what to do with the stuff in the inbox – and then do it.

For example, decide which of the groceries in your fridge have become clutter – they are rotten or far over their expiration date – and must go. And then throw them in the bin immediately.


The inbox for physical paperwork is the topic of the next article.

It’s super easy to install and maintain a well-functioning paperwork inbox. This inbox could be(come) the only element of your paperwork organisation – or it could be(come) the entry port to your paperwork management system.


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

Inboxes are the most fundamental elements of a well-organised life.

What’s an inbox?

It is not possible to get properly organised without the support of inboxes. We can’t avoid clutter from building up if we don’t have inboxes or if our inboxes are not well cared for.

Okay, but what is an inbox?

Inboxes are temporary storage areas for things that need to get done/organised.

Let’s have a look at a few examples:

The email inbox is the inbox that typically comes to mind when we talk about inboxes. It’s the easiest and simplest of all inboxes: We don’t have to install/arrange it – as soon as we create an email account, we automatically get an inbox. We also don’t have to personally arrange the inflow of data and information into our inbox, it gets filled up automatically: Any message that anybody decides to send to our email address will end up in the inbox.  

The mailbox is another very common inbox. If we live in a place that has an address, we usually have a box that collects our mail. And even if we don’t have a specific mailbox, the postman will find another mail-inbox solution, for example, by slipping our mail through under the front door.

The in-tray on an office desk is another inbox that most people working in bigger organisations are familiar with. The company courier drops the interoffice mail in the box, and colleagues use it as well to leave messages and documents addressed to the person who works at that desk.

There are many, many more containers or places that we use as inboxes.

Often, they are not called ‘inboxes’ although they do the job of an inbox.

Inboxes help us organise the various areas of our life and avoid clutter.

Think about these additional examples:

Many people organise their time with the help of a physical or digital calendar – the use of a calendar allows them to collect all professional and personal appointments and events in one place.

A shopping list is an inbox. It’s the place – typically a piece of paper or a note on the phone – where all the things we need to buy come together.

The ‘gallery’ app on your phone is an inbox. It automatically collects all the photos you take with the phone’s camera.

Your to-do list – in fact, any type of list – does the job of an inbox.  The same is true for a project action plan.

The laundry basket in the bathroom is an inbox. It keeps all the dirty clothes in one place.

Let’s have a look at what all types of inboxes have in common.

What’s the job/purpose of an inbox?

    • To provide us with a default place where we can easily drop things that we can’t work on, can’t make use of at this moment – we get both hands/our head free to work on other stuff.

Example:

You take the mail out of the letterbox before you enter the house and then quickly drop it in your general paperwork inbox in your home office. Now you can forget about the mail and are free to do whatever you want to do right now.

    • To provide us with a container/place where we can temporarily collect/gather loose individual items – we can trust that we don’t lose these ‘loose’ things.

Example:

While you are preparing dinner, you use up the butter. You write ‘butter’ on your shopping list, where it stays with other to-buy items – until you take the list along on your next trip to the grocery store.

    • To provide us with a place where can reliably find things that haven’t been assigned their final destination – we know exactly where to find something that hasn’t been organised yet.

Example:

You are looking for a photo you recently took and find it easily in the ‘gallery’ app on your phone.

    • To provide us with an overview of the things that we still need to make decisions about or work on – we have all the things that must be taken care of in one place.

Example:

A quick look at your to-do list helps you remember the tasks that need to get done. Now you can decide what you want to tackle next.

    • To provide us with a place where we can sort the collected items into categories and/or according to priority – we gain an overview of groups of things to do, and we can decide what needs to be tackled first.

Example:

You empty the laundry basket and sort the dirty clothes into categories. You decide to get the shirts washed first because you want to do the ironing in the evening.

I believe that inboxes are a ‘natural’ basic element of all functioning organisational systems. In all areas of life, we find places and containers that act as inboxes.

As soon as you start thinking about inboxes, you will quickly start to see them everywhere.

What are some of the inboxes that you – consciously or unconsciously – make use of in your daily life?

Let me help you get going by giving you some personal examples from my life:

My examples:

Inbox for unread books – I have an area on our bookshelves where I (temporarily) store the books that I haven’t read yet. And on my Kindle, I have a folder called ‘To read’. So, whenever I buy a book that I don’t start reading immediately, I know where to put it. And if I’ve finished a book, I know where I can look to choose the next book I want to read.

Inbox for self-empowering thoughts – I keep a note in my note app for any useful thought I come across that I might want to practice thinking in the future. So, when I feel a bit low, I know where to go to find some positive inspiration.

Inboxes for groceries – Our fridge, freezer, and pantry are inboxes for the temporary collection and storage of certain types of groceries. Our groceries are not spread all around the house, they have an intermediary home.

Inbox for bookmarks – I keep bookmark folders on my laptop to collect interesting online articles, links, etc. One folder is called ‘Inbox’. If I am in a hurry or don’t know yet where to store something, I put it in the bookmark inbox.

Little Exercise

Pick one of the inboxes you regularly use in your daily life.

Now, have a closer look.

    • What does this inbox actually do for you?
    • Does it do its job well? Reliably?
    • What would happen if you no longer had it?

In the next article of this series about inboxes, we discuss the requirements of a well-functioning inbox.


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

Living intentionally means that we carefully pay attention to where we put our attention.

The thoughts that we paid most attention to in the past, the ones we thought most frequently, are the thoughts that have created our current results.

The thoughts we pay most attention to today, those we are thinking most frequently right now, will create our future results.

Our attention is our most powerful resource. And we can intentionally make good use of this resource. We have the power to control where we place our attention.

At any given moment, we can pay attention to only one thing. Just one.

That’s why it is so important to intentionally decide where we want to put our attention.

Example:

If you are planning to start a big project, you need to be thinking something that allows you to get started. Something like, ‘This is a huge project. It’s doable if I divide it in smaller projects.’

However, if you focus your attention on a thought like, “This is a huge project. I can’t do that.‘, the probabily that you get it started and done is very low.

And as long as you have your attention on the second thought, the first thought has no chance. Because you can’t give it your attention while you are thinking the other thought.

You need to become aware that the second thought is getting in your way and then deliberately direct your attention to the first thought.

If you manage that well, the other thought (‘I can’t do that.’) no longer has a chance.

What are the stories and thoughts that are getting your attention, again and again?

Do you place a lot of your attention on your past by often thinking of it? And what do you focus your attention on when you think of the past? Do you mainly think about the good stuff that happened to you? Are you feeling proud and grateful? Or do you pay more attention to past events and experiences that you think were difficult, unfair, uncomfortable, heavy, etc.?

Or do you mostly direct your attention and thoughts to your future? What do you expect to happen in the future? Are you feeling excited and curious when thinking about the next stage of your life? Or are you feeling worried and anxious about what might come up?

Do you pay more attention to other people’s thoughts about you? Or do you focus on your thoughts about yourself?

Do you direct your attention to the things that are not working right now – or to those that work well?

Take a few quiet minutes from time to time to intentionally pay attention to your attention.

Remind yourself: If you don’t like where your attention currently is, you are free to decide to redirect it to where you want it to be.

My (German) mother often reminded us, “Worauf ich meine Aufmerksamkeit lenke – dahin fließt meine Lebenskraft.” In English, that’s something like “Where I direct my attention, there flows my life energy.” And it’s very true, I believe.


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

The 2-minute rule: If it takes less than 2 minutes, just do it.

I don’t know who ‘invented’ the 2-minute rule. Maybe it was David Allen who presented it in his book ‘Getting things done’, first published in 2001.

The 2-minute rule is still very popular and most productivity gurus have it in their toolbox.

I like it because it’s so simple and clear, it’s very effective, and it can be applied to things we need to do in all areas of our lives.

The 2-minute rule is a great tool that helps us overcome procrastinating and get small tasks done immediately, whenever they come up.

The 2-minute rule says,

This means that whenever a new to-do shows up, you ask yourself whether you can do it immediately. If the action is simple and won’t take very long, the best thing to do is to take care of it right away.

If you don’t complete these simple and quick tasks right away, they can quickly build up a backlog on your to-do list.

Or, even worse, if you think these tasks are so small that it doesn’t make sense to write them down, they will take up precious space in your brain – and might distract you from working on your priority tasks.

The longer you put the small stuff off, the harder it feels to accomplish it.

Whether they end up on your physical or on your mental to-do list, uncompleted small tasks tend to pile up and can become a heavy mental burden and cause stress, guilt, or other negative feelings. Typically, the consequence is ongoing procrastination.

Whenever a new task arises, you ask yourself, ‘Can I do it now? Will it take less than 2 minutes?

If the answer is ‘no’, you put the task on your calendar or on your to-do list.

If it is ‘yes’, you complete the task immediately. And then you can forget about it.

Like any new habit, this one as well requires some practice and effort in the beginning. However, you will quickly get used to the rule because it is so easy to remember and realise.

Find suitable ways to remind yourself, again and again: ‘I do quick tasks quickly.’

You’ll soon begin to move through your day and work with more speed and efficiency. You will feel more active and productive. And you will automatically pay more attention to more quick to-dos – and get them all done automatically.

The 2-minute rule will turn into a 2-minute habit.

Yes, periods of procrastination might happen from time to time but they will become fewer. And it will be easier to overcome them – because you know you are no longer a procrastinator but a quick action taker.

The 2-minute rule is a productivity tool that we usually apply to newly incoming tasks. Whenever during the day a new task arises, we decide in that moment if we can do it quickly right now. If not, we transfer it to the calendar or to-do list.

However, if you have a huge backlog of uncompleted small tasks on your to-do list, you can decide to use whatever time you have available to reduce the amount of undone stuff. If you have 30 minutes, for example, before you need to leave the house, you can realistically tackle about 15 quick tasks.

Ideally, before you start to work on the backlog, you first group together tasks that must happen in the same context. For example, all quick stuff that must be done on the computer. Or all the little things that you want to get done in the kitchen.

It’s important to deliberately decide when you have the time to do 2-minute stuff and when you don’t have it.

If you are already late in the morning, for example, it doesn’t make sense to water the flowers even if that would take less than 2 minutes. You can’t do any 2-minute task righ now – because you need the 2 minutes to reach the bus.

However, if you are wainting for the doctor’s assistant to call you back, you can use one or two 2-minute periods to water the flowers and do other quick stuff.

Another thing to be careful about it the risk that we slip into doing numerous 2-minute tasks at a time when we actually should focus on finishing a bigger urgent project.

The rule is a tool to overcome procrastination and we don’t want to misuse it as an excuse to create additonal procrastination in our life.

Some examples:

At work:

    • The 2-minute rule can help you keep your inbox clear(er). You quickly evaluate each email: Can I get it done (read, delete, forward, answer, unsubscribe, …) right now? Will it take me less than 2 minutes? If the answer is yes, you know what to do.
    • Let’s say you start a new project and decide you need a project folder – the right time to create the folder is now. (It takes less than 2 minutes.)
    • You need to sign a document and get it back to your colleague? The best time to do it is now.
    • You notice the paper basked it full – and you get up and empty it now.
    • You decide that you won’t attend the business conference next week. And you call the travel agency to cancel the flight – right now

At home:

    • In the morning, you switch on the coffee machine – and empty the dishwasher while you are waiting for the coffee to run through.
    • After breakfast, you do the dishes – because it takes less than 2 minutes.
    • Before you leave for work, it’s a quick thing to water the plants in the living room.
    • In the evening, you clear up your home office desk. It’s a quick job.
    • Coming home, you take in the mail and directly sort out what belongs in the paper basket.
    • You open the mail – and immediately file a receipt for tax purposes.
    • You stop on your way to the backyard and quickly transfer the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer.
    • You arrange with your friends to meet for dinner on Friday and – directly after the call – make the online booking.
    • You think of your mother’s birthday – and get up to wrap the present and write the card.

The first step could be to check what’s currently on your to-do list.

Are there any items that you could get rid of rather quickly by doing them quickly? If yes, set yourself a time frame and get them done, one after the other. And enjoy the feeling of being active and productive.

Another option: Imagine a typical day and how you move through it, from morning to evening, and create a list of typical 2-minute jobs.

What are some little tasks that often show up and could be done immediately that you usually don’t do immediately?

    • Maybe, you leave the clothes from the day before on a chair in your bedroom and let them pile up until the end of the week. Would you have 2 minutes available in the morning to put them away?
    • Do you usually quickly browse through your emails, just to see what’s there? What if you decided to invest 10 minutes to get about 5 emails sorted out immediately?
    • Does it happen that you walk through the supermarket, wondering what you need to put in the trolley? What if you took 2 minutes in the morning to check the content of the fridge and write a shopping list?
    • Do you often rush out of the office in the evening, leaving a mess on your desk? Could you decide to stop working 2 minutes before you leave and use them to clear up the desk?

Make a list of the typical daily quick tasks that you often postpone.

And then experiment with doing them just when they arise (or even before they arise).


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

3 little questions help us make use of every day – intentionally

Often, time flies by, one day quickly passes, and then the next, and the next, and suddenly the week is gone.

And if someone asked us what actually happened during the week, what we did or didn’t do, what went well and what didn’t, we struggle to remember.

That’s a pity.

We risk losing valuable memories and experiences. And we miss the opportunity to learn from our daily successes and failures.

Every evening, sit down for 5 minutes (or do it while you brush your teeth), look back at the day that’s just ended, and answer these 3 questions:

    • What worked well today?
    • What didn’t work?
    • What am I going to do differently in future?

Let’s have a look how this works in more deteail:

Question 1: What worked?

It is important to start with thinking about what worked – because that brings you to a more positive place and opens your mind to the insights that can be gained.

List everything that went well this day. Every little thing. 

Ask, and answer, for example,

    • What did I do well today?
    • Which of the actions I took were effective?
    • Which helpful toughts did I have?
    • Which positive feelings did I experience?
    • What did I do well in my encounters with others?
    • What did I do better than the day before?
    • Etc.

Question 2: What didn’t work?

Keep the list as neutral as possible, avoid negative adjectives. This is just about creating an inventory of the things (actions and thoughts) that didn’t work out, it’s not about collecting accusations.

Ask, and answer, for example,

    • Which thoughts or beliefs got into my way and kept me from doing what had to be done?
    • In which ways didn’t I show up like I wanted?
    • Did I lack certain skills or necessary knowledge?
    • What did I do that made me feel frustrated, disappointed, miserable, …?
    • Etc.

Question 3: What am I going to do differrently tomorrow?

Based on your answers to the other two questions you can now make a plan and list what you want to do differently in future.

This step is vital for our development and our future successes, but most of us don’t do it – because we are so eager to get away from the not so perfect experiences that came to mind when we answered Question 2.

Answering these questions every evening makes every day – the good days and the not-so-great days – valuable.

If we deliberately evaluate what we experienced today, we can decide to make use of our insights tomorrow.

This means that we are living (more) intentionally.


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

Two powerful decluttering questions

If you don’t feel motivated to get your stuff sorted out and to let go of any clutter, or if you feel motivated but feel unable to decide what’s actually clutter and what’s not,

Ask yourself:

    • Who will most probably (have to) clear up my belongings after my death?
    • And what do I want them to think about my stuff – and about me?

Yes, I know, most of us don’t like to think about our mortality.

That’s why we actively avoid thinking about what is going to happen with our personal stuff and who will have to take care of it when we pass away.

Because it forces us to think about the things we own and the reasons why we own them – and how we feel about those reasons.

Take some minutes to think about the questions. Write your answers down. Have a closer look at them.

Is there anything new and/or helpful you learned about yourself, and about your stuff?

Do you feel more motivated now to start your decluttering project? More determined to make some let-go decisions?

My personal Example:

When I die, most probably my husband will have to take care of my stuff. I assume, however, that he will not be able or will not be willing to do the work. He will ask my sisters or his own sister to help him clear up my stuff.

I imagine my sisters and my sister-in-law at our place, having to go through my possessions – my clothes, my jewellery, my books, my paperwork, my digital information, etc.

In my mind, I see, like in a movie, how they open my wardrobe. I see them as they are taking out all my clothes and shoes. And having to make decisions about them. I see them while they are working through the boxes that contain my sentimental papers. And so on.

And, again and again, I ask myself: What will they think and feel about me while they are going through my stuff? Do I want them to think and feel that way?

I remember that I felt very uncomfortable the first time I thought about the questions. But I tried to answer them. And found the answers helpful.

They really helped me make progress, particularly with decluttering my paperwork. I was able to decrease the amount of paperwork, sentimental and other, by half.

I don’t do this exercise often.

But from time to time, for example, while I’m digging my way through the overcrowded drawer with my underwear, I stop and think:

Do I want anyone to see this mess? And to clear it up?

The answer is usually ‘no’.

And 10 minutes later the underwear drawer is clutterfree and nicely organised. 😊


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.

Living Intentionally – Short Introduction – Part 3

In Part 1 of this short introduction series, we defined what living intentionally means, in a broader and in a more narrow way.

In Part 2, we listed some typical life situations to get a clearer idea of what intentional living might look like in real life.

Today, I want to briefly discuss a simple framework that helps us create a more intentional life.

Living intentionally – How do we get there?

No matter what the specific intention behind a client’s decluttering or organising project is, we always use my simple 3-step process – the ‘ADA Framework’ – to realise the desired outcomes successfully.

The ADA Framework

These are the steps that my clients practice and implement to actively take control and create the life they want to live: 

A – Gaining Awareness

Gaining awareness of all the ‘stuff’ they currently have in their life – pulling it all out so that they can look at it. Getting crystal-clear on what they really need and want to have in their future life. And how they want to bridge the gap between the present and the future.

D – Making Decisions

Making decisions about the changes they want to make and the outcomes they want to achieve. Prioritising, and deciding what they want to focus on first. Choosing the strategies, projects, and actions they need to implement to realise their plans. 

A – Taking Action

Taking action to get rid of what they no longer need in their life, and to simplify and organise what they want to keep. Focusing on one project at a time, taking one action step after another. Moving forward, unstoppably.

Intentional life management – The benefits of the 3-step framework.

Practicing the 3 steps of the ADA Framework not only ensures the successful completion of my clients’ mind management, decluttering, and organising projects, but it also builds a skillset that they can use again and again for the rest of their lives.

The knowledge that we can always take the 3 steps – getting a clear head, making decisions, and getting things done – is unvaluable.

It gives peace of mind. And the confidence to intentionally and proactively design – and enjoy! – life we want.


The easiest way to see and appreciate the simplicity, efficiency, and the power of the ADA Framework is to apply it in real-life situations.


HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Are you tired?

Tired of trying to (re)organise the various areas of your life entirely on your own?

Tired of investing vast amounts of time and energy in finding a way to create a better organised = better life?

Tired of feeling overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, stressed, disappointed, exhausted, …?

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out all by yourself.

We can do it together.

You can decide to get my support, advice, and guidance – and achieve the desired changes in your life so much faster and easier. 

Check out how I can help you.