How do you get your kicks? Personally, I enjoy organising: sorting, alphabetising, purging and boxing up. That probably explains why I’m a Professional Organiser. But what about the rest of you, who would prefer a coffee with friends over filing bills, or would rather go for a run than sort through old knick knacks? How can you make these “boring” jobs fun? Let’s start by thinking about what activities you find fun and why it is you enjoy them so much.
A runner doesn’t see the daily jog as a necessary evil to keep fit – it’s an opportunity to release endorphins, get the blood pumping, clear the mind and push further each time. It’s a physical and mental challenge with definitive goals of time and distance. So how can a runner enjoy the repetitive task of pick up object, put in box, repeat? Strangely enough, the tasks aren’t that dissimilar. Running has repetition (left foot, right foot, repeat) but this is only the means to an end, in the same way as sorting objects into keep, donate, throw out is the means to culling a pile of dust collectors. The key for a runner is to bring in more of the enjoyable elements of running into organising, like quantifiable goals on which to compare progress. Indeed, any goal-oriented person would benefit from creating a target to organise to. They don’t need to be big deadlines like “the whole house will be organised by Christmas”, but small, immediately achievable tasks like “today, I’ll clear out the top desk drawer” or “15 minutes sorting out the kids’ toy box”. In this way, you can feel the adrenaline rush of achievement, as well as knowing that tomorrow, you can push yourself that little bit harder and beat your personal best.
But what if the thought of push-push-pushing yourself every day doesn’t sit well with you, or you’re more of a coffee-with-friends type? In your case, a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine, and the soy latte, go down. For the simpler, less mentally taxing tasks, why not pair them with the more enjoyable, casual aspects of life. Of course, you can’t take your filing cabinet to the local café, but why not have a cuppa and call a friend while filing your bills. While you watch a favourite TV show you could go through all your old magazines and rip out the article or recipe you were interested in or, better yet, see if it’s available online. And when it comes to the jobs which require a bit more concentration, try rocking out to a favourite CD, or rewarding yourself every half hour with a nibble of chocolate or 5 minute Facebook session.
Organising may be my favourite pastime, but I can see how others may not find it so appealing. If you don’t get a thrill from packing away, why not incorporate some favourite activities or enjoyable elements into the chore of sorting. You may not love it, but at least the to-do list can become a bit more fun.