It's hard to believe that August is already here. Every single month I tell myself, "Next month will be different! Next month I'll tackle that project! Next month I'll get ahead!"
Cut to next month and I'm scrambling just the same as always, wondering where the hell the time went. I'm behind the ball before I can blink.
Lately here at School of Home we've been doing themes that both give some direction to this website and allow us to build and practice new habits and hone old skills. A few days ago we decided to throw out August's theme in favor of a new one - the re-set.
I am firm believer in the power of the re-set. Sometimes its important to clear the decks, take stock, and start fresh. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, bogged down with projects, pressed against deadlines, and faced with to-do lists that only grow, give yourself the benefit of a re-set. It can last a day, a week, or even a month.
Here are three key ways to have a successful re-set:
- Make the time. Put up an out-of-office, turn off your phone, step away from Facebook, cancel or reschedule meetings. This works particularly well for short re-sets and gives you the mental and physical space to truly take stock of what you have before you.
- Purge. That pile of papers you thought were important but have been sitting on your desk, unused and un-looked-at for three months? Shred them. A sweater you haven't worn in a year? Donate it. Clear off your workspace completely (whether that's a desk, kitchen, or coffee table) and only put back what is absolutely necessary. The simple mental comfort that will come from working in a clean and tidy space will be totally worth it.
- Triage. Look at your life as a trauma doctor would - sort tasks and projects into categories based on importance. One of Harper's favorite ways of doing task triage is to utilize the Important/Urgent Matrix. Divide your tasks into each of the four boxes. Note that while Quadrant 1 may seem the most pressing (house on fire), Quadrant 2 is actually where your key tasks lie. After putting out the fires throw yourself into you Q2 tasks. Plan for them, put things on the calendar, strategize and brain storm. Delegate or delete items from Q3, and just plain erase anything in Q4. I recently deleted Snapchat after realizing how often I was checking it and what little value it actually brought to my life. A total Q4, not-important, not-urgent item.
Once you've made the time, purged and organized, and triaged your tasks and projects, you'll be able to start with a fresh slate. You may be the kind of person who needs to re-set once or twice a month or you may truly only need to do this once a year. Whatever the case may be, allow yourself the re-set rather than continue to forge ahead through the chaos and confusion. That extra time you take now to get things in order will be worth double or triple when you start back up.
So that's what we're doing in August, we're working on our re-set. Between the two of us we have at least half a dozen different projects going on, in addition to a house that is in desperate need of a good deep cleaning. We're going to take some time, we're going to purge things both physical and mental, and we're going to triage all that we have in front of us.