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Podcast 136: I’m not in the mood!

This is podcast 136 and it’s about not being in the mood, dang it. On this podcast I talk about ways to have less clutter, use your time effectively and be organized with what I hope is a light touch rather than a rigid prescription. I talk about the benefits of habits, but without the regimentation of doing things like clockwork, or else.

My emphasis is much more on how to get back on the habit wagon rather than never fall off. In fact, you’ll be more resilient if you expect to fall off, or be kicked off, or even jump off! Many people assume that organizing requires regimentation and rigidity, but that’s just not true.

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If your schedule is planned down to the last minute, you’ll be in much worse shape when things go awry. This is why my advice about time management is about noticing and using little pockets of time that you find in your day, and about selecting the right task for the right time when you have the energy, resources and time to do them.

I’ve also talked about how waiting to be in the mood to do something is NOT effective because you won’t get the task done any faster or better if you feel like doing it. In this case though, I want to talk about being in the mood in the sense of how your to do list is getting done over the course of an average day. If there is such a thing.

Also, if items in your home have very specific, finely defined places to live, it will take you much longer to put them away. Even more so if they go in containers with lids, or containers with only their exact kind. Here’s an example. In my home, I have a plastic bin of Tupperware under the sink. I throw the containers and their lids in there willy nilly, knowing that it takes me less time to match them up when needed than it does to keep the lids and containers separate, or to pre-match each one.

This works for me because I live alone and don’t have that many containers. If you have enough for a family of four, this might not work. On the other hand, if you’re a family of four that hates leftovers, you probably don’t need too many containers.

But the point is that I may well not be in the mood to sort containers and lids and match them up, but I’m usually in the mood to toss them cheerfully into one big bin. It’s the work of a few seconds so I don’t even have a moment to think that I might not be in the mood.

Looking at the bigger picture, the fewer home chores I need to be in the mood to do, the better. If I need to be in the mood to do them they either don’t get done, or they make me cranky. Maybe I should make that my business motto: taking the crankiness out of organizing.

Another reason this type of organizing works for me is that I don’t care deeply about things like food storage containers. If you need to have long rectangular ones, small round ones with blue lids, a matched set of nesting ones with flowers painted on the sides and tiny screw type ones for leftover sauces, then, as mentioned above, your container management will be more time consuming.

This is a form of perfectionism. Maybe even a little OCD. If your array of tubs and bowls makes you happy, then you’re fine. Just remember that in the time you spend attending to them, your cat needs to be played with, jokes need to be told and flowers need to be smelled.

It’s probably too much to hope for to be in the mood to do everything one must do. Keeping things as simple as possible and letting them be good enough will help a lot, however. It’s always important to remind yourself WHY you’re doing a certain task. This why should be something that pleases you and/or makes your life easier. Let that take your mind off the business of doing the task.

You are doing the laundry because it feels good to have clean clothes to wear. You are filing your taxes because it feels extra good to know the IRS won’t come after you. You are putting tools away after use because it feels wonderful to run and grab a screwdriver when you need it.

Here’s what you can do right now. Think of a task that you tend to put off, that you don’t really like. Now really focus on what would put you in the mood to do it. What kind of things do put you in a good mood? What kind of results make you feel happy and like something was worth doing? If you can psychologically trick yourself into being in a better mood, your life is going to be better in general not only more organized and less cluttered.