Janelle's Blog

I’m Too Busy to Get Organized-Part 1 of 3

Getting organized is one of the most underrated and misunderstood action steps in getting things done. We try to skip that step and go straight to diving into projects. Check back with my blog on Left-over Time for the Important Things, where I show you how to get the big things done that are continually shoved aside as you handle all of those everyday smaller things.

Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. from Yale University and M.B.A. from The Johnson School at Cornell, details how to move past chronic disorganization into a well-balanced life in her book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. The title alone makes me laugh. She describes being “organized” as a dynamic between a state of readiness for action and taking action. Marilyn suggests these three core elements of getting organized:

  1. Getting to Ready

  3. Creating New Habits

  5. Building Effective Systems

Get Ready, Get Set…

If you are going to accomplish the important things every day, you must meld a time of preparation into your schedule. That’s the part no one wants to do. Sometimes you feel that if you charge into a situation and spend hours working on a project, you have probably done your best, even though you walk away feeling exhausted and frustrated. Here’s the key to a successful outcome–Work smarter, not harder!

Getting to ready can mean focusing your attention on what you are doing until you get “in the zone”. I enjoy taking the early morning time to settle myself mentally and emotionally in a quiet time of prayer, reading and thinking. Sometimes it takes several minutes before I let go of anxieties and daily concerns until I reach that place of inner peace. When it happens, I can feel an internal switch go on and I am ready for the day. Can I start the day without it? Sure, but life is better when I begin my day with a feeling of self-confidence and control.

Moving Can’t Be All Bad

Moving can be a stressful time for us all. A few years ago my husband, Neal, and I had a move we still talk about today. By the time we got all of the furniture in the house, the sun had set and our master bedroom had garment boxes lined up around the inside walls like cardboard soldiers.

We were exhausted and the least small things we did seemed to get on each other’s nerves. Lights were out and we were both half mad over something ridiculous. We were in bed for several minutes without speaking to each other when my husband broke the silence and said, “What time is it?”

That did it. I looked at the clock and with clenched teeth overly pronounced, “It’s four minutes ’til midnight.”

“Good,” Neal said. “We have four minutes to be mad. Then at midnight we can’t be mad anymore.”

I relished every satisfying moment. I leaned up and rested one elbow on my pillow as I stared at the second hand of the clock. When it struck midnight, I said in a chipper voice, “OK, I’m not mad anymore.” We both burst out in laughter. In those four minutes we were “getting to ready”. That was our mental preparation for the next day of working our way through mounds of boxes.

Moving Without Attitude

Moving got better over the years. The last time we moved, I spent a month of intensive planning and organizing before the move, so it was not surprising that it went together so smoothly.

Before you yawn and say, “So, you had an easy move,” wait until you hear about the other things I did during the move.

During that month we remodeled the new home and bought furnishings for it. I helped move my elderly mother in another city and had a major surgery, all while working full-time.

The organizing was my roadmap, my “getting to ready” for a potentially difficult move. By thoroughly organizing everything, I was able to look beyond the stress (most of the time) and enjoy the excitement and pleasure of the outcome of the move.

“Getting to Ready” With Your Life

Having breast cancer in your life is like piling problems on top of problems, with no way out. It can be overwhelming and make you feel as though you are going to implode. That’s where “getting to ready” comes into place. You don’t have to have all of the answers at one time. Do your preparatory planning.

Start on our website to research articles. I’d like to direct you to Beyond the Shock, our online DVD that gives you answers to those questions you may be facing when you find out you have breast cancer. Write down your questions and take them with you when you go to your doctor for treatment. You will be “getting to ready” to recapture your good health.

Next week, let’s talk about “Dumping the Old Habits”.

Thought for Today:

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first hour sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln

Live Life,


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