Updated: May 22
In 2021, I attended a weeklong educational conference. Two hundred speakers and multiple classes at multiple different times--it was a smorgasbord for all things learning. I sat for hours in Marie Rick's class and over the course of 4 days, I was astounded and amazed at the impact she has had on my life.
Still to this day, I am implementing what I learned in her class.
Maria Ricks, a professional organizer and teacher, shares that everyone needs to define what “complete" is. The key is to set clear and precise parameters.
Life gets messy. Let’s be real. There are days when everything seems to be uncontrollably chaotic. Right?
Ricks shares how we need to make sure we get back “to order, before continuing to the next thing”. Many of us go throughout our day feeling like we are getting very little done and feeling like our days are so full yet not fulfilling.
The KEY IS TO FIND YOUR CENTER. Finding your center and to strive to put everything back together again.
Take a look at this diagram:
Every item has a sequence it goes through, order to disorder and back to order. Ricks shares that most people jump out about 70% of the way.
This results in a day of feeling like things are not quiet done and you leave work or hop into bed and think my goodness, I didn’t accomplish hardly anything today! It can be a really rough feeling day in and day out.
Order to Disorder Diagram:
The key is to get a system or routine down where you make sure that things get back to order. To make sure that things are actually back to what is considered complete.
How to make sure you complete the order to disorder and back to order cycle:
Pre-establish boundaries that state this is what it needs to look like and feel like when it is complete: Have you ever heard the phrase, “leave it better than you found it”? I am pretty sure the first person who said that knew what complete looked like in their own life.
You understand and allow for disorder. Doing projects, making food, rushing off to work, leaving your hair on the shower wall, etc. are all things we deal with. Life naturally moves in this cycle. The key is to figure out what your habits are that never quiet get back to center or back to order. Then start there.
Hold firm, especially when making a new habit, to get back to order. At first getting back to order may seem tedious, you may want to give up around 70-80% done. Hold steady and finish.
Congratulate yourself. This can come by standing back and admiring the hard work you just accomplished. Take a moment to tell yourself out loud, “good job!” This solidifies to your brain that the work was not just worth it but rewarded. Now every time you want to start something new or as you walk past your job well done, you can say, “I did that well, good job!” It really solidifies the experience and the routine of getting back to complete.
A little advice: Start with just one item.
For me it was laundry. I knew I needed to do laundry, yet it always seemed to last a whole week from the washing part to the putting away part.
In our weekly couple's council meeting, my husband and I discussed openly and truthfully what we thought “complete” was when it came to the laundry -- we differed.
Then we decided to find a solution that would support us both in making the full cycle back to order. We wanted to make sure that clothes were folded and put away by the end of the day. If they weren’t, we were committed to help each other finish up wherever we were in the cycle and then to finish.
A final thought: The tighter the circles the more TIME you gain back. You will start to turn into a well-oiled machine. You can get the job done, clean up, and still have time to spare because you are not lollygagging through it and you know what the end goal is.
A little word for those who do multi-tasking:
I invite you to stop and focus on one thing at a time. Countless research shows that toggling decreases productivity and end results to 40% capacity.
If you have multiple circles going and all of them are trying to get back to order, you will find that your overwhelm will increase. There are certain ones that require time to complete, like the drying section of your laundry cycle. I get things done while that is going and I commit to stopping what I am doing to go back to now fold and put away the load. Does this make sense? I hope so.
Making your circles tight gives you more time and a clean space to work in. Both are bonuses to this method.
If you’d like to learn more I highly recommend reading, "Be Organized: Reclaim 90 Minutes of Your Day, Every day: Marie Ricks"
The goal isn’t to be busy; the focus needs to be completing. Finding your center and getting into a rhythm that works for you will help you finished with ease and timeliness.
You have got this! Add more time to your life and feel fully successful as you complete your day and complete your priorities.
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