I’ve been stuck at home for two days due to a cold front passing through Houston. The temperatures are in the low 20s and our city has asked everyone to stay put. This meant that today I got to have the day off. Before I knew it, I was working on our tax spreadsheet for 2017. I HATE doing the tax spreadsheet. I try to stay organized but every year working on the spreadsheet feels like it is sucking the life out of me. Still, some kind of way the tax spreadsheet is one of the tasks that gets stuck on my to-do list. I really do try not to complain but I am not a numbers girl. I like to read and write. Hence this blog 🙂
Whatever happened to me today, I looked up and I was going through my ‘taxes’ folder in our family email. Yes, we have a family email account. I also have one for coupons! Who has time for 10,000 sales ads in their inbox but who never wants to miss a sale?!? Me! Having a ‘taxes’ folder allows me to save any receipts for donations or business related expenses to one folder. In theory, I want to go through that folder once a quarter but I have not made that much progress. Still, it was quite amazing to realize that even just having this one folder saved me hours of time. No paper receipts to track down. I can do a search in the folder for frequent expenses. After just a few hours today, I had my spreadsheet all filled out. Now I will just wait for my tax donations letters so I can make sure cross-check my numbers. Once I get those donation letters and our W-2s I can share my spreadsheet with our accountant.
Many of my friends think I am extremely organized. I always think I am not organized enough. You know the drill. I have come to realize that being organized and having systems in place is a self-care practice. When I am organized I am less frazzled. I can find what I am looking for. I waste less time. I have less negative self-talk. For me, even a simple to-do list and a calendar alert to shred junk mail every Friday at 2pm takes a load off my brain.
To my friends who struggle with being organized I want to share the following:
- Having too many/too much is the biggest barrier to being organized. Get off the mailing lists (paper and electronic). Focus on getting information from things you really care about. Streamline and downsize.
- Keep it Simple, Sister! A complicated organizing system will frustrate you and never be implemented. Do not waste time and money. Figure out what type of lists you like and if you prefer paper or electronic or both. Try something.
- Stay off Pinterest…unless you are really disciplined. When you are just getting started you run the risk of looking for a system that looks good vs. one that works for you. Start with the list and then see if you can stick to it before getting into the aesthetics of planning systems.
- Reflect on what is blocking you. Schedule an AFT session with me, write in your journal, scream it out. You must, must, must connect with the internal feelings and thoughts that hold you back from making progress.
In the end, being just a little bit more organized will motivate you to keep going. Give yourself grace. Celebrate the small wins. Keep telling yourself that the more organized you are the more time you have for you! It’s a headache to start but well worth it in the end.