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Monday, March 16, 2009

Dmitri Bilgere: The "Magic Question" to instantly triple (probably) your organizing effectiveness

The "Magic Question" to instantly triple (probably) your organizing effectiveness
- Dmitri Bilgere

Most people do NOT clean and organize in the most effective way that they could.

But I've discovered a simple question that, if you ask it to yourself, will make your cleaning and organizing MUCH more effective.

In fact, I'd say it's at least TRIPLED the results I get, and I think it will for you, too.

But before I share that question with you, let's take a quick look at how most people organize now, and WHY it doesn't really work.


The problem is this...

If you tend to be messy, you probably occasionally decide that you need to "work at" being less messy.

You'll get your energy up, then dive into some problem area of your space, and work for hours on a little corner of a room (or wherever). You'll make it perfect...

... then watch in horror as that little corner of perfection is almost instantly swept away by the rest of the disorder.

Then you lose your enthusiasm for cleaning and organizing, and it's even harder to get started again next time.

This exact thing happens OFTEN to a friend of mine whose room is a total mess. She organizes for an hour or so, gets through part of one box, and discovers that her room looks almost exactly as bad as it did before she started. It's depressing.


I've discovered that It's not enough to "make effort" in cleaning or organizing a space.

You have to "stage" your effort in such a way that, each step of the way, the results are INSPIRING.

Every bit of effort needs to create inspiring results that will propel you to keep going. You DON'T want your effort to lead to you getting discouraged when your results get washed away by the rest of the mess.

The best way I've found to stay inspired about organizing my space (and keeping it that way!) is by continually asking myself the question,

===>>> "What is the next action I can take that will create the biggest VISIBLE change in the shortest amount of time?" <====

This is the question that has tripled my effectiveness in cleaning and organizing my space.

Let me give you an example...

After a recent dinner party I noticed that a day had gone by and I hadn't cleaned up. In fact, the whole house was looking kind of horrible.

My first impulse was to "jump in" and start washing dishes.

And, if past experience is any guide, I would have done that for a while, gotten tired of it, and wandered off to do something else, leaving the cleaning to some unspecified future date.

But this time I asked myself, "What is the next action that will create the biggest VISIBLE change?"

I realized it wasn't washing dishes... It was getting them all in one place, next to the sink.

Simple enough! So I did that... And the house instantly looked much better.

This was cool!

So I asked myself again: What's the next action that will create the biggest VISIBLE change?"

Turns out that it was to wipe down the table and all the counters. So I did that. And once again, things looked surprisingly better.

I was starting to get inspired.

I was really surprised by the next one: The next action to create the biggest change was to vacuum the carpets and sweep the kitchen.

And it really made the house look great.

At this point I was running out of time and had to go to an appointment. But it was okay, because the house looked great-- Even though I hadn't washed a single dish.

When I got home I was inspired to see the house looking so good... And the next most VISIBLE action was to wash the dishes.

Asking yourself what next action will create the biggest VISIBLE change focuses you on creating VISIBLE success... Which is exactly what you need if you want to have the inspiration to need to see the project through.

It's a really powerful question for any cleaning or organizing task.

It's also worth noting that the action that creates the biggest visible change will often be something that you did NOT expect.

For instance...

I always consider vacuuming carpets and cleaning the floor to be the LAST thing I do (if I do it at all). But when I ask myself the question, I constantly discover that one of the biggest results-producing things I can do is to vacuum... And the improvement that creates in my space inspires me to keep taking action.

The one caveat is this...

When you take the next action, it should be something that puts things where they need to be for the next step, NOT an action that simply hides things.

For instance, when I cleaned up, I put the dishes next to the sink... not in the stove.

Things would have LOOKED BETTER if I'd put the dishes in the stove... but that would not have put them where they need to be for washing, which is the next step.

Similarly, if you are cleaning your office, stack papers neatly near your desk... NOT in the basement closet, where they will never be seen again.

If you put things where they need to be for the next step, you can get inspiring results AND keep moving toward true organization.

You can also use a time-boundary to make the question even more effective. For instance, If you only have five minutes, ask yourself:

"What is the next action I can take that will have the biggest visible effect in the next FIVE MINUTES?"

This will help you have the most inspiring results you can get in the limited amount of time.

So next time you are cleaning and organizing-- or if there's some area of your home or office you've been putting off getting organized-- I suggest you try asking yourself, "What is the next action that will create the biggest VISIBLE change?"

Then try doing that action... And notice any inspiration that shows up.

Since 1988, guest author Dmitri Bilgere has led personal development seminars all over the US, in Canada, England, and South Africa. He is also does individual "healing coaching" over the telephone. To get his email newsletters (and a free facilitation mini-course) go to http://dbweb.org/free

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