January 1, 2011

Plans for the New Year

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions.  I don't make them and I don't break them.  But today is as good a day as any to commit myself to a couple of new habits.  I actually piloted both of these last year.  They worked great.  And then I forgot about them.  Well I didn't forget them but I did put them on the back burner.  The first is a clutter buster that the Fly Lady calls the 27 Fling Boogie.  As fast as you can, you are supposed to walk around the house with a garbage bag, flinging in the first twenty seven items you can part with.  I never actually get to 27 things in one round.  Not because I don't have that much junk, but I'm interrupted by the phone, doorbell, toddler, etc.  Over the course of two or three days, however, I do fill up several boxes to take to Goodwill.  It feels great!  The Fly Lady has guidelines on her site, one of which is, "if you have two, get rid of one of them".  She also suggests lyrics to sing as you are flinging. 

I also want to become more consistent in my use of the Four Quadrant Task List.  I read about this in a magazine about a year ago.  Then I lost the article, found it again and tried it out around March.  I can't give you the source or even the name of the magazine.  I'm pretty sure it has been flung.  I do seem to remember that the article's author mentioned Stephen Covey several times, so this may be derived from his Seven Habits series.  The Four Quadrant Task List is simply a piece of paper divided into fourths.  The top left section is for tasks that are Time Sensitive and Important.  The top right is for Important tasks.  The bottom left is for Time Sensitive but Not Important items and the bottom right is for Not Important and Not Time Sensitive.   I made a simple template in Excel but it doesn't seem to copy into Blogger.   I think you'll still get the gist...

Time Sensitive/Important                                    Important

Time Sensitive/                                                     Not Important/
Not Important                                                       Not Time Sensitive

The idea is to write down everything you need to do.  Work, family, home, anything and everything that comes to mind.  The article warned that at first you will put everything in the Time Sensitive/Important quadrant.  Most of us are driven to believe that everything is urgent and deserves to be a priority.  I had to really think about what things meant and what I wanted to achieve for my family.  This is not your typical write it down on a discarded electric bill envelope to do list.  This is about making conscious decisions about how we spend our most precious commodity:  time.  I recommend doing this in pencil or on the computer.  I edited my list many times before I had a final copy to post on the refrigerator.  Mine was to carry me through approximately two months but I believe this planning activity would work daily, yearly or any time span in between.

Full disclosure, I haven't made my updated version of the task list yet--that's on my to do list for tomorrow.  I think.  Where did I put that old envelope?  Hope I didn't already fling it...


  1. I'm willing to bet you're not the only mother of small children who is frequently wishing to be more organized and less cluttered. I just filled an 11 x 20 room in our basement with padding and carpet and toy bins in the hopes of at least relocating the chaos out of the center of the house. I love the 27 items idea. I'll have to try it some time when both kids are sleeping. but then again, if both kids are sleeping, I should be too. Happy New and thanks for all the great posts and tips for handling the younguns this past year.

  2. Great tips! Love the 27 fling idea, too...I'm sure I could do that a couple times around with no problem!

  3. I feel so good when I get rid of stuff and bring it to Goodwill/Sparrow's Nest. I've been keeping a big paper bag in my closet and just keep adding to it as I find stuff to give away. I'm on bag #2 now. I was supposed to promptly put it in my car, but maybe when bag #3 comes along... I've never heard of this Fly Lady, I will have to check this site out!