Let’s face it – no matter how many times we’re told to clean our rooms as kids, most of us still don’t really like cleaning as adults.
Even worse, the early years of adulthood can instill some pretty bad habits, such as leaving dirty dishes in the sink, forgetting to add important appointments to the calendar, and more. Add to that the many things constantly vying for our attention, and it’s harder than ever to stay organized.
Still, there are major benefits to cleaning your room or apartment and keeping an organized life. Today, let’s take a look at some key steps you can follow to motivate yourself to clean and stay organized in the long term.
What Are the Benefits of Getting Organized?
At the core of all motivation is understanding what benefits or rewards you’ll get from doing an activity. For example, you wouldn’t climb a mountain for no reason at all. You might climb a mountain:
- To get worthwhile exercise
- To enjoy the fresh air and see nature
- For the stellar views at the end of the trail
With that in mind, the best way to motivate yourself to clean and stay organized is to imagine the benefits of those activities beforehand.
Just what are those benefits? Here are a few to remind yourself of whenever the going gets tough:
- Staying organized means you’ll be on time for social events, your work, and more. That way, you aren’t late very often — or at all.
- Staying organized also means you won’t forget social meet-ups with your friends or important deadlines for work assignments. This is doubly important for you if you’re still going to school; no professor likes assignments to be turned in late.
- Staying clean means you can enjoy your apartment or home and invite people over without feeling self-conscious.
- Keeping a clean living area can do wonders for your mental health. It’s tough to feel motivated to pursue your dreams if your apartment isn’t clean or at least somewhat organized.
All in all, there are lots of reasons why cleaning your home and staying organized are worthwhile pursuits. If you’re still having trouble finding motivation, follow the step-by-step process below.
Step 1 – Come Up With a Plan
With this six-step process, we’ll focus on motivation at each phase. Technically, you should begin this process by imagining the benefits of organizing or cleaning first. Then proceed to this step.
No matter what benefits you imagine, your motivation might dissipate if your goals seem out of reach. For example, if you haven’t cleaned your apartment in months, all that cleaning work can seem daunting or overwhelming and quickly make your motivation vanish.
To prevent that from happening, come up with a detailed plan of how you’ll get organized or clean your space. A plan gives you set checkmarks to look forward to and allows you to follow the rest of this six-step process.
Step 2 – Include a Deadline
Your next step is to set at least one final deadline for your cleaning project or organizational efforts. The deadline serves a few important purposes:
- It helps motivate you extrinsically by giving you a countdown for when the work has to be done.
- It helps you modulate your efforts. With a deadline in place, you’ll expend effort as needed to get the full objective done, not expend a little bit of effort and give up halfway.
While deadlines are more effective for some folks than others, most people can benefit from at least one. If it suits you, consider adding a deadline at every phase of your work (see more below). Deadlines can be a few hours, days, or even weeks in advance.
Step 3 – Break Up the Work Into Manageable Phases
Speaking of phases, you should break up your massive workload into several achievable phases. Say that you want to organize your bedroom closet. If it’s a huge mess, don’t try to do it all in one day. Instead, break down the work into several phases, like:
- On day one, you’ll organize all the shoes in your closet
- On day two, you’ll organize all your pants
- On day three, you’ll organize all your shirts and jackets
- On day four, you’ll collect all the clothes you plan to give away
Breaking up the work into manageable phases helps you stay motivated and prevents the work from seeming overwhelming.
Step 4 – Do the Work
Now all that’s left is to get started! Take your plan into account and get cracking on your cleaning or organizing efforts. As you work, consciously remember the benefits of the job at hand so that you stay motivated. Consider the tips below to streamline your work process or make it more efficient.
If you’re not used to grinding through work, don’t worry. It takes time to learn to power through difficult tasks. Over time, you’ll develop the mental endurance to maintain motivation even when the going gets tough.
Step 5 – Mark Your Progress
As you go along, mark your progress on your plan. It’s a good idea to write your plan in a journal or on a calendar. Each time you complete a phase or objective, you can add a checkmark next to it and feel accomplished even if the work overall still needs to be finished.
Step 6 – Take Time To Review
Treat yourself when the work is done by taking time to review what you’ve done. Pat yourself on the back and bask in your clean room, organized closet, or expertly partitioned calendar.
Tips To Clean and Stay Organized No Matter What
Getting motivated is one thing. Staying motivated is another. If you’re having trouble maintaining motivation in the middle of your cleaning or organizing, keep these tips in mind.
Try the Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro method is a unique way of tackling major work obstacles. In a nutshell, you set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on a single task for the entire duration. As soon as the timer rings, you give yourself a five-minute break, also timed.
After four of those cycles, you take a longer 30-minute break to let your mind and body recharge. This method is great for getting through any consistent work, and it can do wonders to improve your studying or job performance, too.
Some jobs are just too big to do alone. If the going gets tough and you realize you’ll never complete your work before your deadline, try to enlist help from friends or family members. Enlisting help can also be beneficial if you don’t know how to organize or clean something.
Say that you want to organize your calendar on a piece of software you are unfamiliar with. Getting some help can streamline the process and help you maintain motivation since you won’t have as many setbacks or face as much frustration as you would otherwise.
Think of Rewards for Yourself
Remember what we said at the beginning of this guide: reward motivation is everything. As you work, be sure to consciously imagine the rewards you’ll gain from cleaning your room or organizing your classwork.
However, you can take this a step further and develop new rewards to give yourself at the end of every phase. Do you really love chocolate? Buy yourself a bag of fun-sized chocolate bars and stash them in your refrigerator.
When you’re finished with each phase in your work project, treat yourself and eat a small chocolate piece. That little reward, even if it’s minor, can do wonders for improving your motivation and helping you find the energy to tackle big tasks consistently. Of course, feel free to replace the chocolate example reward with anything else that gets you motivated, like time on your favorite videogame, a relaxing bath, or something else.
Learning to generate the right motivation to clean, organize, and pursue your goals is a lifelong boon. Motivating yourself is hard, but it’s well worth it in the end. This skill set will benefit you in the workplace, in relationships, and in many other life areas.
All in all, cultivating self-motivation and staying organized is key to enjoying life to its fullest. It impacts your wellness across several axes, such as mental illness, emotional wellness, and more.
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