Janus, the Roman god for whom the first month of the year is named, looks backward and forward, a perfect image for getting a solid start on 2016. Let’s begin with looking back at some of the top tips from 2015’s columns.
1. Let go of the “easy outs.” Don’t wait until the useless cords, junk mail, outdated magazines and clothes that don’t fit become an unmanageable pile. (Jan. 24)
2. If you’re one of the last people on Earth who has not yet read Marie Kondo’s best-selling organizing book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” what are you waiting for? Start 2016 with a review of the book or read it for the first time and apply her easy “does it spark joy?” to determine if your clutter is a “keep” or a “let go.” (Feb. 28)
3. Be prepared with what you need to take advantage of weird little windows of time. Keep reading material with you, a list of phone calls to make, etc., to productively use time created by another’s tardiness, a canceled meeting, traffic jams. (March 14)
4. Make sure your task lighting is adequate everywhere in the home and office. Make a list of specific light fixtures to buy, lightbulbs that need replacing and repairs that need to be made. Winter is much more productive and bearable with the best lighting you can afford. (May 2)
5. Be your own personal assistant, personal trainer, life coach, etc. If you can’t afford some of these luxury services, you can still do some free research on the Web for ideas and methods and commit to training yourself. Get creative and find ways to trade with friends who have the skills you need or commit to putting the principles from a good book or online series into practice. (June 6)
6. If you have a setback in productivity or cheat on your diet or otherwise get derailed on your way to achieving a goal, don’t completely give up. Take a step back, reassess and try again. Maybe your plan was too rigid and you need to be more flexible. maybe you do need to hire a little help, for example if you just can’t seem to figure out some computer software, Maybe there’s a free or inexpensive app for your smartphone that can make tracking your goals more fun and successful. (July 11, 2015)
7. Tune your schedule to your personal energy ebbs and flows. Make sure you use your peak hours to the best effects and use your lower-energy hours to sharpen your pencils and fill your water bottle or do errands. (Aug. 8)
8. If it’s worth storing, it’s worth storing well. If you’ve been storing stuff in damp, cold, hot or otherwise undesirable environments, this year either upgrade your storage or purge through the stuff. The fact that a lot of it has possibly succumbed to mold or mice might be a little upsetting, but will make the decisions easier and will definitely jump-start your organizing year with a feeling of accomplishment. (Aug. 22)
9. Review or read Gretchen Rubin’s terrific book, “Better Than Before,” about creating and maintaining habits. Her research and insights on changing behavior for the long term could help you keep your new year’s resolutions. (Sept. 5)
10. Articulate your goals. Get really clear about what you want to accomplish or change and say it out loud. Sometimes something sounds reasonable in your head or on paper, but when you say it aloud or try to explain it to someone else, it is oddly unclear or insensible. Say it out loud until you start to feel it is well-stated, grounded and easy to defend. (Sept. 19)
11. Collect the paper scattered around the office into an in-basket or box and process it weekly, if not daily. (Oct. 31)
12. Noise is clutter, too. Find ways to make the soundscape of your environment more pleasing, from the alarm clock to the squeaky door hinges. (Nov. 21)
To read the full articles, search Angela Hoxsey on our website, NapaValleyRegister.com. We look forward to new organizing ideas for 2016 in the next column.