Organization Motivation: How I Get Back On Track

Every once in awhile I fall into an organizational slump where I lack the motivation to keep up with things in my house.  Does this ever happen to you?  I feel like many of us share this experience, especially when we’re working through things in our personal lives.  How you feel emotionally most definitely affects how well you function.  Usually I am easily motivated to stay on top of things, but lately I’ve been letting things slide in my house as I haven’t felt the usual spark that ignites my desire to organize.  In fact, you might have noticed I haven’t posted on OLJ in a few weeks even though in my last video I talked about all of my spring projects on the horizon.  Those projects are still there, just uncompleted.  This week I decided enough is enough.  I really want to get back on track so I turned to my usual strategy when I need a little (or a lot!) of help in the motivation department.  I start with one or two very small, short projects and see how they make me feel.  I set a timer for about 20 minutes or so and tackle something I am pretty certain I can complete in that amount of time.

I decided to dive into my pile of bills and filing that I’ve let accumulate on my desk for far too long now.  I set the timer on my phone for 25 minutes.  Before I knew it the timer was buzzing and I was 90% through the stack!  I spent another 5 minutes finishing up and the result was paid bills, filed paperwork, and a clean desktop.  It felt so good to have that done!  What felt stressful before only took a short amount of time and it was literally a breeze to get through.  Now I am feeling recharged and ready to tackle the rest of my office, which unfortunately has borne the brunt of my lack of motivation lately with piles accumulating here and there.  If I take it in small sections I can have my office spick and span in no time at all!  I am also concurrently finishing up my springtime closet clean-out which I put on hold for a few weeks.  I find going through my clothes in 15 to 20 minute increments is an effective way to weed through my entire wardrobe, which I am currently doing for a major overhaul (and yes, I will be filming this process and sharing it soon!).

If you, too, find yourself in a rut, perhaps you might consider trying this technique out.  Pick a small, manageable project that you are pretty sure you can easily complete in a short about of time (anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes is a good place to start).  Some of my favorites include my kitchen junk drawer, my car, and my desktop.  Set a timer and hop to it!  It’s easier to jump into something if you know it’s only going to last a short while.  When the timer buzzes, take note of how much you accomplished and how it’s made you feel.  Chances are it might be just the spark you need to ignite your organization motivation.  I find that the biggest motivation for me to organize and keep on top of things is seeing a completed project.  I don’t recommend rushing into a large-scale time-consuming project until you feel really ready and inspired to take it on.  I personally like to break large projects up into smaller bits anyway so that I can experience that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing something before moving onto the next task.  This helps me to continually feel motivated by my successes rather than getting overwhelmed by trying to grapple with too much at once.

I share more about my process in this video if you’re interested:

Let me know if you decide to try this out.  I’d love to hear about what project you chose, how it went, and how it made you feel if you don’t mind sharing.  Here’s to a productive and organized spring!



36 thoughts on “Organization Motivation: How I Get Back On Track”

  1. Hey Jen, Please don’t say your sorry for not sharing with us, clearly you’ve been going through something, and that happens to all of at one time or another! I think that you are amazing and I love when you share your process regarding anything with us. You don’t have to, and its a blessings when you do.
    A few questions:
    1. Would you be willing to share with us how you’ve updated your computer area, I know you have added an extra monitor and taken out the little hutch part to your desk. I would love to see what you have done and hear why you did it. I just went from one monitor to 2 and did so mostly because of photo and video editing that I do.
    2. I would love to know what that teal basket thing is right behind you in the video and where you got it. I’m in need of something like that!
    Thanks Jen for everything you do, I hope you are feeling better and get through whatever you dealing with!!!!! HUGS!

    1. I don’t like to leave my channels unattended without an explanation. It’s just me 🙂 As for your questions, I will be sharing an up close look at my new desktop setup next week. I’ll talk about why I went for an additional screen in that post. Also, the teal basket was from Target a few months ago. I’m not sure if they still carry it but it’s worth a look!

  2. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m in the same spirit in which I want to put everything in order, but the magnitude of the task blocking me. You give me the boost to attack me step by step and feel better.

    Highly your video to continue in my tracks.

    Bye, Géraldine (France)

  3. Thanks for posting this! I have been in this spot for quite some time. Things just very stressful in our home and I’ve not had the desire or ability to keep up with the house at all. Just in the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying to just get 1 thing done, however small. Pretty pathetic, but it is better than what it has been. And then maybe it will spur me on to get 2, then 3 things. : ) So glad to hear that others deal with this from time to time, too. Thanks for all you do on your channels! I really enjoy them and learn from them.

  4. Hi Jen,

    Good Friday! I completely understand the time you have taken off from OLJ. It’s not like you haven’t shared on your other channels and on here that you have been going through a tough time. Some people are so selfish that they just want to be entertained no matter the cost to the person providing the content. Don’t focus one minute on those types of people who you will never be able to please. I’ m glad you are back. I really need some motivation to get my house in order. Thanks for the pep talk. I hope you have a blessed Easter! God bless!

  5. Dear Jen,

    Thank you so much for your honesty in this video/blog. I made a mistake at work today and all I want to do is hide under the covers and not come out. Our troubles are different but I think our immediate reactions to them are similar. Hearing you talk through your process of dealing with struggles was comforting to me, especially today, so thanks.


  6. Jen,

    Thanks for posting again! I have missed your videos. You are such a positive inspiration to all. I can’t wait to see your desk top video!

  7. My husband and I were just talking about this today! We both have been very stressed out at work lately and by the time we get home neither of us want to do anything. This has led to a messy house and us eating out way more than we should. I have been watching all of your planning videos and they are really helping me find some motivation and this post is just what I needed. I think I am going to start setting aside twenty minutes a day to try and get back on top of the cleaning and projects around the house.

    I am not sure if you have already done a video on this but I would love to see your billing and filing process. I have a method that I use that really works for me but I am always curious if there are better, more efficient ways to keep on top of that. Basically, my method involves using a monthly planner and I write the bill and the amount on the date that it is due. Once I have paid the bill, I highlight it. Once the bill has been transferred to the following month I put a check mark beside it. So I can look at a full month and plan out our budget around when bills are due. It works pretty well for us. 🙂

    Oh and BTW, I definitely purchased the Orla Kiely Sweet Pea bag after watching your walking pharmacy video and I love it! It is adorable and the perfect size to put in your purse and keep everything organized.

  8. Jen, We all go through that lack of motivation. My best motivation is…Having company. I always want my home to be presentable and everything in it’s place. Once I know I have guests coming (especially over night guests)….I go to town. Everything gets cleaned and I’m not the type to stuff things here or there, I put it back and move onto the next area. So having company is my motivation. lol Love ya….xo

  9. Jen,

    I left you a comment over on YouTube after watching the video! but wanted to leave you a note here as well. Thanks again for your honesty about not always being organized in everything. I love reading blogs and watching people’s videos, but sometimes people try too hard to put forward this perfect image that leaves everyone feeling like a failure if they don’t live up to those standards every day. What I love about you is how real you are, you don’t fake how you feel or what you are doing, and it shows. Thanks for that. I am moving in just about a week, and have had several other major crisises going on, and today I just spent the day in bed. I needed to be doing lots of other things, but I decided I had to take a day to recover, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I appreciated your video because I need to get back into the swing of things tomorrow and it helps to have a plan to start with 15-30 min. “Bites” and work from there to get back into the swing of things!

    I have been praying for you, Don and Winnie because I know you have been dealing with some big things and I truly hope that they are beginning to settle down a bit for you. Please know how many of us care about you and really wish the best for you. Thanks for all you do for us, even when you are struggling yourself. Never apologize for not posting or making a video, we aren’t paying anything to access all your wonderful content, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to do things when you have your own life to deal with. It is very generous that you do all you do out of the goodness of your heart, you are a very special lady!

    Hugs and prayers,

    1. Thanks for your prayers. Giving yourself time when you truly need it is a special gift. I find when I am kind to myself in this way I am so much more productive in general. Good luck with your move!

  10. I watched your video last night and using your 20 min rec, I folded & put away my laundry, washed up my dinner dishes, cleared off my living room and dining room tables, then rewarded myself with some knitting (still working on February’s zigzag pillow!)
    xx, C

  11. Hi Jen!

    Oh boy! I thought I was the only one who got into these slumps! Here you are…the best of the best and it evens happens to you. Maybe I am normal after all!! :0)

    Anyway, love watching you on all your channels (and Winnie, too!) Keep up the great work-you have so many fans that adore you!!

    Kim McCoy

  12. Dear Jen. Congratulations on setting your timer for 20 minutes and actually managing to “work” for 25, paying your bills and tidying your desk. You are a hero. Of course there is the rest of the world, who manages to work all day, cook at night, take care of family etc whether they feel like it or not, but you are a special snowflake.

    1. We are all special in our own ways. I don’t remember saying I was “working” by paying the bills. My work actually entails filming, taking photos, editing, and writing blog posts, which is how I choose to spend most of my time. I respect and admire people who have to manage their time carefully to take care of their families. I know I am very blessed by my lifestyle and I do very much enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean I do not feel a bit of a lag from time to time to stay on top of my home organization. Even across different backgrounds it is our shared experiences that bring us together. I wish the world was a nicer place and that we could celebrate not only what we share in common but our differences without feeling the need to put down other people. I hope someday you find the kind of happiness that allows you to celebrate others.

  13. Jen please also do a video update on your vanity organization I just loved the first one and you haven’t done it for a long time

  14. Thank you sooo much Jen for this video! I feel so much better knowing that I’m not the only one who has let organization slip a bit…

    I actually get motivated by watching your organizational videos 🙂 I tell myself that I will put on one of Jen’s videos organizing the same thing (or close to) that I’m organizing and organize alongside with you! That’s super motivating to me. I also love your idea of the timer and do that too, otherwise it becomes way too overwhelming!

    Though I have been putting off our kitchen “junk” drawer for weeks now… because even setting a 15 min timer is too overwhelming as there is sooo much stuff in there that it’s going to be like an hour job 🙁 Hopefully I can gather up the motivation to start that… though I have been trying for weeks and all my usual motivators aren’t working for this project…

    Thank you for sharing about the clothes purging – I love that idea! That’s another area that is so overwhelming for me that it’s just easier to do nothing. But I love the idea of just going through like t-shirts, or short, etc in one go, that really does make it manageable! I think I can handle that 🙂

    Thank you so much Jen for your organizational (and other) videos! They help me so much!

    1. What if you broke the junk drawer up into sections and spent 15 minutes as often as you can in the span of a week tackling it? That’s what I would try if I were in your position.

      1. Thanks so much Jen! I really appreciate the advice!
        I will tackle the first 15 min today and hopefully be able to keep that up doing 15 min a day over the next week! I’ll let you know how it goes then 🙂

  15. You do realize that paying your bills is just a day to day task that most people HAVE to do, don’t you? It is not worthy of an entire organizational video by a pampered and spoiled housewife who can CHOOSE when she wants to do certain tasks. Busy Bee? You may want to rethink that title…

    1. Yes, I do realize this, and I am certain others, like me, find they lack the motivation to tackle that pile of bills every once in awhile. It doesn’t matter if you have a full-time job in or outside of the home, there are still times in our lives when regardless of how much or how little time we have to spare, we could use a little pick-me-up in the organization motivation department. I am just sharing my experience here on my blog and my YouTube channels, and, as I have said time and time again, my sharing is simply just that. I know that my experiences are different from others and appreciate that sharing is a way to connect with people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. As for the Busy Bee business, it is my distinct privilege as an individual to consider myself however I please. While I may not have a traditional 9-5 job outside the home and children to look after, I like to stay busy. I don’t see how it does anyone any harm to lightly think of myself as a Busy Bee. You may want to rethink how you so carelessly pass critical judgements on others before expressing yourself publicly.

  16. First let me say that I’m really enjoying watching the videos from your different channels and I can’t wait to see the Spring organising videos! 🙂

    I use a similar technique when I’m feeling unmotivated. I have a big whiteboard (which is one of the best things I’ve ever bought!) and on it I list around 10 things that I need to do as well as the amount of time I think they’ll take (I’m a part-time student so this also helps me break up study time). So for example I’ll list 1. Make my bed – 5min. 2. Finish mind map on assessment techniques – 20 min. 3. Respond to Care2 e-mail – 5 min. I make sure that the tasks are very specific. I also add up the total estimated time and write it at the bottom of the list.

    I start at the top of the list and time myself for each task. If I only take 2 min to make the bed then I’ll write that time on the board. Once I’ve completed the tasks on my list I add up the time I actually took then minus that from the estimated time to get ‘time saved’. More often than not I’m surprised about how much I got done in the time I set myself and it’s really motivating! I’m quite competitive as well so because this is like a race against time it motivates me to keep going! :p

    Thanks for your amazing website and channels!
    Happy Easter!
    <3 Lara (all the way from South Africa) 🙂

  17. Jen,
    I completely understand having a lack of motivation and like your solution to getting past it. Thanks so much for sharing your life and experiences with us all. I look forward to your blog /vlog posts and love getting to read about what you are doing. I feel like I am visiting with an old friend when I watch your vlogs or read a blog post. Thanks again. Lorna

  18. Hi Jenny,
    I love your videos and like your personality. I understand sometimes getting motivated to even move paper from one place to other is like lifting 1 tonne heavy rock. That’s normal. I wanted to ask some questions.
    1. Could you make a video on how you save the videos and photos on your computer. Also how do you do back up. I mean do you use any third party software or server to store old videos and photos.
    I will be glad if you could share some tips on that and how you store them.
    2. Also can you share with us your favourite youtubers and why you like to follow their channel.
    Infact I watched your video about blog inc review and i bought the book and went through it was very exciting to know more about blogging world and technology.
    Take care and looking forward for your reply.

    1. That’s a great book. I’m glad you found it interesting! I talk about some of the YouTubers I follow from time to time in my videos across all of my channels. I will consider filming a dedicated video about it someday since I am asked this quite a bit. Also, I do want to share a computer organization video at some point.

  19. Jen,
    Great video! I love how open & honest you are. While at times my inner dialog is saying some of what those highly critical and rude commenters are saying, I really enjoy your videos and you. We all have different lots in life. I have just begun to work full time after being a stay at home mom for 19 years. I had time challenges then and I have them now. They’re just different. No matter what anybody says your job is valuable! You manage a home. That is a lot of work. On top of that you have your YouTube channels. I remember editing a graduation video and it was hours and hours of work. Don’t feel like you have to defend yourself! Today you have inspired me to organize my bathroom countertop and drawer. I’ve had far too many 4:30am mornings in a row(I manage a Sbux) and all my cosmetics, brushes, and other misc crap is strewn everywhere! So thanks a ton for the motivation!!!! I’m sure my hubby will thank you too 🙂

  20. Hi Jen,

    I really enjoyed your video and this blog post – a very relatable topic! Some weeks I am go-go-go and it feels great to be on top of everything. Other weeks I am more sluggish and I think your approach is something everyone should try. I usually start with organising my filofax or my handbag. Even just making a list I find helps. Since I’ve been using my filofax more and sharing on Instagram – @solecreate (just like you said when you first started making Youtube vids Jen) – it makes you more accountable and helps keep you on track. Thanks again for the inspiration Jen!

  21. Hi Jen, your timer technique sounds like the “pomodoro technique”. It is amazing what you can get done in 20/25 minutes! Thanks again for posting your videos I have my 19 year old son watching he loves organizing!

  22. I use a similar technique, when I need to do major cleaning. I don’t use timer, but i choose section of a room (a kitchen counter for example) and after cleaning I reward myself with something I like. Sometimes it is to read a couple of pages of a book I’m middle of or watch 25 min episode of a sitcom… My hubby doesn’t understand my technique at all! 😀 He just wants to go on and on… But I nee my breaks 🙂

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