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Organizing Lessons from Running

This isn't me, but I wish it was!

I am a runner.  Running is one of those activities that people will say they either love or they hate.  I’m convinced, though, that anyone can learn to love running.  When I first tried to make running a habit, I attempted to do it the way I learned from my cross-country and track experience . . . hard, everyday workouts. I got discouraged when I couldn’t make it as far as I thought I should, and if I didn’t get in a work-out I felt like I had completely blown it.  It didn’t take long for me to burn out and decide running just wasn’t for me.  A few years later, I decided to give it another try.  This time, I did some research and I discovered the secret to building endurance without killing myself and burning out.  This time I started small.  Rather than starting with a three-mile run and being horrified that I couldn’t make it even one, I combined walking with running — 1 minute run, 2 minutes walk.  I didn’t worry about how far; my goal was time.  Soon I was running for a full 20 minutes without walk breaks, then 30, 40 . . . I also learned that I didn’t have to run every day.  In fact, the body needs to rest and repair those muscles a run breaks down in order to be stronger.  Most importantly, by taking it slow, little by little, I kept going.  I didn’t quit.  Five years later, I’ve run six 5k’s, five 10k’s, six half-marathons, a 64-mile team relay, and one full marathon.  I no longer say, “I run.”  Now, I say, “I’m a runner.”

What does becoming a runner have to do with organizing?  Well, the lesson I learned in building endurance through running was my inspiration for attempting to become organized.  I never thought I could become a runner, but I always wanted to be one.  I never thought I could become truly organized, but I have always wanted to be.  Just like my early running attempts, I’ve tried to get organized before and have always burnt out.  This time, I’m taking it little-by-little . . . some walking, some running, even some resting.  This time, I will become organized.  Yes, I only started with a to-do list, but I’ve kept it up.  I’ve learned some from my to-do list this week. It really does help me focus.  In her article, “Power Time Tool #2: Time Slot Your To Do List”, Marcia Ramsland writes, “Did you know studies show we can only remember and focus on 7 things at a time? That’s why when we’re particularly busy, we grab a piece of paper and write out a To Do list of everything that needs to be done.” (read the full article here)  Only 7 things!  No wonder I sometimes walk upstairs, look around trying to figure out why I came up, then head down only to realize I’m still in my pajamas!  You’ll be pleased to know I haven’t forgotten to get dressed once this week.  By emptying my brain of all the things I know I need to remember to do, it’s free to focus on other things, like clothes, general hygiene, and keeping my kids fed.  I think I’ll keep the to-do list, and as the week comes to a close, I’m ready to add something new.


About easygoingorganizer

I am wife to the world's nicest man, mother to four lively/intelligent/beautiful children, daughter to two incredible parents, sister to four amazing siblings, aunt to nine fun-loving nephews and two sweet nieces, friend, teacher turned homeschooler, runner and aspiring organizing maven. Most importantly, I am a woman of faith and unapologetically blend my faith and my God into all that I do because it is ". . . in Him we live and move and exist . . ." (Acts 17:28).

4 responses »

  1. I read her book and I still forgot how many things you can remember! Apparently I never adopted the to do list. Number 1 on my to do list, get out of my pj’s everyday! Haha! Sad but true sometimes they are on for way too long! By the way dumped my old spices, kept the ugly rooster rack and re-purposed into a cake decorating rack, put all my left over sugars and goodies in it, now to paint over the ugly rooster!

  2. Ooo! Good idea! You need to take a picture and pin it on pinterest!

  3. So last week Wednesday I got up at 5:30am and proceeded to try to run a 3mile run around our savannah, needless to say my whole body ached the following day and I certainly want prepared to run on Friday, feeling demotivated I skipped it. I went with a friend who trying to push me and help but doesn’t realize I need to start a little slower… So I got an app which is exactly that run 1 minutes walk 1 1/2minutes for 8 times… Something tells me I’m going to have a lot mor success this way 🙂

    • I got “back into” running 3 times this way — once as I just described in this post, then after two pregnancies. It really is great. In fact there are a lot of people who run-walk everything now. It’s kind of the latest craze at the races I do. Let us know how it goes!


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