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.