Do you feel like you never get to the end of your to-do list? Are there some to-do items that seem to move from list to list? Do you track things to be done on one list, multiple pieces of paper, an electronic device, or in your head? One crucial factor in getting organizing is using time wisely. While there are a myriad of ways to approach the 24 hours you are allotted each day, this month we will concentrate on developing a new habit. And the new habit is: learn to differentiate between tasks and projects.

A task is something that can be accomplished in a limited amount of time. This can be 15 minutes, two hours, or a day. But anything that takes more than a day to complete is not a task. It is a project. A project involves multiple steps and takes more than a day to complete. Tasks go on to-do lists; projects don’t.

An example of a to-do list for the home is:

-Grocery shop (it is your decision whether to list the items you need to purchase on this list or on another piece of paper)
-Buy and wrap birthday gift for Sue
-Call sister to determine who will host Thanksgiving this year

If you add “organize garage,” you have listed a project. There are numerous steps required in order to get a garage organized. In no specific order, these might include:

-Determine what types of objects belong in the garage: sporting equipment, lawn care items, tools, etc.
-Decide how these items should be stored: on shelves, hanging from walls, in cardboard or plastic boxes, etc.
-Purchase pieces required to store these articles.
-Sort all items in garage and decide which to keep, donate, dispose, and house somewhere besides in the garage.
-House items in suitable containers and in locations that are accessible.

Each of these chores takes time. Some require a trip to the store, and others may be divided into sub-tasks or shared among several people. Although it is possible to organize a garage in a day, it is unlikely to happen. As a matter of fact, more than likely a person will be overwhelmed at the thought of the job and not start it. Whereas if the two tasks on the weekend to-do list are to determine the categories of things that belong in the garage and to sort the objects along the back wall, it feels much more plausible.

Now that you realize the difference between a task and a project, you will need to classify each chore that you believe needs to be completed. Then you will need to record the jobs in the appropriate place and format. Finally, you need to make the time in your schedule to work on the task.

Once you develop the habit of doing this on a regular basis, you will find that you can complete more in less time and without feeling so overwhelmed.

Author's Bio: 

Developer of the Flexible Structure Method™, Janice and her team at Minding Your Matters® has an impressive reputation for helping clients achieve “flow”. “Flow” as Janice calls it, is the blissful state of having an organizational process that supports your life and lifestyle. A Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, Janice is also a Certified Organizer Coach and the author of “Get Organized This Year!”. Janice’s practical and caring approach to organizing is the basis of her high-content live workshops and webinars. Janice is a Golden Circle Member of National Association of Professional Organizers and Program Mentor Coach for the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. She serves the organizational needs and challenges of both business and residential clients, as well as provides training intensives for fellow organizers nationwide. To enjoy meaningful tips and gain immediate access to all of Janice valuable resources, please visit her website To schedule a consultation or request Janice to speak please call 919-467-7058.