Hello Soon-To-Be Organized Coach, 🤗
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? What about being stuck and unsure about what to do next? Do you wish your office space or digital life was more organized? Does your brain feel like it’s spinning and you find yourself wasting time looking for things?
Today I’m sharing five steps to organize anything and everything in your life using the acronym SPASM. I know SPASM sounds kind of silly, but I’ve been teaching and using these steps for over 15 years, to organize everything from a physical space, digital spaces, my calendar, a project, and even my brain! These five steps work every single time!
Find out how SPASM can work for you in this episode of The Organized Coach Podcast.
In this episode, I’ll show you how to:
- Learn the 5-Step SPASM Method for turning even the most overwhelming situation into an orderly masterpiece.
- Understand how Delete, Delay, Delegate, and the Choose Your Favorites technique can help you purge and prioritize.
- Realize that buying containers, planners, or products should not come until you get to step four.
- Keep projects moving forward by establishing regular check-ins and adhering to time limits.
- Hear three examples that everyone can relate to.
The key moments in this episode are:
02:58 – Step 1: Sort
03:47 – Step 2: Purge
06:18 – Step 3: Assign Homes
07:06 – Step 4: Set Limits
08:33 – Step 5: Maintain
13:46 – Three examples using SPASM
Your Organizing Coach,
Clear shelf dividers
Other favorite home organizing products I use
Organized Life Academy – a monthly membership that helps you organize your personal life.
FREE File Naming Formula Cheatsheet
Get Time Freedom with a Systemized and Organized Business
FREE Workshop: 3 Secrets to Organize Your Digital Files
Connect with me:
Subscribe and Listen:
If you love what you’re learning on this podcast every week – the strategies, how-tos, and time-saving ideas to set up your organized and systemized business so you can work less and scale – please follow, rate, and review by heading to Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.is to tie it to something that you already do.__quot__ – Tracy Hoth ” tweet=”__quot__The secret to maintaining it [your organization] is to tie it to something that you already do.__quot__ – Tracy Hoth | Organizing and Systems Coach” style_id=”default”]
***INSERT QUOTE GRAPHIC
Transcript with time stamps:
Are you ready to work less, feel more organized and productive, streamline repetitive tasks, and implement systems that allow your coaching business to run smoothly even without you? If so, you’re in the right place. Welcome to the Organized Coach Podcast. Your go-to source for practical tips and solutions. I’m your host, Tracy Hoth, a professional organizer, certified life coach, simplifying expert, and most of all, a down-to-earth fellow coach just like you.
No matter if you think you’re missing the organizing gene, have ADHD, or just love anything organizing, I’m here to help you become an organized coach with a business that works for you. Pull up a seat and let’s get started. Welcome back to the Organized Coach Podcast. Today we are talking about the five steps to organize absolutely anything. This includes your physical space, your digital files, your calendar, and a project that you want to start your mind.
These five steps work on every single thing. I have taught this same exact concept, this acronym, these five steps for years. I’ll share a little bit of my story. I started as a professional organizer in 2008 by making a website.
I started helping friends and told everyone that that’s what I was doing. People started finding me by doing a search on the internet. I got referrals. I eventually started speaking on the topic.
And I spoke at association meetings, chapter meetings, mops groups, ladies’ gatherings. I spoke in a prison. I spoke at a circuit speaking gig where we went around and at all of those I taught this acronym. Now it’s kind of silly. I mean, I keep thinking maybe I should change it, but it works.
So the acronym is called Spasm. Spasm. It stands for sort, purge, assign homes, set limits, and maintain. These steps literally work. So start using these in all the different areas of your life.
Now I’ve never changed it because I kind of think, well, it’s memorable. Next time your muscle spasms or you get that little eye twitch that happens because of a muscle up there, I’m assuming then you will remember, oh, those are the steps to organizing. I also think our homes, our brains, our digital computer, our closets, and anything that’s overcluttered would be having a spasm. So that’s how I think about this acronym. So let’s go step by step through the five steps.
And then I’m going to give you a bunch of examples. I love when podcasters give examples. So I’m going to try to do this as much as I can. The first step is to sort. We always sort first.
And this is because it’s easier. We don’t have to make decisions, we just stick it into a category. When I say we don’t have to make decisions, we don’t have to make those hard decisions about, should I keep it? Should I get rid of it? Where should I put it?
We’re just sorting into categories. You get to make up what categories you sort into. Just like the last episode, we chose five header categories for our business files to be sorted into. We just get to choose and maybe as we’re sorting, we’re going to notice we need another one. So just make another one.
Keep sorting. This step I want you to work on as fast as you can. Don’t stop and think about it. Don’t look at it and get caught up in all the memories. Just sort as fast as you can.
The next step. The P stands for Purge. I remember one time helping a client organize her closet. If I would have went in there and held up a short sleeve white shirt, she would have said, oh, of course, keep that because that’s my shirt that I wear all the time. I wear short sleeve white shirts a lot.
When we sorted, we found 19 short sleeve white shirts. So I think she realized, maybe I don’t need 19. Another example of why we sort first is I worked with a couple on their storage room and one of the first things we pulled out was a little humidifier. They both were like, oh, there’s the humidifier. Well, when we finished emptying out the storage room and sorting into categories.
There were five humidifiers in a pile and they could not believe it. First of all, and it was easy to make decisions than when they saw all five of them in one place because one was the broken one, one was the one their parents had brought into town, one was their favorite one. And the other two they really weren’t sure if they were old ones or where exactly they came from. So they knew, of course, they wanted to keep their favorite one. That’s one of the tools that I teach is using the favorites method.
So when you’re sorted into a pile and you go back into that pile, what are your favorite things from it, the ones you use all the time? So let’s say you’re sorting your office space and we sorted everything from the closet into office supplies, books, training workbooks, and whatever else there’s in there. And you go back through each pile to purge. And you go to the office supply category and you look at it and you think, okay, there are three staplers. Well, which is my favorite stapler?
Which is the one that I go to first, the one that I love to use? That’s the one you would keep for sure. You’d set that aside, you know you’re going to keep that, and then you can consider letting go of the rest of them. But you’re going to purge each individual pile as we talked about last week. You’re going to go back through now that you have all your sorting done, you’re going to go back through each of those main header categories and you’re going to purge.
You’re going to say, okay, first of all, what are the ones, the files, the things that I use the most? If you’re currently working on a funnel, of course, you would keep those things. Absolutely, for sure. If you have a program that you’re running people through right now those are the things you would keep for sure. Those are your favorites.
Then you can go back through the other things. The next step. So sort and purge. Now that you know what you’re keeping, the next step is to assign homes. Logically, where would you think to look for it?
Ask yourself, if I needed this flashlight, where would I think to look for it? If I’m going to schedule this task on my calendar, where would I think to look for it? Where does it make the most sense? How can I fit it in a home on my calendar where it makes the most sense? So assign homes and you can label, if it’s like your physical space, your office.
A lot of people have sent in that they want answers and help to organize the physical space of their office, especially paper. So we’re going to do episodes on those things too. But assigning homes and putting labels on it first so you can remember. But the rest of the people that use that space also need to know where things go and need help remembering. So labels are an excellent way to help with that.
And then set limits. So sort, purge, assign homes, and then set limits. Now this is the stage where everyone usually goes to Target, buys cute baskets, or goes to do. You guys go to TJ. Maxx and look at their planners and they have just the cutest planners.
Or you see an ad on your Instagram and you see something really cute type of organizing help, and you want to order it right away because you think that the product or the container is going to help. You don’t do anything until you get to step four, which is set limits. This is going to help you contain the things that you kept. Now you know where they’re going to live because you’ve assigned them a home. And now you think, okay, what do I need to help contain them?
What do I need to set some limits on myself? So this could be a bookshelf in your office. It could be dividers in a drawer. Once the limit is set with a container, with a divider, with a shelf, then you know that’s your trigger. When that gets full, it triggers you to go back through the steps.
So that’s why I call it setting a limit and it keeps it contained. But remember, don’t do this step until you get to the fourth step. Sort, purge, assign homes, and then set limits. Now you know the size of the container you need the divider, you need the bookshelf, and the desk you want to order. And the final step is to maintain.
You’re going to maintain all this work that you just put into it. So let’s think about our digital files. We have them all in the home they’re going to live in. We’ve gone back through and purged. We’ve set limits on the subcategories with file folders.
And now how do we maintain it? The secret to maintaining it is to tie it to something that you already do. What do you already do in your office, on your computer? Maybe you open it at the same time. Maybe you leave to go to lunch.
Maybe you write an email every week. You could tie it to that. After you schedule your email, you’re going to go in and clean up all your digital files. You’re going to maintain. You’re going to put things back where they belong.
You’re going to make any new folders that are needed. You’re going to delete anything that you can. But maintaining is best done when you tie it to something you already do. For example, paper. Let’s say you have physical paper files in a file cabinet.
The best time to maintain those files is when you do your taxes. Because we do our taxes every year. And you can just tack on an hour to go through your digital files to get those purged cleaned up, to get any loose paper put away. And that’s what you would do yearly. You can set some other maintenance-type things regularly, monthly or weekly, whatever works for you, whatever you decide to do.
So the first example and we kind of talked about this a little bit throughout this episode, but when we do our digital files, we do digital files. We use the steps. But I start out by giving you the categories that you’re going to sort into. So we kind of work on the categories we’re sorting into. Then we sort.
Then we go back through each category to purge. We might decide to assign homes into subfolders. We set limits using these subfolders. And then we maintain.
We have to put in a system that helps us maintain those files. Another example, let’s look at your closet. Because I bet all of us have a closet that we use. We can all relate to this. So we’re going to use these steps.
The first thing is to sort. The other day I got so tired of my closet being so full and the season is changing. And so I decided, okay, I had a couple of hours on Saturday, free, so I’m going to run up there and do this. I pulled everything out of my closet. And as I pulled it out, I put it into huge piles on my bed.
Shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, tank tops, jackets, and just put them in piles all around the bed. Then I went back through each pile and I purged. I looked at each item and I tried to get rid of as much as I could. Then I assigned a home. So when I finished that particular pile, I brought the short sleeve shirts into the closet and assigned them a space on the rod.
When I finished my jeans, I put them in a space on the shelf in my closet. So you just keep going through each category purging and do that by remember choosing your favorites. Of course, I put all my short sleeve work shirts hanging on cute velvet hangers in the front of my closet where I can get to them on a daily basis. So I assigned them a home and then I set limits. What is the limit?
First, my limit is the size of the rod. I don’t want to have more clothes than fit on my closet rod and the size of the shelf. But one of the limits I love in a closet is the dividers on the shelf. They’re clear shelf dividers. I’ll put a link in the show notes.
They’re clear shelf dividers that slide onto the shelf and they divide your categories and kind of contain them. They keep them in a nice straight pile for you to divide on the shelf. And I have those on all my shelves. And then finally maintain. How do we want to maintain it?
A great thing to tie clothing like your closet to is the seasons changing. So whenever the seasons change, you’re going to edit your closet. You’re going to go back through these steps, sort, purge, assign home, set limits, and maintain. The next example is a project. You are going to do an organizing project.
You sort all the steps, anything you can think of down on paper. You write all the steps down. Then you go back through all the steps and you can sort them into categories like is this the first phase, the second phase, the third phase, what do I need to do prior to starting the project? Then you go to the second step, which is to purge. So as you look at all the steps, is there something you could delegate?
So when we’re thinking of a project or time or tasks, I like to think of whether could we delay the task. Could we delete the task or could we delegate the task? And again, even before you think that, pick out your favorite, like, what do you absolutely want to do? What’s your favorite thing to do in your business that you don’t want to delegate, delete, or delay? You want to do that task.
So circle those or star those and then delegate, delete, delay any other ones you can, any other steps. And then you have what you’re going to keep. You have what you need to do. You’re going to assign them homes on your calendar. What day are you going to work on that?
When is the deadline? How do you fit all those things into your calendar? And then the setting limits part is choosing a time, a time limit. I’m going to work on that for 1 hour. I’m going to work on this for 15 minutes.
I’m not going to research for four weeks. I’m going to research in an hour and a half, and then I’m going to get to the next step. So set a limit on the time you’re going to spend on each of the tasks and then maintain it. So maintaining a project might look like checking in at the end of every week and updating the calendar. Does it all make sense?
Are you on track for time? Do you need to make any adjustments? So that’s how using these steps works with a project. We use these steps to plan our month in Organized Life Academy. We plan our month every first or second day of the month.
We write out all we want to accomplish. Then, delete, delay, delegate, choose our favorites, and then assign them times on our calendars. Finally, set the limits, and then we check in weekly to make sure we’re on track to make any adjustments that we need to make. This is so good. These steps work for everything.
So spasm. Next time you have a little muscle spasm, your eye twitches, I want you to think of this. I want you to think of the Organized Coach podcast and how you are going to organize it. What’s an area in your home, in your life, in your business, that you want to organize this week, this month? If you need help with that if you really feel like you are missing what it takes to get organized, what it takes to organize your tasks in your business, what it takes to go through a program and implement.
Maybe there’s just that’s not a skill you’ve developed, or you feel like because you have ADHD or because you haven’t been taught that you’re just not finding success in this area. This is an area I help my clients with, helping them organize and use these steps and practice these skills to get to the goals that they have. So if that’s you, you can schedule a call with me to find out if that would work for us to work together, that call link is simplysquaredaway/appointments. So that’s different than my digital organizing call (that is simplysquaredaway/call).
If you want to work together to organize your calendar, your tasks, to get goals accomplished, that sort of thing. It’s simplysquaredaway/appointments. Talk to you next time on The Organized Coach podcast. Thanks for listening to the episode. Please share this episode with your coaching bestie and tag me on Instagram at @tracyhoth.
And of course, I would be so grateful if you could subscribe and leave a written review on Apple podcasts. It’s the number one way you can thank me. To thank you, go grab the file naming formula cheat sheet and watch the workshop replay three secrets to organizing your digital files. Both are linked in the show notes. Until next time, have a beautiful week.