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Rightsize Your Life & Be Better Organized

holisitc health concept of zen stones. concept body, mind, soul, spirit

Is your life so filled up that it can feel like it’s overflowing with responsibilities from work and home? Consider taking a step back and rightsizing your life. Give yourself space to be mindfully present. Very often, we spend so much time moving from activity to activity that we fail to fully engage with that which we are doing. We’re just getting it done and moving on.

Busy Days

Our days are busy. There’s no denying that. Everyone, from stay-at-home moms/dads to service providers and corporate executives, is busy. We start early in the morning and end late at night. When do we relax? No wonder we are stressed and have little patience when things don’t go as we planned. Perhaps we’re taking on too much. Reduce your stress level and be better organized by reading these suggestions to create some new habits.

Reduce your to-dos

Think about your responsibilities. Can you rightsize them so that they better fit with your life? In other words, reduce your responsibilities to a level that you can handle?  Have you said ‘yes’ to something that you wish you hadn’t? Can you rethink your timeline for completing a project? Consider breaking the project down into smaller steps. The Japanese have a philosophy/action plan called kaizen. It is a scientific method of making improvements a little at a time (also referred to as PDCA). You make a Plan, Do the plan, Check your results, Act – refine the plan and work from there. This creates consistent movement forward without taking on too much at any one time.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that you do, think about delegating some tasks. Can someone else in your family help with chores like taking out the garbage, sorting and recycling the mail, doing dishes, or doing laundry?


Back in the day, the workday ended when you left work. Stores closed in the late afternoon and did not reopen until mid-morning the next day. You couldn’t go shopping after work. You went home and relaxed. Sure, some people brought home papers to read. As a kindergarten teacher, I often made samples for my school children to follow and I also cut out hundreds of shapes for bulletin boards. However, if someone wanted to reach me, they called my landline (although we didn’t call it that) and if I wasn’t home, they left a message. I could choose when to respond to the message. I often waited until the next day. Imagine that! We didn’t have the instant communication that we have now.

Being so connected to anyone and everyone adds to the feeling that if someone (particularly if it’s work related) reaches out, you must respond as soon as possible. This adds to your stress level.  Consider rightsizing your life by turning off your phone or at least putting it on silent in the evening. Find time to unplug.

Think about yourself

We spend so much time taking care of those we love that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Make a list of small things that you can do for yourself that make you feel happy. Here are a couple of questions to get you started. Do you like to read magazines? Take a 10 to 15-minute break to read an article. Does taking a bath appeal to you? Maybe you remember the Calgon bath ads where the woman is transported to another world when she steps into a Calgon bubble bath. Here’s a link in case you don’t remember the ad. Taking time for yourself so that you can relax allows you to be more in control when faced with challenges.

Get more sleep

It’s a fact that we, I’m including myself in this, generally do not get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that most adults should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night. I’m lucky if I get 6 hours of sleep a night. How about you?

Our brains need to filter through all the information we’ve taken in during the day and file it so that we can retrieve it later. When we don’t pay attention to the amount of good sleep, we’re getting our brains don’t function as well as they could.

How can you help yourself in this regard? Think about your evening routine. Decide when you can turn off your television and other electronic devices. Have some quiet time before your turn in for the night. Rightsize your life by being as consistent as you can be in the time you go to bed and the time you get up. I always thought I could make up the sleep I lost during the week by sleeping late on the weekend. It turns out this is not true, you cannot. Read more about that here.

Manage your time

You know we can’t manage time. The clock ticks endlessly. We can only manage what we do in the amount of time we have. Here’s a blank schedule copied (with permission) from Dr. Neil Fiore. Fill in the time slots with everything you want to and must do in a day. See where you can schedule breaks for yourself. It’s much easier to manage the demands made on your time when you can literally see how you spend your time. This will help you be better organized.

Take a few minutes to think about your life and answer these questions. What’s important to you and your family? Where can you do a little rightsizing in your life?  What can you reduce or delegate? When does it make sense for you to unplug? What can you do to take better care of yourself? How are you spending your time?

If you’re in Atlanta and would like some guidance to rightsize your life, please reach out to me. I’d be honored to help.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.


  • I think the idea of “busy” has become a badge of sorts. And it’s not great. We may think it is, but being overly scheduled leaves us feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I like to begin my day by meditating. It helps me feel grounded and calmer throughout my day because I’ve taken care of myself first. I end each day by getting a good night’s sleep. It helps me fully relax and reset for the next day. If everything gets crazy in between (and there are “those” days,) at least, I know that I begin and end each day with positive, self-renewing intentional activities. That self-care piece is essential, especially in this era of “busy.”

  • Great ideas. A couple of years ago I refocused by ending our relationship with cable TV. Now we don’t waste time channel surfing. We still watch TV but it’s much more mindful. I never sit for more than an hour. This has given me so much time back in my day. I spend more time reading and listening to educational offerings.
    Lately I’m working on reducing my to-do list. Trying to delegate or just say no to things. I am happy to find more “down time” in my schedule.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Janet. I’m always a much happier person when my day includes a little down time.

  • Seana Turner says:

    As a culture we have definitely glorified busy. Still, many people are trying to be less busy and struggling to figure that out. I believe that the biggest thing you can do is say “no” more often. This is difficult, as people often pressure us to say yes (social pressure, parental pressure, professional pressure, etc.) Still, this is a muscle worth strengthening. We have a right to decline what we can’t accommodate. Someone once suggested trying the phrase, “I’ll say yes if you are okay with someone doing a terrible job and complaining about it.” It’s a thought!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I love that suggested phrase – I agree saying ‘no’ is hard to do and worth practicing.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I shout “Calgon, take me away!” way too often in my old life when I worked in television. I was the “before” picture of the stresses and lack of self-care you describe, and I like to think my life is closer to right-sized nowadays. Diane, your wise pieces always bring together the research and the experiential to cover all the bases.