After my accident last year, the one where I tore all the muscles off the bones in my foot, my podiatrist banned me from running for months. I had been training to run the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Race, and being told I couldn’t run was frustrating. I spent a lot of time grumbling to myself as I hobbled around the house in my cast.
The months passed, my cast went away, I did some low-impact physical therapy, and eventually got the go-ahead to start exercising again from my doctor. I took a few more months off for good measure (a.k.a. laziness), but finally returned to the gym when the weather got cooler. In addition to the accident, being away from running for close to a year took its toll on my body. I went from running 10 miles in 1 hour and 17 minutes to jogging-walking 10 miles in 2 hours and 32 minutes.
Over the past couple weeks, my time has been improving, but it is slow going (very, very slow going). One thing I’ve started doing again is tracking my distances and times to see my progression. Since my improvement is so gradual, it would be easy to miss what little advancements I’m making. I won’t be winning any races in the near future (if ever, I’m not yet certain how my injury will affect me over the longterm), but I like seeing the charts showing I’m at least not getting slower.
Tracking your progress isn’t a new concept, and it’s certainly not limited to showing running time improvements. A number of us have to do it for work, to learn if certain endeavors are beneficial to our goals. We took tests in school to determine what information we had acquired over the course of a unit of study. Some people track their gas mileage to see what they can do to improve their fuel efficiency. The systems we use to track our progress also don’t need to be new — your eyes, a digital camera, a pad of paper, a writing utensil, and maybe a program on your computer or application on your phone.
If you’re looking for motivation to keep you working on an uncluttering and organizing project, consider tracking your projects. I’ve found it to be easily done and very rewarding. You take a picture of an area in its cluttered and disorganized state and this image allows you to see how much you improve an area over time. This is an especially good idea if you’re doing only a small piece of the project each day. Keeping a journal or a list of notes about work you do in an area of your home or office can have the same impact. It’s easy to forget where you started when you don’t have a reference point, so keeping track of your work is great motivation to keep you going.
I don’t know why, but when you know you’re keeping track of your uncluttering and organizing, you feel motivated to work on the project. You develop a desire to see the “before” and “after” images side-by-side, with a drastic difference between the two.
Have you ever considered tracking your uncluttering and organizing projects? Did you benefit from seeing how you progressed over time? Share your experiences in the comments.