STYLE Savvy: Small Things

"STYLE Savvy: Small Things" by Lisa Hess (

Via Flickr (2013), All rights reserved.

Time flies when a strategy is working.

In preparation for this post, I scrolled back to see how long it’s been since I adopted my “Big 3” approach. Last week? Last month?


My surprise over this discovery told me that clearly, the novelty hasn’t worn off. And, when it comes to organization, that can be a good thing. Novelty can prompt excitement and optimism, two things that are necessary for turning a new idea into a habit.

For me, the Big 3 has brought about palpable changes not only in organization, but in attitude as well. By prioritizing, I’m getting the most important things checked off my list. In addition, I’m more aware of what I’m getting accomplished, which turns my focus to successes rather than all of the organizing that inevitably remains.

And so one night a couple of weeks ago, as I stood in my office, taking in all the evidence of my drop and run organizational style, I decided to give the little things their due. Tackling just a few of them, along with a few of the niggling things that didn’t make the Big 3 list (but certainly would if left undone long enough), would create visible progress. And, it would give me that always satisfying feeling of  checking several things off the list as well.

5 things. Just five small things.

At the bottom of the page of my desk calendar where I note each day’s Big 3, I wrote “Small Things,” leaving space beneath the words for tally marks. Then, after scanning the desk and the living room, I went to work.

Within an hour, I’d not only cleared space, but also created a home and a new system for filing some of the papers that had been sitting out, homeless. If I’d stuck to clearing off my desk, I could’ve been finished in 15 minutes, but the papers on the counter were bothering me, so I tackled them as well. In short order, I managed to clear space on two surfaces and use a style-appropriate tool (an accordion folder) to set up a long-term solution. Even better, two weeks later, new papers that belong in that folder are going away, not just getting plopped down on my desk–no small feat for a drop and run girl like me.

Admittedly, none of this is ground-breaking, but it does illustrate a basic organizational conundrum for those of us with busy lives. We need to keep both the big things and the small things under control. And, without a strategy for doing just that, it’s easy for one or the other to get neglected.

But sometimes, all it takes is a little novelty to kick-start the process.

Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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