Over the last nine years, I’ve averaged 1.4 moves/year (i.e. almost as much time packing, moving, and unpacking as simply settling into a place). No matter how many times you move, it’s not easy.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered a few time coaching strategies to reduce moving stress:
Start a List
As soon as you decide you’re moving, a million little to-dos from talk to your banker to pack grandma’s vase in bubble wrap will start to float around in your head. This can lead to two not-so-helpful responses:
- Manic running around in an attempt to do way more than you can do in a night or weekend.
- Paralyzing despair that you can never get everything done so you might as well flip through channels or flit through Facebook for hours.
May I suggest this much more helpful alternative: Create a list in a word processing document, your phone, or PDA where you write down everything that comes to mind.
As you add to this list, categorize to-dos by date and/or by milestone. For instance, if you know you need to have your apartment cleaned out by September 20, you can put that task under that specific date on the list. But if you know you need to talk to your insurance agent after you’ve decided where you will live, you can categorize that action under the heading “Once I know where I am living.” To keep yourself on track, set aside specific times each week when you will review the list and move forward on what you can accomplish right now. Everything that you can’t do until a future designated time or milestone stays out of your mind and on the list.
Block Off Your Schedule
No matter how well organized you are, unexpected delays and activities will happen. To stay on the safe side, block off one to two weeks before and after your move to focus solely on packing and moving activities in your time outside of work. I know it sounds extreme, but it’s critical that you limit lunch dates, sporting games, TV time, networking events, and almost everything else that’s even somewhat optional from your schedule. Try to avoid planning personal and professional meetings during that time frame, and if necessary, put up out of office messages that tell people your response will be delayed.
It’s so much better to give yourself extra time and space before and after your move than to freak out on your friends when you’re no where near done and the moving van is pulling up or to spend months getting settled because you didn’t unpack using the initial post-moving momentum. (Trust me-this works!)
You can move alone, but I don’t advise it. If you’re not having professional movers pack you up, ask friends & family to come over and help you pack or at the very least assist with lugging boxes. If you choose the former, make it into a movie and pizza night that happens to include boxes and packing tape in place of a tub of popcorn in their hands.
If you need help the day of the move, I recommend contacting a large number of people about a month in advance and then sending out reminders, two weeks, one week, and a day before. Offer free food and drink and express your undying devotion and appreciation for their service to you. (Believe me–you’ll be so happy you did!)
Also, if you’re planning on renting a truck, check out Penske! When I did my research, I found that they had much less expensive truck rentals than other companies (especially if you sign up to be a AAA member). Plus the staff helped me with all of the timing of picking up and dropping off my truck and car trailer in the most efficient manner.
I had such an amazing experience with Penske that I entered their sweepstakes with a story and photo of my journey from Des Moines, Iowa, to Ann Arbor, Michigan. And I won $500! To check out my story, and find out how Penske can help you have a stress-free move, go to: Share Your Move
Have a brilliant day! Thank you Penske!
P.S.–Also, you can find other fun photos of my moving adventure in this Facebook album: Click Here
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is a key note speaker, trainer, and does phone and e-mail coaching on time management for work/life brilliance™ through her exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. Inc magazine, NBC, and The Chicago Tribune are just a few of the places where Elizabeth has appeared, and she’s happy to offer you tips on savvy scheduling and time management for work/life balance. You can find out more at http://www.RealLifeE.com/coaching or http://www.ScheduleMakeover.com