Sunday, August 05, 2007

What is “Organized” Anyway?

What does it mean to be organized? Our favorite definition from Webster’s Unabridged English Dictionary is “to arrange advantageously for oneself.” It does not say that organized is everything in a certain place in a pristine orderly fashion. It implies that there are different ways to achieve organization and the main principle involves the well-being of the person getting organized. It also takes into consideration that the system used must meet the requirement of the system user.

Those principles are at the heart of every consultation we do for our clients. They should also be the guiding principles for do-it-yourself organization projects. Ask yourself these questions when you begin to organize a closet, a bookshelf, your calendar or any other aspect of your life.

  1. What am I trying to achieve with this project?
    Example: I want to find my clothes within five minutes each morning
    I want my expenses and receipts to be ready when I do my taxes
    I want to answer my e-mail within 24 hours
  2. What will the finished project look like?
    If you cannot envision the finished project list as many attributes as you can think of.
  3. What steps do I need to take to make that happen?
    Break the project down into small outcomes and identify the tasks to achieve the outcome. They can be as simple as establishing a system for hanging clothes or scheduling time on a calendar to craft responses.
  4. What will it take for me to maintain the system I envision and will I be able to maintain it?
    This very important question is often overlooked in the excitement of getting organized. A beautiful shoe rack may seem just the think when you are planning, but, if you know that you are not going to carefully replace you shoes everyday, an alternative may be easier to maintain.
  5. Does this really do what I expected it to do?
    This question comes after your project is complete and you have tested it for a few weeks. If it has problems, change the system until it works for you.

Good luck getting organized and remember it is supposed to “arrange advantageously” for YOU!

Beverly and Kristen

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