Monday, April 28, 2008

Keys to Successful Organizing

Have you tried to organize and just couldn’t complete the job? Or have you organized a space only to have it return to the same muddle it was in originally? That has happened to most of us. And when it happens we blame it on lack of time, lack of energy, lack of discipline. It is definitely true that staying organized takes a little time, a little energy and a little discipline, but most often the reason for failure is the wrong motivation and/or the wrong system.

The best reason to get organized is that doing it gives us something we want.

Each of us is different and we want different things from the life. We may want time to achieve business goals or time to spend with family, or, in the case of young parents, time to sleep and bathe. It helps to frame our goal for organization in terms of what we want to achieve. It might be:

  • “I will organize my paperwork so that I can have information at my fingertips to impress my clients,” or
  • “ I will organize my kitchen so we can have family meals together in a pleasant environment,” or
  • “I will organize the bathroom so I can take a shower and get dressed in less than ten minutes”, or
  • “I will organize my garage so I can park my car there and avoid going outside in bad weather”

If we consciously formulate the goal with what we want to achieve for ourselves, it is easier to stick with it. We get a return on our investment of time and energy.

Once the goal is formulated, it is time to pick the system for achieving it. The system needs to suit how we intuitively deal with storing and sorting. Those of us who find joy in color-coded, uniform rows should chose a different system from those of us who consider it organized if clutter is out of sight and we can find what we are looking for in less than five minutes. The point is to find something that works for you and achieves your goal. Getting organized should help you save energy and find time. If your system requires more time than you can manage, it is time to find a new system.

I have two friends (actually I have more than two, but I only need a pair for this illustration.) Both of them manage to pay their bills on time and deal with appointments and invitations, but they have very different methods for handling mail. One of them sorts her mail everyday and puts it in a mail organizer according to the date she needs to respond with an action. The other dumps his mail in a basket and sorts it twice a week and handles responses. They both feel good about their ability to manage their mail. It doesn’t pile up and what needs to happen happens. They each have an organization system that works for them.

So when you organize, do it to benefit yourself and do it in a way that suits your personal style.

Good luck organizing your world!

Beverly & Kristen

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