Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Too organized?

"The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for." Laura Ingalls Wilder
TOO organized? Is it even possible to be TOO organized?

Yes it is. In fact, sometimes people’s preconceived ideas about organization are as much of an obstacle to becoming organized as their disorganized habits are.

Being organized is NOT:
  • Perfectly matching containers
  • Labels printed in flawless lettering
  • Day planned to the minute
  • Floor clean enough for open-heart surgery
  • Permanently without messes or piles
  • Empty to-do lists (We wish!)
Being organized IS:
  • Developing systems and personal habits that make it easier and faster to do what has to be done
  • Developing systems that make it easy for you to find what you need among the things you have (and make it easy to direct others as to where to look if they have to find something for you).
  • Having a place for your things with logical reasons as to why that place is the best place.
  • Developing habits of maintaining the afore-mentioned systems
Part of becoming organized is that you learn to develop your own system to accomplish the goal you are aiming for. Staying organized is about using and maintaining the system you’ve developed as you go about your life getting things done.

In short, for everything you do as part of your system, there has to be a reason for it that benefits you and makes your life better in some way. Your system has to save you future pain and anguish for it to be a good system, otherwise it is just not worth it.

For example, your filing system has to make it easy for you to put papers away and find them again. If your filing system makes it hard for you to find your papers, then your system isn’t working and you need to figure out a new one that is better.

Organized people make just as much mess as anyone else, but they allow themselves time to clean up their mess on a frequent enough basis so that mess doesn’t become a permanent environment.

If a person becomes reluctant to do a project because of the mess that it will produce, there may be a problem; organization is being used as an excuse to avoid life, rather than engage in it.

Carrying a calendar and writing appointments in it is meant to help us keep our commitments. Keeping commitments helps you nurture important personal and professional relationships. Forgetting commitments damages relationships by destroying trust, and accumulating bad consequences can cause a lot of emotional pain.

But if calendaring is only used to schedule in things that you believe you should do but you’re not really committed to, then the calendar is being used as a tool to beat yourself up.  

Organizing tools are not meant to be used to guilt yourself into doing things; if they are used that way, they will fail. Organizing tools and systems are supposed to empower you to deal better with life the way it is and focus on living in a way that really matters to you.

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