If you get organized you will know the difference.

It's a basic need we have. A need to get organized to feel everything is alright. Have you ever held a infant who is distraught, crying her heart out? Do you recall what you had to communicate to the child in order for her to calm down and stop crying? Most certainly you had him/her understand that everything was alright. No worries. You had it all under control. With that you gave the child a sense of being safe and secure.

What a grand feeling that is, and from it we can express ourselves, we can develope and give love. Already as infants we know of this, how important and significant it is to feel safe and secure. Later on as grown-ups we feel so much better when we get organized in our lives. The order we create when organizing our lives gives us control which in turn gives us feelings of safety.

The little child expresses her discomfort completely not knowing one can do otherwise. As we grow up we learn to surpress, deny or disguise our reactions if we believe they are signs of weakness. As if it was a weakness to want to feel safe! That very precaution is what has prevented our rase from extinction. We're not talking peanuts here!

Nevertheless, some parts of our lives are more easily organized than others. The things we usually need to get organized are time, spaces and responsibilities.

Start by taking a (longer) moment and think through your normal week and write down everything you do during that week. Some things you do more than once; make one mark for every time during a normal week. It's quite an interesting exercise and it will lay a good ground for your continued effort to get organized. Next you should look at one particular area you wish to start with. Here's a list of areas suitable for putting in order.

  • To keep your home clean and in order. (time, responsibility and space)
  • How to organize your closets. (space)
  • Getting your home office space working effectively. (space)
  • The balancing act of supporting your family. (time and responsibility)
  • Teaching your children to take responsibility. (time (and patience!))
  • Obligations to your relatives. (time)
  • Your daily, never ending, chores. (time and responsibility)
  • The key to your health -Your Own Time. (responsibility and time)

Of course, you would want to prolong that list once you realize how smoothe your life becomes as you improve your organizing skills. However, please note, that you can overdo the organizing too, quite easily in fact. There has to be a healthy balance between being organized and being free and spontaneous.

When you have chosen which area to get organized first, you might want to begin by writing down most everything you do under a normal week in that area. Use the list you did for all activities, suggested above. The list usually puts a whole new perspective to what you actually do with your life. Then on another sheet of paper: Draw a horizontal line between the upper and the lower half of the paper and then divide the lower half into two with a vertical line in the middle. Write "Doing today" at the top of the upper half of the paper, and in that square jot down what you do during a week in terms of organizing or not organizing. At the top of the left lower square write "Delete, Delay or Delegate. Consider if some actions in the "Doing today"-box can be done by someone else or at another time, or perhaps not at all. Write those in the left lower box. And at the top of the last square to the right, write "Add". There you write what you wish or think you could or should do or, do more of so you would feel more successful in that particular area.
This will get you an overview that you may not have had before. It's always best to zoom out before working the details. With this overview you understand what you need to focus on. Whether your goal is to have a clean house or to have time for a social life beside work (and family) or to improve your health you need to

  • be clear of your goal
and from that consider
  • how much time you have on your hands
  • what actions you need to take and
  • how much time they require

You will notice that some goals will demand both time and responsibility or time and space or in some cases all three, and that you will have a tendency to more easily let go of one than the others. If you are a leader type of person you will gladly take on responsibility but be less interested in giving away any of the other. Are you a person with a not so strong self confidence you'll reject to take responsibility but offer both your time and space to please someone else. To become aware and acknowledge such tendencies is a good beginning for building healthy relationships and feeling good about your own person.

Back to the three lists. You probably already have taken some decisions after having filled out the lower left box. There are always things we can let someone else do and several that won't have to be done at all.

If you like sitting in front of the TV and cannot motivate yourself enough to get organized; you should throw the remote control in the wast bin. I'm not joking. Just make sure it's not one with messy waste in it, like the one in the kitchen. You'll want to be able to use the remote again another day. Go ahead and do it now. I'll wait. Done? Good. It's a strange feeling you have in your body now, right?. It's the feeling of being in control. Now you can decide which of the things on your lists is most important and act. And remember to pick up the remote from the waste bin later ;)

The information in the three boxes tells you what to change, improve or let go of in order to get organized. You proceed similarily with every area you want to have control over.

If your goal is to have a neat closet or work space it is not your actions to sort into "Deleat, Delay or Delegate" but the things (clothes or paper) that you provide space for. I used to have a pile on my desk with papers, letters, magazines and all sorts of things actually, that I had decided were in one way or another interesting to me. I had a similar pile of clothes in my closet with sweaters, trousers and blouses that I was fond of but never wore. The very day I decided to get organized those two piles were quickly sorted into "Throw away, Give away or Save in another place (a box in the basement)". What a relief, and I had more space for the things I use every day.

One last valuable tip for you when getting organized is to not try to change so much around how you already do things. Enthusiastically we may try to impose some grand new ways that we only manage to maintain for a short period. Then suddenly the idea to get organized appears to be more effort than gain. Since habits can be very hard to change and if your way of doing things is comfortable for you/your family then adjust your "new order" to those routines, instead of the other way around or at least take only small steps in the beginning.
You can do it!

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