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5 Lies You Are Being Told About Getting Organized

Apr 8, 2008
1. Someone else can come "make" you organized.

Don't get me wrong, the services of a professional organizer are useful and sometimes necessary in order to get you on the right track. But hiring a professional organizer will not, ultimately, change you. And changing yourself and how you organize yourself is the only way you are going to get any kind of organizational system to work for you. You can go ahead and hire a professional organizer to come in and get your life organized for you but it will fall apart unless you change how you think about being organized.

So how do you change how you think about organization? A good way to start is with one part of your routine. Let's say that one part of your home that drives you crazy is your "to-be-filed" tray. It seems to be constantly overflowing and out of control. For the next 21 days, commit to doing your filing every day. Stick to this commitment for the full 21 days. If you miss a day, start back at day one the next day. Once you've reached that 21 day mark, congratulations, you've just made a new habit and in the process, changed how you think about organization.

2. Your goal is to get fully organized.

If you're aiming to get your life fully organized, you're in for a rude awakening. Life does not come in perfectly organized little packages so stop trying to force it to fit. Just like there is no point in your life where everything is perfect and going exactly how you want it, there is no point in your organization journey where everything is going to look exactly how you want it to. Just like life is a work in progress, so is organization.

So what does this mean for you? Be patient with yourself and accept that your life will not always look the way YOU want it to look. Accept that there will be chaos in your life and that sometimes there will be a whole lot more of it than you'd like there to be. You will never be fully organized in every area of your life. And thank goodness because life would be awful boring if that were the case.

3. There is a "right" way to be organized.

Getting organized does not come in a "one-size-fits-all" package. What works for me may not work for you. Organization is about creating a system that fits your needs and helps you save time, money and energy for other things in your life - the important things like spending more time with those you love. There is no "right" way to organize your life. There is no one system that works for everyone. You have to find a way of organizing that fits you, your lifestyle and your needs.

So how do you get organized in a way that works for you? Bottom line: experiment. Try out different methods, systems, tools and see what works for you. Would using a computer help you get organized or are you more of an on paper kind of person? Do you want to tackle your organization project all at once or would you rather handle it in pieces? Try out different ways of getting organized to see what works for you.

4. It is easy to get organized.

If it were easy, you would have already done it by now. Are there techniques and methods that make it easier to get done than others? Of course there are. Is it easy to start an organization project? Yes. Is it easy to finish it? No. You're human. You get side-tracked and distracted. We all have the best of intentions to get ourselves organized but often lack the follow-through to see it through to the finish.

So how do you make yourself finish your organization project? Attach some pain to not getting it finished. Selfish little creatures that we are, we are often more motivated by avoiding pain than by just about anything else in our lives. Attach some serious pain to not getting that project done and you've just upped the ante considerably for yourself. And make it motivating pain, the kind of pain your parents caused you when they wouldn't let you go to the concert of your favorite band because you didn't mow the yard.

5. The way you are organized right now is wrong.

If the piles of paper lining your desk work for you, go with them. If you have a system that works for you, don't change it. People often get tied to "conventional" ways of getting or being organized. Task lists, organizers are all the traditional methods of getting yourself organized. If you organize with stacks and piles, go with it. Organization is about being able to put your hands on what you need when you need it. If your organization method works for you but doesn't look pretty, who cares? Your method isn't wrong. It's just different. Embrace your uniqueness.

Just like you're in charge of your own life, you're in charge of your own organizational path. Don't let someone else tell you how you "have" to be organized.

So let's summarize:

·Change how you think about organization. Develop a new 21-day habit.
·Accept that you will never be fully organized and learn to embrace a certain level of chaos in your life.
·Experiment to find out what organizational method works best for you.
·Attach some pain to not getting your organization project finished.
·If you have an unconventional way of being organized, embrace it and stop trying to fix what isn't broken.
About the Author
Jill Borash is an organization professional with over 10 years of organizing experience. She puts that experience to work for you at YourHomeIsOrganized.com with home organization tips, techniques, products and services.
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