I have two questions for you. How do you feel about yourself? How well organized are you?
Notice that if you feel fairly well organized then you probably feel rather good about yourself, i.e. your self-esteem is probably high. In fact, if you are reading personal development books, listening to audio programs or attending seminars on personal development and self-esteem, then chances are you’re caught in a circle. You do some personal development, and you feel better, and you get on with life, but the disorganization of your life catches up with you and so you go back to doing a bunch of personal development.
Self-esteem and personal organization are essentially two sides of the same coin. The coin that opens those gateways to all success. You can focus on either of those sides separately, but in the end organization depends on self-esteem, and vice versa, self-esteem depends on getting organized in your career development and personal life. By emotionally getting involved with taking extra control of your personal areas at work and home you will start feeling proud of your surroundings, and ever more competent at getting organized. Focusing intellectually on how to get organized, and emotionally super-charging that effort for all the positive emotions that come from being organized, will boost your self-esteem. And that provides ever more fuel to get organized even more.
Self-esteem and Getting Organized create a self-supporting positive feedback mechanism. The more you improve on one of them, the more the other will improve.
Your two pronged attack is to work on both, be mindful of both, understand how they both inter-relate, and ultimately combine as two sides of the same coin. The coin that affords your every desire, and inevitably brings you all that you deserve
1. Finding Time to Organize
Finding time to organize is often a complaint used by people. In today’s society, activity is almost non-stop and it IS difficult to see where you can add yet another task to your schedule. However, there are ways, hidden pockets of time, to accomplish things. Below I cover a few of these often overlooked free periods.
FOCUS ON A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME
Rather than thinking about the enormous job at the forefront, split that mission up into controllable tasks. For instance, if you want to organize the boxes in your attic, you may think about going through one box per day, until it’s all complete.
ASK SOMEONE TO BUG YOU
Tell a close friend, relative or co-worker, what you plan to organize, and by what date. Then, merely request that person to bug you a small number of days before to see if you’ve completed it so far. A little outside inspiration is frequently an enormous help.
Make something you love to do, dependant on the achievement of today’s chore. If you promise yourself that you will not watch your favorite television program tonight, unless you work for 15 minutes on organizing your paper piles, you’re sure to get that little task completed. No cheating permitted.
DO NOT SEPARATE EACH PENDING BILL
Whatever you do, don’t put your utility bill in one folder, your car insurance bill in another folder and your membership dues bill in another. All imminent bills should be together in an envelope, pocket folder or basket so they can be paid without having to search several different places to find them.
FIT IN EXERCISE BY MULTI-TASKING
Do some calisthenics or ride a stationary bike while watching your favorite television program. Do some easy stretches, while you’re on the telephone and you’re on hold. Waiting for the washing machine or dryer to finish, or waiting for a computer file to download? Now is a great time for some sit-ups or leg lifts!
2. Initial Steps to Getting Organized
Getting organized doesn’t have to be a chore. Below are a few simple steps you can initiate right now that will start you on your way.
— Begin with messes and clutter that you see every day. Organize your kitchen, garage, and family room before your hallway closet. Once you see how nice it looks, you will want to work on the hidden areas.
— Use drawer dividers for socks, underwear, lingerie, and tiny items, to keep them separated and organized. This works well for both silverware and office supplies too.
Give everything in your house a place of its own. This way your family will know exactly where to find it and where to put it away.
— Establish one defined place in your house for storing library books, and end a house-wide hunt when it is time to read or return them.
— Hang hooks for your keys and purse at the entry to your home, so each time you walk in, you can hang them up.
— Set aside one basket for you and your partner for incoming mail, bills, and receipts and letters. This way everyone will know where these important items are when needed. Keep all important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards and medical insurance information in one folder.
— Get rid of things that are not needed any long. Expired coupons, old prescriptions, magazines you might get around to reading someday. All these take away space you could be using for items you do need and use..
You will free your mind to remember more important things like appointments and birthdays when you are organized. Be attentive about thoroughly cleaning once a month and you will find it much easier to keep up, week-by-week. An organized house does indeed help unclutter your mind.
3. Start Today
A few simple things and you will immediately feel more in control of your environment.
Everything in your home or office should have a home, a regular and suitable place where that article is usually kept. Some items that you use every day, can be on display and/or readily accessible for everyday use. Other stuff like holiday decorations or out of season garments, can be stored in an out-of-the-way area in anticipation of being required. When an object strays from its ‘home,’ it can easily be lost, therefore causing stress and frustration. Clutter build-up as you would expect occurs when items are not kept and/or returned to their homes.
You do not have to say yes to every single demand for your aid. Schedule a set quantity of time every week for chance requests. Once that time window is full, do not take any more requests for your time that week.
Do not bring your mail over to your writing desk or table where it is bound to stack up and take hours to go through later. Open it right over the recycling bin, and get rid of all uncalled for mail and inserts without more ado.
Stop wasting morning time frenetically running around like a crazy person trying to get things completed in order to get to work on time. Do whatever you can to get ready the night before. Set the breakfast table. Set out your clothing, and your kids’ clothing. Have the coffeepot launch automatically by using the timer.
Stuff that is out-of-date, washed out, out of order or otherwise unusable can frequently be discarded. If you do not want it, and you do not know anyone else who wants it, chuck it at the moment. You will be freeing your space–and your mind!
4. Baby Steps to Getting Organized
The truth is, you can possibly skyrocket your productivity at least 100% by simply organizing your belongings around your home and office. Here are some tools to help you when first embarking on your goal to organize your life.
Formulate a plan. There is nothing that is more potent to achieving your goals than having a plan to start off. A lot of people set far too broad goals when first embarking on any area of their life. In order for this plan to fly, you have to have understandable, precise goals that are well defined and written out. Very likely, you will find it most successful to set long and short term goals. For instance, your long term goal could be getting your home organized in a year’s time. Your short term goal could be getting one room in order within a month.
After you have your goals in mind, write them down on paper and put that paper in a place you can view it often. Knowing a target in your head is not enough; it needs to be in a place where you can view it often and constantly motivate you to achieve your goals.
Finally, you need to determine why you want something. It’s not enough to simply want to get organized-you need to know why you have this desire. Without wanting something whole-heartedly, it will be nearly impossible to achieve it.
5. Start Organizing
— Look at the all-over picture of your home or hire a professional organizer. Go through every room and make your mind up what it is that you want to do with that room and write it down.
–See if you can find any hidden storage areas in your room. Decide if you want to add another shelf in the closet, use the storage space on the inside of a door, maybe use under the bed storage.
— Choose organizing products you like and that make you feel good. Do you want to use Rubbermaid or are the items in a hidden area where a cardboard box will do. Using things that you like will give you a better feeling of a job-well-done.
— Consider daily activities and routines in your home. Place items where they are going to do you the most good. Something that you use on a daily basis should not be on a high shelf. The vacuum cleaner should be kept in or near the room you use it the most.
— Know why you want to get organized. Are you doing this for yourself and to make your life easier and time saving, or are you doing it because someone told you to or your neighbor is doing it? In order to do a job 100% to your liking you need to do the job right or not at all. By not having your heart into it, you will get stressed, frustrated, waste money and not have a usable time saving solution to your problem.
6. Finding Balance
Finding the balance between work and for play isn’t easy at times. We exist in a world where anyone, at almost any time, can get a hold of us. Not to mention the reality that information is coming at us from everywhere. Newspapers, TV, radio, websites, …the list can go on and on.
Finding the time to work on your relationships with others, at home or at work, is an essential part of whether life seems controllable, pleasurable and balanced. However a lot of us feel so fragmented and overwhelmed because we aren’t achieving that sense of balance.
Like most people, we never appear to have sufficient hours in the day to get everything completed. Taking the time to make creative changes in your life can really mean the difference between simply making a living and having a LIFE.
Take control of your physical environment. You can find roughly 333 more hours (Eight 40-hour weeks) in any given year by getting and staying organized. The less time you spend running around searching for things, the more time you will have for what is significant to you.
Prioritize what is in fact needed and important to you. Be “ruthless” about what you keep. You have a finite amount of space-use the “real estate” for those things you need and treasure.
Eliminate what you don’t need. Not everything has to go the way of the dumpster. Donate to a charity or sell the items and allow yourself the freedom from feeling guilty or wasteful. If you aren’t using it, chances are someone else can.
Contain things properly. Consider about where you would look for items reasonably and what type of like bits and pieces can be contained right along with them.
Schedule time to maintain your new found organized self and surroundings.
7. I’ll Do It Later
Success is not achieved out of the blue. It is a orderly, purposeful course of deciding what you want to do with your life, what you will do after you get there, and what the steps are to get you where you want to be.
Mental pictures are a means to guide you down the path of true freedom and inspiration. Procrastination is a self-defeating behavior that develops in part owing to low self-esteem and apprehension of disappointment.
A number of small jobs done over time are greatly more controllable that one big task with no end in sight. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done if you focus on one thing at a time instead of cluttering your mind with multiple tasks
When you exercise self-discipline in your environment as well as your behaviors, you will make major strides in accomplishing your goals in a shorter period of time.
No matter what is happening around you, keep your mind focused on the reward you’ll receive by reaching your goals. If people or outside forces distract you, use the power of the human mind to block out what impedes your growth and focus exclusively on the task at hand.
You will make extraordinary advancement by refusing to let others change the path you have selected. Overcoming procrastination and staying motivated is the way to lifetime success and happiness.
You’ll attain your goals quickly when you stay focused on your purpose and the rewards that will follow. Review your habits and method of thinking to settle on what you are visualizing most of the time. If your visions do not guide you in the course of accomplishing your goals, then you must change them.
8. Listing Your Way to Efficiency
Checklists are the greatest way to get organized for any occasion. Most of us make a grocery list before going to the store, why not make a list for everything else in life? The benefits greatly outweigh the time that it may take to make one. The more checklists that you make, the quicker you will get at it. Following is some general ideas for checklists:
Checklist for everyday. Start your mornings by making a list of all the things that you need to accomplish each day. Carry it with you and mark each item off when completed. This will give a great feeling of accomplishment and closure.
Household maintenance. Develop a household maintenance list divided into months Every month may have a day to change the filter on your furnace or central air unit. Check the list a few months in advance to see if you need to schedule specific maintenance people to do a job for you.
Weekly cleaning list. A weekly cleaning list should be developed and hung on the wall for everyone to see. Beside each job include the person’s name that is accountable for the job that week. Make sure they mark off the job when completed.
Car Maintenance checklist. Schedule times when you need to make appointments for an oil change and general car maintenance.
Developing checklists for your life will go a long way in reducing stress. Having a list will also make it easier to assign tasks to other people in your household. The great thing about these checklists is they can all be stored on your computer and printed out as needed. Or if you prefer, create a special binder for all of your checklists. Once you start making checklists, you will wonder how you ever lived without them.
9. Reduce the Stress
Every one of us can use a little less stress in our lives. So often we try to follow the super-human scenario of trying to be all things to all people, all of the time. What happens is we become burned out both emotionally and physically. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Grab a lot of index cards and write a specific goal on each–anything you think of that you want to do. Arrange the cards so that the goals you MOST want to attain are on top, and the less essential goals go behind. Then, write deadlines on each of your top three cards, break each goal down into mini-goals, and schedule time to achieve each of them.
Clean a bit each day. Obtain some index cards and write a cleaning task down on each. Place all of your cards in a box, and draw one each day–that’s your cleaning task. Be sure to include some FREE DAY cards in your box. If you draw one of them, you don’t have to do any cleaning for the day.
Traffic delays occur for all sorts of reasons. If you discover you can’t take your original route, you’ll have to go another way. Know your alternate routes, before you leave your home or office. This way, you’ll be able to allow for extra time.
There are very few things you can do that will only take 5 minutes or less to complete. For example, you may think it takes 5 minutes to check your e-mail, but very often, it takes 15 minutes or more. Once you get into your e-mail program, dial up, read a few letters, perhaps respond to a few, and then close your program, that original 5 minutes often is long gone.
Allow for more time than you think you’ll need.
10. Think of the Benefits
— You’ll be able to relax more. By getting organized, your stress levels will go down, and you’ll be able to live a less chaotic, more relaxed life.
— You’ll have more time for yourself. By being more efficient, like getting your projects done quicker, being able to delegate, wasting less time looking for things and being able to make faster decisions, you’ll spend less time ‘working’ and will have more time for yourself and the things you love to do.
— You’ll have more time for your loved ones. An organized person is always able to fit in time for friends and family members.
— You’ll feel good about your surroundings. Being disorganized often results in embarrassment. You may feel anxious when visitors drop by your home or office and see clutter or stuff out of place. Get organized, and you’ll forever feel excellent about your surroundings–good enough to invite people in without worries.
— You’ll be healthier. Get organized and you’ll have more than enough time to exercise and cook healthy meals for yourself and your family.
— You’ll do better professionally. An organized person gives a much better business impression than someone who can’t find a phone number, has an office piled with cardboard boxes or is always late for appointments.
— You’ll save more. Money, that is. When you’re organized, you’ll always know what you have, before you buy more.
— You’ll accomplish more. When you’re disorganized, there are always barriers that hold you back from attaining your goals. However organized people find ways to reduce tasks that aren’t required and to streamline those that are taking too much time. This leaves ample time to work on achieving all of those goals on your list.