A cross-armed potential client once said, “No one has been able to convince me to get organized yet.”
He seemed proud of his tightly packed spaces.
My response? “Call me again when you’re motivated to try.”
He did, eventually.
Did his space look like a design magazine photo? No. But it was a lot easier for him to live in his surroundings. I know he felt better about himself because he said so.
I enjoy it when clients are happy when their lives are better organized. It’s gratifying when someone says, “I feel better now because I have a plan for my time, my stuff, and how to handle that issue that was bugging me.”
So, in hopes of inspiring those of you thinking about ways to improve your days, I was going to research statistics on what disorganization costs you at home and work.
What does it cost when a staff member can’t find an invoice again? How much would you have saved by remembering your home heating maintenance visit before the heater broke?
But then I remembered that even though I get a kick out of encouraging clients, it isn’t worth my precious time to try to convince you with logic and data about the value of being organized. You don’t need data to know self-organization is worth it. You already know it.
By organized I don’t mean perfectly tidy spaces and neatly labeled containers and closets, although they’re helpful.
Colorful file folders are a fun purchase, but they don’t necessarily mean you’re producing your best work.
What I mean is cultivating your dedication to paying attention to what’s going on within yourself and your surroundings.
What I mean is arranging your stuff in ways that help you do what you want to do. Storage boxes packed to the hilt don’t equal an efficient use of space if you can’t access what’s in the box.
He who dies with the most stuff wins nothing except the dismay of those left to deal with the leftovers.
Productive people learn to intentionally structure their time, space, and information in ways that help them thrive.
Effective people inspire themselves and those around them by modeling attention to what matters to them and by living their values. They know the importance of living with just enough.
Instead of statistics about the costs of disorganization and unhelpful habits, let’s talk about what motivates you: pain or pleasure?
For me, the productivity coach, it’s a bit of both. There are many things I do not for the sake of being organized but to avoid feeling frustrated when I can’t find something. Feeling accomplished is worth the time spent to work to get there.
I review my calendar daily, so I don’t miss appointments. It’s color-coded (work, play, family), so I can see when I am out of synch with the way I feel best. Otherwise, I’ll feel badly when I arrive late, miss a birthday or can’t pay a bill.
Reading about ways to improve communication can be dry at times yet helps me learn better ways to relate to people.
I feel pleasure with a good quality connection with people and frustration when we don’t hear each other well.
Taking time to review how I both spend and reserve money helps me feel a better sense of autonomy and control. Why do I want to feel in control of my finances? Because it feels worse to be surprised when my financial optimism was unrealistic.
Well-organized habits aren’t an end; they are a means to an end.
If all you are is organized, then you’re not using all the space and time now available to you to create a richer life.
I’ve been in a lot of ‘organized’ places with ‘organized’ people and saw sterile environments and people confused as to why desk systems and closet containers didn’t create the relaxed and full life they wanted.
Let’s talk when you’re already convinced to invest your money and time into better habits, streamlined surroundings, more productive days at work, and in social situations; when you’re ready to let go of what’s in your way.
Remember, master your day and mastering your life will follow. It’s that important to you.