I love being organized, but I’ve learned over the years that it is something that takes constant work and effort to maintain. I tell my new clients all the time that I am not a coach who will simply put a band aid on your wound and make you feel better right away. I would rather get to the root of the issue, create lifelong changes and help you long-term. That way we aren’t simply making you feel better in the moment while ignoring the tools that will stay with you for life. Just like organization, if you have a packed closet of clothes and simply buy closet organizers and move everything around, you still have a packed closet full of clothes. They are just being rearranged. If you have a desk full of papers and “stuff” that you simply move around and organize, you still have an office full of excess papers and “stuff”. I have learned that it is more beneficial to reduce the clutter and eliminate it all together. Taking the time to regularly sort through things and develop routines in your life will lead to feelings of satisfaction and peace of mind. Here are some simple solutions to get you on the organized track.
1. Reduce, eliminate, simplify
When most of us are trying to organize something in our lives (our clutter or our time) we get frustrated because everything feels so complicated. If you look at time management and try to organize your time by just shuffling your packed schedule around, you still have a packed schedule. What if you looked at your desk full of papers and threw out everything but the top 20 items that you absolutely need? What if you narrowed your daily to-do list from 30 tasks to the top 5? Try the solution of reducing, eliminating and simplifying this week. Toss things, donate them, sell them or give them to someone who wants them. Don’t just make your clutter look nice, get rid of it all together.
2. Do it now
Something that has saved me a lot of frustration and time over the years is the motto “do it now.” Most people bring papers, forms, and mail into the home and put it on a desk, a counter, or a table. They assume they will go through it later. This habit creates piles and clutter very quickly. When you get the mail, go through it right away and recycle the trash and put bills and other needed mail into compartments. If your kids bring papers home (this happens daily in my home), go through them right after school and pitch what you don’t need and save important papers in a designated file. Keep this saying “do it now” in your head throughout the day and it will keep the clutter at bay.
3. Develop routines
Most of us get our homes, offices and lives uncluttered and then see the disorganization and clutter slowly pile up again over time. This is natural! This is exactly why creating routines and structure is so important. Create a routine and system for organizing incoming papers. Create a routine for keeping your time management balanced so your life does not get out of control. Develop your own system for keeping paperwork, kids schedules, errands, work and meal planning orderly and manageable. Good luck!