Let’s not confuse being organized as being tidy.
I’m tidy. I can stack books, put papers in folders and create order like no one’s business. I am a clutter-less phenom.
What I struggle with is being organized.
I only happen to know where everything in my house resides because I’m the cleaning crew. I have a lot of neat and tidy spaces.
For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. — Ben Franklin
Being organized allows you to use your time more wisely.
Yes, it may seem like a waste of time at first, especially when we want to dive into a project or start something so we can finish it that much quicker. That’s how we often make the mistake of not being fully ready. We’re left open to unforeseen roadblocks (i.e. looking for things, researching when we should be writing, recording videos on the fly only to do them again and again.)
My office corkboard is a wasteland of sticky notes, and my computer’s desktop is littered with random files, photos, PDF’s and docs (contained chaos) that I want to get to, but because they’re not organized, I don’t see them as a priority.
In my research, it’s becoming apparent that when you take the time to organize your surroundings, you’re able to function at a higher level.
And here’s the kicker. Your organizing doesn’t have to result in neat and tidy piles with nary a dust bunny. (Again, that’s just being tidy.) Many intellects and uber-successful people have messy offices, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know where things are. Every brain works differently.
We lose time when we’re disorganized.
Oftentimes we use the excuse “I have no time” because we honestly feel like we’re running around without a handle on anything. Time slips away and before we know it, the kids are getting off the bus or logging off from their digital classrooms and we’re like, wtf, already?
Taking a look at where you spend your time is a form of organization. You have a lot to do, a lot to fit into a day — and what happens is those things that are beneficial to you get left behind. They’re the sticky note that’s buried under 20.
Start by organizing your daily schedule.
If you’re organizationally-challenged like me, a perfect starting point to begin getting things in order and checked off your list is to begin with the rule of three.
The rule of three is every morning, as soon as I wake up and before life has a chance to rudely intervene and grab all my attention, I write down the top three most important things I have to do that day.
It could be 1) write my newsletter and schedule it for delivery. 2) Go to the store and pick up a birthday card for my dear friend who is hitting a milestone! 3) Get in 20 minutes of exercise.
These aren’t going to take me all day obviously, but it’s these little reminders that keep me from being that person who forgets the birthday, who puts off exercise yet again, and who isn’t getting the little things done in my business that helps to keep it engaging and fun for me.
There are of course bigger projects and many of you are full-time professionals but this can still be a useful habit. Categorize your lists into two if you like, one for business and one for life. It’s important however to not let it overwhelm you. Once it does that, you’re not starting your day off with the right mindset of “I can do this! I can get all these things done with ease.”
Keeping the number of tasks to three keeps you feeling that everything is manageable. You’re creating room for more while limiting room for stress.
Do one thing at a time.
Being in the present moment, and doing one task at a time is an amazing feeling. It sounds simple, but it’s actually not as simple as it seems. That’s because many of us aren’t paying attention, we’re doing one thing while thinking about another.
This is another way we compromise our organizational skills because when your brain is focused on one thing, and your physically doing something else, you begin formulating a to-do list on the fly.
You’re never going to remember a to-do list on the fly! And it’s only going to add stress and a sense of urgency, not to mention pull you away from what you’re currently doing — in a half-assed manner I might add.
When you’re not there, your work suffers.
Organizing things — spaces, lists, time, priorities — offers peace of mind.
If you don’t believe me, try cleaning out and organizing a closet and see how you walk away from that task with a big, ol’ smile on your face. (And I bet you’re not going to be able to resist telling the first person you see about how great the closet looks now!)
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AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!