By Trina Muncy
Having an organized life is something we all try to attain, yet finding the magic formula can often elude us, especially those of us who struggle with the idea that everything has a proper place, and that life can be much easier if we unclutter the environments in which we operate. When we become organized in our daily routines, we are more efficient in our performances, feel less stressed and fatigued, and have more time for personal relationships.
But for some of us, color coding our daily planners or alphabetizing our video game or DVD collection may not come as naturally as it does for others. The truth is, none of us are born systematic thinkers; organization is a habit, a lifestyle, and we acquire these behavioral patterns by virtue of daily practice. Healthy organizational habits give us the ability to create and maintain systems that help us keep track of time, goals, appointments, and the things we value. We organize by putting objects where they belong: in designated areas that reflect what the object specifically means to us.
A disorganized mind, on the other hand, takes on too many projects at once, and continues adding more to the list before completing one. This type of organizational system, known as “the pile,” creates workloads that we can never successfully finish. We can also fill our living spaces with literal piles by holding on to things we’re afraid of losing. The illusion of “the pile” leads us to believe that if we can somehow keep something in sight, in a space we look at every day, then we can readily access it when we need it. However, these piles are merely a way of avoiding structure and routine, perpetuating our bad habits rather than eliminating them.
The good news is that we are not stuck in the abyss of chaos and clutter. Just as we program ourselves to adhere to our safe, familiar routines, we can reprogram our mindsets to adapt to changes in our lifestyle. The first thing we can do is take a look at where disorganization disrupts our daily life. Maybe you have clutter in your personal space like your bedroom, car or workspace. Or maybe you have piles that never seem to away, like mail, laundry or dishes.
After you have made a list of challenges, you can create a menu of strategies for dealing with those weaknesses. For example, pick one spot to organize, such as the dresser top or the corner of the room. Other helpful strategies include taking before and after pictures of a space you want to organize, or start a routine for dealing with mail, laundry or dishes. Once committed to your chosen strategies, you will then put them into practice—in your thinking, in your actions, in how you interact with your surroundings. It is possible to banish the weeds that encumber your mind and prevent you from thriving, and lead you to a clearing that cultivates the independent, productive life you were meant to live.