Creating a Practice for Getting Organized

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I often feel as though people think of getting organized as a chore or a task; something that you can accomplish if you buckle down and block off a whole Saturday. There is a perception that organizing simply involves space, stuff, garbage bags and willpower. Yes, at times, getting organized can include some or all of these, but it is not a task that you place a checkmark beside and consider over and done.

I’ve met so many people over the years that believe it is a skill that they just don’t have. As if the ability to get organized is a trait encoded in your genes and you are either born with it or without it. And while there are definitely people that have an innate ability to organize themselves—intuitively creating systems that support their way of thinking and operating—the essential truth is if the desire exists anyone can learn how to get organized. Just as we are born without the ability to drive a car, if we take the time to learn the principles and put those principles into practice, we can all end up with a driver’s license.

When I was a kid my family owned a red VW Bug and I had recurring nightmares involving that car. It had a manual transmission and the interplay between the stick shift and the clutch and gas pedal footsie mystified me. In this recurring anxiety dream, I’d always find myself being chased and driving away in that red VW my only chance for survival. When I fully understood how to control the interaction between the gearshift, the clutch, and the gas pedal and I could drive, the dreams stopped.

No doubt getting organized can feel like a mysterious process but the alchemy is comprised of information processing, decision-making, and an ability to adjust to transitions. How adept we are at each of these elements and applying them to our particular circumstances determines the degree of difficulty we experience. How do we gauge how capable we are at handling each of these elements? Email inboxes or piles of unopened mail may provide clues to how adept we are at processing information. Piles of paper that require a choice or course of action may indicate how adept we are at decision-making. Our ability to maintain day-to-day systems during unexpected and expected life events may indicate how adept we are at adjusting to transitions.

When you come to understand your skill levels for processing, deciding and transitioning, and the interplay between them you can develop a practice of organizing that puts you in the driver’s seat. Do you find any of these elements challenging? Which one are you most adept at?

Having nightmares? If you want some help developing your practice for getting organized, contact me to set up a call. I’d like to help you get organized this year.