Last week we took a look at the question of WHY we should even bother to organize our lives. Now that we understand the many potential benefits involved, we need to discuss the next step: getting started. It can be a daunting task to say the least to decide to organize your life. How do you embark upon such an endeavor? Where do you begin? When should you start? When will you be finished? These are all important questions and in this post I want to outline some simple approaches to help you ease into a lifestyle of organization.
Adopt realistic expectations
You always hear people say that you should be careful not to set your goals too high. Well that advice applies to organization as well. It can be easy to imagine in your mind’s eye your life organized already, as if somehow all you did was snap your fingers and everything was done. It’s good to think about what you ultimately want, but it’s important to realize that organization isn’t completely effortless and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. If you adopt realistic expectations, you won’t set yourself up for failure.
Set clear goals
You’ll hear me time and time again suggesting the following: make a list! Take a walk through your house and write down the spaces you see that could use a little organization. Run through your day and make notes about how you’d like to change your schedule or how you spend your time. Finally jot down some thoughts about your financial situation. Lists are nice, because you just let the thoughts flow and there is no need to act on anything right away. After you have all your lists made, you have a template to work from as you get started and you are free to decide what to undertake first.
Tackle organization one step at a time
A great way to get burned out quickly is to try to do too many things at once. Of course there’s always room for multitasking and taking breaks from one project to work on another. What I’m talking about here is avoiding trying to organize too many things at one time in too short a time. You run the danger of getting overwhelmed and feeling like nothing is working. You have your lists made, so choose one thing on your list and try to get it done before going on to the next.
Choose methods that best suit your style
You’ll discover many suggestions for how to organize your life on this blog, but it is important to always consider what works best for you. If you try something I suggest and it doesn’t quite suit your style, then don’t be afraid to experiment. And of course be sure to come back and tell us what you did differently so we can all learn something new!
I get a lot of satisfaction and a real sense of accomplishment from the art of organization. Take note of your attitude as you are tackling different projects. Are you enjoying yourself? Are you feeling successful? Not everything will be particularly exciting (i.e. arranging tupperware lids, anyone?), but you should at least gain something positive from the whole experience.