I’ll let you in on a little secret…getting organized is more than just sorting things, putting them in fancy bins with labels and making everything neat and tidy…at the heart of getting organized is creating processes, systems and most importantly HABITS that improve the way you do things.
When I meet with a new client, the first things we go over are what they want to achieve – it usually is more than just cleaning out a closet or organizing a desk – they want to do something that impacts their lives and makes a noticeable difference. The reason I spend the first 30 to 60 minutes just talking with a client is I want to understand what motivates them and what will be most meaningful. Just as important as having a plan is knowing what that plan will accomplish and how it can influence how one gets to the achieved goal.
When I put together a system for a client I want to create something practical that makes sense to them. I also want it to be something they can easily do. In most cases getting organized and staying organized means replacing ineffective or inefficient methods with ones that are effective and efficient. It means teaching new ways of doing things. Think for a moment about what it is like when you are learning a new routine or process – it’s not until you’ve done it several times that it starts to become a learned behavior. If you have been doing something a certain way for a lengthy period of time, altering or replacing that behavior can be a challenge. It may take a couple of tries before it becomes easy to do or to remember to do. Eventually you form a new habit and the task almost happens without thinking.
Keep this in mind as you get yourself organized. Remember that it may take a few tries to get the hang of a new routine. Be kind to yourself and also don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to adopt too many new processes or behaviors all at once. Work incrementally – get one thing mastered before you jump into something new. The more you plan so that you don’t overwhelm yourself the greater your chances for success!
I was recently doing a revisit with a client that I had helped organize their home office. It had been about a year and she wanted me to come help her again – she was feeling as if things had deteriorated to chaos and they wanted a reboot. Things weren’t nearly as bad as they thought they were. In this instance my client hates to file paperwork. Most of what we dealt with were piles that had cropped up on the desk that had grown to the point of being out of control. I explained to my client that rather than avoiding something because it was their least favorite thing to do they needed to get in the HABIT of dealing with the filing in smaller pieces – don’t let the pile grow so big, when they have 20 or 30 minutes tackle a segment of the problem. If you get in the habit or routine of doing something it makes it that much easier to make sure it happens!