5 Truisms of Staying Organized Throughout The Year

The New Year always brings to mind thoughts of improving my constantly-in-the-works organization tactics. The more organized you can be, the easier working at home is. It’s not always easy to balance both working and living in the same space and keeping both sides organized is super helpful for obvious reasons.

If you’ve decided to telecommute and are a tad bit worried because you’re not very organized, you’re certainly not alone. David Lewis, a British business psychologist who has expertise in neuromarketing and extensive knowledge in the area of stress management and performance enhancement, analyzed a survey of 2,544 office workers in the US and abroad for Esselte, which owns Pendaflex, and noted that:

Three out of four workers surveyed worldwide agreed with this statement: ”I find myself becoming more stressed when everything is a mess and I can’t find important documents when needed.”

Forty-three percent of the 504 Americans surveyed described themselves as disorganized, and 21 percent have missed crucial work deadlines. Nearly half say disorganization causes them to work late at least two to three times a week.

Boston Globe – So many reasons to neaten up, but it’s too imposing

While I wouldn’t categorize myself as disorganized, I also wouldn’t categorize myself as OCD-level organized. When it comes to organization, there’s always room for improvement. When you work at home, it’s a matter of this simple fact: stronger organization leads to increased productivity which ultimately leads to increased earnings or, even better, more time to spend on the life side of the work/life balance.

While I don’t necessarily want to be as organized as, say, Adrian Monk, I like the feeling of order amongst the chaos. For me, it’s a constant struggle to stay organized. Sometimes I feel as though I’m winning the battle, sometimes I feel as though I’m losing the battle, but I never surrender. Staying organized is a never-ending war in which surrender is simply not an option.

Part of me believes that being super-organized is a genetic trait, either you’re born with the knack for neatness (OCD-like obsession) or you aren’t (total slob) and that the vast majority of us fall somewhere in between the two extremes. But, as far as I can tell by searching the Internet, no scientist has ever discovered a gene that predetermines a person’s affinity for organization. Nor do we know why some people suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

We’re not born organized, it’s a learned skill which anyone can learn. So that’s the good news. It certainly seems to come easier for some than others. Personally, my mom’s the kind of organized that keeps her movies alphabetized on the shelf and fitted sheets folded as neatly as flat sheets. Me?! Not so much. You can tell my fitted sheets from the flat ones, but they’re all in the cedar chest where they belong.

Staying organized truly is a battle for me and my unruly crew. So I keep a reminder tacked to the bulletin board above my office desk. It keeps me from getting war-weary and it’s a bit of a confidence booster.

So, whatever level of organization you happen to be on in your personal and professional life (particularly if the two happen to take place in the same space), here are my own 5 Truisms of Staying Organized throughout the year:

  1. You’re your own worst enemy.
    YOU decide what being organized should look like!
    In the battle to stay organized, you really are your own worst enemy. You decide what “being organized” should look like, whatever it may be, and all too often we don’t measure up to our own expectations of that ideal.
  2. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
    Go WITH the flow!
    In the battle to stay organized, keep it super simple. If you feel like you’re paddling up-stream, figure out how to make staying organized actually go with the flow.
  3. The root of disorder is procrastination.
    Do it NOW!
    In the battle to stay organized, bite the bullet and take care of things as soon as they cross your path. When you’re done with something, put it away.
  4. Baby steps, baby.
    Take SMALL steps!
    In the battle to stay organized, the big picture can get you down. Every journey begins with a single step. When you have a mountain to tackle begin with the smallest step and then just keep on stepping.
  5. It’s all about the ‘tude.
    Play to WIN!
    In the battle to stay organized attitude, self-discipline, and determination are your strongest weapons.

If you’ve got an organization tip to share, stick it in the comments. Here’s to staying organized in 2011!


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