My mother tells the story that when I was a couple of years old she grew IMPATIENT with my behavior and told me that I “had ants in my pants”. Being naturally inquisitive, I checked and replied, “I don’t have no ants in my pants!” While this is a cute story, it also helps me understand that before Attention Deficit Disorder was commonly diagnosed in young children, there were many of us trying to COPE with these behaviors. We had nothing to read or reference for this, we just were flying by the seat of our pants (even those with ants in them)!
THE FIRST STEP
I spent a good bit of my life buzzing like a bee from one thing to another, never COMPLETING tasks; being disorganized and impulsive. It wasn’t until my adult years, dealing with a great deal of stress in my life, that I had an epiphany. Somewhat like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, I shook my fist into the air and, though fortunately not having to swear I’d never go hungry again, I did swear that I’d never have to search for anything for more than five minutes ever again. Thus began my JOURNEY toward organization.
There is a common misconception that those of us who are organized have ALWAYS been that way. Although there are some people that have been blessed since birth with this skill, this is not always the case. Most organizational skills are learned, either through self-training, or by reading and researching others’ journeys towards getting it together. For those of you out there not aboard the bus to organization (heck, organization takes time –- we’re not talking a jet, or even a train), there is HOPE! In this age of information, resources are in abundance. The internet will help you locate a professional organizer in your area, provide ideas on how to get organized, show you where to buy supplies, and allow you to subscribe to organizational e-zines.
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
As you embark upon this exciting, although sometimes frustrating journey, remember to be PATIENT with yourself. Nothing gets done when you belittle and put yourself down. Organization is like weight loss in that “You didn’t gain it overnight, and you won’t get rid of it overnight”.
The key to success is BREAK-DOWN. No, I don’t mean have a breakdown! Rather, find the first area in your home, office or life that you wish to organize and take small steps each day to accomplish your task. If you dedicate 15 to 30 minutes per day to this task, within a few weeks the RESULTS will begin an “organizing excitement” churning in you. As you begin to see what you have accomplished and how the results affect you, the excitement grows and you may choose to dedicate more time to reach your goal.
A BETTER OPTION
There are many that would say they don’t have TIME to organize, but just for a week log all the time you spend on trying to find items or re-tracing your steps to get all your daily tasks completed. I CHOSE to be organized because I didn’t have time not to be! I’m sure you will find that organization not only will save you time, money, stress, and frustration but will give you peace of mind. We are much too busy on a daily basis to waste any of the precious 1,440 minutes we are granted each day.
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Roadblocks to organization are often caused by SITUATIONS in our past that have had a huge affect on us. It is important to step back and be honest with ourselves. What roadblocks are impairing your ability to get organized, and what can you do to help BREAK those obstacles down? There are those who are afraid to get rid of anything because they may need it ‘sometime’ in the future. Many of us collect magazines that we really want to read, but then have no time to read the ones delivered each day to our mailboxes. Do we deceive ourselves into believing that we will fit into that size 6 dress in the back of the closet one day? Most of our children get new toys at holidays, on birthdays, or other special occasions -- how many of these fortunate children really know what’s at the bottom of that toy box?
SOME TOOLS FOR PURGING
The “one in, one out” method can be very helpful in most instances -- when you get something new, you have to GIVE UP something old. Tear out articles from the magazines and keep in files if you wish to refer to them in the future, and donate them to your doctor’s office when the new magazine arrives. When a child gets new toys, let them choose what old toys they would like to DONATE to a children’s home -– many children are excited to choose toys for boys and girls who have none!
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
Bottom line, there is no cookie cutter way to get organized –- we are all individuals and must choose what we feel best fits our needs. The choice is yours –- but remember, freedom and BALANCE are just a step away!
Rose Zappa-Jehnert is the founder of Get It 2Gether Organizational Services -- Bringing Balance and Freedom to Your Life! Need organization in your life? You may visit her website at www.getit2gether.com.
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