A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to the local home improvement store to buy some mulch. I was finishing up a backyard landscaping project and needed quite bit. Fortunately, it was on sale for about half the normal price, so I bought 20 bags. Back at the house, I asked my son to help me unload it from the truck and stack it behind the fence where it would be ready for the weekend. Here’s a picture of the results. My 10 bags are on the right, his are on the left. This one exercise speaks volumes about how the two of us approach organization and time management.
I’ve always resented super-organized people. You know the ones I’m talking about – they have a place for everything and everything in its place. Their desk is always clean and their staplers never go empty. They make the rest of us feel like slobs, always trying to play catch-up. Organization has never come naturally for me. I have to work at it, and my progress usually takes the form of short bursts of focused cleaning and organization followed by a slow descent back into chaos.
Despite my struggle with staying organized, I am a huge believer in its power. Organization is an investment that pays BIG dividends. In fact, there are three benefits to being organized that I feel are especially significant.[Tweet “Organization is an investment that pays BIG dividends.”]
- Being organized improves my efficiency. I don’t know about you, but it seems like some days I spend most of my time looking for things. At the office, I’m looking for files or emails I know I have saved. At home, I’m looking for the screwdriver or remote control that I just saw yesterday. And the more time I spend looking for things, the less time I have to actually get work done. Having well thought out homes for things that are important – and using them consistently – saves me time. It allows me to get more work done in less time. Since time is such a precious commodity (we can’t make more of it), it makes sense to spend it wisely. Disorganization is a waste of time.
- Being organized improves my creativity. There are those who say a messy desk is a sign of a creative mind. That may be true for some people, but not for me. When things around me are disorganized, so are my thoughts. I have a hard time focusing on new ideas when the environment around me is chaotic. If I can’t see what I have to work with, it becomes harder to create. If I can’t easily lay my hands on the tools I need, it becomes harder to turn my ideas into a tangible product. When the creative muse speaks to me, I have to be ready to write – not searching for a pencil. Disorganization is a waste of mental effort.
- Being organized improves my mood. I’m not a big fan of chaos. It makes me anxious. It makes me antsy. I like peace. That’s not to say that I can’t handle it. We all have to manage through situations that test us. I just prefer not to add to it. When the parts of my life that I can control are under control, I’m better prepared to take on the rest. Being organized helps me center myself and focus on the challenge at hand. Disorganization is a waste of emotional energy.
If organization is one of your super powers, I admire you. I see your effortless, orderly existence and fight to emulate it. You have been blessed with a gift. For those who share my ongoing pursuit of all things organized, know you are not alone. You have a kindred spirit who also digs through stacks of paper searching for that important note scribbled on the back of a restaurant receipt. Your fight does not go unnoticed. Together, we can tame the chaos. The benefits are worth the struggle.
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