Becoming Organized

Think of organizing as being similar to setting up a new piece of unfamiliar equipment. Susan, for example, recently bought a new computer. Her old familiar clunker was about seven years old (dated and rusty by cyber age time) and her new laptop was sparkling, fast, and up-to-date. But she let her new laptop sit in a corner for months before she made the shift. The transition time just seemed too costly. She felt she didn't have the time to purge or transfer old files, organize her new files, and learn some new programs. It would take hours and hours of work to get up to speed on the new one. Besides, she loved her old white elephant.

Once she finally made the change, she wondered why she had ever waited so long, because she has become so much more effective at her work. As she looks back, the investment in the update was worth it. In fact, the transition time was insignificant compared to how much more she can get done now. Similarly, arriving at your new ways of being organized will take some time, perhaps even months or more than a year, but your life will run much more smoothly. Even more important, you'll have more time and attention for what you really care about. Looking ahead at all the hours that you have to invest to make the change can be daunting. Yet, looking back, it all seems so worth it. You'll wonder what took you so long.

It will help a lot if you designate an extended period of time when organizing will be a high priority. Designate next month as "organizing month." Or decide that this spring will be devoted to organizing. Cut back on your other activities and focus. A month or a season is not such a long time. Then, make sure that you have allocated time for your new habits to take root. It will take a while. You'll make progress bit by bit. A month is only a beginning. For many people, who are committed to creating significant change, this process may take years. Don't give up; remember, it took me thirty or forty attempts before I could keep my desk clear. Keep in mind, the rewards are worth it.


From It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. Copyright 2003. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.

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