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.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.



Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!