Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Why Get Organized?

When I conduct workshops, I often ask participants, “Why would you want to come to something like this? Why would you turn out for a workshop about organization and time management?” Here are some of the answers I get…


  1. Less stress. According to WebMD, seventy-five to 90% of doctor’s office visits are stress related. Too many people can’t sleep and often wake up in the middle of the night concerned about what may have been forgotten. They live with this gnawing sense there is something important they should be doing, but they have no idea what it is. 
  2. Feeling of being “in control.” The organized person has a place for everything. What has to be done is neatly trapped in a system, either paper or digital. This person sees everything which needs to be done, examines the time available, and makes choices as to what to do today, and what can wait.
  3. Life becomes easier. We can feel victims of the demands placed upon us. We can feel pulled in all directions. Approach the day with a plan and work the plan. Don’t be afraid to decline a request for your time. Leverage available technology to increase efficiency. 
  4. You get more done. How many times do you get home from the store only to realize you forgot something? Back in the car and back to the store you go. Work from a list. Organize that list so like items are grouped together and can therefore be completed quicker. Use those random bits of time to knock off some of the small items from your list you would have to do at some point anyway. 
  5. The important things get done. All tasks are not created equal. Identify the ones which provide the biggest payoff and “front load” the day with them. In the words of Goethe, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” 
  6. You save money. Do you buy items because you can’t find the ones you already own? Do you lose gift cards and let valuable coupons expire simply because you didn’t realize you had them. Are you spending money on home repairs because you neglect preventive maintenance? When you are organized, you can throw it all in your system and receive reminders at the appropriate times. 
  7. You can find things. Benjamin Franklin’s advice, “A place for everything, everything in its place,” is as applicable today as it was then. How much time do we spend looking for car keys, important papers, a particular article of clothing, or that book we just knew we had? If we take seconds to make decisions about logical places to put our belongings, we save hours in retrieving them later. 
  8. Others can count on you. Do you know people who operate their lives from three calendars yet can’t fully trust any of them? Has past experience taught you without a reminder call, they are apt to be a “no show” for their appointments or walk in a half-hour late with the same lame excuses? When you are organized, when you have a system in place, you see your commitments in a timely fashion. You are able to come through. You teach other people they can count on you. 
  9. You are ready to take advantage of new opportunities. Opportunity knocks not once, but many times. Are we ready to answer? Do you know someone who is mired in details, is always pushing a deadline, and who just seems to constantly be running behind? Know what your commitments are, know where you stand on each one, and work ahead of deadlines. At that point, you are well-positioned to answer when opportunity knocks. 
  10. You feel better about yourself. This one is my favorite. When you are organized, when you are on top of your game, you simply feel better about yourself. Another New Year is upon us. 

Among the top resolutions every year is to “get organized.” If that one is on your list, I invite you to follow this blog. We examine the little things you can do which make big differences at work and at home. Maybe this year, you really will keep that resolution to “get organized”!
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