Using Self Discipline to Get Organized

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In my recent post, Being a Role Model: Am I self disciplined?, I must have hit a nerve. Several people wrote in and told me that the self discipline questions prompted them to take a good hard look at their own ability to discipline themselves. Question #2, “How much time do you waste looking for something you lost (or don’t know where to find) each week?” was a particular ringer. Issues of organization, or lack there of, applies to all of us.

Nobody’s perfect. The questions, even as I wrote them, sparked a response in me. I was preparing to write an article for the South Shore Senior News on Body Image (due out in March) and, I confess, I couldn’t find some of my notes. I eventually found them—but at what cost? I wasted 45 minutes of my time and felt frustrated and annoyed at my carelessness.

So, this weekend, my husband Jason and I decided to get organized. It was time. After all, the Powerful Word of the month is self discipline—we don’t want to just write about it; we want to live it! We cleaned our home from top to bottom, including delving into the dreaded closets that housed much of the clutter that we hadn’t dealt with in months. We went through what seemed to look like mountains of paper. We donated towels and sheets that hadn’t left the linen closet since we moved in. We recycled boxes and bottles that had been pushed aside. By the end of the day, we were exhausted but we had to admit, we felt, well, lighter.

Would you like to get started too—but not sure where to begin? Julie Morgenstern,“The Queen of Organizing,” and the author of Time Management from the Inside Out and Organizing from the Inside Out, has a formula to help get rid of clutter.

JULIE’S ORGANIZING FORMULA

  • Sort: Identify what’s important to you and group similar items

  • Purge: Decide what you can live without and get rid of it (e.g. donations, sales, storage, garbage).

  • Assign: Decide where the items you keep will go. Remember, make it logical, accessible and safe.

  • Containerize: Make sure they’re sturdy, easy to handle, the right size, and that they look good. The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.

  • Equalize: Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain what you’ve done

It can be difficult to purge old items. You may wonder to yourself; “will I need it?” It’s this type of question that can stop us in our tracks and halt progress. But really; if you haven’t used it in a year (or 2 or 3), the likelihood is pretty low.

There is one thought that goes through my mind when I am getting rid of clothes, linens, and other household items and I am feeling unsure about parting with them: Do I want it enough to deny access to someone else who actually NEEDS this item and will USE this item? I picture the person in that coat, scarf, or pair of shoes, being able to stay warmer this winter or walk into a new job feeling proud of a “new-to-her” outfit. Those thoughts make me realize that the item no longer belongs in my closet—hanging there without purpose—it belongs to someone else. Our own self discipline (and in this case, generosity, charity, and citizenship) can help others. This is an important point to help children understand.

One last thought. When my Dad passed away in May of 2006, we were all devastated. But what made the loss even harder was the task of having to go through an avalanche of disorganized papers, books, pictures, and office items that had never been sorted, purged, assigned, containerized, or equalized. I’m not bringing this up to be morbid–I just know my Dad would have hated to see us laboring over the mess he left. It has given me just one more reason to discipline myself and get organized. The old adage isn’t always accurate “if I don’t do it, no one else will,” because in many cases, when we leave a mess, someone, eventually, will have to clean it up.

Here’s to making one small change this month that can help you…and may just help others too!

Have a POWerful Month!

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One Response

  1. […] Get everyone organized: Many children with ADHD (as well as many people in general!) have trouble when things are not […]

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