By Sandra Mann
Over the last twenty years I have read countless books and articles, attended seminars and talks, listened to tapes, and watched shows on organizing my life. Through much study and trial and error I’ve concluded that anyone can be organized. I wanted a place for everything and everything in its place. No more hunting for the scissors or the glue sticks when a child had to make a poster display for school. I wanted to know what I’m supposed to do everyday and when to do it. No more searching through my purse to find the reminder card for the dentist appointment to find out it was yesterday. I wanted to have order and peace of mind.
Through all my study I have found wonderful advice and help for people like me. For instance, several of my books talk about organizing the rooms in your home to fit the family’s needs. At one seminar the speaker even gave us a list of the average time it takes to organize the different rooms in our homes. Two months ago I finished rearranging and organizing my basement family-room. It is now a more family-friendly space and we enjoy using it. My children play there daily and they enjoy the family work space for building projects and crafts. My husband loves the office space and I like having a working phone so I don’t have to run upstairs to answer a call. This triumph has only wet my appetite. My eyes are on the kitchen next.
If you know someone who is naturally organized it is advisable to have them get you started. I am very blessed to live with such a person. My husband is much more orderly then I am. Just the other day he arranged three of my kitchen drawers for me and I love them (I told him he could do the whole house for me but he graciously declined). Now the kitchen doesn’t seem like such a big job and I should be able to do it within a month.
The one thing that every source has in common when it comes to organizing your time is to have a routine. This is a major key to becoming organized. As I look back over the past two decades there have been four times where I was able to do the most and keep up with my commitments. Each of these periods was marked by my having a workable routine. There is a difference between having a daily routine and a workable routine. Both help you plan your day and get you where you need to go. The workable routine does it in a way that you can be consistent and not feel burned out or overloaded in trying to “keep to the routine.” I have had many a routine that lasted about four days before I gave up and just coasted along again.
When I found myself smoothly flowing I was meeting my needs and that of my family in a way that fit our personalities. Right now I am working on a better evening routine because I found that I don’t function at 5:00 AM. I thought if I got up earlier I would have some more quiet time to get my personal goals met. It’s hard to do anything when you walk around in a daze staring blankly ahead. Now I’m trying to get myself prepared for the morning so I have less to do and can spend the extra time on me. My son gets up at 5:30 AM for sports and if everything is ready I can sleepwalk myself though until 6:00 AM. This is when I find I wake up and can work on my personal growth until 6:45 AM when the rest of the family gets up.
Finding what helps you and fits your needs is a personal choice and journey. I am still the one who will grab the cooler, pack a picnic for lunch and go to the park. When it snows for the first time I might feel the need for home-made hot cocoa. This is part of who I am and I love it. Being more organized does not mean changing who we are inside or controlling our every minute and surroundings. It is a way of bringing more freedom to our lives to become the best that we can be.