With Google around these days it is so easy to find out how we can learn a new skill or to even learn new habits like getting fit or how to finally start getting something done. The days of buying self-help books are long gone and nowadays, we can learn about just any possible skill from the many how-to videos or even inspiring personal journeys on YouTube to even specially dedicated shows like the famous “Tidying Up with Kon Mari” series on Netflix.
We try a thing or two in an attempt to apply what we have recently learned online and when we fail we default to our original limitations of ourselves simply saying that we just “aren’t an organised person” or event start reading on articles “that disorganised people are in fact more creative” as a form of validation.
Perhaps the reason why we do that is because learning a new habit is often difficult and there is often a breaking in process that we just need to hold our breath and get through it. And one of the easiest ways to do so is to start small and short. So in this article I would be dishing out five simple tips to finally get you to start getting organised.
1. Get Serious and Have a Goal
First thing on the list is to get serious about organising. In an attempt to embark on any new habit, one needs to have a goal in mind and a time to complete it. Once you have that goal in mind, the next step is to prioritise three areas that you want to see organised. This could be your living room, bathroom or even your fridge. These are the first areas that you will work on. But don’t just commit to these three areas in your head. Make an effort to set up a schedule to remind yourself to work on these areas first. The point of this is to be committed to getting organised while setting a non-negotiable deadline for yourself.
2. Know Your “Why”
The thing about getting organised when you previously weren’t is that there is always a slight chance of failure. And while I know I’m not supposed to say such a negative thing, I am also of the opinion that it is better to acknowledge the presence of failure and find ways to prepare for it. And that is about knowing your “why.”
Knowing your “why” would help you to identify your motivations for embarking on the new habit of getting organised while also keeping you motivated when the going gets tough. Knowing your “why” is also a fundamental aspect of any personal growth journey. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you were previously not an organised person but am now looking to do better. Have specific reasons for yourself for doing so.
Personal growth is never easy and there is often a beginning process that comes with it that we commonly refer to as “growing pains.” Personal growth is also about self-care as we specially take time out to work on ourselves specifically in order to treat ourselves better in the long-term. And contrary to how self-care is currently being promoted online which refers more to an indulgence of what currently makes us feel good so we feel good about ourselves, sometimes the biggest favours that we do for ourselves like getting fit or organised in this case, is painful in the short-term but will pay off in the long run.
3. Start Small and Start Doing
Once you have come up with a plan and have convinced yourself thoroughly that this is the person that you want to become, the next step is to get started. Start with the small tasks and do a little everyday. With those three areas you have identified, you might want to start clearing out small trash items. For example, you may want to clear out wrappers that were previously left on the table or even begin throwing small pieces of paper that you previously scribbled notes on.
When starting out, give yourself a time limit to do the task and once it's up, stop. Stick to the time limit strictly because the more time you allocate for yourself especially when you are just starting to get organised will only drive you to exhaustion. And believe me when I say that organising is exhausting because it is hard physical work. As I say to my clients, organising is a journey not a sprint. So start small and be consistent.
4. Don’t Leave it Up All in Your Head
It is completely normal for everyone to forget small things once in a while but when we know that things are especially important to us we make an effort to do specific things like setting reminders instead of committing it to memory. One of the surest ways to stay committed to getting organised is to treat it as a top priority and give it the business treatment. That means using tools like Google Calendar and set up multiple notifications and reminders to do the task. If technology isn’t for you, you may also want to use sticky notes instead and paste them in areas where you are guaranteed not to miss.
5. It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect
Lastly and more importantly, is to remind yourself that the experience is not going to be perfect. We are going to slip up, the house or office might not look like the way we had imagined it in our heads. And that is okay. Because the point is to get organised not to be a professional organizer. Leave that job to me. The point is to get into the habit of getting organised. Once you have done this for a while, even if the changes are small it is definitely a lot further than what you were having living life status quo or simply crawling back into the warm comfortable hole of “I’m just not an organised person.”
In conclusion, organization is a journey with different milestones to cover. Starting out may be tough but give yourself time. Because learning in general takes time. Learning and acting on a habit are two very separate things each with their own schedules.
I will like to end off with the popular parable about the tortoise and the rabbit. As the story goes, the tortoise eventually won not because it was biologically superior to the rabbit, it wasn’t, but that it was slow and consistent and that led it to finally finish in first place. This is the same thing with organization. It’s about starting, believing in yourself and being consistent. It’s not about having big dreams or being ambitious so much so that we overlook what we are currently capable of at the moment.
And perhaps the last and final tip is not be afraid to seek help. Get the help of your friends or family to help you with the task. And when it is too overwhelming and no one is onboard and in the trenches with you, don’t be afraid to call on professional organisers to help you with the task. We don’t always need to self-medicate to get better. Sometimes it’s worth investing in a third-party professional to help on your case.
Can't seem to get started on your organising project? Feel free to reach out to me here, I would love to have a chat about it.