Saturday, May 25, 2024

How to Get Organized when You’re Busy and Facing Deadlines

Clutter: to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner;  A disorderly heap or assemblage;  A confused state.”

-Webster’s College Dictionary

It’s happened again. As I’ve been busy working on deadlines and projects, I’ve let the clutter pile up on my desk and in the garage. My mid-year resolution is to clear the clutter and get organized. Clutter and disorganization is incredibly distracting. If you’re facing similar circumstances, know that you’re not alone. If you are surrounded by clutter, believe me, there is hope and the payoff emotionally for creating an organized environment will make it all worthwhile.

Focus on the Benefits of Being Organized

In today’s busy world, being organized is not just a desirable skill.  Organization is an important key to better health and reduced frustration.  As Napoleon Hill observed, “…watch your environment, for it will shape you.”  If your environment is disorganized and messy, you will experience constant low-grade stress that will steadily drain your energy and enthusiasm. According to a study conducted by the New School for Social Research, the mere sight of clutter increases stress and tension in your body and mind.

Being Organized Lowers Stress and Improves Concentration

When your home, office and car are messy and disorganized, you feel like things are “out of control,” which adds to your stress level. When your desk is disorganized, you find it difficult to stay focused on one task for more than a few minutes. The piles of papers, bills and other correspondence distract you. You are constantly looking for misplaced items and papers. The chaotic environment seems to feed on itself, making it harder to get started on organization. In contrast, when you’re organized you work with greater efficiency and reduced stress. 

Don’t Wait for the “Perfect” Time

Don’t make the mistake that I did, of telling yourself that you will get organized “later,” when you’re “not so busy.” There will never be a time when you are “not so busy.” Make time for it – even if you can only spare twenty or thirty minutes each day.  Getting organized needs to be one of your top priorities. It is a powerful investment in obtaining a brighter future. For every hour you spend organizing, you will gain several hours in increased efficiency and ability to concentrate.

Start Small and Build on Your Success

Start by focusing on the one area in your home that seems to cause you the most stress and frustration. For example, if you find it impossible to relax in your Family Room because it is so filled with wall-to-wall “stuff” and disorganized clutter, you should focus on this project first. Begin by obtaining three large cardboard boxes. Label one box “trash,” one box “donations” and the third box “storage.” 

Even before you start placing unwanted things into the boxes, you may encounter a roadblock. Sometimes it can be emotionally difficult to get rid of stuff. It is easy to say, “I might need this someday.” If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of an item, it can be helpful to store it for a few months to see if you miss it. Most of the time, you will find that you don’t miss it and then you can donate it to charity.  Continue to focus on the benefits of being organized and remember that “baby steps” will enable you to see consistent progress. You will avoid getting overwhelmed and you can continue to build on your success. In less time than you think, you will be pleased with your progress and start reaping the rewards of clearer thinking and increased productivity.

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