What do you think of organizing? More importantly, what do you think of yourself when it comes to organizing? This is an area that many of us either glorify or curse. We look at the homes of our organized friends and think, “Ah, what would it be like to live like that? My life would be wonderful if I could live in a home like that!” Or, we just berate ourselves because our homes do not look like that, and we see our own organizing ability as some kind of shortcoming or weakness.
What about getting rid of that dream of organizing perfection and all of the negative judgments that go along with it? I’m not saying to get rid of organizing, but to get rid of the dream of perfection we’ve had about how it works and what it “should” look like. For many of us, because we feel so embarrassed and/or guilty about this area, we do our best to hide it from others, which only increases our isolation and makes it more difficult to ask for and receive support!
Consider this idea.
Organizing is one form of self-care.
Organizing can be one form of self-care, instead of one form of self-criticism! However, that does require rethinking the whole area.
Instead of “perfection,” think “good enough” and “What works for me?“
I am asking that you find a way to wiggle yourself out of the seductive hold that the glossy pictures of perfectly organized homes have on you. Keep in mind that nobody actually lives in those homes, at least not in the way that they are portrayed! Interior design experts have been in that home, not to mention professional photographers, all whose job it is to portray perfection and sell something, correct? Just what are they selling? And do you really want any of it? Do you really want to live in a home that exists to look beautiful but not necessarily be very functional?
If you can suspend your view of what you thought organizing was, then you have a chance to consider something more realistic and more useful! A way that is more fitting for you. A way that works for you. A way that it is good enough and is more in line with how you really live. In that view, you have a chance to look at organizing as part of self-care, instead of as a way to criticize yourself.
Here is what I have learned so far.
* Little by little. ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Not three steps at a time. Not do it all at once. Give yourself a chance to be successful!
* Separate out the projects from the tasks.
Tasks are something that you can do in 10 or 20 minutes. If it’s much longer or full of steps, it qualifies for a project. By identifying it as a project, you give yourself a chance to make progress on it by identifying the smaller steps that are involved in it.
* Before beginning a project, break it down into tasks.
What all is involved in getting that project done? If it feels overwhelming, what is one small action that you can take that would move that project further along? Most projects have more leeway than we think because there are different ways that we can move forward on the project. Stop trying to figure out the “perfect” way.
* The bigger the area you do at one time, the more likely you are to fail.
Don’t mean to be harsh or negative here. Actually, quite the opposite. Straightforward compassion, learned from lots and lots and lots of experience… Stated more simply (and related to “Little by Little”), here’s the positive spin on this:
* The smaller and more manageable the area is to organize, the more likely you are to succeed in organizing it!
My thinking used to go something like this. “I ‘just’ want to get my desk organized today.” However, my desk was covered with piles of paper and folders and notebooks and reminders and — you get the picture. “Just” getting my desk organized made success risky. What has increased my success is identifying one part of my desk or one pile on my desk and deciding to take action with that one part or that one pile. It may seem really small, but I am so much more likely to succeed, which builds my momentum and confidence for then taking action on the next part or pile!
Coaching Can Make A Difference!
I’m making progress in learning how to approach organizing differently in my own life. The funny thing is that I’ve been helping my clients organize parts of their lives for a long time now! The idea that, “You can’t see the forest for the trees” certainly applies here. All those trees can block our vision of the forest when we’re standing right in the middle of them! That’s why I have my own coach in this area, and that’s also why I’m able to be such an awesome coach for someone else in this area!
If you’re looking for someone to help you change your approach or be more effective with organizing, I’d love to help. Or, perhaps you want to learn how to take a kinder, gentler approach with yourself, which might surprisingly be the key you’ve been missing.