When talking with potential clients, I’m often struck by how distressed they sound with their organizing and productivity challenges, and how their businesses, and their lives, are affected by what’s going on in their space and systems. No doubt about it – if you’re disorganized, life can be stressful, and needlessly so.
But you didn’t become disorganized overnight. If you’re an adult, you’ve had years to build habits and patterns that likely aren’t serving you as well as they could be. It probably took you years of “practice” losing documents, misplacing files on the computer, or running late to your appointments before you realized that being disorganized and unproductive was costing you time, stress, and money – and that there’s an alternative.
Once you’re ready to make a change, you don’t want it to happen now – you want it to have happened YESTERDAY! And it’s completely understandable, especially if you’re trying to make your life better by getting organized and boosting your productivity. You’re tired of the way things are, and want things to be better. The problem is that there isn’t a magic wand that can get you organized overnight. Having the motivation to “get it done” is great, but in order to really make changes, you have to invest time and energy into changing your life and your habits – not just changing your stuff, or your space.
You can tidy up the mess temporarily – get the papers off the desk, clean out your email inbox, or manage your schedule for the next few days, for instance – and you’ll probably feel a great sense of accomplishment. But then what happens? You get disorganized again, and sometimes it’s worse than when you started. Within a typically short amount of time, the clutter will creep back in, the emails will pile up, and the papers will reappear. You’d worked so hard to get things organized – and felt so great about what you’d done, but now it’s as bad as ever. What gives?
The truth is – you can’t “tidy” your way organized. Even with you work with a professional organizer or productivity strategist, having one organizing or productivity session won’t make a difference for very long, because all you can hope to do is clean up the immediate mess – which is a part of the process, just one that doesn’t have a long-lasting impact.
To truly get organized and be more productive, you’ll have to learn the systems, skills, habits and techniques that come with time, and with practice. Instead of tidying up once, finding, and learning strategies that will help you get organized and stay that once and for all will make a difference over the long haul. It’s a process – one that takes time, effort, and patience, but as with many things that are challenging – it’s worth it!