How many times have you set out to get organized? Some think they can accomplish it over the weekend; others take one week of vacation (or more) to attempt it. If they are able to get organized in that timeframe, they often find themselves moving backward before the end of the month. When I hear people say, “I’m just not an organized individual,” or “I’m a right-brain person,” I simply smile and say, “That’s no excuse.” Being organized is not in our gene pool or DNA. It is a learned behavior.
Much of who we are comes from what we observed in our family environments as we grew up. With that being said, even if we lived in an organized environment but weren’t involved with the organization process, we may have ended up with what I call the princess/prince syndrome … everything was done for us. What’s my point? There are two: 1) don’t use the past as an excuse; you’ve stayed on this mountain long enough, 2) don’t set your kids up for these same obstacles by doing nothing or not including them in the process.
If you have the desire to get organized and feel overwhelmed at the thought of it, remember, you didn’t get to this place overnight, and it’s not going to change overnight. The good news is, in most cases, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Those who attempt it overnight often set themselves up for disappointment. When we approach our goals from a place of pain or frustration, we adopt a fix it mentality. This produces a sense of fear or desperation and urgency to making change happen yesterday. As a result, we throw ourselves into aggressive new behaviors, which in most cases aren’t sustainable or realistic.
So, where do we start? We start with the positive in our chaos. Most clients I’ve encountered have one or two household chores they enjoy more than others. Pick these and develop a concrete routine to accomplish them. Next, add another task until it’s routine, and don’t forget to include the kids … the younger they are, the more eager they are to help. As an example: Laundry, meal planning, and grocery shopping are typical priorities for families. If you don’t have a routine for these tasks, start now. This isn’t rocket science, however, you’d be amazed how many households fly by the seat of their pants with these important responsibilities. You can’t afford not to have routines in these areas. Take time to meal plan … avoid the store without a list. Pick one or two ideal times to hit the grocery store and stick to it. Have the kids help determine some of the meals for the week, and recruit them to help unload and put away groceries.
Now, the laundry beast. Again, pick one or two laundry routines and try them. Select the one that seems to work best for your family and practice it for at least one month. Again, involve the kids. They can carry their clothes to and from the laundry area, and they can place them back in their closets and dressers. And, when they’re old enough (10-12), show them how to run the machines!
Once these tasks are habits, add another until it becomes a habit and part of your family routine. Continue to build, always thinking of ways to involve family members. Think of it this way … start with becoming 20% organized, then 30%, 40%, etc. When you reach 60% that’s a huge accomplishment! I don’t believe anyone needs to be 100% organized … that brings its own chaos with it. 🙂 Shoot for 80% and know you won’t always be able to operate at that level, and that’s ok. The storms will come and they do. You may at some point find yourself back at 20% depending on circumstances. That 20% should include the priorities that keep your family unit running. Then, begin building back up to 60%. It won’t take as long because you’ve already been down this road.
If you’d like a little encouragement and coaching along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we’ll get you on your way. Remember, instead of looking at this mountain in front of you, reflect on the parts of your life that are going well instead of letting fear and frustration steel your joy.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” Theodore Roosevelt
Giddy up and good luck!