What Does Being Organized Mean?

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What does being organized really mean?

When I throw that question out there, people usually respond by describing visions of neat and tidy spaces, labeled shelves, lined up jars, and no clutter.

In fact, these images could not be farther from the truth.

An orderly space is only a “side effect” of being organized but it is NOT the goal.

The definition of true organization is being able to find what you want when you need it.

What Is The True Goal of Being Organized?

The true goal of being organized is being able to have that thing that you need at your fingertips despite any clutter that might surround you.

When the clutter creeps in – and you know it will – if you have a system in place to get the item or information that you need at a moments notice, without searching high and low, then you can pat yourself on the back.

We’ve all had that moment of panic when we can’t find something that is valuable or necessary.

This can take the form a physical item or a tidbit of information.

Examples include a wedding ring, car keys, or travel plans.

Organized and “Neat and Clean”  Are Not The Same

People often confuse being organized with being “neat and clean”. But these two terms are not defined the same.

Any good cleaning service can create a neat and tidy space.

But what you need to do to “get organized” is to create a system that you will come to rely upon to find your things.

Do you see the difference?

In my house, things can get chaotic at times. Six of us and a our dog live here.

The kids drag  in backpacks, sports equipment, food wrappers, friends … if you want to find them, just follow the trail.

On some days, you might walk in the door and think “Someone that writes about how to get organized lives here? Really?”

But the thing is – underneath the hubbub there is a certain order.

Important things have their place, so I can find them when I need them.

And at the end of the day – I can clear the mess quickly and efficiently because everything does have a place.

Organization and Habits are Closely Related

Organization and good habits are almost synonymous.

If you tackle one small area at a time as part of your organization process, you will introduce order and create a lasting habit.

In his book The Power of Habit (you can find the book here on Amazon), Charles Duhigg teaches us that:

A habit gives people the ability to act without having to take the time to think about the action.

For example, to organize your papers and your space, you might set up a spot or inbox to put all of your incoming bills on a daily basis.

Then to organize your time you can create a set of tasks that you will do at a certain time each day or week – like pay bills every Monday morning at 9:00.

By following this daily and weekly routine – you are creating a system for paying your bills on time and for finding those papers should you need them during the week.

After doing this repeatedly, it will become a habit.

Finding what you need, when you need it. It’s the key.

As you put this into practice you will discover ways that you can improve both the area being organized and other disorganized parts of your life.

The Meaning of Organization

For me, the meaning of organization refers to the feeling of control that I have over my life.

When I am organized I feel a sense of calmness and have more self confidence.

I strive for this every day.

Often when everything seems to be going wrong (yes, I do have days like this!), the first thing I do is start organizing.

It’s a little weird, but it works.

By organizing the space around me, I start to gain back control and feel like I am in the driver’s seat again.

What is Your Biggest Organization Challenge?

What is your biggest challenge to staying organized?

Let me know in the comments below.

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