By Interactive Metronome - January 2, 2014
New Year, New Messes
Tips to Get Organized in the New Year
Staying organized is hard; it feels like you just put the same things back over and over. We have all been there; maybe it starts by turning the dryer on again when you don’t want to fold laundry. Then, your “junk” drawer somehow takes over all of your other drawers. Before you know it there is no more room in the attic and the two-car garage can only hold one car. Where did the space go? Where did the time go? Now, where has all of the motivation gone? Why is there a Sears catalog from 1989 in a box marked “important bank statements”?
For many, staying organized is essential to staying successful. After all, studies show that organized workspaces lead to more productive, happier workers. It is also true that concentration and attention are improved in a clutter free environment. Life seems to breed clutter, and while we may never free ourselves of the “junk” drawer, at least there will only need to be one.
At Home. Home may be where the heart is, but is it getting harder to find underneath all of your child’s toys and those boxes in your “office”? Between children’s bedrooms, attics, garages and home offices there is no end to the sources of clutter. But never fear; the first step is simply getting started. Procrastination is the biggest enemy to staying organized. Remember, you don’t have to devote your whole weekend to reorganizing the house. The enormity of that task would derail many people, but no one will ever get organized overnight. Start small and stay functional. The idea is to build a system of organization that works to help you function more efficiently in daily life. As the daily clutter decreases, so will stress and time spent cleaning. One day you might even actually want to organize the attic just to get that mess out of your way.
First step, get rid of the stuff you never use. When did you buy a third mandolin? Sell it. Donate it. Organizing doesn’t have to cost money. A lot of people have items lying around that have a lot of value to someone else. Yard sales, Ebay and Facebook are all easy ways to make some extra cash off of your 1996 Halloween costume. Don’t want to sell it? Well, don’t just put it in a box and put it away; store similar items together to increase functionality. For example, keep all of your sports equipment in one area, but each sport’s unique items in separate bins. Store wrapping paper with gift bags, tissue paper, scissors and tape so you aren’t running around the house searching for tools when you are trying to wrap that last minute gift.
To stop the disorganized clutter in its tracks, literally stop disorganized clutter it its tracks. Don’t keep adding to the mess! Have a spot where your keys always go. Keep tools in one area so that repairs are not quite as stressful. Put bills by the computer or on the refrigerator so they don’t get lost among other papers. Make your children responsible for folding their laundry. Have them put away their toys after they are used or have them help you put away the groceries; both are great ways to teach children that everything has a place. If you give them an allowance, next time try hiding it somewhere in their room to motivate them to clean. What may seem like small changes will soon become good organization habits. Before long everyone in the family will be helping keep down the clutter.
At the Office. Getting organized at the office can be a little easier, and not because organizing expense reports is a breeze, but more out of necessity. While a junky house may only get in the way of personal affairs and relaxing, work clutter affects efficiency and productivity. Organization creates a logical, functional system that improves workflow and performance. Your job may literally depend on staying organized in a hectic office environment.
Once again, just like at home, start small and stay functional when it comes to office organization. If you spend most of your time at a desk, organize your desk. Removing extra papers and adornments from the desktop is a great place to start. Less physical clutter means less mental clutter. Develop a system for filing. Use a calendar. Maybe you would prefer a planner? Either way, write to do items, job duties, appointments, birthdays, shopping lists, meetings and anniversaries down somewhere. A short pencil is better than a long memory; so, don’t stress yourself out keeping up with all of that information.
The purpose of organizing is to relieve stress and improve efficiency, thereby freeing mental capacity for other tasks. Getting organized shouldn’t be stressful. In fact, just the opposite; a very small amount of organization can make a world of difference in your emotional and mental state. Knowing where your keys are every morning could save five minutes a day and lead to a happier you walking out of the door. Asking your children to put away their toys will teach them to organize schoolwork and job tasks later in life. Simply staying organized and efficient at work may even put you in line for that big promotion.
But there is the catch. You’ve got to start. You’ve got to have a plan. While organizing your life might help relieve stress and help you be more efficient, you’ve got to start by reorganizing your brain. Organizing takes sustained attention, memory, spatial orientation and efficient neural processing. That is where Interactive Metronome® (IM) can help. IM helps synchronize your body’s internal clock, which leads to better neural efficiency and communication among the functional brain networks. Just like organization, IM takes only minutes a day and will make a world of difference in your life.
Whatever your reason, there is no day like today to start getting organized. Attack daily clutter in just a few simple steps. And don’t worry, there is no wrong way to organize. Just decide on what works for you, get moving and stick with it.