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Don’t Just Get Organized, Stay Organized! 7 Concepts That Stick

Don’t Just Get Organized, Stay Organized! 7 Concepts That Stick
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    As Professional Organizers, we don’t just get clients organized, we also teach them how to stay organized. Here are some empowering home organizing concepts that we teach people every day.

    Be decisive!
    Everything that is on your countertop or desk right now most likely represents decisions that have not been made. Clutter results from putting off these decisions for later. Your ability to get and stay organized is directly related to your ability to make decisions!

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    Give everything a parking spot.
    Quick—can you tell me where your underwear is? I bet you can. Most people have a special drawer for their underwear, and most people know exactly where their toothbrush is, because those things have a specific home. Virtually everything in your home can have its own parking spot so you can find things quickly and easily. Whenever possible, use a label maker to label the parking spot—just like reserved executive parking spaces!

    Plan ahead.
    A few minutes of planning and preparation can save hours of time and loads of frustration. Think ahead, anticipate… What will you need? What issues may come up? What do you already know now that you could proactively do something about before it becomes a problem?

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    Assume laziness is the norm.
    It’s just human nature – we want to do things with the least amount of effort possible. Assume that people are going to be lazy when you create an organizing system, and work with habits that your family has instead of trying to change them. Make things easy to see and choose. It’s all about having visibility to your items! You want your system to be Visible, Easy, and Obvious. (“VEO” is Spanish for “I see.”) Use labeling whenever possible to make it very easy to find things and put them back. Avoid lids, doors, extra steps, and anything else that makes it take longer or require more effort.

    Put things right where you need them.
    We professionals call this concept storing things at the “point-of-use.” Put the laundry soap next to the washing machine, and put the pot holders right next to the stove or oven.

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    Have duplicates when it makes sense.
    Since you are storing things at the point-of-use, sometimes you have several points-of-use and it makes sense to purchase duplicate tools. For example, you need some scissors in your home office, and you also need some in the kitchen.

    Batch up your tasks.
    Sometimes it’s easier to do one type of thing multiple times– that is why the assembly line was invented for greater efficiency in production. Think ahead about anything that you can do in batches like this, such as phone calls, filing, or correspondence.

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    Lorie Marrero is a Professional Organizer and creator of The Clutter Diet, an innovative, affordable online program for home organization. Lorie’s site helps members lose “Clutter-Pounds” from their home by providing online access to her team of organizers. Lorie writes something useful, funny, interesting, and/or insanely practical every few days or so in the Clutter Diet Blog. She lives in Austin, TX, where her company has provided hands-on organizing services to clients since 2000.

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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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