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9 Top Secrets of Naturally Born Organizers

9 Top Secrets of Naturally Born Organizers

No doubt about it, some people have a gift for organization. Me? I was behind the door when that gift was handed out. Be that as it may, even the organization-challenged can learn new habits and organizational skills for a greater degree of order and efficiency. While home organization comes to mind, organizational skills for college students are also a necessity. What are nine organizational skills?

One very popular system for improving organization in the home is that of “Messies Anonymous,” founded by Sandra Felton. Felton was once a disorganized “Messie.” She rated her friends on a scale of 1 to 10 according to how neat their homes were, then grilled the 9’s to find their tips. (She found that the 10’s were so extreme they had traded off some of the joy of living for the sake of a clean home!)

Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections has helped many homemakers overcome disorganized habits, too. She refers to people as either “BO’s” (born organized), or “SHE’s” (sidetracked home executives.) SHE’s exhibit some of the characteristics of people who have been diagnosed with adult ADHD. These people feel on the go constantly and avoid routine tasks. They have a hard time finishing projects, too. Even a person with ADHD can learn the techniques of the naturally organized, and become more organized themselves.

1. Do it now. Procrastination leads to getting snowed under a pile of work.

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2. Use your trash can liberally. Born organized people don’t think twice about throwing things away. They aren’t tempted to keep old worn out appliances around “just in case.” They don’t worry about whether they can recycle that mayonnaise jar or not. They just toss things.

3. Get into a routine. B.O.’s don’t wait for time to clean the whole bathroom. They wipe off the sink every time they notice it’s splashed. They shine the mirror every day while brushing their teeth. They run sudsy water to use while cooking, so stirring spoons and saute pans are washed before the meal even goes on the table.

4. Put it where it goes. Disorganized people tend to stash things until they can figure out a better place for it or decide whether to even keep it or not. B.O.’s go ahead and toss it, file it, or otherwise deal with it before it becomes clutter.

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5. Write dates on your calendar, and then remember to check the calendar every day. B.O.’s don’t have to be told.

6. Pick up after yourself. (How embarrassing that we adults need to be reminded to do this!) Periodically look around for things you’ve left out of place – a used coffee cup, the mail, or a book you’re reading. Put them away before the mess gets out of hand.

7. Invest in organizing gadgets and then use them. Office organization is one area that benefits from file drawers, in/out boxes, and desk organizers. However, if the system is unrealistic or unhandy, you won’t use it.

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8. Don’t be afraid of a little expenditure of energy. Many times the small tasks of putting things away and keeping things clean take much less time and energy than we think they will. I find that if I push myself a bit, these tasks are much simpler done more frequently, while the job is still small.

9. Get yourself a daily planner, and use it. Cilley points out that B.O.’s don’t have to be told how to use a calendar or a planner, but on her website, she gives directions for gaining these organizational skills. Her directions for creating a “control journal” in effect fix readers up with free organizing planners.

Anyone, whether naturally inclined to organization or not, can benefit from implementing these suggestions. For those of us who struggle with disorganization, a few simple tips like these can give us a real boost in efficiency.

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Barbara Wood is a writer and educator living with her family in the Missouri Ozarks.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

4. Be Who You Are

It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

5. Slow Down and Let Go

Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

Final Thoughts

What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

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Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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