Remember our discussion about creating a checklist? Some people love it and others hate it, but it’s a necessary part of the planning step.
Well, organization, the “O” in the S.P.O.T. Method, has a similar reputation. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t struggle with organization at least now and then. Everyone has a junk drawer. Even the organization gurus have times when they are not disciplined to follow their own advice. Life just gets in the way, and the plan or system falls apart.
All too often, though, we let “falling apart” become the norm — an excuse for not disciplining ourselves in organization in the first place. This is especially a struggle for those whose personalities don’t naturally lend themselves to organization.
Is it really worth the struggle?
I’m convinced that it’s worth the struggle because of what organization entails. We often think of organization as simply being the idea of everything having a place, whether it is in the orderliness of our homes or the structure of our schedules. Some people crave orderliness, while others don’t need it. If that’s all there was to it, those who craved orderliness would need to be organized and those who didn’t need it (or felt trapped by it) could choose less structure – and maybe even more chaos – instead.
But there’s so much more to it than that. Even if organization is not a natural part of your personality, it’s important to recognize that organization is an essential key to health.
Stress is a major killer in our society, and its victims are becoming younger and younger. Much of this stress is caused by busyness that can be traced to a lack of structure or lack of boundaries. Schedules are either jam-packed with no space or scattered and chaotic, leaving days full of wasted time and energy and poor physical health and habits that could be redeemed for a healthier lifestyle.
You’ll notice that this isn’t even about having everything in place in a physical sense, as far as a clean home or work environment is concerned. This is about an overall lifestyle that is disorganized and out of control.
When you are surrounded by chaos, whether in the state of your home or the uncertainty of your schedule, it is very difficult to focus on the tasks before you. It’s easy to stay scattered and fractured, and you might even begin to wonder if those ADD markers apply to you, not to the kids!
Disorganization leads you to feel constantly behind and constantly frustrated, which can result in a state of poor mental and emotional health that can impact every aspect of life.
A lack of structure and organization frequently has a detrimental impact on relationships, too. When you are disorganized, it can become increasingly difficult for you to make and honor commitments, engage well with others without distraction, and fulfill responsibilities in a timely fashion. Add to that the poor mental and emotional health we discussed above, and the toll that takes on relationships, and you can find yourself in a relational mess.
But, that’s not the only issue. Disorganization can cause increased stress for family members who thrive on organization. As you work in the kitchen, it might be convenient for you to just shove all of the clean dishes — pans, bowls, and whatever else — into the same cabinet. But, that could be exceedingly frustrating for your spouse or child who likes to come in and grab a cup without having to first move the skillet — the one that has a hook to hang on across the room — out of the way. When each of you let your organizational preferences run to the extreme without an effort to try to coordinate, communicate, and function in respect for one another, poor relational health is frequently the result.
Choosing to be organized does not mean that you have to push yourself to the extreme of perfection in every aspect of your life. This is unhealthy, whether you are naturally inclined to organization or not.
Instead, choosing organization simply means that you choose to have a structure that helps you avoid overcommitting yourself and your family, helps you focus on tasks at hand, and nourishes relationships by recognizing the needs of those around you.
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