Harvest House Publishers
Three things we can do today:
To pause a moment just to pray,
To be a friend both tried and true,
And find some good that we can do.
William A. Ward
“I am completely overwhelmed with paperwork! It is closing in on me. I am getting less done and taking more time to do it. I can’t find anything, and the paper monster is taking over my home.”
Have you felt this way?
In order to be completely successful, you must have a handle on the organization of your life. This isn’t difficult; it’s simply a matter of choosing a plan and sticking to it. But let’s start with the basics. How organized are you? Take this simple test to help you determine your level of organization and how much work you have ahead of you.
1. At this moment, do you know where your car keys are?
2. Could you find your most recent tax returns in five minutes or less?
3. Do you know where your children’s birth certificates and shot records are?
4. Could you find a receipt for office supplies purchased two months ago?
5. Can you park your cars in the garage?
6. Are three or more piles of paper a rarity in your home/office?
7. Could you, at a quick glance, give me a subtotal of revenue receipts for the previous month for your home business?
8. Do you have a current list of service names and phone numbers, and could you retrieve it in under three minutes?
9. Have your bills for the month all been paid on time?
10. Do you open and sort your mail the day it arrives?
Eight or more “yes” answers—You are very organized.
Six to eight “yes” answers—You could use a tune-up.
Four to six “yes” answers—It’s a jungle in there.
Less than four “yes” answers—You need a complete overhaul.
A friend of mine had a very exciting and successful home-based business that included a great deal of paperwork. He was being swallowed up by clutter. He barely had any walking room left in his entire house. A small path led from the front door to his office. Another path led to the dining room and yet another path led to the back bedrooms. He became so overwhelmed by the mess that he began to lose business and eventually closed down altogether. He was stressed to the point of exhaustion. His problems could have been easily prevented if he had learned some very basic organizational principles:
• Do it now.
• Don’t put it down, put it away.
• A place for everything, and everything in its place.
• To fail to plan is to plan to fail.
• Have a few basic organization tools.
• Create a workable plan of action.
Webster’s definition of organization is simple: “To arrange in an orderly way; to set oneself into an orderly state of mind.” We need to arrange our homes and offices in an orderly fashion to make our work productive. We will accomplish much more if we are organized. And it’s never too late to start! By allotting just 15 to 30 minutes a day to organize, you’ll be amazed at how quickly things shape up.
Organization means different things to different people. For some it means absolutely no clutter anywhere—no piles, no excess paper. For another person it may mean having neat piles. Some people’s closets and drawers are organized and labeled. They do not keep any clutter on countertops, and they generally are not collectors of knickknacks. For others, organization means that drawers are neat and items easy to locate, countertops are clean but neatly displayed with decorative items, and their collection of sports memorabilia is dusted. Depending on your personality type, organization may mean something different for you. After all, how boring it would be if we all were exactly the same! Our differences make life fun and exciting, and we can be organized to fit our lifestyles.
According to Paul and Sarah Edwards, home-based business experts, it is possible for anyone to become a self-organizer. The Edwardses have spoken to many people to find out how they organize their work at home. They found that people are either “conventional organizers” or “unconventional organizers.” The conventional organizers design strict schedules and adhere to them consistently. The unconventional organizers have the appearance of being unorganized at times, but upon closer examination are found to be extremely organized. Their organizational systems are very complex, sometimes even more complex than the conventionally organized individuals. For example, conventional organizers might use planners and tickler files. Unconventional organizers may use simple to- do lists and unique filing systems using binders rather than traditional file folders.
Whether their systems were conventional or unconventional, the self- organizers that the Edwardses spoke with shared these characteristics.
1. People who are organized realize they can be in charge of how they do things. Self-organizers have discovered that even if it doesn’t seem so, they’re free to choose how they’re going to do things. Also, they are willing to live with the consequences of their choices.
2. Self-organizers keep their priorities in mind and orchestrate their work around these goals. Knowing what’s really important to them pervades everything self-organizers do, from the hours they spend working to their choice of tasks.
3. Self-organizers take responsibility for what happens in their time. Since they realize they can usually structure their work the way they want, self-organizers have also learned they’re responsible for whatever results they get. If they aren’t getting what they want, they realize it’s because their approach isn’t working. They take responsibility for problems as well as solutions.
4. Although self-organizers often don’t realize it, they have made a habit of following the basic principles of good systems organization. Natural self-organizers have learned the principles of good systems organization by osmosis. They picked it up from their parents, a teacher, or on the job. The most common way people learn organizing habits is from the way they were taught to clean up their rooms as young children.
If you weren’t blessed during childhood with learning the basic skills for creating and using organizational systems, don’t despair. There’s no need to struggle through the hazards of learning by trial and error. You can use the principles in this book to design an organizational plan that will work for your home and office.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could wake up in the morning and know exactly where you are going, why you are going, and how to get there? Do you wish you had the secret to spending more time with your wife and children? I’m here to tell you that you can go to bed at night with the satisfaction of knowing you have accomplished all you set out to accomplish that morning, both in your family life and in your professional life. So get ready for some exciting challenges and the ride of a lifetime as we work together to become all God has designed us to become!
• Do a little each day and you will be amazed at what happens to the organization in your home.
• It takes 21 consecutive days of doing a new task before it becomes a habit. Don’t give up on day 15.
• Simplify and unclutter your life by saying no to good things and saving your yeses for the best things in life.
• The system of organization you use must be right for you. There is no best way to be organized. Whatever methods you select needs to fit your lifestyle.
• In order to have order, you must figure out what your goals and purposes are in life.
• People don’t plan to be failures, but they do plan if they are going to be successes.
• “Do the worst first” will help you get started. Once the worst is done, everything else is much easier.
• Share your goals with people who care about you.