Want to be more organised? The last thing you should do is tidy up…


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We are biologically designed to be organised.  Yet despite this inherent propensity, every one of my clients requires assistance with being organised, because we just don’t seem to feel on top of things.

At certain stages in life, it can become a natural tendency to focus solely on getting things done, at the expense of the intrinsic requirements of our body, and our true, life priorities.

The feeling that you are constantly picking up after children, deciding on your evening meals at the last minute, rummaging through piles of paper on your desk top, searching for items of clothing in your pile of unfolded washing, watching the clock and hardly ever having time to relax and revitalise, demonstrates that you are operating in reverse of how you should be.  When you play this game of tidy up and catch up, you are attempting to create order on the outside, so that you feel organised and calm on the inside.  When this is the case, you will not discover the sense of order that you so desperately crave.  There may be temporary moments of time when all is in place, however this is not true order.  And this will not extend you the calm and serenity you seek.

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Consider these steps [in this order] to assist your quest for being calm and organised.

  1. Keep your priorities top of mind. Your priorities are the aspects of your life that are of true meaning and importance. They are not childcare arrangements, work deadlines, or household responsibilities – while these are pressing responsibilities, they are not usually life priorities. A true life priority may be more likely to be the happiness of your children, maintaining good health, or becoming debt free in order to enjoy freedom of choice. Knowing your life priorities’ does not replace the fact that you have deadlines and daycare pick ups, it simply lessens the weight that these stressors can have on your day.
  2. Establish a morning and evening ritual. One of our inherent organising systems is to operate in rhythms, such as sleep and wake times, meal times, and perhaps set times for exercise and work. When your days are filled with many responsibilities and rushing, it can be difficult for your body to experience a sense rhythm. A morning and evening ritual, even for just a short time will anchor your day. Ideas for your morning could be to stretch well, enjoy 10 deep, strong breaths, drink lemon water, prepare a list for your day, sitting with your children as you eat breakfast, and, in the evening perhaps writing in a gratitude journal, making a warm drink, reading before you sleep. Whatever you choose, make the moments yours and keep your mind in the present, rather than on any responsibilities.
  3. Experience joy, seriously. Can you name what brings you joy? Many, if not most of us, cannot. Yet when humans experience joy, our cellular structure changes and we ultimately become happier, more resilient, more positive and productive. A joy need not be time-consuming – it may be laughing with friends, reading in the sunshine, enjoying favourite music. Or it could be remnant from your childhood – perhaps playing the piano or horse riding. Ruminate on yours. Choose one or more for yourself and engage in it regularly. The more you experience joyful moments the more restored you become, and hence more inspired to get on with the responsibilities in your day.
  4. Create a plan. When you have become reminded of your true priorities, have established restorative rituals in your day, and can be sure of some daily joy and happiness, you will feel inclined to productively tackle being organised. Note down what your organisational challenges are – perhaps tired in the mornings, can’t find things, always late, too many emails, unrealistic deadlines, insufficient household help, procrastination. And now simply, for each of these challenges make a list of between 1-3 solutions to each of them.
    When we live in accordance with what is meaningful in our life, when we have moments that restore us, and when we experience daily joy, life seems to flow well – and that includes the tidying up!

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Sarah Laurie
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