Organizing habits | Use and return

Organizing habits can be learned with consistent practice. It isn’t easy to break an old habit or learn a new one yet we strive to do better. We want to be organized because we know that there are endless benefits of being that way.

In my previous post I challenged you to implement the first organizing habit which is creating a place for everything. This organizing principle or habit enables you to get organized. Taking it 1 step further, your next organizing habit is returning everything to its place after you use it. This is the key to staying organized.

Organized materials.
Return it after you use it.

Organizing habits | What to do

Be specific

Designate a specific area in which you want to keep items organized. Rather than an entire room or space start small until you successfully master this habit.

Being specific is important so that you are focused and can be intentional. For example, every time I am at home I keep my cell phone in the same place. That helps me to remember where it is when I want to leave home, charge it, or turn it off for the evening. Sounds ridiculously simple but have you ever found yourself calling your cell phone in order to find it?

piles of paper
File or discard immediately

Do it now

Organizing habits help minimize or eliminate clutter. Follow Nike’s lead and “just do it”! Waiting to put something back at a later time is problematic for most of us. We get distracted and busy doing other things. Before you know it the pile or stack is growing and the task seems annoying to tackle.

A great example of this is filing papers. Unless you are like me and other Professional Organizers you probably hate filing. It may seem tedious and boring and worse, there is no room in the file that it goes in. If you can get in the habit of filing immediately after you read or act on a piece of paper it will be less daunting, I promise. I am not suggesting that you file every piece of paper in a file folder. You can also file it in shred, recycle, or scan it for a digital file.

relaxed woman reading
Reward yourself

Start again (and again)

Some days you forget, don’t think about it, or just don’t want to do it. Just like training to stay fit or eating well you need to practice 1 thing…don’t give up. Start again and again, as many times  as you need to do so. Reward yourself each time that you put something back after you use it. Rewards for positive behaviors are effective and adult learners benefit from them as much as younger ones.

Organizing habits | What not to do

Organizing habits work when you can avoid the following 3 things (which require no explanation):

  • Self judgment.
  • Give up.
  • Make excuses.

As your Productivity and Organizing Professional let me add 1 more thing to avoid. That is, don’t struggle alone, get help.There is no shame is asking for help from a trained professional. We hire people to do our lawns, clean our homes, color our hair, manicure, and so on. Wishing you ongoing success…