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5 Organizing Misconceptions Debunked
Containers organize. Multitasking works. Inflexibility helps. Tossing is essential. Lists get results. These five 'rules' often are the foundation of many organizational strategies. But do they really work? Not always. Learn how to make the rules work for you.
- Assuming that containers will organize you. While containers certainly can be wonderful tools for helping you get organized, containers alone will not help you. For instance, Jack, a photographer, purchased 10 large plastic containers to organize all of his photography equipment.
He divided all of his equipment among the containers, but when he was done, he still couldn't find what he was looking for when he needed it. Jack mistakenly assumed that all he needed to get organized was a few containers.
What he really needed was a bit of know-how about, for instance, what kind of containers would best suit his needs, proper sorting techniques, labeling and appropriate storage.
Before you go out to purchase containers, or other organizing storage devices, it's important to first learn a bit about organizing. Only with a little bit of knowledge and preparation beforehand, will any organizing container or storage device be worthwhile to you. In light of this, please consider reading my book to get the organizing knowledge you need. It will save you time, money and stress. For more details, visit:
- Constantly multi-tasking. So many people feel that in order to be organized and productive, multi-tasking is constantly required. Not true. While multi-tasking can definitely be useful in some situations, sometimes it can cause you to lose your focus.
Julie, a graphic designer, was working on a very important design project for a major client. But, she felt she was an excellent multi-tasker, so she would field phone calls as she was working.
When she presented her project to her customer, the client immediately pointed out a major omission in the marketing piece--their phone number.
Embarrassed, Julie had to edit the piece and resubmit it. She later acknowledged that, had she allowed her voicemail to field her phone calls, put more focus into working on this project and thoroughly checked it with no interruptions, it would have never been submitted incorrectly in the first place.
When working on anything important, working on other things at the same time is probably not a good idea. Some projects require your undivided attention.
- Being inflexible. Just because something seems to be working for you, doesn't always mean it's the best way to do it.
Michele, a social worker, set up several trays in her office so that staff members could add paperwork throughout the day that required her attention.
However, Michele's staff workers were upset that there was no way to ensure that a high priority project was handled prior to a lower priority project since everything was added to the tray--no matter what the level of importance.
Michele's boss was not happy at all with this system. He agreed with the staff members that there were going to be some projects that were more important than others. He defined projects that should get high priority, and placed a red folder in each of the staff members' trays. This way, if they had something of high priority, the staff members would be able to place papers pertaining to that project in the red folder.
Michele, who didn't take to change well, was very upset. She couldn't understand why her system, which was working in her mind, had to be changed. But her boss required this change, so she had to be flexible and she had to accept it. Now that she's using the new system, she actually likes it.
When it comes to organizing, you have to be flexible. Continuous improvement should always be the name of the game. No matter what you're doing, there's almost always a better, faster, more efficient, more productive way.
- Believing you have to toss everything. Someone was said to me there was no way she could get organized because she would never be able to bring herself to toss out everything she had. When I asked her where she got the idea that everything had to be tossed, she said, 'Everyone knows that's what getting organized means.'
I'm not sure where she heard this, but it's a myth. While you certainly shouldn't keep things you don't like or things you never use, there's always a way to either display or store the things you love and the things you do use.
Between shelving units, hooks, overhead storage, cabinet extenders, closet rods, utility shelves and so many more organizing options, there's no reason to toss the possessions that truly mean something special to you.
- Thinking if you just write it down, it will get done. You can write all you want, but if you don't act on the things you jot down, they will never get done.
Erin, a stay-at-home mom, loves to make lists. She has To Do lists, lists of movies she'd like to see, lists of chores she wants to complete, lists of friends she wants to contact, lists of activities she would like to do with her children, and scores of other lists that are way too numerous to even mention.
However, Erin has a huge problem with getting to anything on her lists. She is under the impression that just writing up lists is enough.
Having lists is wonderful and you should definitely have them. But to get anything accomplished, you have to actually schedule time to DO the things on your lists.