Marilyn Paul, a professional woman with a doctorate, confessed to being the poster child of disorder in her personal life. Home and office were jumbled and confused; her lifestyle frenzied and disorganized. In her book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When you Can’t Find Your Keys, she relates how she was able to finally get organized personally and professionally when she began to organize emotionally.
In my last article, we covered ...
- Purpose for becoming and staying organized.
- Envisioning the life and environment one would like to have. The journey continues with some serious questioning.
- Reality, Taking Stock Most people eventually learn that there is a relationship between habits and comfort.
If they do the laundry, there will be clean clothes. If they go to the grocery store, there will be food to eat. However, many do not see the correlation between their own habits and their inability to meet deadlines, find things, or live a life that is not a perpetual drama. There is no connecting the dots between not doing things well or on time and getting fired; between placing mail on countertops and having mountains of paper and unpaid bills six months later. For the hopelessly disorganized and forever frantic, the awareness that they themselves are the originators of these disasters and are therefore the ones capable of eliminating them comes as new information and enlightenment.
However, learning to connect these dots takes a willingness to discover more about the inner person before tackling the outer issues. Observing your own habits and why things are the way they are will get you through the four levels of facing reality: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
At the physical level you take note of what you see: the house, the office, the lifestyle for what they are. There is no judgment, emotion or drama here; merely observation. What is not working well in your space or in your life?
At the emotional level, look at the emotions on which you run your daily life. Are any of these destructive habits or inabilities to manage your environment and your time due to indifference, disappointments, depression, or even revenge? Is there a power play going on? What are the detrimental beliefs about getting organized and where did the chaotic habits come from? Are there childhood issues or adult issues involved? Does life have to be dramatic in order to function? Is the mess allowing you to hide from friends and intimate relationships? How many lies have you told so no one will know? How confused and frightened are you that you won’t make the deadline or find the materials? How much of your life is run by adrenaline, anxiety and panic? How exhausted are you from living your life this way?
At the mental level, people now have to take stock of their thinking and beliefs as it pertains to their behavior. For some, clutter is verification that their lives are still important and purposeful and proves they have not yet become invisible. Some fear getting organized will somehow interfere with their ingenuity; that a clean desk or clean room will thwart all ability to be inspired or to create. Some believe that nothing gets done until the last minute when the adrenaline kicks in, knowing it will not get done well or completely or on time. Some need the martyrdom of being too harried, too cluttered. Saying “yes” to too many things keeps them from having order where it matters most. So, why is it all out of control? What has generated the roadblocks to the life you really want and need?
The spiritual level is not so complicated or demanding. Walk through the house or office See it with new eyes. Look at the soul of the space. Are the lighting, arrangements, and contents inviting? Do you feel warm and welcomed? Is this a comforting place? Look at your lifestyle. Are you taking the time to connect with what really matters in your life? Can you find things? Are you punctual? Are you respected? Are you at peace?
If you want your life to be different, no matter what level, you do not have to go this alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; we all need a little handholding sometimes. To say otherwise is to lie.
You can turn to different people for different kinds of support. There are friends, family and co-workers; there are professionals. Peer coaches, life coaches, professional organizers, organizing support groups are all there for the asking. You can try a little of each and see where you are getting the greatest help and support for your needs.
Seeking help is affordable. Besides, what has your cluttered life and unorganized lifestyle cost you already? Your integrity? Your reputation? A job? Your health? How about your friendships and relationships, both at home and at work? If you want a better life and lifestyle, the cost of getting help is far more reasonable than what you will continue to relinquish without it.