By Holly Uverity CPO®, Office Organizers
Getting organized starts in your head; it’s only when you decide to make changes in your behavior that change actually happens. No one else can do it for you. If you approach the process of getting organized only because you feel pressured by coworkers, peers, or family members, chances are you won’t be successful.
Each habit we create generates a neural pathway in our brain and the stronger the habit, the deeper the pathway. We default to our strongest habits; so in order to create new habits, we must create new neural pathways that become stronger than the old ones. It’s only when the new behavior becomes the new habit that we will default to it; and we always have the choice of which behaviors to make a habit.
Clients can run into obstacles when they try to make decisions about their items. Often, when they get stuck in the decision-making process, this translates to them getting stuck in the organizing process. Many times, people start to get organized and once they begin feeling overwhelmed and emotional, they stop. They may start again but the same feelings of being overwhelmed hit them and which causes them to stop again. Add to that feelings of guilt or inadequacy for stopping and starting and it can be an endless, destructive cycle. But it doesn’t have to be.
Change doesn’t have to be hard but it does have to be conscious. Oftentimes, people make changes when the pain of keeping things the way they are is stronger than the pain of making the change. As an example, you’ll continue to lose important items until that frustration of constantly looking for items you know you have causes you more pain than taking the time to figure out where those important items belong.
You can, however, choose to make the change easier; don’t think of how hard it is but reframe and refocus your thoughts. Instead of thinking, “I might need this someday”, instead think, “Someone else can use this” or “I can always get this again if I need to”. It’s also important to keep the end goal in mind. Start the process by thinking about how much more effective and happy you’ll be in an organized environment and you’ll find that the decision-making process is easier.
It’s also important to start with baby steps. Take one small area and focus on making a new habit in that one area only and let the rest go for now. Remember that you are creating new neural pathways by choosing the new behavior and it can take some time for those new pathways to deepen. It’s like driving a new way to work; your ‘habit’ is to go the old way but by consciously and consistently going the new way, in time, the new way becomes simply the way you go to work.
By choosing to replace your old, negative stories with new positive ones, you are choosing to make the change easy and perhaps more importantly, laying the groundwork for the creation of those new neural pathways.
Office Organizers is The Entrepreneur’s Organizer. Founded in 1993, they work with business people to create solutions for their organizational challenges. Contact them at 281.655.5022, www.OfficeOrganizers.com, or www.fb.com/OfficeOrganizers.