The Path to Organization

Running around trying to find my wallet and keys seems to have become a daily activity for me. Every day I find myself in a rush to get to class with all the time I spend trying to locate my things. If only I could keep my things in order and be more organized, then I could actually catch the bus in the morning.

If you knew me, you would know that I tend to be quite unorganized. I’m constantly searching for my things, my room is a mess, and I can’t ever seem to find the most important papers. From a young age I’ve always had a tendency to have my things everywhere. I’ve been losing things since before I could walk. It’s funny because I tend to be a very clean person, constantly cleaning messes in my apartment. But when it comes to my room it’s just always a cluttered mess.

When it comes to school, everything is the same. I remember my mom buying me countless different binders and trying relentlessly to get me organized. I would always end up just throwing my notes into my backpack, no folder, nothing. Studying and organization went hand in hand, they were non-existent. I would never be able to find anything I needed for studying, due to the crumpled papers that littered the bottom of my bag. Getting homework done was almost impossible, never being able to find the assignments let alone knowing when they were even due.

Attempting to break my habit of 19 years, my new goal is to be a more organized person. I hope to be more organized in both an academic and personal aspect in order to be more efficient with my time.

I intend to carry out an experiment over the two weeks to work towards “full organization.” The first three days I recorded myself in a notebook to figure out specifically what needs to be improved upon. When I went through my regular day and found myself missing something or taking a while to accomplish something, I made a note of it. Once I had everything written down from the three days, I came up with a plan to improve all the things I noticed I needed to work on. I also made a point to ask around and see how other people stayed organized. My three other roommates are very organized people and I asked each of them how they personally kept their days in order. I wrote down all of their suggestions and incorporated them into my plan. Realizing that drastic changes in my organization weren’t possible right away, I decided to take the first step. Throughout these two weeks my goal was not to drastically change my habits, but to identify them, plan on how I could change them, and then begin to start the new routine.

After the first three days I looked back at my results and saw that the worst part of my organizational habits was not planning anything in advance and with that not writing anything down for what had to be done throughout the day.

…The first time management technique that you can use is a time planning system that contains everything you need to plan your life and improve your organizational skills. A good time planner will contain a master list where you can capture every task, goal, and required action as it comes up (Tracy)

I realize that one of the best ways to start to get organized is coming up with a planner and writing everything down that needs to be done daily and weekly. The next big key was my cleanliness. That was honestly the biggest key to my organization, once I became clean I knew everything would start to fall in place and I could begin to work on my planning part. The cleaning part isn’t the bad part. It’s once it’s clean, I don’t keep it clean for long. So the first thing I had to do was begin my planning of how I was going to keep my room clean and organized and then have that progress into me planning my day out and actually writing down what had to be done.

On the fourth day, when I woke up I decided I would start my new trend of writing what had to be done throughout the day, and ranked them most important to least important. The first thing on my list for the day; finish up my research on time management and organizational skills, I was able to retain a lot of information that I was definitely aware of but never took to the time to think about it and take action. When going through the articles I broke them down piece-by-piece and related it to my life to see how I could start to apply these skills right away. After I finished my research my next goal for the day was to create a plan for what I was going to do to change my habits. The first thing to be taken care of, my cleanliness, I knew I could clean my room but how would I be able to keep it clean?

… If you put a child in a room full of toys, they will eventually choose just a few favorites to focus on and ignore the rest. Grownups are the same way — we use 20% of our belongings 80% of the time, and vice versa. You have that one outfit that you wear to death, the same dishes you pull out for every meal, and a few books that you read again and again — the rest go untouched. Put your organizing skills to work by giving preference to these “favorites” and see if you can’t weed out some of the other 80% that is just taking up space. (Creel)

After reading Ramona Creel’s article, I immediately began to look around and see what stuff lying around my room hadn’t been touched in a few weeks. Once I recognized that stuff I collected it all together and threw it in some bins and put it in our storage closet. Right away I noticed how uncluttered my room was. What do you know? I could actually see my desk again. I continued to clean my room and when I was done I automatically felt relieved with all the clutter no longer there. I decided to designate my Sunday’s to cleaning days, every Sunday I would take an hour or two out of my day to make sure my room and apartment are in good shape. This way throughout the week I will have somewhere to study and be more productive at home, rather than sitting on my couch with my laptop.

At the end of the first week of working at my goals I felt quite accomplished, but knew there was still a lot of progress to be made. I continued to write things down in my planner and keep on top of knowing when things were due. I had rid myself of the worry of not getting stuff done on time. What I was worried about was the fact that I had to go home for spring break. I had a suspicion all my new habits would fall to the way side and I’d be back at square one. After coming home my parents were proud to see that I had been working on my organizational skills for the past week and encouraged me to continue. I found it to be much easier than I thought. The first day I was home I didn’t have hours of homework on top of going to class and multiple other things, and was able to really stay on top of my planning. To continue my work, I immediately wrote down what had to be done around the house to stay organized. Two days later I found everything to be running smoothly. I continued to keep up with my to-do list by writing down everything. With being so organized I actually had the time to complete assignments that were due well after break.

The last few days of break were easy because I had knocked out everything I had to do back home in the first few days due to the fact I had written everything down. My parents said they loved the new change, not only because I had finally cleaned my basement out after a year or two, but also because they finally saw the change that they had been working so long for when I was in high school. The last day I was back home I bought a big calendar to put on my desk back at school. This was so I can write down multiple things each day and plan way ahead of time for tests, papers, projects etc. Once I had the calendar I went ahead and looked at my syllabi for all my classes and wrote down all assignments for the rest of the semester and when they had to be done.

Coming back to school I was confident to maintain my routine and stay on top of things. I had been doing so well the past two weeks. Everything has gotten a little bit better day-by-day. I know I said earlier on how it would take months to get in the full swing of things, but I have seen some drastic changes in the past 14 days. Ever since that first time I wrote down what had to be done and uncluttered my room on the fourth day, I have seen improvements in every other aspect. It has helped me become organized and stay on top of my assignments. What I have taken away from this experiment is two key things; there are different levels and types of organization. Not everyone needs to be a neat freak to be organized, some people like living in clutter and think it’s easier to find things. Others need everything to be crystal clear to be able to function. I would say I am right in the middle of that. I am neither too clean nor too messy anymore. The other thing I noticed was some type of organization is needed in life to do well.

…Getting organized is unquestionably good for both mind and body (Parker-Pope)

When you become organized everything seems to be easier. You become less stressed out due to the fact you know what needs to be done and when. After seeing the affect it has had on me the past two weeks, I wish I had tried this experiment out before high school started. Overall, these two weeks has made a positive impact on my life and will be huge going down the road. There were things I knew about organization before hand but I didn’t really listen or take action. Now that I have my life has been changed for the better.

Creel, Ramona. “4 Fundamental Organizing Skills Everyone Should Know.” 4 Fundamental Organizing Skills Everyone Should Know. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Parker-pope, Tara. “A Clutter Too Deep for Mere Bins and Shelves.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 2007. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

Tracy, Brian. “Mastering Time Management and Organizational Skills to Increase…” Brian Tracys Blog Mastering Time Management and Organizational Skills to Increase Productivity Comments. 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

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