If I Could Just Get Organized…

I highlight the 5 general organizational pillars as they related to family life below but a bit about organization first. Disorganized people are usually people that are capable of being organized but they are just too busy to get it all together. Organized people are annoyed by disorganized people and that often causes stress is relationships. I want to encourage both types of people to make strides forward. Busy people need to take small steps daily to get organized and realize that they do get time back as a result. Organized people need to help those around them get organized remembering that certain artsy people often tend to enjoy a part of their space to look like a complete mess to others.

Organization is often misunderstood by those that are not naturally gifted in the arena of organization or skilled through training to excel in organization. Organization at its core is about efficiency. It’s true that the most developed levels of organization enable the most refined and efficient methods of accomplishing tasks, living, performing activities, etc.

It is also common that being organized is confused with being efficient. Just because one is organized does not necessarily guarantee efficiency. It is however a prerequisite and does enable efficiency. It is common to also see people abuse organization simply to enable maximum efficiency in life for the sake of accomplishing more than they likely should attempt to endeavour.

In other words, being organized should enable us to really enjoy and be free with our time whether working or playing. Organization should enable our work time to flow more quickly and smoothly in a less stressful manner. Organization should not be abused to turn all of our time into work time at maximum efficiency. Organization should enable us to accomplish our requirements while leaving time for freedom and adventure. This is an important distinction because each year, the people of the western culture in particular, are being asked to do more and more with the same amount of time.

That said, I find it critical for myself to also have some level of structure and planning (organization) around my free time. Not having some sort of structure and planning around most activities including free time or family time activities causes me to feel like the time is ineffective or of diminished value or enjoyment. This is a personal thing that not all will appreciate or agree with. A good example would be attending a play or show by children that have not been disciplined or properly trained to actually present a quality performance. The viewers are annoyed and the children are robbed of an opportunity to actually do something great. Another example would be a family road trip to the ocean with no thought for what would be done on the beach during the visit. Having nothing planned would represent a lack of organization but having kites, balls or games would make the trip much more enjoyable.

PILLARS OF FAMILY LIFE ORGANIZATION:

1) Managing The Process — Every day is filled with activities that, when performed in a consistent manner, can provided massive increased efficiency which equates to more free time. Effective management of the processes, steps and methods used for various activities also ensures that consistent and repeatable results are achieved. Someone that follows processes consistently tends to feel a sense of confidence with both new and known opportunities in their life.

One good area to begin with is to develop some processes for inside the home. For example, how is laundry done? What are the steps and how is that accomplished? In our home, we have three kids. The parents are responsible (at this point) for running the machines but the kids are responsible for removing the close from the dryer when the buzzer sounds, folding the laundry and storing it. Of the three kids, which ever one responds to the buzz audibly first gets to remove the laundry from the dryer while the other two are responsible for folding and storing.

2) Managing The Project’s — Various types of projects hit life regularly. They are generally described as period activities that come along with no consistency. Some projects will last for a few minutes and others could last for a few weeks or months. Some projects like learning a new skill may even take longer. The effort of evaluating how one approaches project work is an organizational task which leads to higher success rates. Improved success rates increase the feeling one experiences of success, worth and value in life.

The biggest piece of project management that should be known is that project work never goes away. We will always have both responsibility work and project work. Responsibility work is generally related to moving the day forward while project work is more often used to move life forward. Therefore, project work can be see as exciting and new.

3) Managing Change — We are living beings and each day we, along with those around us, are at a different age and in some form different and changing people. Therefore, it is critical to our success to include a pointed emphasising the management of changes in our lifes necessary to keep up with the reality of change. Change brings new opportunities, new experiences and always requires a fresh perspective to fully capture and develop an organized plan with how to approach new circumstances or the coming period(s). A good manager of change will consistently think ahead of the current environment and will have developed plans that are ahead of what is currently needed in terms of the growth of their family members and collectively.

A good way to begin winning with regards to planning for change is to write down what you would like your life to look like in three years. Visualize it and even draw a sketch of it. From there, make a list of starting actions that one needs to take in order to see this new, future reality come to life.

4) Managing Growth — Thankfully, growth is a result that happens with each passing day, new opportunity and educational experience. The younger we are, the more we expect and experience these opportunities but they should not be any less exciting or expected as we age. Time and responsibilities tend to fight with the results we get in actually learning new things. Wise ones actively find ways to challenge their minds and push against the comfort zone of a sustainable lifestyle. Everyday should be seen as an opportunity to both learn and to teach. Those that are good at growth management live a remarkably more joy filled life specifically those that develop skills that require an inordinate amount of attention to accomplish.

Each member of the family should have a learn plan. It can be basic or it can be elaborate but everyone should continue the learn process throughout their entire lives. Most adults learn to earn but one must choose to learn for pleasure either in learn or in doing an activity or possessing a skill that brings them pleasure.

5) Managing Resources — Everyone has the opportunity to be double booked but too often decisions on schedule and time usage is made devoid of a clear vision of the individual or family priorities. Being able to view each opportunity through a filter or set of filters beyond the often emotionally driven desire for our family members to experience everything possible is a wise tool to effectively manage resources. Priority must be known and consistently followed when evaluating each individual opportunity. As family members age, their maturity levels will dictate their ability to make decisions based on their individual priorities. Parents that are also well versed in the use of these tools will be more effective at evaluating their child’s success at setting their own resource usage boundaries.

A starting point for managing resources is to develop a list of roles and responsibilities for each member of your family. Each member must agree that these are truly their roles and that the associated responsibilities do in fact align with and support those roles. From there, a person knows who they are and why they exist. This can be used as the filter by which nearly all resource (scheduling) decisions are made.