I am an observer of behavior. I watch myself. I watch my clients. I watch family and friends and people I don’t even know. I learn a lot about getting and staying organized and not staying organized by observation. This week I watched myself make a mess on my desk while I was in the process of completing a task. Then I watched myself automatically restore order. I realized that my habit is to make a mess, clean it up, make a mess, clean it up.
Somewhere along the way I learned that if I just clean up my messes as I go along, I stay organized. I might clean up at the end of a particular task or at the end of a particular time segment spent doing things that make messes. And, I rarely leave messes behind. Why? I guess I learned that if I left them, there would be negative consequences. I’ll bet my mother gave me some consequences when I was growing up. She was very organized and both modeled regularly cleaning up and enforced it as a family norm.
Now I can do what I want and I choose to clean up regularly. Why? Because it takes just seconds or minutes to clean up most messes I make, whereas if I leave the mess it is likely to attract even more clutter. Then cleanup time and effort would be much greater–hours and even days. Besides, the bigger the mess the bigger the overwhelm factor, which would lead to procrastination to avoid the overwhelm. That’s how messes snowball into rooms full of unorganized stuff.
Also, I really value closure. Cleaning up is a way to close an activity and give me a feeling of accomplishment. Cleaning up also restores physical order which in turn helps create mental order. I feel grounded and ready for the next task when I leave a neat and organized office. Finally, when I return to my tidy office I am greeted with calm and positive energies. If I didn’t clean up I’d be greeted with chaotic, noisy energies whose message to me would be something fearful and abusive like this, “You’re too busy. What’s wrong with you that you can’t get everything done? Why are you so messy?” Who needs that? Especially if it only takes seconds or minutes of effort to avoid it!
Make the “Mess-Cleanup” approach to staying organized your new habit. It could change your life!