Don't Just Organize-Minimize!

Does your organizational system stress you out more than it helps you? Do you meticulously organize your things, only to find out that trying to stay super organized just stresses you out? After it’s all said and done, do you wish you had your comfortable mess back?

If so, you may be over organizing.

I can identify with over organizing. I am a professional organizer…and I like to over organize things. I like to color code my clothes, arrange my office supplies into teeny tiny categories, and otherwise make my life too complicated. And when I start feeling anxious about maintaining my new organizational systems, I know that I have been guilty of over organizing. Being organized should make me feel calm, focused and help me pursue the meaning in life. If not, I have organized way too much. Some organization is good; more is not always better!

Thankfully, there is a cure for this. And the secret is minimalism.

You’ve probably heard a lot about minimalism lately because it’s become quite the fad as an alternative to consumer culture. At its core, it is obtained by minimizing, or by “reducing something to the smallest possible amount or degree” (Google). It also happens to be a great tool to ward off over-organization.

Here is a chart to show about over-organization and how you can fix it.

Another example would be a closet organizational system. You could organize 200 shirts by length and color. It sure would be organized. But think about how difficult it would be to maintain. However, if you let minimization guide you, you will come up with a simpler plan. It may involve minimizing your wardrobe down to 50 items, but you will be able to find your coral pink blouse at a glance--without needing to color code. Added benefits? You won’t need as much time to pick out your clothes in the morning. Your morning routine will can be more calm, more focused, and give you time for more important things, like pausing to eat a healthful breakfast.

And this minimization concept doesn’t just apply to organizing things. It can, for example, be used to organize goals. This year I used it to organize my New Year’s Resolutions. Being the over-organized person I am, every year I sit down and write out some New Year’s Resolutions. I separate my life into neat little categories and list several goals next to each one. Last year I got particularly enthusiastic.

Here is what my goal sheet looked like last New Year’s:

I must say that last year’s resolution sheet is very organized…and pretty complicated. Of course, I didn’t even accomplish half that stuff because the thought of actually getting all my goals done all at once was just too much to focus on. So why not do less this year, but with more focus?

So I minimized. Here it is!

But really…only one resolution? Am I slacking? Actually, no. You see, as I was pondering this New Year’s Resolutions, I realized that I didn’t even a whole ton of them. For some reason, when I write, my whole life feels like it is on track. Writing makes my life aligned and abundant. Wow, figuring that out sure simplified things!

So, now that I have used minimalism-guided organization for my resolution, let’s look at how I feel about it.

I feel calmer. I only have one goal to be concerned with. I don’t feel guilty about not working on ten grandiose goals.

I am more focused. Ten goals splits attention ten different ways. But by focusing on just one thing, I will make quicker progress

I can pursue meaning. When I write, I become more contemplative of what really matters to me, and my time management and priorities fall into line.

All in all, I am enthused this year’s resolution. I am particularly excited because blogging will be an integral part of my writing this year. And this means that YOU get to benefit as well! Stay tuned. I will be posting more about finding the thing that makes your day sparkle and how to set a goal around it. And so, in a way, we will be working on our New Year’s Resolution’s together.

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