get organized foreverIf you believe the book title hype, the magazines and the infomercials you can lose ten pounds in a week and get organized forever!

But you probably don’t believe that first one. Most reasonable people know that promise is bunk. But there are an awful lot of you who think you should be able to get organized forever.

It doesn’t work that way, so give yourself a break.

You know that if you want to lose ten pounds you need to eat differently and move more. You stand a better chance of succeeding if you plan what you’re going to eat and adopt an exercise routine that you’ll actually do. You may drop some weight pretty quickly simply because you’re making significant changes. Then the weight loss slows down and your body begins to look and feel different due to the exercise. If you want to maintain your new weight and level of fitness you have to keep following the eating and exercise plans that got you there. As the years go by and your goals (and body) shift, you’ll need to make changes in order to maintain what you had attained or reach your new goal.

The analogy to getting organized is solid.

If you want to improve your organization skills you need a plan. You need to create processes and routines that you can stick with to get you where you want to be. If physical clutter is part of the problem (and that always creates mental clutter), a few hours and a dumpster can jumpstart your effort and give you the motivation to continue. Once the physical and mental clutter is under control, it’s a matter of sticking to the processes and routines you created so both kinds of clutter don’t come back. As your responsibilities and goals shift, you’ll need to tweak your processes and/or develop new routines to maintain the desired level of organization or reach new goals.

You wouldn’t think you could eat endless bags of Cheetos and sit on the couch all day and maintain your physical fitness, right? Similarly, ditching your new organizing processes and routines will also get you an undesirable result. But sticking with the plan doesn’t have to be drudgery. It’s just your new way of eating, of being, of doing things.  It’s a mind-shift.

You can get organized forever as long as you recognize it’s an ongoing process.  It isn’t a task you can check off of your list any more than physical fitness is. How would your outlook be different if you began to think about improving your organization skills as an ongoing effort that’s just woven into the fabric of your day?