Staying organised

Most people who know me pretty much know how many alarms go off from my phone on a daily basis. Some people close to me know very well around which time an alarm may go off. I’ve even been told that I’m way too regimented and I should loosen up a bit. Different things make different people happy and being organised keeps me happy. I generally structure my time based on the week and this weekend I forgot an important engagement on Saturday morning at 9AM and I felt so disappointed with myself. I try to stay as organised as possible because I have so much going on and to know that something slipped through the cracks, made me feel really down. For a few minutes, I dealt with the emotion of situation, then I quickly moved on to try to figure out what lesson could be learned from it. Basking in that emotion too long would have brought on my desire for perfectionism that I’m trying to curb. I’ve decided to include some time after my classes on Monday to Thursday, no more than one hour, to address what needs to be prepared for my upcoming classes and to email the necessary handouts to the students, as the details of the class are still very fresh in my mind. I also need to find ways to improve my productivity on Saturdays. I think I’m usually so exhausted from the week and Friday night is the one night I can guarantee at least 6 hours sleep, that I’m a bit more relaxed on Saturday mornings. Going forward, I need to make better use of Saturday mornings to get as much work done as possible. Staying organised has definitely made my life a lot easier and while it may not be an approach adopted by all it definitely has its perks.

According to, the following can be considered benefits of staying organised.

  • Less stress. Above anything else, this is the number one reason I burn calories to stay on top of things. Here’s a great example: This year, I’m making a concerted effort to keep my office neat and tidy (I work from home and my office is also my bedroom). I added a bulletin board and have designated a home for everything: inbox, keys, wallet, office supplies, charger cables, and more. Now, when I need something, I know exactly where it is. This fact reduces stress and allows me to …
  • Relax more. I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Organized people are just too lazy to search for stuff.” That’s cute, but I’d rather be the “lazy” one mentioned in the punchline. Less time spent running around means more time. Just, more time to do what I want to do, like …
  • Spend time with my family. Getting clean and clear professionally and personally means I’ve got more time to spend with the kids and my wife. For example, my workday ends at 2:00, just as I drive to the school bus. I know that I’ll be spending the next six hours with my family. That’s easy to do when I took care of all my work stuff before then.
  • I’m ready for a curveball. I’m sure you know how this goes: life throws a kink into the works that interrupts your plans in a major way. Being prepared ahead of time lessens the impact. For example, I have a designated “emergency” office and ultra-portable setup ready. That way, if my Internet connection goes down at home, or a construction crew sets up outside my window, I already know where I’m going to go to work and what I need to bring.
  • The overwhelming seems manageable. I never would have believed this if I hadn’t experienced it myself. I don’t care if you’re talking about work, the kids, or home management, but it’s a great feeling to have every project defined, and every action step that stands between you and “done” clearly identified. When I do this, I can look at a daunting to-do list and feel like I’m on top of it and capable of doing what needs to be done.
  • Improved health. The stress I mentioned earlier, which I feel when things start to get out of control, does not promote good health. There are numerous studies that demonstrate a link between sustained high levels of stress and a variety of health problems.
  • I’m a better example for my kids. There was a time when I spent most of my time behind my computer, working on this or that. I felt productive, sure, but I also worried about the message I was sending to the kids. Adults work all the time? My job is more important than them? I want my kids to become productive, contributing adults, of course, but I want them to enjoy life, too, and that absolutely includes time spent not working.
  • Fewer little jobs. There are four people in my house. If we miss a day or two of laundry, we’re behind. That means that, some day this week, someone has to spend an inordinate amount of time digging out from Mt. Clothing in the basement. However, just turning over a single load per day makes all the difference. Little things like making sure the kids put their hats and boots away each day after school improves our family’s ability to easily function.
  • Greater productivity. When you know where things are, what your goals are, and take care of the piddley busy work as it appears, you’ve got significantly more time and energy for the big goals in life.

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