WELLBEING COLUMN Discover your organisational personality.
What’s stopping you from getting better organised?
One of my favourite things is taking just-washed, sun-dried bed linen o the line, folding it carefully and storing it in the airing cupboard. For me, it is both literally and metaphorically soothing, evoking childhood memories of a calmly organised home and the comfort of a freshly made bed.
The idea that we are a ected by the environments in which we live and work is undoubtedly true, and this gets thrown into stark relief if we have to share these environments with others who are very di erently organised to us. To someone who likes structure, con rmation of detail and everything in its place, someone else’s spontaneity, relaxed approach to timekeeping and general laissez-faire attitude can seem incomprehensible and even infuriating.
Being aware and able to identify how di erent our organisational personalities and styles can be is useful, especially when it comes to understanding how to make any changes that might help us be better organised. Understanding the psychology of why we subconsciously choose to verge on the disorganised can also be revealing in terms of our internal state. To the minimalist, all that ‘clutter’ seems undesirable and alienating, but for some of us, having lots of possessions to which we are sentimentally attached might provide something of a ‘security blanket’ and can be very reassuring.
My personal chaos theory is that some of us nd creating and dealing with external chaos preferable to dealing with unspeci c chaotic feelings inside. Sometimes, constantly losing our keys is a useful distraction from, or a way of drawing attention to, some di cult emotions we’re avoiding. For others, trying to control their external environment could be a way of managing anxiety about things outside their control. It’s important to remember though that, however much we’d like to improve the organisation skills of others, we can only really improve our own. But in nding ways to organise our own lives better, this will have a knock-on e ect on others at home or at work. Having a set place to leave things like keys, checking your personal diary every day and conferring with others about theirs (or about any joint plans), always putting dirty clothes in a wash basket and hanging up damp towels, using timers or apps on smartphones for useful alerts about deadlines for work, creating basic routines for everyday or weekly chores, reducing the sheer amount of stu at home through reusing, recycling or taking it to the local dump; all of these will help both you and those around you to live more organised lives.
Having a home for things – from a jar for the wooden spoons in the kitchen, to an allocated le in which you stu the receipts you will need for your tax return – all helps, and this sort of organisational approach can be applied to di erent aspects of your life. With a little careful planning, you can soon create a better-organised environment in which to live and work, which will help you stay on top of things and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. And, if you stay on top of things, you’re already half-way to being better organised.
I pride myself on being relatively well-organised – my messy desk excluded – because it just makes my life so much easier if I know where my car keys are; if we don’t run out of toilet paper or milk; if I allow enough time to get to appointments; if I save my work les regularly on my computer. That ve-second pause before I move from one thing to another, a sort of momentary mindfulness about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, all helps me be better organised. Just by being more thoughtful, you can make a busy life less stressful and create more time for the things you want to do.