Seven Myths about Organized People

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Pocketprotector
Won't being organized make me dull and boring?

No! Many people have an instinctive aversion to being organized. When they think “organized,” they think of an accountant with a pocket protector sitting at a bare desk in a room full of filing cabinets. Or they think of gleaming supermarket shelves, with rows upon rows of evenly spaced, carefully lined up items. Yikes!

Relax, you can be very organized without having your home look like Costco. Here are seven myths about what organized people are like, and the corresponding realities.

Myth #1:
Organized people are perfect. They always know what to do and how to do it. They never make mistakes and they’re always right.

The Reality:
Being organized just means having systems that work. Even the most organized person has days when things go wrong, there’s not enough time or unexpected problems come up. They simply stop and regroup and then keep going.

They can do that because they know how to reprioritize their tasks on the fly and they can quickly make decisions based on new information. A good organizing system is uncomplicated and easy to use.

Myth #2:
Organized people are neat and tidy. Their possessions are all lined up evenly. Nothing is ever out of place.

The Reality:
People who are organized know where things are and know their things all have homes. At any given time, an organized person’s house might look a little chaotic because projects are in process; living is going on there. The difference is that, when they need to, organized folks can swiftly put everything away.

Myth #3:
Organized people like to keep their things out of sight. All the horizontal surfaces are cleared. There are no piles anywhere.

The Reality:
Whether items are out in plain view or stored in a cabinet or drawer is a personal preference that has little to do with organizing. What does matter is that things are in the most logical place. That means commonly used items are kept where they can be accessed quickly and that they’re near where they’ll be used.

Myth #4:
Organized people are obsessive. They can’t rest unless every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed. They give attention to the most mundane details that no one even notices.

The Reality:
Okay, it’s true that some organized types love that level of detail, but not all of them! The key here is performing regular, but minimal, maintenance. Good enough, not perfect. One of the greatest benefits of a well-designed organizing system is that it doesn’t take much to keep it going. But your efforts need to be regular, so tasks don’t pile up.

Myth #5:
Organized people are slaves to routine. They have to do things the exact same way every time. They can’t be spontaneous and never put things off.

The Reality:
Routines are very useful for getting tasks done without having to think too much about them. Since they’ve designed simple systems, organized people know how to get those systems back up and running easily when the unexpected happens. And the unexpected always happens.

Myth #6:
Organized people are rigid. They plan everything down to the last minute. They need to know what’s going to happen at all times.

The Reality:
Organized people use their datebooks as tools to help them get done what they need to get done. They know that they’re in control of their own time; if they don’t control it, someone else will. They also build contingency time into their schedules to account for uncontrollable events.

Myth #7:
Organized people memorize everything. They have encyclopedic knowledge about all kinds of things. They never forget appointments or birthdays or where they put something.

The Reality:
Memory is overrated! The longer you live, the more you’ll be trying to remember and the more you’ll be likely to forget. Organized folks make use of tools; in this case, a pen and paper. They write addresses in their address books. They note appointments in their datebooks. They assign other spots, either handwritten or on the computer, for other important information they don’t want to lose.

Conclusion
Being organized really just means knowing what you have and where it is and being able to access it without too much work. It’s about having peace of mind from knowing what to do next and where to find the information you need.

Did this list make you think of any misconceptions you have that keep you from really getting organized? I’d love to hear them! Make a comment below.

Pocket protector from Shopwiki.

8 thoughts on “Seven Myths about Organized People

  1. Hey Claire!
    I found you by way of the problogger’s 31 days series! WOW! Your blog is right up my alley as I’ve a degree in industrial engineering. That pocket protector picture doesn’t skeer me none! HA! …wait till I whip out my soaping goggles!
    I’m subscribing as I could really use these organizing tips and reminders. I can totally relate when you say it’s about setting up smart systems. Thanks so much for the nudge!
    ~Regina

  2. Hey Claire!
    I found you by way of the problogger’s 31 days series! WOW! Your blog is right up my alley as I’ve a degree in industrial engineering. That pocket protector picture doesn’t skeer me none! HA! …wait till I whip out my soaping goggles!
    I’m subscribing as I could really use these organizing tips and reminders. I can totally relate when you say it’s about setting up smart systems. Thanks so much for the nudge!
    ~Regina

  3. I found you through problogger too. Maybe I’m more organized than I thought. 🙂 My customers always say I’m organized and I just figured I had them fooled. Your list gave me permission to realize that organization and perfection are two different words.

  4. I found you through problogger too. Maybe I’m more organized than I thought. 🙂 My customers always say I’m organized and I just figured I had them fooled. Your list gave me permission to realize that organization and perfection are two different words.

  5. Regina,
    Even engineers with pocket protectors like to get organizing tips! Glad to hear it!

  6. Regina,
    Even engineers with pocket protectors like to get organizing tips! Glad to hear it!

  7. Great points! Thanks for making me feel better about myself too! hahaha!!! Organization is different for everyone that’s why one system for organization might work great for me but horrible for my best friend. Part of being organized is knowing what system works for you – hence your point of knowing what you have and where. Thanks – I enjoyed reading this.

  8. Great points! Thanks for making me feel better about myself too! hahaha!!! Organization is different for everyone that’s why one system for organization might work great for me but horrible for my best friend. Part of being organized is knowing what system works for you – hence your point of knowing what you have and where. Thanks – I enjoyed reading this.

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