Organization has to meet your needs, not some imposed notion of cleanliness. An organized space is one in which the things you need the most are close at hand, the things you need often are easily found, and the things you need rarely are out of the way but easily retrieved when needed.
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Some crave the excitement that always being about to screw up brings. But being organized isn’t boring – being boring is boring. Make your own excitement and you’ll stop being boring – and then you can stop using your disorganization as a crutch for a life not fully realized.
Most systems take some time to set up, but once you start using it, the time you use in “maintenance” is made up for by the time you save not having to think about what to do – or making up for the things you didn’t remember to do.
If your life is really chaotic and unpredictable, it’s likely so because you’ve resisted adopting some kind of system rather than because no system is good enough for your life.
Adopting a system means spending some time to find out what’s important to you and how to get rid of the less important stuff.
Keeping yourself in a high-stress mindset means that you’re hard to work with, likely to eventually burnout and sooner or later you’ll miss some important detail that you were too frantic to recognize, damaging your job, your reputation, and your career.
The mess of habits, practices, and beliefs you have right now are, in fact, a system. But that doesn’t mean it is an efficient system, there’s always room for growth.
No system can fix fundamental problems in your life. What they can do is help you make time in your life for real personal growth and help you highlight the sources of those problems, by simplifying parts of your life.
Creative work is still work, and just as susceptible to procrastination, poor planning, and shoddy work practices as any other work. Besides, artists can become more efficient by adopting a system to deal with other noncreative tasks often needed to keep their business going, like administrating, publicizing, planning, and others.
What you need is a system to capture those flashes of inspiration so that, when inspiration is on holiday, you’ve got plenty to work with.
If you become more productive and start finishing work earlier people may expect you to find more stuff to do to fill in the remaining hours. You can leverage that extra work into a promotion or raise – or convince your boss to adopt a telecommuting plan so you can work from home.
But productivity goes beyond work. Being more productive in your life means having more time to do the things you like.
Putting highly successful people on a pedestal can unknowingly hinder our own efforts. We get caught in comparisons and it’s easy to forget that they’ve had and still have their own set of struggles and challenges on their path.
Use highly successful people as inspiration, not idols.
If you are putting something off, consider why. Often it's not the task you're avoiding but a larger issue, such as a fear of failure or a lack of concrete direction.
Ask yourself what you need to make getting things done easier. And if your delays stem from a larger issue with your job, don't feel like you have to go it alone – ask for help.
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