Getting Organized Denise Landers

‘Will Work for Food!” You have probably seen signs like this as you drive to and from your office. Reality is that everyone is working for food unless they are independently wealthy. In the hierarchy of needs, food and shelter are among the first elements you require. A benefit of working is that you are able to secure these comforts. You can then reach higher and attain other benefits.

The start of the new year is a good time to consider the benefits of being organized:

• What things do you wish had been different last year?

• Where would more organization have helped you?

Take this time to reflect on how becoming more organized will benefit you. Being organized means being ready. Being ready means:

• In control on a daily basis.

• Set to embrace new opportunities.

• Better prepared to cope with disasters.

If you’re running as hard as you can right now, how will you add in the extra work that a new situation or opportunity would create: promotion, relocation, new baby, remarriage and merging of households, downsizing? Even though these things may be positive changes in your life, they still rank high on the stress index.

Stress can lower your immune system and be responsible for many of the physical ailments you deal with, from common colds to heart conditions. With daily schedules overflowing, when one of the above situations occurs, you often struggle to cope. Not only do you feel stress, but those around you are also affected by the pressure on you.

If you start from an organized position, that stress is controlled. When you are starting from a disorganized place, you multiply the amount of related stress.

You are also better able to cope with disasters. No one likes to ponder all the negative occurrences that may arise. However, you cannot read the papers without being beset by news of natural disasters affecting millions of people every year: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes. At some point no one is immune. Advance preparation can help to mitigate resultant trauma and frustration.

There is no negative to being organized. Many people claim they are creative and therefore organizing would restrict their creativity. Yet look at a painter’s tools and see how well organized those are, or study a fisherman’s tackle box. There is no job that does not benefit from being organized.

Reflect on the areas in your work day and in your life where becoming more organized would benefit you. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?”

Apply this question to each of your daily tasks. Some of your chores may not be specifically for you. You might be running errands for your spouse or participating in an activity with your children. However, if the end result ties in with your long-term goals for family life or community involvement, then that is a benefit for you.

If you instead find that you have overextended yourself through volunteering or “being volunteered” and there is no direct benefit for you, it is a good time to reconsider your commitments. With so many worthy causes you must be selective. Cull your “To Do” list. Be sure your “yes’s” and “no’s” are aligned with your long-term goals.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of “Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey.” She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or

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