The Importance of Organization
Like many young men, I had a serious problem with organization growing up (just ask my mom). A clean room, a clean closet, a clean desk, what’s the point? Fact: it’s just going to get messy again — so why should I spend the time to organize and make a home for everything when I could use that same time to just find what I was looking for?
That attitude towards organization is the reason for at least one of my gray hairs. The rest have come from much more harrowing experiences, creating a visual representation of how significantly organization can affect my life and the lives of others I interact with.
To sum things up, organization matters when you have essential responsibilities and people depending on you to consistently and efficiently produce results. I love analogies — they help me visualize, relate to, and communicate concepts — and I love gardening. So I’m going to use a gardening analogy. Can you dig it?
I got serious about gardening in the spring of 2016. I decided to start small, then proceeded to do the exact opposite and carved a large vegetable garden out of unbelievably rocky soil. I toiled hard for months, prying huge rocks out of the earth, digging and tilling soil, carefully planting each pepper, tomato, cucumber, herb and tuber. And finally, it was done. Complete. Finished. And very well organized, if I do say so myself.
But I wasn’t. The ongoing care needs blew me away and I quickly became overwhelmed by the needs of my precious plants. Pepper plants became engulfed by their thriving neighbors. Tomatoes and cucumbers tangled their creeping vines around anything and everything, turning my garden paradise into a labyrinth of vegetation. I wasn’t easily defeated, believing I could regain control by sheer effort — I bet you can guess how that went.
In the end, my lack of organization didn’t prevent a plentiful harvest of delicious vegetables. It did, however, reduce the harvest significantly. And that, in my mind, illustrates the importance of organization — making the most of your resources and efforts. It’s not that hard work won’t get you where you want to go — or that organization alone will — simply that taking the time to plan, strategize, and organize up-front will make your efforts that much more effective. In other words, specifically Ben Franklin’s, “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
That is why I believe it is worthwhile to dedicate the time and resources needed to cultivate organization as a skill and routine.
Three Organization Tips I’ve Learned at 502
When I joined the 502 team, I was not a practiced organizational guru. Far from it actually, I was a complete organizational disaster. I owe my current mindset about organization to 502 — a combination of mentors dedicated to facilitating my professional development and “having my fingers in all the pies” created opportunities to learn how incredibly valuable it can be to take the time (or make the time) to organize before, during, and after a project.
If you want to take steps towards living or working in a more organized world but are not blessed with the same opportunities I was, don’t worry, there is still hope! You can find countless tips and tricks, methodologies, and systems that will help you take steps towards your goal with a simple Google search. And I would absolutely suggest doing your own research, but the following three actionable tips have helped me out greatly and are a create a solid foundation to build on as you continue to grow.
- Organize Your Physical Space
Nothing has thwarted my organizational efforts like a cluttered workspace. My approach to solving this recurring issue has been to dedicate a “home” for everything in my area.
- Establish a Daily Routine
A daily routine doesn’t have to be intrusive or time-consuming, it can be simple. For instance, my routine is simply taking a few minutes at the beginning of each day to make a checklist of the things I need to accomplish that day, which is a perfect segway to the next tip.
- Make Lists
Lists may or may not work for you, but they have very real impact my life — both professionally and personally. I use a hierarchy of lists (long-term, monthly, weekly, daily) to collect and prioritize the tasks I need to complete.
One last piece of advice, you don’t need to tackle this alone — seek support, guidance and accountability.
That’s all I’ve got for you today folks, I hope it’s helpful. Good luck!