An Organized Life

Zechariah Newman —  December 1, 2014 — 18 Comments

One of my biggest struggles is to stay organized. I have about ten yellow legal pads around the house with different things from to-do lists to blog ideas scribbled on them. My car is not much better. I have fishing poles laying across the seats in case I want to stop and fish and things for each of my restaurants in my trunk. My office desks have stacks of unfinished work. Embarrassing, yet true. There always becomes a point where I can’t take the strain on my brain anymore and begin to organize my mess for a while.

fall path

Photo by: KCNewman Photography

The bottom line is that an unorganized life is hurting my dream and if you are unorganized it is making your dream chasing journey unnecessarily hard as well. Today let’s turn over a new leaf and clean up our lives so we can clean up our minds. If you are an organized person I would love your input at the end! These 5 things will help you to become and stay organized.

1. Start and end. To get organized we simply need to start. Perfection is not the goal, but merely to begin and head in that direction. After we have started we always need to end with organization. This takes discipline to stay a little late at the office or clean the car when you just want to sit down. I lie to myself that I will do it later. The reality is once we leave a location, our minds shift and it is much harder to do it later. I forget because it is not a habit in my life yet. Don’t procrastinate and do it now.

2. Write it down. My memory is pretty bad. In fact, I tell my staff that if you don’t write it down, you never told me. I have so many responsibilities and daily demands swirling around in my head. I am sure your life is the same way. I have begun to write everything down on yellow pads. I carry one in my car and have several throughout my house. When thoughts, ideas, to-do lists, and prayers come in my head, they go on a pad. This is necessary as your mind is what we are trying to clear the clutter from. Write them down instead of holding them in your mind and you will feel freedom.

3. One central place. This is the next transformation of a free mind that I am working on. Once a week I believe we need to gather the yellow pads and organize them on the computer. I have searched too many times for something I know I wrote down somewhere. Use this time to delete what you have done and add to your lists. Print off your lists and carry them with you as this will help your efficiency.

4. Commitment. Are you committed? Commit to a certain amount of time to stay organized no matter what. No matter how long it takes, follow these principles. Whether it’s 30 days or 3 months, stick to a time that you commit to so that you will have a chance to see the difference. You can always go back to a messy life if it is not worth it. Every new habit and routine starts with a commitment to do it.

5. Accountability. In all things we need accountability. This needs to be built into your daily life. Who is going to hold you accountable to your commitment? Find people who love you and are bold enough to call you out. Set times that you will check in. You cannot do this life alone! Build relationships. The time is worth it.

Let’s organize to free our minds and to be fully present. It will take time, energy and pain. however, it is worth it. The time spent will be multiplied down the road. When you fall down remember that failure is temporary if you get back up. Keep on trucking my friend. Be blessed on your journey.

How do you get and stay organized?

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  • Great post, Zech! It’s so important to stay organized. I struggle with writing things down in lots of places, having stuff on small legal pads around the house and office also. Using Evernote is what helps me keep my sanity. Everything goes into Evernote and I can find it instantly. I would be glad to elaborate on any systems and processes I use for this if anyone’s interested.

    • I’m with you, Kent. I can’t have multiple lists. I like to keep my stuff centralized for the most part. I’ve dabbled in Evernote some for this reason, but it just hasn’t gotten to the point of replacing what already works so well for me. I am reading about it here and there though and keeping an open mind since I hear so many good things about it.

    • For sure Kent:) I am an Evernote failure I would love an article;)

  • Being organized is a necessity for me. I get overwhelmed far too easily, and staying organized helps me to think and stay focused. Probably my best advice for staying organized is to not get disorganized in the first place. For example, clean trash out of the car every time you get out. Put files for one project away before beginning another. Also, I learned how to use a master list years ago, and it helps tremendously when I’ve got a lot going on. Being organized is not just a good idea; for me, it’s a necessity for sanity. I’ve written here and there about it on my blog and have considered doing more writing at times on it because it’s such an integral part of how I operate. Here’s one link related to this: Good points above. I come from a perspective of someone who pretty much stays organized and has been most of her life, but I get that there is a continuum of organization and that many people are on the far end. Would love to get more into this topic for sure.

    • Thanks Kari! love all you have said…thanks for your advice:)

  • Jemelene

    My husband is the list maker and I am the list loser. I use Evernote for my writing projects but not lists. At his point I have two offices and a couch full of stuff that needs to be cleared but pulling the trigger, just getting started is the hardest.
    No tips here to give but I’m happy to take away some of yours!

    • Thanks Jemelene;) well we can hold each other accountable or just merveal at our spouses;)

  • debbie

    This is just the message that the Lord was sharing with me this morning during journaling, when we let disorganization take over our lives it hinders us from the life God is wanting us to live. In Romans it tells us that Jesus Christ gave us the gift of peace through His sacrifice. He wants us to live peaceful lives and I am reminded by your thoughts that organization is a big part of life. Thank you Zech for confirming for me what the Lord has spoken. Have an organized and peaceful day.

    • Thank you Debbie! I went back in forth if I was going to post this or not:) So I am thankful that I was listening correctly. Peace is so Important isn’t it! I am much to flippant about it sometimes to be honest. Have a blessed and peace filled week! 🙂

  • I am working on getting better organized. My problem is that I lay stuff down instead of putting it an organized place. And when I need it, I waste valuable time trying to find it. I am working on putting things in one central place and when I am finished with it take the few seconds to return it back to its spot.

  • Fantastic advice here! Success really does require organization. Evernote allows me to keep every written document down in one place, from a to-do list to blog ideas. I think it’s a great tool.

  • I have to throw my hat in the ring here for a couple of reasons. First off Zech I have been told by my wife too many times that my legal pads need to go. So I switched to evernote however even after watching Kents Take Note System I still can’t find things in my evernote due to the over cluttered and “oh a piece of candy” note making that I do when I add to evernote. Any ideas or replies Kent, Dan, or Zech. Its tough being a daddy who can’t find nothing even when it is in one central place. 🙂

    • I don’t have any tips with ever note. I haven’t taken the time yet to learn it.

  • I’ve never used Evernote but I have heard its praises sung far and wide. I appreciate your approach.