Last week I kicked off a series called Organizing Myths & Mistakes, with Organizing Mistake #1, which is over-organizing. This week’s myth (or mistake) is one lots of folks believe but don’t even realize they believe it: There’s a right way to organize.
What’s the right way to lose ten pounds? Low-carb diet? Workout like a fiend? Go vegetarian? Low-fat diet? The answer is YES. They’re all different approaches yet they all work for different people. Getting organized is no different. We all have different lifestyles, work styles, habits, tendencies, spaces and situations so it’s only logical that there would be differences in how we get organized too.
Take email management for instance. Some people prefer to check email twice a day and filter everything manually once they’ve responded to it. Others might check email a few times an hour and create a lot of rules to filter email as it comes in. Still others may prefer to use different colored flags to highlight the most important messages. The question you should be asking isn’t “Which one is the right way?” the question is, “Does it work?”
Email is similar to paper in that most people struggle with it. Some people manage incoming bills, statements, subscriptions and such really well with a desktop file box. Others prefer to reduce paper by scanning it or using a tech solution such as Manilla to reduce their paper. Which one works? They both do. Whichever one works for you is the right way.
Successful organizing is about using your creativity and problem solving skills to look at all the variables – time, space, resources, habits, life and work style preferences – and choose the systems that will work for you. That is the only “right way” to get organized.