We all remember Jerry Seinfeld. In the eponymous TV series, he perfectly plays himself, a neurotic comedian from New York. Organized and systematic. He likes everything neat and tidy. His cereal boxes are thoroughly classified. He protects his opinion stubbornly. Unlike Kramer and Costanza, his friends, and their professed chaos, he takes his career and life seriously.
In popular psychology, he represents a so-called ‘Type A’ – competitive personalities who can’t stand having something in their way. They are seen as perfectionists, overachievers and workaholics. Ambitious and aggressive, they are prone to heart issues. You can see more here.
On the other hand, Kramer and Costanza are so-called ‘Type B’s’. Regarded as easy-going, adaptable, patient with a tendency to procrastinate.
Does this oversimplification really work? Aren’t ‘A’ and ‘B’ just two opposite types standing at the extreme ends of the same continuum. In fact, we all have both sides in us, usually one being more present. You can see more info here.
Let’s get to the shortcuts that will reconcile those two extremes and help us become or stay gently organized.
1. Make your bed
Baby steps, Bob. Baby steps! The main trick is to stick to the easily achievable duties. They increase a sense of accomplishment.
Additionally, some studies suggest that people who make their beds every morning sleep better. This fact is probably related to the idea of creating a retreat.
The room instantly looks nicer and you feel that you have done something good for yourself. Stress levels reduce and you are ready for bigger steps.
2. Choose one task a day
Don’t fool yourself with some megalomaniac ideas that don’t lead anywhere. They just scare us and make us run towards procrastination.
If you make a reasonable plan with one small chore per day, you will be relaxing in your armchair by Sunday. For example, schedule cleaning the kitchen on Monday, organizing the bookshelf on Tuesday, cleaning the bedroom on Wednesday, doing the laundry on Thursday, cleaning the living-room on Friday, and the bathroom on Saturday.
If you handle the first week, it’s already part of your routine.
Change the chores weekly depending on your needs.
3. Put back one thing at a time
You are walking around the house and abruptly you notice a coffee cup on a table. Sneak close enough to grab it and bring it to the kitchen where it belongs. Now you have first hand experience of how easy and painless it is to find yourself immersed in organizational tasks.
The same as before, the same action repeated twice becomes a good routine.
4. Acknowledge your good and bad sides
You are not flawless, no one is. Admit it to yourself and get comfortable with it.
If you are the type that cannot go out to dinner without testing out all possible clothing combinations that you can think of and cleaning your wardrobe out, don’t blame yourself. Turn it into your advantage. Find a good spot for a nice armchair that can hold all of the clothes you are trying on and let it sit there without any guilt.
On the other hand, don’t forget to notice how creative you are and how nicely you organized that bookshelf. Give yourself credit for what you do well.
Balancing those two sides is what life is about.
5. Reward yourself
Don’t go out without finishing what you had promised yourself that you would do. Think about time management- when you need to start dealing with a chore in order to finish it in time.
Set a timer, it’s a very good motivational tool.
You don’t want any guilty feelings hanging above your head.
Don’t forget to keep one day per week only for yourself, chores free. It’s a big reward for a well-managed previous six days. In this plan it’s Sunday.
Bring it all together and you will see how being organized makes life simple!