Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Muse of Organization

Organization is an art, just like music or dance-- therefore, there should be a Muse of organization.  I wonder what her name is and what mystical rites are used to invoke her. I could really use her kiss right about now, as I sit on my floor surrounded by stacks of end-of-the-semester paperwork and a suitcase that needs to be packed.

Organization is one key to success and productivity, despite those cute plaques suggesting that an organized desk is the sign of a diseased mind.  But organization takes planning and who has time for that?

You make the time.

At the very least you have to set priorities or else nothing will get done.  Perhaps you've heard the parable of the big rocks, made popular by FranklinCovey, one of the world's leading organization and planning firms.  If I may offer my own interpretation:  Think of your life as a big bucket into which you must fit various items (rocks, pebbles sand). The "big rocks" are the things that are really important to you:  things like finding a job or graduating from college with a good g.p.a. or saving a downpayment for a house.  These are the things that can change your life for the better.  The "pebbles" are the things that keep us alive and keep us sane (our current job, eating, getting a good night's sleep, balancing the checkbook).  "Sand" represents all the things we'd like to be doing, like playing video games or partying with friends or reading the newspaper or taking a nap in the garden.

If you put the big rocks in the bucket first, then the pebbles which you pour in will settle between the rocks, and the sand will settle between the pebbles.  But if you start with the little stuff, you'll find that your bucket is full in no time and there's no space to fit in the big rocks.  It's a sort of trickle-down theory:  If you are organized at the top with priorities, the rest will pretty much organize itself.

So make time to sort out your priorities.  It doesn't have to be long-term goals.  Right now it's "What do I absolutely, positively have to do TODAY to make the next day, the next week, the next month go smoothly?"

"O Muse of organization, give me the time and the endurance to sort through all those journal articles!"

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