Organization is something I talk about a lot on this blog. The reasons are tri-fold. Here they are:
1. This blog is directed toward a creative audience and creative people are messy.
Maybe you don’t like to sew or design, but you love to express yourself creatively through your style. That’s being artistic, too. And the problem with creative, artistic people (aside from being completely mad) is that we’re generally pretty unorganized naturally. The nature of creative thinking means we take off on flights of fancy- over and over again. Our last great idea is trumped by a newer one, which isn’t necessarily better, but it feels like it to us because of the intrigue of it’s newness. So we scrap the old unfinished project for the shiny new project and BAM! We’re elbow deep in clutter- physically and mentally. Bottom line: We start a whole lot of new things and have a tough time finishing them! (Ok, maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be hilarious if at this point, the blog post just ended! Wouldn’t you wonder what project i’m off doing now?)
2. Being truly organized is my White Whale. I want that bad boy! And I bet you do, too.
I often describe myself as a “Messy Type A Personality.” My brother, who, I assure you, is a real Type A in the sincerest form of the term, endearingly calls me an “A Minus.” You’d think it would sting, but it rings too true! And the truth is, it would drive me crazy to be a legitimate Type A. Ugh, all that responsibility and the world on your shoulders? No thanks. I’ll leave that to all the firstborns of the world! But I do have enough of those personality traits to understand the value of a life well-planned and lived. I have the mental clarity that they have to see what needs to be done. I just don’t have as much natural ability to actually get it done. Maybe not ability. Maybe more like stamina.
Because let’s face it, creatives, following through is boring! Making a plan? Wonderful! Sticking to it? Blah- Not so much! Planning is creative. It involves imagination and ingenuity; it’s right up our alley. But living out the plan requires good memory, perseverance, and the ability to cope well with boredom. I wish I had even one of those traits! Or maybe I don’t. (Decisiveness is another trait on the list of characteristics creative people often don’t possess!) Because it’s best to know who you are, understand your strengths and weaknesses and be able to live a life directed toward your talents, not obsessing over your shortcomings. It’s okay (and necessary) to learn to be “Good Enough” in your weaker areas. We don’t have to be walking palm pilots with emaculate houses. But we do need to have a system that work for us, not against us, to foster our creativity.
3. Being organized promotes freedom.
I’m not trying to beat any non-Christians over the head with this stuff, but there’s such a close analogy with this to spirituality that I can’t not write about it: From the outside looking into church, religion, and walking with God, it seems so restrictive, doesn’t it? It seems like there are a million rules in the Bible and “why would I possibly want someone else telling me how to live my life?” Never mind that He’s the Creator of the universe and He made people and knows better than anyone else how we work. We just don’t want His rules! The beautiful dichotomy there is that once we decide to follow Jesus and be His disciple, we start trusting His Word because we love and trust Him. We want to try to follow His rules because we want to please Him out of our love for Him and because we know theoretically that they’re guidelines on how to live the kind of life He made us for.
And then, the incredible happens as we get used to following those rules…they make our lives better! We find ourselves happier and more stable- better parents, spouses, friends. We make more responsible decisions because we’ve become more emotionally healthy and want to live wisely. We find-miraculously-that those rules we fought so hard against for so much of our lives are really the framework for our freedom! We find that without God, we were never truly free and that the “straight and narrow path” that looked so boring and offensive to us before is really not so hard or unnatural when God’s the One we love most in life because He blesses us with the ability to live life truly to the fullest. It’s pretty phenomenal how He works that out in our lives!
Similarly, having external structure in your life allows you to accomplish your dreams! Once you find a system for organizing your space and your time that actually works for you, the cool part is your system takes over a lot of your workload. No more wondering where to put stuff or spending more time deciding what to do with your day that actually doing it. When you have a comprehensive, DO-ABLE plan, it provides the architecture around which you can build your life, your business, your hobby, what have you. And if you’re a nerdy creative like me, you’ve been dying to find a good mix of system and play. I strongly encourage you to keep at it. Get organized ENOUGH (not perfectly) to fulfill your dreams and goals. And remember, a little organization goes a long way for us. Keep your structure light and easy and, perhaps most importantly, changeable! We love a little chaos! We do. And when our lives are adequately organized, we can have all the chaotic, inventive madness we want- without it taking over our lives. Well, maybe just a little.
The Moral of the Story?
I’m gonna get myself and you guys organized if it kills me. Because only then are we freed up enough to be doers and makers. (I feel like that’s actually more fun, but sounds more boring than being movers and shakers. Hmmm. Someone should write their congressman!)