Orderliness—What to Keep??

The character trait of January is Orderliness, defined as arranging myself and my surroundings to achieve greater efficiency.

Each of us has character traits that come more natural or easier than others. For me orderliness is a two edged sword. I recently described myself as a very organized, unorganized person. I’m actually pretty organized; it’s just that my methods appear disorderly. The organized side of me loves checklists. At home I have packing lists saved in my computer from every vacation we’ve taken over the last several years. This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t have everything we bought family for Christmas listed on a spreadsheet template I created years ago. At work, I think any process or procedure that is going to occur more than once can be put into a checklist.

When it comes to planning an event, at home or at work, I am at my best. I enjoy doing my best to ensure every “i” is dotted, every “t” is crossed, creating lists, and checking off completed tasks. The character trait of January is Orderliness, defined as arranging myself and my surroundings to achieve greater efficiency.

Each of us has character traits that come more natural or easier than others. For me orderliness is a two edged sword. I recently described myself as a very organized, unorganized person. I’m actually pretty organized; it’s just that my methods appear disorderly. The organized side of me loves checklists. At home I have packing lists saved in my computer from every vacation we’ve taken over the last several years. This is the first year in a long time that I didn’t have everything we bought family for Christmas listed on a spreadsheet template I created years ago. At work, I think any process or procedure that is going to occur more than once can be put into a checklist.

When it comes to planning an event, at home or at work, I am at my best. I enjoy doing my best to ensure every “i” is dotted, every “t” is crossed, creating lists, and checking off completed tasks.

And I wish my story of orderliness could end there, but it doesn’t.

Those who have seen my office know how disorderly my space can be. I let papers and folders stack on my desk, and when I’m at my worst they are stacked in chairs and on the floor. At home this weekend I started going through a stack of cards from the last several years. I decided I had to part with some of the cards. As a compromise to keeping every card, I decided if someone wrote a note in the card I would keep it, otherwise I would get rid of the card. As I was sorting through the cards I was thinking about the time my friends and family put into picking these cards out and the money they spent, the birthdays, the anniversaries, and all the memories associated with the cards. I had to fight the urge to put all the cards back in my closet. As odd as it may sound, it wasn’t an easy process or me, but with this method I was able to reduce the number of cards I was keeping. And one of these days I’ll face the many more year’s worth of cards I have stored in other areas.

As I was thinking about orderliness, it occurred to me that if we have areas of our lives we need to organize, figuring out why we let things stack up and accumulate can be the first step, and as I discovered this weekend, giving inanimate objects sentimental value is creating clutter in my life.

Orderliness is not just about appearance; orderliness is important because it keeps our homes, our jobs, and our minds functioning in a manner that allows us to best utilize our time, efforts, and energy. Our ability to organize ourselves and our surroundings or our inability, could affect our productivity and the flexibility and time we have available to assist others.

In reading about orderliness I came across a tip suggesting that if we would eliminate at least two things from our life every day, it would lead to surroundings that would not be recognized a year from now. I’m not naïve enough to think something so simple will actually be easy, but I have decided that is my goal for this upcoming year.

And I wish my story of orderliness could end there, but it doesn’t.

Those who have seen my office know how disorderly my space can be. I let papers and folders stack on my desk, and when I’m at my worst they are stacked in chairs and on the floor. At home this weekend I started going through a stack of cards from the last several years. I decided I had to part with some of the cards. As a compromise to keeping every card, I decided if someone wrote a note in the card I would keep it, otherwise I would get rid of the card. As I was sorting through the cards I was thinking about the time my friends and family put into picking these cards out and the money they spent, the birthdays, the anniversaries, and all the memories associated with the cards. I had to fight the urge to put all the cards back in my closet. As odd as it may sound, it wasn’t an easy process or me, but with this method I was able to reduce the number of cards I was keeping. And one of these days I’ll face the many more year’s worth of cards I have stored in other areas.

As I was thinking about orderliness, it occurred to me that if we have areas of our lives we need to organize, figuring out why we let things stack up and accumulate can be the first step, and as I discovered this weekend, giving inanimate objects sentimental value is creating clutter in my life.

Orderliness is not just about appearance; orderliness is important because it keeps our homes, our jobs, and our minds functioning in a manner that allows us to best utilize our time, efforts, and energy. Our ability to organize ourselves and our surroundings or our inability, could affect our productivity and the flexibility and time we have available to assist others.

In reading about orderliness I came across a tip suggesting that if we would eliminate at least two things from our life every day, it would lead to surroundings that would not be recognized a year from now. I’m not naïve enough to think something so simple will actually be easy, but I have decided that is my goal for this upcoming year.

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