Getting Organized: Mom was Right


I’ve said repeatedly that getting organizing doesn’t have to be overwhelming; you start where you are and break the big, hard stuff down into smaller and easier chunks. There is no magic timeline for getting things the way you want them, but it can be tough sometimes to get started.

With that in mind, think about your mom (or mom substitute) who gave you some of your earliest words of wisdom. With all respect to those women and men in your life who helped you, I’ve compiled a list of Mom Sayings (they should be very familiar) that can be translated into organizing work. Maybe remembering the lessons that Mom taught you will be the motivation you need to get started.

Eat Your Vegetables

This translates to It’s Good for You. Getting and staying organized IS good for you and just like eating your vegetables, it’s an important part of your overall health. Being organized can lead to better relationships at work and home as well as decrease your stress levels. Just as you knew when you were a kid that you couldn’t survive on cookies and ice cream, you now know that you can’t survive, or more importantly, thrive, without being organized.

Sit Up Straight

This translates to Look Professional. What image do you want to project to others? Do you want to look like you know what you’re doing? Do you want others to trust you? Believe in you? Spend their money with you? Of course you do but how can anyone do that if your workspace (office, cubby, car, etc.) is disorganized and dirty? Staying neat, orderly and organized tells the world that you’re in control and know what you’re doing.

Get Ready for School the Night Before

This translates to Plan your Work. Doesn’t your morning go smoother if you’ve spent a few minutes the night before getting things ready? Investing just a few minutes at the end of each day looking forward to and planning upcoming days and weeks lets you see the bigger picture and how your goals fit into your workday. Planning and strategizing your work gives you the freedom to take on unexpected challenges and allows you to be better prepared to handle someone else’s demands.

Sit Still/Put That Down

This translates to Stay Focused. How many days have you spent being busy but nothing gets finished? The issue is often one of focus; it’s easy to be distracted if you don’t like what you’re doing, you don’t know how to do what you’re supposed to be doing or someone else’s emergency just became yours. You can’t do much about other people, but you can control how and where you spend your time. Scheduled breaks can help keep you focused and work on one thing at a time. If you notice that you’ve drifted off the task at hand, say to yourself “This is not what I’m doing now”. It’s amazing how speaking these few words out loud can pull you right back to where you need to be.

Put Your Toys Away

This translates to Clear Your Desk. Why did your mom tell you to put your toys away? Two reasons: 1) so your room would be neater and 2) so you’d be able to find a specific toy when you wanted it. The same holds true for your desk; your office will be neater and you’ll be able to find what you need when you need it. There is, however, a third reason to clear your desk at the end of the day; walking into an office with a clear desk means there is no mess to distract you. You can work on what you want – and need – to accomplish your goals and are not instantly sidetracked by something on your desk crying for your attention. Never underestimate the power of walking into an organized workspace.


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Office Organizers is The Entrepreneur’s Organizer. Founded in 1993, they work with business people to create solutions for their organizational challenges.

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