3 Steps to Solving Your Organizational Challenge

Happy 7th Anniversary to me! Seven years in business that is. Today starts my eighth year but today is also important for another reason. It is the same day many, many years ago that I decided to get organized. I remember feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and started looking for information. I started devouring anything I could find on getting organized. Back then there was not a lot of information out there. Today, if you Google “get organized” you’ll get 32,800,000 hits in .34 seconds. That’s a lot of information!

The “get organized” business is a lot like the “diet” industry – everyone has their own ideas and they may or may not work for everyone. So how do you decide what to do?

Here are the first three things you should do:

1. Find the root cause. What is it that is really bothering you or causing a problem? Keep asking yourself questions until you can get to the root of the problem. For example, paying a bill late – why does that happen? Is it because the bills are mixed in with the pile of mail and aren’t seen? Or is it that it gets moved from table to counter? It could be, but it’s more than that. Is it because there is no plan of when to pay them? Probably.  The system to handle the bills is missing and needs a few things. So, once the problem is narrowed down you can proceed to step 2.

2. Analyze your options. Figure out all the possible things that might solve the challenges that you discovered in finding the root cause above. Then write down anything and everything you think might have a positive impact in resolving the problem. Then go back and pick two or three things you can do to solve the challenge. To continue with our example, let’s find a home for the mail by using a basket or bin or mail sorter bin, but keep the bills separated by putting them in their own basket. Then decide on what a “bill paying” plan or process might look like. (Do you need a chart to list the bills, or to put a reminder on the to do list? You get the idea.) Analyze your options and decide what changes would have the biggest impact.

3. Try it out. It takes three weeks (sometimes longer) to create a new habit but you should know in a few days whether or not your new solutions are working. You may have to “tweak” it to improve it, but don’t quit if it doesn’t work perfectly the first few weeks. Keep asking, “What can I do to make this work better?” Then try that. Keep trying until you solve it – here’s where you can “Google” to get specific ideas related to what you are trying to change. Using our example, maybe we see that adding “pay bills” to the to do list isn’t helping. Continuing to look for solutions, maybe you try deciding to pay bills every Friday and put that in your planner.  Or maybe you set up all your bills to be paid online through your bank. Whatever you decide, go back to question one and see that it has solved the original problem. If so, then move on to the next challenge.

Just remember to keep it simple. Good luck!

February 22nd : The day that changed my life.  In honor of today, I am announcing the start of a new newsletter/e-zine. The first issue is here: http://laineslogic.com/newsletter/2012_02.html Check it out.