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Organizing is a lifestyle, not a destination

“I already did it!”

When my oldest son was about 3 this was one of his favorite phrases.

Time to brush your teeth. I already did it!

Time to take a bath. I already did it!

Time to clean up your toys. I already did it!

The only activity that wasn't met with this refrain was eating. 😉

In his three-year-old mind, once you did something there was no need to go back and do it again.

Luckily, now that he is a fully functioning 24-year old, he understands that some activities will be done repeatedly forever. So far he’s managed to keep himself, his cat, and his dog alive and healthy, maintain a job and a house, and remember to put gas in the car. He's learned to appreciate the art of maintenance.

When I guide my clients through the 5 Step Productive Environment Process the last step is “Sustain Your Success.” I also refer to this step as “Maintenance,” or in my group coaching we call it “Follow Through.” This step is crucial to creating the organized, productive life or business you desire, but often this is where the breakdown occurs.

If you want lasting results and lasting change, here are some ways to sustain your success:

Accountability: Did you know you are 67% more likely to be successful with an accountability partner than if you tackle a goal on your own? While your accountability partner doesn’t have to be on track for the same goal as you, it’s important to identify a person (or group) who understands your goal and is dedicated to checking in to help you reach it. If your goal was to wear your “old” jeans again, find a friend who will check in with you each week and then schedule your workouts in advance.

Scheduled Updates: To make things a habit, you need to schedule them in advance so that you will keep up with them. For example, think of filing papers. Realistically, you won’t file papers every day or as papers come in (which is why I teach my clients to have a place to keep papers “to be filed”). Instead of wishful thinking, schedule the filing. Maybe for you, this is every Wednesday or the last day of every month. I file twice a month during a webinar that I join that is “listen only.” I don’t ever get too far behind, but I also don’t worry about filing at any other time.

You probably have tasks that need maintenance on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly schedule. Your newly organized family room will need a “5-minute tidy” every night, while your garage or attic will need yearly or seasonal upkeep. If the clutter you worked hard to remove was mental or emotional, perhaps schedule time to talk with a friend or professional or plan weekly brain dumps and journaling.

The key is to PLAN this ahead of time (ideally while you are still carrying out the organizing or productivity project) and put it on the calendar.

Remember: what gets scheduled gets done. Accountability and Maintenance are the keys to lasting change.


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