Lisa Hess offers three questions to help put things in perspective when life gets hectic and chaos takes over.
The last few weeks have been hectic. There are piles in my office and on my mail counter, and the chaos in these spots mirrors the chaos in my brain. Multiple deadlines mean that the time for sorting and restoring order is still a ways off.
It's disconcerting, to say the least.
It's (relatively) easy to stay organized when life goes according to plan. The real challenge arrives when life steps in, tightening time frames and igniting concerns that a clear head and clear surfaces are out of reach.
Here are three questions that can help put things in perspective, and remind us that we are in charge—or we'll at least be able to take charge ... soon.
Is this permanent?
Part of what makes these times feel so overwhelming is our inability to determine when things will get better. Sometimes, the change is permanent, and we need to adjust accordingly, but often, the crunch—and the piles that accompany it—can be easily resolved in time. There can be tremendous relief in reminding ourselves that this, too, shall pass.
What can I control?
Deadlines—particularly those we don't set for ourselves—can increase frustration, especially when they compete with (or push aside) our usual routines and best-laid plans. Maintaining our routines and to-dos where we can helps stem the tide until the wave passes.
What small steps can I take?
Maybe I don't have time to do the major overhaul that the space needs but I can usually spare a few minutes to make things look a little bit better. Today, I made it a point to pick up one thing every time I walked past a pile, and to spend ten minutes taking care of the most egregious spot in my office. It's not order, but it's a start.
When I mentally fast forward past the two looming deadlines that are overwhelming my organizational system, I imagine time to tackle the piles that seem to taunt me every time I walk past. Better yet, I envision clear spaces and resumed plans. With any luck, by this time next week, I'll have conquered all of it.
Till then, patience is the most powerful tool in my toolbox, and I can access it by reminding myself that organizing is always—say it with me—a process.
Copyright 2022 Lisa Hess
Image: Canva Pro
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.