Tweaking Systems for Yourself

Is there a “right” way to organize something?  If you’ve been reading my blog for any time, you’ll know that my answer to that is a passionate NO!  The most important question is whether it actually works for you.  If you and the people who need to use it are successful, that is all that matters.  Often it is challenging to find the systems that will work for you.  Goodness knows there are so many “solutions” offered – from books to the Internet, maybe even your mother!

As people promote their solutions, it frequently falls into two categories: the direct outlining of a “do it this way” approach or the more vague “figure out how to do it your way.”  Of the two, I’m certainly more of a fan of the later, though this can leave the person searching for those solutions feeling no better off than when they started looking.

Yet we can use those “do it this way” approaches as a place to start.  If there is one that draws you – for its simplicity or its logic, whatever it might be, begin thinking about how this would apply in your situation.  Then alter it to fit you and your situation better.  One of the keys to doing this is to keep it as simple as possible.  The more complex we make things, the more likely they are to break down.

I was working with a woman who had found a system for paperwork – break everything down into five categories.  I’ll admit this was one system that I’d never heard of and the categories suggested did not completely make sense to me. In my mind I saw a fair amount of possibility of overlap and hence potential trouble in retrieving papers.

Yet the question is not whether this system made sense to me (never mind that I was unfamiliar with it!), it was about whether it worked for that individual.  When I talked about setting up filing systems, I’ve been a fan of having some broad categories.  What those specific categories are can vary from person to person. If you liked four of those five broad categories, go with only those four.  Or even change the fifth to something entirely different that applies to you.

I mention FlyLady to clients sometimes. They come back and talk to me about this or that part of it.  They find parts irrelevant or even dislike parts.  When we are looking at ways of handling things, from cleaning the house to getting organized, we need to feel like we can follow our own path.  FlyLady stresses many different aspects of things: from shining your sink to wearing your shoes to routines for parts of your day.  If some don’t make sense for you, ignore them or alter them to mesh with your life.

As you search for the solutions to your organizational challenges, make sure first and foremost that you don’t overwhelm yourself searching through all that’s out there!  You could do that for a long time while getting no closer to your own solutions.  Next, embrace the idea that you take those specific solutions others’ promote and change them to fit you.  There is truly no one right way of being organized and tweak systems until they work for you.

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