How to Make 2011 a New Year
By Regina Leeds
NABBW’s Organizational Skills Expert

Here are some important steps to get you organized for the year ahead.

Start with Work

It\’s always important to have an organized workspace.  But now with downsizing and job loss spreading throughout the work sector like a fever, being organized is a great insurance policy.  You can use your organizing skills to demonstrate to your employer how invaluable you are to the day-to-day operation of the business.

If you are the owner of the establishment, you can just as easily show your employees by example the kind of office space and productivity you hope to find throughout the organization.

Are you looking for a job?  Being organized will not only help you organize your job search, it will be a skill you can present to your employer.

And if you are the sole proprietor of a brand new start up, an organized foundation will allow you to devote your energies to your clients and to business growth rather than squandering it in quest of lost legal documents and invoices.

You see?  There isn’t a single down side to being organized!

Get Organized: A Skill to be Acquired

If the world of organization has been an area of challenge for you, consider this: getting organized is a skill.  If you wanted to play a musical instrument like the piano, master a sport like tennis or learn how to dance, what would you do?  You’d read some good books, find a qualified teacher, practice and hope to reach your individual potential.  Getting organized requires the same steps.  It isn’t solely for those who seem to have been born with a natural proclivity for order.

Learning a new skill is one of the best ways to keep our brains active and stay youthful.  There’s no time like the present to begin the journey. You’ll find a book in my ‘One Year to …’ series that perfectly meets your needs whether your challenge lies in the area of home, finance, office or you need to get ready for the birth of a child.

If you are long past your baby birthing/child rearing years remember that One Year to an Organized Life with Baby is the perfect baby shower gift.

Practice Makes Perfect

Architects of change will bombard you this month in the media.  If you want to lose weight, stop smoking, get organized or have a bevy of New Year’s Resolutions, fear not because magazines, newspapers and television pundits are waiting to help you.

  • May I inject a word of caution?  You can’t change everything in a day.
  • And if you take on too many challenges at once, you are setting yourself up for depression and potential failure.
  • Make a list of everything you’d like to change, learn or do this year.
  • Put the list in order of importance and remember to keep an eye on logic.  You may want to lose 10 pounds for example but a new diet, an exercise program and a patch to keep you from smoking is a lot to take on all at once.

Perhaps it would behoove you to get your health in order before you start tearing apart your closets and files?  What if you took it step by step and built slowly?  Who won the race the tortoise or the hare? You see my point.

A man or woman who is fit, healthy and relatively stress free is going to perform better in every arena.  We have one life.  We are free to direct our energy into office, home, family and spiritual pursuits but we remain at the center of it all as one integrated human being. When I see a messy office, I know what the home looks like and vice versa.

When a relationship is in trouble, it isn’t odd to uncover money problems.  Everything is part of the whole.  Instead of living a fractured, compartmentalized life, think holistically.

One Step at a Time

We live in a cause and effect world.  If you don’t like what you see and want to change it, you need to identify the causes that were set in motion that created this reality.  Once identified you are in a solid position to select new causes that will bring into reality those now desired effects.

It’s not 15 years of therapy I’m referring to but rather a brief period of introspection.  Grab a notebook, a cup o’ Joe  and see if you can identify what’s driving your current experience.

By the way don’t announce your new goals or resolutions to everyone in your world.  Ask one trusted friend to back you up and let the others simply watch the changes unfold.  Instead of support you might just incur snarky comments because your desire to change may cause others to feel that they should be doing the same.

The ego always fights for the status quo.  It’s where it has control.  Take it one step, one day at a time. Smile at the negativity you encounter.  Consider how much pain a person has to be in to try and derail another human beings’ attempts to be the best they can be.

Baby Steps to Freedom

Here’s a tip list from our discussion to help you stay on track:

  • What are your specific goals and resolutions for the New Year?
  • Can any of them be put on hold?
  • Which is the most important one to you?  What steps will you have to take to achieve this goal?
  • Grab a good friend and your calendar.  Schedule the steps as you would any appointment and ask for support.
  • Rome was not built in a day. ‘Failure’ can redirect us and refine our quest.  It will demoralize, derail and destroy only with our permission.  ‘Failure’ doesn’t mean ‘stop;’ it very often is an invitation to ‘tweak’ the current plan of action.
  • Reward your successes so that it’s easier to build on them.
  • NEVER give up!

Conclusion

There is power in resolutions at this time of year because the entire world is aligned with the idea of change.  But resolutions will stay in the world of wishes and dreams until we work out a specific and realistic plan of action.  It’s a new year full of potential and magic. The Universe is waiting to support your best efforts. Your contribution is needed.  What are you waiting for?

Regina Leeds, the Zen Organizer, is the author of eight books on the subject of getting organized.  This month her newest book debuts: One Year to an Organized Life with Baby. Read more about The Zen Organizer at www.reginaleeds.com.