I’m often asked why I don’t write more “How-to” organizing articles. Honestly, I don’t need to. There are so many helpful books, blogs, articles, videos, and podcasts out there on the subject already; the Internet is on overload from it all!
But if I’m being completely truthful, I find that when people only focus on the “how” of a problem they are trying to put a Band-Aid over a bullet hole. It may stop the bleeding temporarily but it won’t fix the problem permanently.
If you really want to solve your problem once and for all, then you first have to look at two things: your why and your bigger why.
Looking at your why
If I asked you why you wanted to get organized you might say:
…. I want to find my keys easily
…. I want to stop spending money on things I already have
…. I want to quit being late for everything
And while these are good answers, if we’re being honest, they’re really just surface level responses. They are the reason you will start the organizing process. They are the indicator that something isn’t quite right. And that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need to take the first step.
But over time, when the going gets tough, those responses won’t keep you motivated to keep trying or doing things differently.
When push comes to shove, only your bigger why will help you.
If you want to have effective and lasting change, you need to know your bigger why. That is, what deep down will motivate you to do whatever it takes to bring order to your life?
If you were to dig a little more and discover your bigger why, then you might find yourself saying:
…. I want to have peace when I leave my house each day
…. I want to save money rather than spend it carelessly
…. I want to gain back my time so I can do the things I really want to do
Peace, financial responsibility, and better use of your time – those are the things that will motivate you. Those are the reasons you will keep going even when you don’t want to, or think you can.
Why vs. How
Sadly, though, we live in a culture that isn’t concerned with the why, or even the bigger why. We want the immediate gratification that only the how’s can offer. The quick fixes that will make all our troubles disappear. But will they really?
Don’t get me wrong, if you only focus on the how of your problem you will see a difference. However, you will likely find them to be short-term solutions with short-lived results. In the end, they won’t motivate you to keep it up when it all starts to fall apart.
What will? Your why.
Your why will be the words you write on index cards and place on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror so it’s always in front of you. It will be the anthem, the fight song you sing as you empty out one more crammed drawer. It will be the banner you raise when you’ve climbed to the top of your mountain of clutter and claimed victory over it.
So I want to encourage you today to stop focusing on the how-to of organizing and concentrate on your why. Because when you know the why, the how gets easier.