organizational skills

Someone wrote to me recently, asking how to help adults who have never developed good organizational skills. Lack of organization skills impacts every area of life, and can leave highly intelligent people at a disadvantage when they can’t get their hands on what they need when they need it. Being brilliant won’t matter much if appointments are missed or deadlines aren’t met. An average person who is organized has an advantage over an average person who is disorganized. Life is complex and there is a plethora of information to keep track of, so as much as we may inwardly rebel against the constructs of organization, we must acknowledge the necessity for it. Here are some tips that my husband uses to help his naturally disorganized brain to keep track of important things. He makes as many daily tasks as possible a habit, done at the same time and the same way so he doesn’t have to think about them and remember what to do next. It’s just automatic. He leaves his keys on top of things he needs to take with him later, even if that means leaving his keys in odd places like the refrigerator, because that way he knows he won’t leave without the item he needs. He uses reminder alarms on his computer, thus freeing himself up from having to memorize dates and times and eliminating the problem inherent in writing notes on napkins and scraps of paper which inadvertently get thrown out by some organized person who thinks it’s trash. He keeps a notepad and pencil handy when he has to sit still at church or some other meeting, because wouldn’t you know that’s when his brain tends to think of things and he can write them down before the ideas are lost. He has used audio recording devices, which I highly recommend for use in the car. That’s much safer than trying to write things down while driving or at a traffic light. The problem we had with that was that the device got lost before a habit of keeping it in a designated spot was established. Despite that, it’s still a good strategy. Just start out with an inexpensive model first!

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