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The Importance of an Organized Life

Virginia Alice, author of "HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within," writes about social media, wellness, and writing.

Sunrise - April 7 2022

Sunrise - April 7 2022

The Importance of an Organized Life

On Monday of this week I decided it was time to catch up on my filing again. You would think that after spending a good part of the last forty years in clerical administration that filing would be easy for me. Yet, it isn’t. There are a number of reasons for this. The way my brain works, personality, and just like anyone else who would rather be doing something other than filing, I would rather be writing or creating slides for my social media posts. You know, fun stuff.

However, knowing that I would be kicking myself, figuratively, in a few short months and at least by the end of the year, when it comes time for taxes and other reports, I forced myself to focus on the task. As I went along, I tweaked my files for personal and for business finding that I needed to be add a few folders and move a few others to my archives. Life has changed for us over the course of our recent relocation and retirement. And the way I think about how I'm setting up my files has changed. So, it only makes sense to take time to do it right.

My filing system is messy but orderly.

— Tony Benn

Again, filing should be easy for someone whose jobs over the years involved quite a bit of filing. Two things about that. Either the company already had a filing system in place, or I was left to my own devices on how I wanted to set up my files. I preferred the first, of course, as all I had to do was maintain it. However, filing – left to my own devices – often meant getting someone to help me decide how to set it up.

After years of struggling with how to file things, especially at home, I read about how the brain works. I don’t recall the book, or maybe it was an article in a magazine. But it included a quiz that I took which me what kind of filer, or organizer, I am. It turns out that because I am both creative and analytical that my brain gets confused. On the one hand, the right side of my brain wants to file one way. While on the other hand, the left side of my brain wants to file a different way.

After completing the book, I was successful in organizing my craft supplies, learning that – for my brain’s sake – I needed to place them in clear bins and also label the bins. Now, this is strange to some of my friends and family who think either clear bins or labeling is adequate. However, my brain is happy to see that a bin labeled with scissors or glue actually has scissors or glue in the correct bin. When a bin is not clear, my brain always questions if this is true, and I find myself opening every single bin looking for that one thing in it which wasn’t in the right bin with the right label.

I was a real serious kid, real intense, and there were a lot of things that I was doing by myself I took seriously, like organizing little pieces of paper, cutting out things from magazines, and filing them away.

— Andrew W.K.

Now, when it comes to filing, I wasn’t as successful at the time about developing a filing system to work for me. However, back in late summer of last year and the fall, I forced myself to get caught up on eight months of filing and discovered something helpful. I learned rather than alternating file folder colors for every single company to instead color-code my files by subject. So, let’s say, all my files on autos got orange folders, banks got green folders, credit cards got red folders, insurance companies got yellow folders, and folders for our pets got purple folders. I’ve been so happy ever since then, as this method has been working for me. Finally, I can relax and not be stressed out by filing our personal paperwork.

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When it comes to my business files, this system is not as effective. But I’m working with it and giving myself time to figure out what I can do that might work out better for me. I’m hoping that my brain just needs some tweaking in the way I'm viewing the files I’m keeping. I’m asking myself if perhaps I might need another binder for some of the documents I’m filing, of which I’m already using a binder system to file writing and marketing resources.

Created with CANVA.

Created with CANVA.

Along with updating my files, over the last few months, I have developed spreadsheets to help me with keeping track of certain information. This includes but is not limited to addresses and emails of people and companies we do business with to keeping track of the books I read and post reviews for. Even though I share the reviews on my website and Instagram account, having a handy spreadsheet makes for a quick reference rather than having to open up a browser tab and wait for a website to load every time I want to check something.

Ultimately, and despite all of my wonderful efforts to become more organized, I know that at the end of the year, or whenever a tax report is due, I’ll still need to hunt for paperwork to work up my reports. It's an ongoing frustration. But I’m hoping by keeping my filing caught up, I’ll spend less time searching for numbers or looking for proper documentation. I'll know for sure, in a few short weeks, when my franchise tax report is due.

So, are you an organized person? Do you know what type of filing your brain leans toward? Is it easy for you to file your paperwork in files or any easy system that works for you? Or is your paperwork stacked up in piles – like mine used to be? Well, some of it still is. Since I’m still in a state of recovery from working forty-hour weeks for years, as well as being a packrat and someone who thinks she’ll use an article to refer to sometime in the future, well, I still have many stacks to wheedle through.

Miscellaneous’ and ‘Other’ are not file names.

— Cynthia Kyriazis

I believe full-heartedly that being organized is important for a content, stress-free, happy life. I'm not talking the occasional untidiness of everyday life. I'm talking the behind-the-scenes of packed and overflowing drawers, closets, and cabinets. When we're constantly looking for something, delving among clutter, or even sitting amidst items which no longer serve a purpose in our lives, we are not free to enjoy life. An organized life gives us more time for family, friends, favorite hobbies, fitness, and time in nature.

It is my hopes to keep my personal and business files caught up as well as glean through the rest of my piles of saved articles, journal entries, old bank statements and receipts, and personal writings. It is my hope for you that something of what I’ve written will be of use to you. Whether you are creative, analytical, or both, may our lives not only be more organized from here on out but also stress-free because of it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Virginia Alice Crawford

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