Let's talk about those who are past the child-rearing stages of life first. Those people (including myself) who look at the age categories on a questionnaire and see that there are not too many more age ranges older than the one we are currently in. What would an organized and small-to-medium-stressed life look like? For starters, how about we be sure that our affairs are in order, should anything happen to us. That is very necessary for anyone who has children and/or assets of any kind. Make sure you have a will. Make sure your kids/siblings know what your end-of-life wishes are. Doing this can help those you love be organized and less stressed as well. Consider what is on your bucket list and make some of those things happen so life is enjoyable. Retirement can be a time of excitement. But retirement doesn't mean no longer having a purpose in life; it means changing that purpose to what would be fulfilling now. Organizing life now so that when we actually get to retirement or the empty-nester part of life, we are looking forward to it because we talked about what it should look like and get excited about it. While physical challenges may begin to set in, they do not have to hold us back from organizing and arranging life so that it can be enjoyable. Remember the name of this part of the newsletter....From The Positive Perspective. Your perspective can make or break your future.
Next let's look at life as a parent of teenagers and young children. Life at this stage can be hectic for sure. Pause for a moment to think of any parents you know who don't seem over-stressed as a part of their everyday life. Hmmm?? What might they have in common? I will bet you that organization is working in their lives to some degree. I have seen people with 4 or 5 kids who are calm as a cucumber and I have seen parents with 1 child who are very stressed. Parents who work together to have a set plan for their day and their kids' day can increase their enjoyment exponentially. I suggest you build some flexibility into your day too. If you know something takes 30 minutes, build extra time into the schedule to leave room for someone forgetting something. Absolutely less stress is there because you still will not be late. Parents will probably not have as much of a temper either because you will still be on time. Be aware that having your kids in too many activities sets you up for frustration as well because there is no built-in "down" time.
Above I talked about "over-organizing" which causes stress. If you are organizing your day down to the minute, that's a problem. While at work, I live my day in 55 minute increments due to appointments with my clients. I watch the clock all day. I know that when I get home, the last thing I want to do is be on a strict time schedule unnecessarily, as I need some down time to just do what I need to do and I am done when I'm done. Know yourself and what you need. Be sure to build that into your schedule so you get breaks and time to think and unwind. Without it, there is stress and anxiety.
Next month, stay tuned for part 2 of this newsletter, where I will discuss organization for young adults, teens and youngsters (and their parents).
I hope I have shed some light on the importance of organization throughout these phases of life and how organization can reduce stress. While I know exceptions happen regularly, making parts of life predictable and organized can help save some brain power for the fun things and the creative things that also need to be a part of that life. It's never too early to organize.