Which Kind of Organizer are You?

I passed by the hallway bathroom a moment ago where I saw The Sock lying in the middle of the tile floor.

Sock has been lying on the floor for a couple of days now, which I intentionally refrained from picking up to see how long it would lie there. It finally dawned on me, "I guess it's waiting for The Event." The Event occurs when said owner of Sock determines she has enough time and motivation to declare "Room Cleaning Day."

That's when it dawned on me that we all use two approaches to tedious tasks: Event or Lifestyle. When it comes to cleaning, organizing, filing, making a phone call, making a bed, or any other chore, we all approach tasks differently based on our motivation.

I predominantly use a Lifestyle Management approach to keeping things in order. I love order and detail so my autopilot setting propels me through my week, picking up and cleaning without even thinking about it. My Lifestyle habit developed through years of practice plus enjoying the rewards of time saved, and a peaceful living environment. Living in a peaceful, pleasant home is important to me. So I am in constant maintenance mode -- a lifestyle. It's fun to me as I walk from one end of my abode to the other picking up things and tweaking as I go.

However, I hate paperwork. And dusting. That's when Event Management is more effective. Event Management is when I wait until I have the time, the energy, the threat of company coming over, the deadline on the calendar, or the intense need demands my attention. That's when I need music or a movie playing in the background, snacks, or the reward of going to the pool once I get the job done.

Think back to when you were a teen. Cleaning your room was probably an Event. You waited until action was required. Or you waited until you simultaneously had the time, energy, and the right mood, converging as a catalyst to tackle the room. Or you were threatened by your parents.

If you're a Fun Country person, you may need music and snacks to work up the necessary motivation to deal with the piles and face the dust bunnies. (You KNOW you're an Event person when you have a "Cleaning" playlist.) My sister and I hated doing the dishes so one evening we created the rule that you couldn't talk unless you sang your words. We ended up laughing ourselves into tears with our "dish-washing opera." But the job got done.

Of course, Event Management is more necessary if you need more than one person to complete a task. Or, if a project requires special equipment, like pressure washing the deck, Event management is the better approach to coordinate with the friend coming over to help, or scheduling time with your spouse to complete the work.

If you're hardwired for Events, you'll find a way to create enjoyment as part of the process, or set up a reward at the end of the task. Give yourself permission to operate in your best maintenance mode!

While raising children, take time to observe their preferred methods of dealing with daily tasks. Allow some space for them to operate in a style different from our own. There are times when we need to encourage participation in both Lifestyle and Event Management, just to make sure they learn how to utilize them. I believe a balance of the two is necessary to manage life well. And the more developed your Lifestyle muscles are, the less daunting Events become.

A combination of the two styles works nicely and the dusting gets done.

And the paperwork . . . later.

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