Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Make Your Life What You Want Through Goal Setting

August 1st 2011

I’ve always enjoyed the topic of goal setting and have both read and written many articles on goals.  This week I have a guest post by Jesse Langley, who gives another look at the benefits of goal settings

In the past twenty years, the pace of life has accelerated at breakneck speed. Technology has put the world at everyone’s fingertips—on-demand entertainment, online stores that deliver overnight, webcams you can use to talk to friends across the globe. Instead of taking a tried and true way to weight loss, education or parking San Francisco, everyone’s looking for the quick fix, or the shortcut.

Life can work that way, but it doesn’t last very long—and then, you end up looking for another quick fix to replace the one that failed you last time around. People now expect things to happen immediately, with little effort and with very little personal cost to themselves.

But life isn’t virtual, and success and happiness can’t be ordered from Amazon. If you want to improve your life, it will take time, dedication, and organization. Creating the kind of life you want requires that you set goals for yourself. Begin by identifying what you want, setting goals to make it happen, and laying a plan that allows you to succeed.

Your heart’s desire

So, what is it that you want out of life? Do you want to begin a new life, or just improve the one you have? Are you working toward a particular goal, like buying a new car polished with Wipe New or moving into a better apartment? Start making a list of the things you want—lists can serve as visual tools that remind you of your goals and ambitions. Once you’ve made your list, prioritize your goals from “most important” to “least important.” That way, you can put your energy into the things you want the most.

Best-laid plans

You’ve got your list of goals written and arranged, it’s time to come up with a plan. Anything worth having requires working for it, and creating a strategy is half the battle. If you want to pursue an education, research the best options for earning a degree. If  online training or distance learning will make it easier to reach your goals more quickly, choose the school that will give you the best education in the field you choose.

If you want make a large purchase like a new car, put together a financial plan that allows you to take care of your monthly expenses while saving money for your goals. And don’t be afraid to ask for help: not everyone knows how to manage money efficiently, and getting advice from experts will only help you reach your goals more quickly.

Do some life housecleaning

Many of us hold on to people, places and things from our past, whether they’re good for us or not. Doing a major spring cleaning-type overhaul of your living space is a great place to start: get rid of anything you don’t use or need, and anything that might hold unpleasant memories. Donate any items that can be reused to gain good karma. Rearrange your living and working spaces so that they’re comfortable, and pay particular attention to things like your closet and your computer to be sure they’re organized and easy to navigate.

Getting your life organized can help you clear your space, but housecleaning has to involve looking at more than just the physical influences in your life. Doing an inventory of your personal relationships can also force you to examine how the people in your life affect your goals. Friends who are constantly negative, or a significant other who doesn’t support you, can become toxic.

Likewise, friends and family who offer encouragement and ideas on how to succeed can give you the energy you need to work harder toward your goals. Decide which people in your life are lifting you up, and which are holding you down—how you deal with those relationships is up to you, but you’ll need to find a way to interact with the folks who may (or may not) have your best interests at heart.

Find your center

Religion and faith can be a source of inspiration and strength. Attending religious services, or studying your religion’s holy texts, often helps us put certain aspects of life in perspective. Religious studies and services also give people the opportunity to build a community in which they are accepted, encouraged, and counseled on how to deal with life’s obstacles.

You don’t have to be religious to make a deep and spiritual connection with others. If you don’t subscribe to any faith, you can still set time aside to meditate, or to simply let your body and brain relax. Finding your center, finding a place or environment that makes you feel calm and allows you to recharge, can give you the strength you need to get through the ups and downs of your life.

Keep at it—even if it doesn’t work

Taking each of these steps—and committing to them long-term—is a lot of work in itself. But once you’ve set yourself up for success, the only thing to do next is stay vigilant. Stick to a schedule, keep your lists and other visual aids handy, and devote yourself to your goals every day.

One of the most important things to remember is that you won’t always meet your goals the first time around. Rely on your good friends and family to cheer you on, and don’t forget to give yourself a break every now and then if you backslide, or if a plan falls through. Failing or falling short doesn’t spell defeat for you—instead, take it as a lesson and try a new approach next time. Part of meeting your goals is not giving up on them—so, don’t give up.

Setting and achieving your goals isn’t easy—but it’s not supposed to be. Working toward your goals might take months, or even years. But learning to set goals, developing the discipline and self-determination to carry through on your actions, and keeping yourself focused on the big picture will give you more than just what your heart desires. Learning to set goals and achieve them will serve you well in all aspects of your life.

Jesse Langley enjoys spending time with his family, watching athletics, and writing about professional and personal development strategies.  He writes regularly for Professional Intern

Posted by Mike King under Success | 5 Comments »

Positive Motivation When You Need It Most

July 20th 2011

I’ve happy to present this guest post by Matt Maresca.  He contacted me to offer this perspective on motivation so I hope you enjoy the article.  You can find out more about Matt and his contact details at the end of the article.

There comes many times in life when we lose that fire to do the things we need to do in order to get what we want most.  We lose that passion to work toward our goals.  For a moment, we even lose our sense of purpose.  Something happens and sometimes we really don’t even know the cause, but we begin to think “what’s the use?” as we contemplate our goals.  We lose our spirit, our will to achieve.  The wind gets taken out of our sails and we have no idea how to get it back. The answer may be closer than you think.

A Discrepancy in Desires

Here is your dilemma: You know you want to be happy, but you are acting as if you want to be sad. The human mind is a crazy thing.  There are so many wires and bonds in there that sometimes things get a bit crossed up.  And this is why people often behave irrationally. Happiness is a choice, not something that is thrust upon you by a situation or a circumstance.  You choose how you react to your circumstances.  You choose your mood and your demeanor.  Everything about your attitude is a choice.

Unfortunately, there are acts of nature that are fighting this choice.  These acts are your habits.  Over the years, you have likely conditioned yourself to react negatively to certain things and positively to others.  This triggers your mental reflex to respond to situations accordingly.

Once your mental reflex kicks in, it gets the ball rolling in one direction or another.  To stop the momentum requires serious, conscious focus and effort.  You must will the ball to stop when it begins rolling you downhill.  You must clear your head of your negative reactions, and turn your thoughts into positive alternatives.  The problem is that, when you are feeling down, you really don’t want to focus any effort on anything.  You’ve lost your spirit and your will to fight for what you want.  This is why it is very easy to be negative and remain that way for extended periods of time.

The Turn-Around

To turn things around when you are down, you must remind yourself of how much you love being happy and enjoying life.  Remind yourself of why you do the things you do.  Remind yourself of your passions and your purpose.  Simply remembering the good things in life–the things that make you happy–is enough to stop the ball rolling you downhill.

You know you aren’t going to give up.  You know you have the opportunity and ability to do great things with your life.  Your plans got momentarily derailed.  Big deal.  You know you have the power to get right back on track.  You have this power because you have control of the most important things in the world: your mind and your spirit.  You control your attitude and the way you view the world around you.  Utilize this power to its fullest potential, for it is one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.  Not many people realize their power to change their attitude.  This can put you at a major advantage in life.

The Self Motivation Kit

Whether or not you feel down right now, you can benefit from doing this exercise today.  Start by making a list of things you do not like about your life and the world around you.  What do you not want to experience?  What are your fears?  What gets you down?  What do you wish were different?

Once you have this list, make the opposite list.  Write down the things you want most in life.  Draw a picture of your ideal future.  List the things you have now that you are grateful for.  Write down your strengths and everything you like about yourself, as well as everything you want for your future.  Now look back at the negative list.  Begin working on the items by turning them into a positive.  Find the good in each situation.  Find ways in which you can take something away from the negative situation and better prepare yourself to create the life you desire for yourself.

For example, let’s say you recently lost your job.  What is the good in that situation?  Maybe now you can make a push to do something you were always afraid to do.  Maybe now you can start your own business.  Perhaps you can find a better job.  Or if you can’t find a better job and don’t have the capital to start your business, maybe this is a jumping-off point for you to learn a new skill or improve your current skills.  Maybe this is just a big learning experience for you and a kick in the pants to improve something about yourself.

When you have the will to achieve, there is nothing that can hold you down forever.  The quicker you turn the negative into a positive, the sooner you will get back to the things in life that you want and the more time you can live in happiness.  Practice the turn-around exercise whenever you catch yourself with a negative thought.  Find the positive in the things you complain about.  Find the good in your adversity.

The Test of Will

Overcoming adversity is one of the greatest ways to strengthen your will to achieve and build your personal power.  So whenever you find yourself struggling to find the good in a bad situation, simply say to yourself:

“This adversity is merely a test of my will.  I will not let this test get the best of me; and I will rise back up and be stronger for having done so.”

About the Author

Matt Maresca is a motivational entertainer and writer with a passion in helping people make their lives special by focusing on “Personal Power”.  You can read more from Matt on his website, My Life Motivation, where you will find advice ranging from how to be more productive to building self confidence.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 13 Comments »

Taking On and Driving Change as a Leader

March 29th 2011

Change is not easy.  Change however is often necessary in order to improve the life we live and things we do.  Even the word “change” conjures up all kinds of different feelings for every person.  For a leader, change is part of what they do and so a good leader must have a solid process and set of steps to make change happen.  A leader must identify the need for change, drive what is necessary to make it happen, inspire those around them to follow and then carry enough momentum to see it through, while celebrating and recognizing any results along the way.  In fact each of these steps deserve a lot more detail and they are the foundation of this article on driving change.

Step 1: Identify the Need for Change

First, great leaders are gifted at identifying the need for change.  Whether its because of their surroundings jumping out at them and just screaming for help, or a subtle cue that they see and no one else does, leaders are great at identifying change.  This ability often comes by developing an objective perspective, even for their own life or surroundings.  It lets them separate their circumstances that clouds their judgment and allows them to ask questions that identify an opportunity.  That opportunity, no matter how great or small, lies behind some change before it can be reached.  Seeing that opportunity is the first step to change.

Step 2: Taking On the Change

Next, a leader must be willing to step up and take on a change.  There are lot of people who might see the need for change and stop short, scared at the effort, the risk or the journey to make it happen.  Taking on change takes courage and anytime courage is at play, there has to be some risk involved.  Change will not happen on its own and leaving something up to others is usually what creates the difficult circumstance that needs a change in the first place, since that is what most people do.  To make change happen, you must be willing to take on the change directly and face the challenge in doing do.

Step 3: Drive The Change

Willingness is not all it takes however.  While the courage to face it will be the start, perseverance to drive the change will be a much longer, tiring journey and is another crucial component to getting through the barriers of change.  Sometimes this means leading by example, other times it may be to stand up for someone or something that others are scared to do, and it might even mean a lot of time and labor poured in to get started changing things.  Whichever it is, driving the change is needed and a great leader knows this.

Step 4: Inspire Others to Follow the Change

Driving the change can only last so long without help and no matter how strong a leader is, they are even stronger with their followers and at some point, will have to rely on others to help them.  This might be right from the start or it might be after some barriers are eliminated to help others see light at the end of the tunnel, but along the journey, leaders must inspire others to gain help.  I’ve written before on many ways to inspire others and a leader will have to do so to develop followers.  Being consistent, expressive, positive and welcoming can definite inspire new followers, especially when a leader does those things by example in areas they are passionate about and noble causes.

Step 5: Create Momentum for Change

Creating momentum for change requires that same perseverance it takes to start and drive the initial changes, but now at a larger scale with any followers on board to help make things happen.  Keeping follows inspired and putting the effort behind any changes will require continuous effort and all the things it takes to inspire people in the first place but be maintained and emphasized to keep the momentum going.  Communicating the progress is important as well for showing momentum and you will likely have to start by communicating the size of the effort and as it ramps up, use that to show momentum, especially since progress or results may not be seen in the early days.

Step 6: Recognize Results

Once more efforts are being put it, it will not take long for there to be some results.  Of course, they will not be the end results and change you are after, but it is very important to identify early on any progress that is made.  These might be considered as major milestones or barriers to overcome.  It could be expansion or support levels.  Perhaps funding, ideas or collaboration that never existed before the movement.  Whatever is underway, its important to stop and recognize the results.  Recognition is there to keep the momentum as well.  Make sure that individuals are recognized for specific actions and behaviors.  Recognize in ways that re-enforce the messages needed to drive more change and continue to build momentum.  Use recognition as a way to inspire more followers and continue to build the expand all efforts toward the change.  A strong cycle of inspiration, momentum building and recognition is an incredible force for driving change.

Step 7: Celebrate the Change

Not only should the progress of effort be recognized, but even more important is to celebrate any noticeable change itself.  Change never happens all at once and so there will be people who change first, or perhaps areas or regions that change first, or even small changes that occur on the journey to a larger change.  Each of these small elements are crucial to celebrate to ensure that the change is an example to everyone who sees it and that the change is something that proves the results you are after.  Promoting whatever change does occur is another way to build momentum as well, especially among skeptics who need to see before they can believe!

Step 8: Share Your Story

And finally, sharing your story of change should be done to give others insight into what challenges were overcome, how the change was driven and all the methods used to implement it (such as the steps in this article).  Sharing the knowledge of how to implement change obviously others to repeat that both with the same kind of change (which is really building more momentum), but also to apply those tools to a completely new area, one that need change as well.  It sparks leaders and inspires people to take on their own areas of change and it can teach people how to do it.

So, I hope these steps can be used for your next change initiative and I’d love to hear if you’ve used these before or if you have some additional steps that really help to drive change in your leadership.  If so, please share them with others.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 8 Comments »

50 Ways to Be More Humble and to Act Humbly

January 31st 2011

Lists I’ve found are a great way to explore a topic, generate some interest in a subject and provide enough variety that it is not only quick to read, but quick to relate to many aspects.  All this while hopefully adding some value to what is read in new ideas, unheard suggestions or simply by giving reminders of what might be known dead inside you already.  I certainly find that in reading lists from other people.

This was my most difficult list I’ve made and while I was hoping to make a list of 100 ways to be more humble, I really struggled coming up with unique ideas that didn’t have too much overlap and were not just a large list of different words or minor actions to be more humble.  I hope you will find some value in this list, it has certainly given me a lot to think about, a lot to still learn in being humble and an eye opener to realize how far from this I actually am.  While I hope many of these are true in my life, I know they are a continuous struggle and I’m sure others can relate or add even more ideas to the list, which I would love to see in your comments!

Please have a look at my short series from 2 years ago on being humble in the article pages here or from the free PDF download in my resources area, called, Being Humble.

be more humble

Artwork by Adam Stone

  1. Use the response “It’s My Pleasure” when someone thanks you for doing something.
  2. Use the response “I’d be honored” when someone asks you to help them or do something with them.
  3. Listen more than you talk
  4. Count to 3 before adding to a conversation to ensure the other person is done
  5. Be willing to follow another person in conversation even if you don’t get to talk about your idea
  6. Always offer to improve someone else’s idea and give them credit
  7. Give credit for other’s ideas that you are carrying through on
  8. Ask others for the opinion of others
  9. Ask others to join conversations and contribute
  10. It’s OK to be wrong and so admit it
  11. Admit when you don’t understand or know something
  12. Appreciate others who learn something quickly and say so
  13. Be quick to apologize when you do something wrong
  14. Study moral principles
  15. Use moral principles to guide you
  16. You are God’s creation, not your own
  17. Recognize your talents as gifts, not your own ability
  18. Know how your skills have only be developed by the help of others
  19. Share your own knowledge to pass on what you have learned
  20. Pass on thanks when you receive it to those who helped you achieve what was thanked
  21. Value other people’s time as much as your own
  22. Never equate time spent with people to a dollar value
  23. Don’t boast about your achievements, let others recognize them instead
  24. Keep your goals to yourself
  25. Help other people with their goals
  26. Realize the potential in others
  27. Know that timing is everything and everyone excels at different times in life
  28. Being the 1st follower is often the best way to lead
  29. Since winning isn’t everything, you don’t have to win
  30. Recognize that you have faults
  31. Remember you are a sinner (in other words, you are no better or worse than anyone else)
  32. Ignore first impressions of people
  33. Give others the benefit of the doubt
  34. Provide positive and encouraging feedback instead of criticism
  35. Make a choice to act more humbly
  36. Practice at least one humble act each day
  37. Be grateful for successes without boasting about them
  38. Know how to accept praise with a simple thank you, don’t elaborate on it or talk more about it
  39. Recognize the individualism of others and yourself, there is no need to conform
  40. Share your core values and live them accordingly regardless of the circumstances
  41. Prioritize things in your life and rate your actions on whether to followed that priority or not
  42. Rate other people as first, be less significant
  43. Forgive those who wrong you and move on without revenge or lashing back
  44. Serve others and not yourself first
  45. Seek wisdom, which is knowledge of what is true coupled with just judgment of action
  46. Recognize and know that you know little and there is always more to learn
  47. Avoid explosive reactions, and subside any aggression
  48. Accept new ideas and change, not being stuck on what you knew before
  49. Teach all that you can for the benefit of others
  50. Learn from and model the life of the most humble teachers in history (Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Buddha, etc)

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews & Success | 96 Comments »

Revamped Resolutions: Unforgettable and Everlasting

January 7th 2011

I’m happy to have another great guest post today on the obviously timely topic of revamped resolutions.  This guest post is by Maxine Dee who first contacted me after a recent article about small things that make a big impact to others.

Part of her original contact was the following: “I was greatly touched by Unnoticed Significance which was such an incredible reminder of the power that every human being possesses and the simplicity of putting it to work. The innate gratefulness that Jim had for what he was blessed with also resonated with me and I was actually writing to suggest a guest post about how your simple story has inspired me to transform a yearly tradition.”

Maxine made several other comments about how seeking resolutions that are focused on contributing to the lives of other people instead of ourselves is a great way to ensure we actually accomplish our resolutions and that they are worth pursuing through the entire year.  I couldn’t agree more and so I’m happy to have her article on this subject.

More often than not, our busy lifestyles reduce our commitments to things that are convenient.

Although much of life is about the small things, it also means being part of something bigger than we are. For me, this ‘something bigger’ is how my decisions and actions have a ripple effect on the world. This year I’m revamping my resolutions with the idea that small actions based in good will positively impact someone else’s life – and that feels very good to me! With that in mind, here are a couple of things you can do to make a lasting impression on those in need, and hopefully bring about a new state of awareness for yourself too:

January – Purchase more fair trade goods for daily use.

Fair Trade involves providing sustainable economic solutions for developing countries by placing a fair price on goods exported to developed countries. Most of these fair trade companies have a mission – to improve the lives of those who create their products. Companies like Gianna Fair Trade and People Tree empower individuals to become self-sufficient. Consumers in developed countries that purchase these fair trade goods pay slightly above market, but in many cases the price is still comparable to something mass-produced and the quality is the same. Fair trade helps small businesses to thrive and stimulates the income of these developing countries.

February – Donate blood and save a life.

Blood and blood products are vital necessities in hospitals and other health institutions. When blood is in high demand, many individuals have to go without – this could spell the difference between life and death. By volunteering to provide blood and blood products, you are potentially saving a life. Get screened as a donor or participate in local blood drives; either way, you are providing a great service.

March – Participate in tree planting projects for a better environment.

Deforestation has largely depleted our natural forests. Trees are part of a fragile ecosystem that allows humanity to grow and thrive as a species. This year, you can pledge yourself to future generations by engaging in tree planting drives organized by your local community or other environmental organizations. Every tree you plant ensures a better place to live in for yourself and your children.

April – Volunteer for feeding programs.

Food is one of our most basic and most essential necessities. It is sad indeed that many people are without it. This year you can help the hungry by volunteering at nearby soup kitchens, hosting a fundraiser, or by donating money or non-perishable food items. By giving others access to the simplest of needs, you can help them get back on their feet and get on their way to living a better life.

May – Use Organic products and save Mother Earth.

The use of organic products has been gaining huge momentum, and its usage spans generations. There are many organic and/or environmentally friendly alternatives for many of  today’s necessities, from shampoo to garbage bags. By using products derived from organic sources, you can help lessen the biological waste burden generated by non-biodegradable materials. Organic products easily degrade when disposed of, unlike their non-biodegradable counterparts. When shopping, check the packaging of the products you buy and if possible search for organic alternatives.

June – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

If you aren’t yet doing all you can to involve yourself in recycling, now’s the time to do so. Check local resources to ensure that you’re recycling what your town waste management accepts, and separate accordingly. Another tip is to reuse products, such as cardboard and paper, to alleviate the burden on our forest population. You can help make the world a better place for everyone.

July – Assist charities.

Getting involved on a regular basis with a charity is satisfying for many people. There are many opportunities within charities, and many are driven by their volunteer force. Choose one that is close to your heart or utilizes one of your talents. Carpenters are desired by charitable organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity. There are other ways to support charities, usually by word of mouth and purchasing products whose proceeds go to the charity. For example, Trekstock, a hip English charity that raises funds for Teenage Cancer Trust, has a wild website that caters to rock and rollers and their style. Trekstock puts on shows in the UK, but anyone, anywhere can purchase their t-shirts, bags, and ephemera created by some very cool designers. Pick a charity that speaks to you and donate your time, money, or energy in any way that you see fit.

August – Go on a volunteer vacation.

Instead of taking in the sights, why not offer to help your fellow man? Some states and countries offer a variety of outreach projects that get you involved with the local residents. Not only do you immerse yourself in a different culture but you also help others maintain their livelihoods.

September – Help the elderly.

Our elderly population is often neglected in American communities. By volunteering to accomplish little tasks for them, you can provide great help and, at the same time, learn something new and interesting by listening to their stories.

October – Donate your clothes to charity.

This month, take stock of everything you have and everything you can live without. Providing others with shoes and clothing will truly warm your heart and make a difference.

November – Keep your community clean.

Start where you live and participate in clean-up drives to beautify your community. Involving your family in such activities as harvesting a local community garden or cleaning hiking trails, teaches future generations the importance of doing something good for their community.

December – Raise your awareness.

Get yourself ready for next year’s resolutions by researching worthy causes online. Ask friends and neighbors about their favorite charities and causes.

With the year almost over, it’s time to stop and take stock of all that’s happened. For most of us, it’s time to list those New Year’s Resolutions. Some folks will have their resolutions all mapped out, while for others will take their time thinking about what to do to make the coming year more worthwhile. Here’s some food for thought: Why not make resolutions that last?

Maxine is a dedicated mother who works to instill in her children the ideas of giving, charity and frugality so they have a solid foundation for their future. When not with her family, she works for Treetopia, a seller of artificial Christmas trees. The Christmas tree sale this holiday season was particularly busy but a great reminder for her of the need to balance work and family.

Maxine is a dedicated mother who works to instill in her children the ideas of giving, charity and frugality so they have a solid foundation for their future. When not with her family, she works for Treetopia, a seller of artificial Christmas trees. The Christmas tree sale this holiday season was particularly busy but a great reminder for her of the need to balance work and family.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 2 Comments »

Well Maintained Chaos and Signs You Are Too Organized

October 28th 2010

Note: This is a guest post by Art Gould, a division manager with Self Storage Company, details below…

I’ve never been much of a neat freak. This is the standard line I used to give people who would walk into my office for the first time and find it hard to disguise a look on their face that could be described as a mixed proportion of shock, amusement, and disgust. I’ve found that understatement is always a cool way of stating the obvious with all the rough edges smoothed over. My friends and co-workers have forever been telling me how much more I could get done if I only took some time to straighten out my clutter and at least try to create an appearance of organization in my life. So a few weeks ago, I decided to bite the bullet and do something about it.

Being the type of person who tends to commit totally to things, I decided to leave no stone unturned in my mission to self-organize. I read books about it. I watched DVDs. I invested in new file cabinets, new folders, and new software. For the first time in years, I cleaned my desk completely. As I peeled layer upon layer of paperwork off my desktop, I began to flush out items buried deep within the rubble; items that I had long ago given up for lost. Receptacles became my best friends. I filed everything that needed filing, catalogued everything that needed cataloguing, sorted everything that needed sorting, and arranged everything that needed arranging.

By the time I was done, I looked around and admired my new surroundings with a feeling of utter satisfaction and a deep sense of accomplishment. My new office and my new organized self were now realities. But very soon thereafter the realization hit me that I was now a week behind in everything I was supposed to have been doing. I had become so consumed with my organizing crusade that I had not spoken to anyone in over a week. My list of calls to return was very neat, very organized, and also very long! My projects were all neatly stacked in their own bins and folders but I had not been working on any of them. People who stopped by and complimented me on my nice clean desk also complemented me on being all caught up with my work. I gave them a weak smile and didn’t dare tell them how wrong they were. I wound up spending that weekend, plus a few days thereafter, working long dogged hours, trying to make up for time lost while I was on my organizing binge.

After I finally got caught up, I began to sense a new problem. My new desk was beginning to take on the characteristics of a shrine. I dared not do anything that might alter the pristine image that had made such a profound impression on me once I had finally cleaned it. My obsession with keeping it immaculate soon became an additional task added to my already long list of tasks. Except unlike the other ones, this project didn’t have a neat shelf life to it. I could never say that it was finished or completed, or that it was time to move on to the next one. Instead, it became the 800-pound gorilla in the room; always there, lurking in the background, even when I tried to ignore it.

I started thinking: is there such a thing as being too organized? Is it possible that maybe a tiny bit of chaos, mixed in with all the neatness and efficiency, might actually be a good thing? So I made a decision to politely usher the gorilla out of the room and get back to being my old productive self. I didn’t let it bother me at all if my desk became something other than sterile. I even let it get to the point where it could accurately be described as slightly (but no longer overly!) messy. Don’t get me wrong, I am no longer the slob I once was. I recognize the value of structure and embrace the concept of a streamlined approach yielding benefits in terms of productivity and efficiency. I also realized that striking the right balance is the key! Now I am organized but no longer obsessed with it. I allow a little chaos into my environment but I try to maintain it.

In case you are wondering if you have hit the point where your organization is offering diminishing marginal returns, here are a few indicators to keep watch for!


  1. When you buy so many storage bins to store and compartmentalize your items that you no longer have enough space for the bins in your office.
  2. When most of the folders in your file cabinet have only one sheet of paper in them.
  3. When you spend 45 minutes trying to decide whether to file an article about Madden 2010 in the sports folder or the software folder.
  4. When you start spending an inordinate amount of time neatly sorting and filing your junk mail.
  5. When you spend so much time and energy mapping out the next leg of your vacation that you completely miss out on what is going on around you during the current part of it.
  6. When you ask your friends to wait a few minutes before going out to eat because you just noticed that some of the books on your bookshelf are out of alphabetical order.
  7. When you file everything logically and neatly—-and then find you are no longer able to locate anything you need.
  8. When you spend more time making lists of what to do than doing what is on them.

Art Gould is a division manager with Self Storage Company, which operates a group of websites, including a Texas self storage locator. He travels a lot for business related to centers from Texas to the Illinois self storage site. As a result, Art has a strong interest in productivity, organization, working on the road, balancing work and home life, and reducing stress.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 3 Comments »

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