Saturday, August 4, 2007

Organized vs. Spontaneous

Being organized or being spontaneous? Does it really have to be one or the other? A good friend of mine recently confided in me a deep dark secret. Deep down she was afraid that becoming organized meant that she would have to lose her spontaneity. Her fun loving, get up and go spirit was something she cherished and nearly everyone who met her could easily fall in love with that quality about her.

Of course it got me wondering if everyone who was chronically disorganized had this fear, but moreover I shuddered to think that people may be finding me (gasp!) boring and a tiny bit dull! So, out of sheer friendship I set out to put this myth to the test and dispel my friend’s qualms. Alright, maybe some small portion of me wanted to make sure I was still fun to be around!

Trying to think back to the last time I did something out-of-the-blue, I realized immediately that I, a professional organizer, almost never plan a weekend. It’s true. Take a look at my Palm Pilot and you’ll see that among the carefully planned weekdays, there is hardly a Saturday or Sunday to be found with a planned activity. Now, come to think of it, that’s just disturbing. Maybe I don’t have a life after all. Surely there’s something else to draw on as a case in point.

I’m sure I can be just as unpredictable as the next person. Just a couple weeks ago, for example, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and I didn’t even take a list! Nope, didn’t even bother to take stock before I hit the store because I stopped on the spur of the moment! That’s got to count for something. Everyone knows that is one of the cardinal rules of organized meal planning.

The truth is, since becoming more organized (no, it doesn’t have to come natural but that’s another story) I think I’ve truly learned to loosen up and adapt more. Over time, I have been able to enjoy the freedom of being more impulsive on the things that really matter because I don’t have all of the “un-dones” hanging over my head. I have learned that if I’m not particular about the way the towels are folded and put away, I leave the possibility open for someone else to help me around the house. I have developed the knack of being prepared so that if I want to scoop up the kids and head out for a day of unplanned fun, it doesn’t take me hours to gather everyone and everything and leave the house.

I think learning to be more on top of things has led me down a path of “planned spontaneity”. I think that may be the best of both worlds, my world anyway. The object of the game is finding what’s right for you.

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Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

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Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.