Getting and staying organized is an ongoing pursuit. Even those who make it seem easy can find organization a challenge amid life’s shifts. Marie Kondo, author of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, recently admitted that her priorities have changed after having three children

During the different phases of life, our approach, methodology, and drive to be and stay organized can change. Now that 2023 is underway, we may be looking for new ways to approach planning, organizing, and decluttering our physical and mental space. It’s natural for the first question to be, “Where do I start?”

While this question is understandable, it may not be the most helpful place to begin. Making habits stick goes beyond checklists of tips and tricks — it requires going deeper. If you’re looking for lasting change, consider another question: “Why?” 

In the book Start With Why, Simon Sinek describes how defining your “why” or purpose is a fundamental step in inspiring yourself and others toward meaningful, deliberate action. It gives you the drive not only to establish organizational habits but also to persevere with them, even on the hardest days. 

Here are three questions to help you define your reasons for pursuing a more organized life and bring more meaning to your quest for order.  


1. Who do I want to be? 

We often want to change behaviors because we don’t like the consequences of our current habits. We’re fed up with our constant tardiness and being rushed or disorganized. This is valid, but it is much more motivating and joyful to focus on positive images. Think instead of what matters to you. Are you striving to be punctual, peaceful, ordered, purposeful, and trustworthy? Defining the qualities we want to embody helps our next steps come into focus. 


2. How do I want to show up for others? 

Being present is increasingly important in our texting and videoconferencing culture. Are you as present as you want to be in your life? A lack of organization can consume our attention and limit the energy we have for those around us. Brainstorm what kind of friend, colleague, parent, or partner you want to be. Here are some ideas: focused, well-prepared, open to adventure, attentive, affectionate, honest, self-controlled, and available to meet others’ needs. Identifying these attributes will help put your efforts into perspective. 


3. What does my more organized life look like?

This is a fun question because it invites you to dream. Imagine your life with better organizational habits in place. What will you do with the extra space, time, or money? Would you make time to rest, visit friends, take up a hobby, play with your kids, or have more meaningful conversations? Creating a vision for this future will help you see your ultimate goal. 

After we’ve answered these questions, we can look at our list of qualities and dreams and choose a few on which to focus. Then, we can connect these aspirations to specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals — something we’ll discuss more in a future post. Knowing why we want to become more organized will help us keep our objectives in mind as we strive to become our best selves.

If you’re looking for a great organizational tool with space to explore these questions, check out the weekly task agenda or one of our free printables.