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What Is The Difference Between Being An Organizer And Organizational Psychologist?

I’d like to know if I am a good organizer.

The best I can come up with is being an organizer — someone who organizes and keeps things organized, because I can tell by my job that I spend most of my time organizing. I also spend most of my time writing and researching organizational psychology, the last year that I’ve spent studying it. But the word organize has so many definitions that I’ll choose the best one for you: ” To separate or separate into parts; to separate into classes, classes into categories, categories into divisions, divisions into subdivisions, subdivisions into sub-divisions, subdivisions into sub-sub-subdivision, sub-sub-subdivision into subdivision, subdivision into subdivisions, subdivision into subdivisions into sub-sub-subdivision into sub-sub-division sub-sub-subdivision subdivision subdivision subdivision subdivides, subdivides, subdivides.” So, yes, that’s how I see myself as an organizer. (I am a great organizer, but it’s still not nearly as good as being an organizer.)

It’s Organizational Psychologist Week, and it’s a good time to review some articles about organizational psychology, some of which we already shared. But because it’s Organizational Psychologist Week and there are so many articles already out there, I’ll be reviewing some new ones about the art and science of being organized.

To be organized is to give yourself the tools to deal with the things that come up, when they inevitably do. It means thinking before you act. It means knowing your priorities and making sure that you are prioritizing them at all times. It means paying attention to what you need, making sure that you don’t overlook anything because you’re too busy focusing on the next thing that needs to be done. It means not obsessing over the little things, like which of your friends are coming over for that big birthday party, or deciding that you definitely need to get your laundry picked up before work — or really, anything. Organizing means being present, giving yourself permission to be present. It doesn’t mean you have to stay in the office until 6 pm. It’s not about being organized — it’s about being happy and present and, like anything, it takes practice to be a good organizer.

So, here’s the best single article to help you learn how to be more organized: Organizational Psychology for the Rest of Us: A Guide to Creating the Life We Want

(Or, in summary: if you’re a professional, you probably already read this a hundred times by now — but if you’re an everyday person, this article is a great starting point.)

To give myself permission to be present was what allowed me to get everything done last Sunday for the big birthday party, without missing a single thing. I kept up a running check list that I kept on the car’s dashboard so that I never once missed anything. If I ran down the list, I didn’t have to run up the list (because I realized which thing I was supposed to be doing) or lose the trail of the trail of the list. I knew what I needed to do just by listening to the voice in my head, while sitting right next to the car.

The point here isn’t to tell you to be the best organizer you possibly can (and that’s the important part), but to encourage you to give yourself permission to be present. That’s just being yourself – it means being present for yourself, with yourself, and being aware of what’s around you, the things that need to get done, the stuff that you do and don’t need to do. Give yourself permission to be present and you’ll be more productive. Don’t forget why being present is important!

How much time has been wasted trying to find out what to do next?

(Photo credit: Flickr user ianfrostbyrd )

I just wrote an article about my “most important thing”: “How To Be A Better Organizer.”

You can read it, but I’m going to try to make it a little easier for you to take the article and make it your most-used resource for how to be an organized person, as well as a resource for organizing your own life. Here’s what I wrote yesterday:

Every week, I write an article about one of my most important things: my career.

This isn’t a surprise to anyone who reads what I write.