HomedyslexiaGet Organized

It wasn’t until well after I left high school that I learned that my terrible organizational skills were

A peek at my office, shortly after it was organized the first
time. Some small things have changed, but it’s worked well
so far.

part of my dyslexia. Oddly, being lost in the chaos of my belongings seemed to become part of who I was.

As I did more research on the lesser known effects of dyslexia, I’ve figured out a process towards establishing an organization system that works for me.

In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m comfortable enough to share some of what I’ve learned in articles. One is How to Keep Your Home Organized and the other is Organization Tips for Your Computer Desk.

Why is Organization Important?
Of course part of why it’s a good idea to get organized is to save you some of the stress of wondering where everything is and digging for what you need, but there are quite a few other reasons behind why to put the effort towards getting everything in order.

  • Save Money
    When you know you have a good store of things, like pens, for example, and have easy access to them, you won’t need to constantly buy new ones.
  • Time Management
    This is a big one for dyslexics and people with other forms of learning difficulties. One of the biggest struggles we face in our natural disorganization is how to organize tasks well enough to do everything we need to without running out of time.
  • Health
    Lower stress levels are always a good thing, but dust and dirt tend to sneak into piles of clutter. Even if you don’t have chronic breathing difficulties, you will eventually start to feel the effects in the form of frequent colds, clogged sinuses or itchy eyes.

How Can I Get Organized?
First and foremost, you need to think about how you remember where things are.

If you’re methodical and work well with categorizing things, file cabinets and drawers assigned to groupings of things would probably work for you.

However, if you’re more of a line of sight person, like me, those things won’t work, no matter how hard you try to get used to them. Instead, consider alternatives.

  •  Color Coding
    Anything involving paper is a tough one for people who think like we do. Although most things are computerized, sometimes paperwork can’t be avoided. This is where color coding comes into play.

    It’s an old idea, but it works marvelously. Students, for example, can easily color code their homework according to subject. Get a green folder for your Earth Sciences, Blue for English, Orange for Math, and so on. You can continue the theme to put matching covers on text books, too.

    As an adult, it works for me, too. I usually have at least three projects on the go at any one time, and having different colored notebooks has kept me on task.

  • Storage
    The bookcase in our
    living room. Top two
    shelves have some DVDs,
    middle shelf has a binder
    with more DVDs, and
    the rest is full of books.

    Of course, there are things that don’t work in folders, like office and craft supplies. Opaque drawers or closed off cabinets work for some people, but again, not for all.

    I love crafting, myself, and instead of stashing everything out of sight, I made use of these great plastic drawers. You can see through them, and apply labels to them. That way, all I need to do is give ’em a quick glance and find what I’m looking for right away.

    Bookcases are also amazing for things like binders, albums, DVDs and CDs. The only danger that comes with using a bookcase is how easy they are to get disorganized. Dividers might be a good solution to that, or you can create plaques to designate certain areas to various subjects.

Time Management
This is one of the most concerning things that poor organizational skills effects. One of the many unspoken skills that kids are supposed to learn in school is how to manage their time. I’m sure some schools offer classes in this skill, but I’m willing to bet that most don’t.

Unfortunately, this is one of those skills that needs to be implemented every day throughout adulthood. Ironically, it gets lost in the rush of needing to get projects done NOW and making it to various activities.

Now, there are a lot of great tools out there.

Most phones have built in calendars to remind you of appointments, and I’m sure there are apps out there to help out with that. Since I don’t have a smart phone or iPhone, if anyone has suggestions of good apps, feel free to drop a comment, and I’ll add the suggestions to the end of this entry.

There are also a ton of organizers on the market, which work for many people. Some of them are extremely nice, with sections for addresses, grocery lists and the like.

I’ve recently discovered the joys of white boards. They save on paper and clutter, when it comes to daily to-do lists, and since they’re so line-of-sight, I don’t forget about them like I’ve done with various computerized organizational tools.

My system is actually comprised of three different calendars.

  • Yearly Flip
    The 12 month calendar over my desk.

    This is an old fashioned idea that works great for long term things. At the beginning of each year, I get a new calendar and write down birthdays and anniversaries. Then, as time passes, I jot down appointments and important dates, like the yearly Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention and camping trip.

    This one is kept in my office, where I can get to it whenever I need to jot something down on it. It’s a custom calender, filled with nature pictures I’ve taken over the past couple of years. I think it cost me about $18?

  • Monthly Dry Erase
    I picked this one up at a thrift store for something like $2, and it gets filled out at the beginning of each month. It’s helpful because filling it out reminds me of what’s going on that month and helps me plan accordingly.

    This one stays in the kitchen, so my hubby can know what’s going on and add to it if he wants to. It’s also fun to doodle on when he’s not looking and watch his reaction when he notices.

    Yes, that is a dragon key holder and yes, that is a ninja turtle next to the month name. We’re a little quirky.
  • Weekly Dry Erase
    I only recently picked this one up for about $4 at Target, but so far, it’s been a great help. This one allows me to break the week down in days, and provides spots for all of the tasks I want to get done per day. As I get something done, I cross it off and move on.

    Plus, it stays in one spot, so I don’t need to worry about setting it down somewhere and not being able to find it later.

    I’ve found this method helps me stay on task and I end up getting more done. It’s especially nice because it’s so customizable.

    This thing has been a huge help. Hopefully it’ll help me remember to put the recycling out on Sunday.

So far, this has been the best method for me, plus it’s pretty inexpensive, so if you’re on a budget, this might be worth checking out.

Remember, these ideas might not work for you, but there are countless other options out there.

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