The Value of Being Organized

The Value of Being Organized

Over the years, many of my friends and colleagues have consistently commented that I am so organized. I take pride in this compliment since I do work very hard at being organized. I follow the Two Minute Rule. I make sure there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. I live by my lists to the point that everyone knows (and even jokes) about them. I even make my bed every day.

Lately I’ve been wondering if this obsession of mine is worthwhile. Does the time spent being organized help me be more productive or is it just a waste of my time? I consider whether the energy spent on organizing would be better spent on getting stuff done. So, I did some research and some soul-searching to dig deeper.

First, one definition of “organized” is: “having one’s affairs in order so as to deal with them efficiently” which implies that there’s an inherent benefit. Second, 1 of out 4 Americans would like to be more organized. Surely, this desire is not just about having everything in the right place but to get more done. Third, when I searched for the benefits of being organized, hundreds of articles popped up listing the countless benefits of being organized from health, to efficiency to style, brand and even your reputation. Finally, I came across this quote from the wise Benjamin Franklin:

“For every minute spent organizing,
an hour is earned.”

All that said, here’s the value I can attribute to the time and energy spent on being organized:


Because I have a home for everything and I put everything back in its place, I never waste time looking for anything. I also schedule my full day so I don’t wonder what I should do next. I start with my meetings and appointments and then fill in the top priority tasks for the day to make sure I have allocated time to get them done. Very little of my time is time wasted.


Thanks to my to-do list I very rarely forget things that need to be done. I know that my brain isn’t good for remembering things so I make sure I always write down my tasks. Because I block time on my calendar to complete tasks and to focus on deep work, I never miss a deadline. The combination of my to-do list and my calendar ensures that I meet my commitments and deliver on expectations.


By maintaining a clean house, I don’t have to rush around and clean up before someone comes over. I don’t stress about where things are what needs to get done. I don’t worry about what I might be forgetting or leaving things to the last minute. Because I have a plan in place for the day, when urgent issues arise, as they often do, I can easily adjust and re-set expectations as needed.

THINK ABOUT THIS: How organized are you now? Identify a specific area of your life that feels chaotic. Is there a simple system or routine you could apply to help you become more organized? What would the value be to you to become more organized in that specific area? Is that benefit enough to warrant spending the time being proactive?

A Place for Everything

A Place for Everything

We all have way too much stuff and managing all of this stuff takes up way too much of our time. More often than not, looking for things negatively impacts our time and productivity. How often do you find yourself wandering around looking for your keys, your phone or your wallet?

There’s a simple solution. Take a full inventory of all your stuff and establish a set place for everything you own. As Benjamin Franklin wisely suggested, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Is there a drawer, desk or corner somewhere in your house or office that attracts a pile of random things? Most likely it’s because these things don’t have a home. Go through and categorize them and then allocate a location, box, folder for each category. For example, select a location for your keys and your phone, find a place to store your bills until they get paid and another for after they’ve been paid, and pick a specific place for your work bag or purse.

If this feels overwhelming, it’s probably because you have too much stuff. If you haven’t used it, worn it or thought about it in six months, then it’s time to get rid of it. I know it’s hard to part ways with your things but if you aren’t using it, wouldn’t it feel great if someone else could?

Most of us don’t have trash lying all over the place in our rooms and offices. If you think about it carefully, it’s because most rooms include a trash can and by habit most of us automatically put trash in the trash can for easy removal. Likewise, create bins, bags or spaces for things you need to return, things you want to try to sell or things you want to donate.

Once everything is in its place, you need a process to maintain it. Some of you may be able to get in the habit of automatically putting everything back in its place. Others may need to set aside time each day or week to put things away. Some will wait until someone is coming to the house, maybe even the cleaners.

No matter which process you prefer, just start by finding a home for your stuff and I promise you’ll find yourself wasting less time looking for things.