Many of us dream of living in a perfectly organized world, but like the proverbial Shangrila, we believe it simply does not exist. We long for a less chaotic existence where everything is in order. Our problem is that we often associate orderliness to being “control freak” so we do not dare to try and rearrange our lives lest we be branded as such.

The sooner we discard this misconception, the better for us (and for the world in general). Let us consider these benefits of being orderly and organized in our life:

1. We can live a virtually stress-free existence. We can avoid being in a perpetually “catch-up” state of mind that causes to raise our stress level a hundred fold.

2. We are able to work less and accomplish more,

3. We minimize our daily frustrations. We save a lot of time which we otherwise waste looking for misplaced things or retrieving objects we lose because everything then will be where they are supposed to be.

By being organized, we appreciate the worth of a very valuable gift we have —Time. Orderliness makes us attain what we set out to do, both in our personal and professional lives.

If we crave for an orderly and neatly organized life, and free from stress as well, here are some of the steps we can make:

• Define what you really want to be. Once you have pictured in your mind the ideal image of yourself, rearrange your mindset towards its realization with your mannerism, the way you carry yourself, your manner of speaking, the clothes you wear, etc. Imitate how actors try to internalize the parts they play until they become characters themselves. As you think, so you become. This will make easier for you to achieve your goal and be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment.

• Learn to say “NO”. Refuse to give in to societal pressure. Decline with confidence any offer that may go against your principle or is a deterrent to the attainment of your goal.

• Exercise self-control. Before jumping into the bandwagon of current fad, think twice and analyze if the change will really benefit you or if you can live without it. This applies to the temptation or habit on grabbing anything on “sale”. By doing so, you avoid unnecessary expenditure and strengthen you from resorting to instant gratification to compensate for personal setbacks that you experience.

• Avoid inordinate wish for perfection. This attitude only results in many frustrations that will adversely affect your self-worth unnecessarily. Although being satisfied with mediocre performance should be avoided, having done your best will suffice until you master in doing the task in time.

• Be specific in labeling or filing. Writing “miscellaneous” on boxes or files will just result to time wastage when retrieving things. You have to open every box or ransack the entire file when you try to look for specific items later. Keep a neat and clear catalogues of things.

• Do not let emotion blur your decision. We are not referring here of heartbreaking events where qualified arbitrators are needed but simple day-to-day situations like cleaning your file or your warehouse. Discard things that have been collecting dust for years and occupying lots of space. As a rule of thumb, 5 years is the maximum storage time for “important” documents. Longer than period renders the files obsolete. The same is true with household items. Items you are not able to use for more than year have less possibility of being used at all.

• Do not allow things to pile up. Lack of time to do things is a lame excuse for laziness. Instead of allowing documents or papers to pile up and clutter your work place, develop the habit or place a system where things are put in their proper places at the end of each day. A cluttered desk reflects the cluttered mind of the person using it. This habit saves you a lot of time retrieving things when you need them. Also, a well organized work place is conducive to efficient and effective performance.

• Avoid the “for the future” habit. Do not buy and accumulate things until you really need them NOW. Taking care and storing items you do not really need now (or possibly NEVER) is just a waste of money and storage space—not to mention the clutter they make. • Simplify. A single checking account, one bank account, one credit card, one e-mail address will usually be enough. Consolidation and simplicity is the key to a worry-less and stress-free living..

• Plan ahead. Daily living with a specific plan in mind saves a lot of time and money (since time is money). Planning helps in the easier and faster attainment of goals. A daily “to-do” list will prevent you from being overwhelmed by tasks since you can break them down into smaller and more doable segments. Having completed each small segment will add to your sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. This is a very good morale booster.

• Be decisive. Procrastination is the biggest stumbling block to the attainment of your goal. It is also a great time-waster on the road to progress. Once you have carefully deliberated on an action, act on it NOW or never.

• Choose quality over quantity. Better settle for a few possessions that you really need and enjoy rather than having a mountain of things that just clutter your life. The same applies with your work. Perform and complete a few important tasks with excellent results instead of working on many tasks with mediocre outcome. Working on the above suggestions is a big step towards your dream of a stress-free and orderly life.