I know I’m a 40 year old and all, but I will readily admit that the Pixar film The Incredibles is one of my favorite all-time movies. I have, on more than one occasion and in my best Helen Parr/Elastigirl voice, asked my husband to “engage” and there are numerous scenes that make me giggle even after seeing them 20+ times (if you haven’t watched the short Jack Jack Attack, go and watch it right now!).
One of my favorite lines in the movie is when the sinister Syndrome (Buddy gone bad) says “when everyone’s super, no one will be.” I love this quote, and utter it to myself and my clients frequently, because I think it applies perfectly to organizing our space and our time. If we constantly surround ourselves with piles of stuff (an unread stack of newspaper, grandma’s china, clothes we haven’t worn in years, treasured cards from loved ones), nothing really stands out as special. We literally bury ourselves in “treasure” but where are the things that make our hearts sing? How can they stand out in the forest when they’re lost in the trees?
The same can be said for how we spend our time. If we’re constantly rushing around from task to task and everything feels urgent and we’re always putting out fires, what is a priority? When we’re in the midst of that rush-a-holic high, feeling like we’re insanely busy, are we really doing the things that matter most? How can you even tell any more when the world tells you everything should have been done yesterday and then promptly piles on more?
Before you engage in your next organizing task, take a few minutes to ask yourself what really matters the most. What treasures do you want to surround yourself with that make you feel, well…Super? And what tasks really do matter most to you and move you towards the life you want to live? Once you answer those questions, you can rule out the superficial, set aside the not-right-now, and focus on the things that make your life amazing. To me, that’s what organization is all about.
Mr. Incredible offers one more valuable lesson about getting and staying organized…
“No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes!”
Once you know what matters most, you have to plug away at it, bit by bit, day by day. Organization isn’t a final destination. It’s a journey we have to maintain. It would be great if we cleaned up our mess and it stayed that way forever (or sometimes, for even ten minutes). But creating new habits, setting up systems, and letting go of the mess and excess helps keep your organization out of jeopardy.
So go, be super, use your organizing powers to help you live the life you want to live. This life you’re living is your greatest adventure…you don’t want to miss it!