Perhaps the most critical aspect of an organizing system is maintenance. An organized space deteriorates rapidly if the person in the space doesn’t put items back where they belong. Today’s quote from author C.S. Lewis strikes right at the issue of what can happen when we put off doing what needs to be done. Lewis said, “Laziness means more work in the long run.”
With the organizing example, the longer someone avoids putting things away, the more complex and burdensome the task becomes. In other words, if we spend time each day walking around and putting things away, the space remains fairly well ordered. However, if we avoid that task, items become comingled, hidden, lost, and damaged, and resetting the space becomes an onerous task.
This is true for so many aspects of life. When we procrastinate, tasks that could be handled fairly easily when completed regularly pile up and become difficult. For instance:
- We end up having to stay up all night to complete a term paper
- We endure a few painful few days trying to find and assemble tax paperwork
- We find ourselves needing to lose a lot of weight instead of a few pounds
- We have serious car trouble because we failed to do routine maintenance
- We have to spend a lot of money to get the house in shape in order to sell it
In general, people tend to underestimate the negative consequence of failing to “keep up” with routine tasks. We are keenly aware of our distaste for acting in the moment, but we have a only a vague vision of how hard we are making our lives in the future.
Today I’m asking you to consider where in your life you might be slacking off. Can you look out into the future and see a time when this behavior might become a burden? What one discipline will you undertake in order to make your life easier this year?