Book lover confession here. 99.5% of the time I judge a book by its cover. And I have been known to buy a book JUST FOR ITS TITLE. This book makes that list. Actually, several of those books make this series. So…maybe the principle of that saying isn’t so accurate after all.
I picked this book off of a conference table about a year ago. The cover, the title, the concept just cried out, “Read me!” I barely skimmed it before handing over my credit card. And I Used to Be So Organized proved to be worth it.
Glynnis Whitwer is a recovering perfectionist who admits to being a Type A administrative woman whose life got sucked under in the midst of motherhood. She chronicles her journey of learning to walk in grace while also practically handling the messes life threw at her. What I love about this book is that Glynnis addresses the heart of the problems behind our disorganization. She calls us to look deeper than the clutter to see why we are struggling.
“Knowing the cause of disorganization should remove undue pressure. It happens to all of us. It’s normal, and at times, it’s even healthy. If you have poured yourself into helping someone or finishing a big project, those were your priorities. You’ll have time to recover.”
Glynnis approaches disorganization with a matter-of-fact mindset. It’s here. It happened. Now let’s figure out why and what we can do about it.
I walked away from this book with a couple of very specific tools. One was the idea that not finishing tasks was one thing cluttering my mind. I put that into practice and now I feel a lot more focus and freedom because I’m multitasking less and getting more things finished. When my kids try to interrupt a task, instead of acquiescing and suddenly finding myself in the middle of emptying the dishwasher, changing a diaper, and answering questions about how hot air balloons work, all at the same time, I give myself permission to make things wait. The stinky diaper can wait till the dishwasher is empty. Hot air balloons can come after the diaper is thrown away. And then I’ve fully completed three tasks instead of having three incomplete ones on my hands, making me crazy.
And additionally I started feeling more kind toward myself and accepting that when I say yes to some things, I may be saying no to a perfectly tidy house or clean kitchen.
“As you think and pray, you will know how to progress with getting organized. In this chapter, I’ve presented approaches which might help you. The bottom line is to approach organization in a manner that best suits you at this time in your life. There is no right or wrong way.”
Next year I plan to focus on creating better systems for our family and this book is a manual I plan to use as I tackle multiple areas in our family life that need organizing.
I am Type A and I used to be so organized, too. This book gave me hope that I can get that way again, but next time without the perfectionism.