Tag Archives: environment

Don’t Let Your Values Live at the Bottom of Your Piles

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Wisdom has it, a major key to mastering our lives is to live by our values. 

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Disorganization can place a heavy price-tag on our personal integrity. Dreams go unfulfilled when our stuff takes more energy than our visions. Values go by the wayside when unmanagabiity with time and stuff creates distraction, procrastination and avoidance.
 
In my favorite organizing book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, Marilyn Paul, Ph.D.,
shares her journey of coming out of denial around her personal disorganization that rendered her best intentions to shape and shift the world moot, becuase she couldn’t get out the front door with the car keys or the documents she needed. When Marilyn took on her disorganization like the worthy project it was, everything shifted. It took time, curiosity, patience, trial and error, discovery and commitment, but through it she gained dignity, integrity, and power. 
 
Organizing One Value At a Time
Our values lie at the shiny center of who we are. They can become distorted, obscured or ignored, but they remain integral. They can be the spark of inspiration for change. They can also give us the motivation we need when our spirits flag from our efforts to change the habitual patterns with stuff and time that may have gotten us stuck.

 Here’s a small practical, personal example:
I learned a few facts a while ago that put me in action. I learned that 28 billion single-serving bottles of water are purchased each year in the United States. It takes 17 million barrels of oil (enough to fuel a million cars for a year) to produce these bottles. Only 20% get recycled and some wind up as ocean debris – those big plastic islands you may have seen pictures of. As a lover of this Earth, and a supporter of peace, this tugs at my core.

So…..I made a commitment last year to stop purchasing plastic bottles.

Sound like an easy commitment, right?

Well, between forgetting my pretty metal eco-water bottle at home, rushing out without time to refill it, and leaving a series of them on subways and under movie theater seats, I resorted to more plastic purchases than I would have liked.

Finally, with continued determination and refinement, I’ve got a backpack that’s replaced my handbag. It’s got a side holder that perfectly houses my Camel bottle — so the bottle never has a chance to escape under a seat, or park bench. I’ve got two bottles I fill daily, so they’re in rotation – there’s always a backup in the fridge to grab when I’m in a rush, and I always make sure there’s one in my backpack, even at home – so there’s no chance I leave without it. It takes me a few minutes of conscious effort a day to make sure the bottles are filled and nestled into my pack and fridge.  

 
It took almost a year to get this system down. Am I deluding myself that MY re-fillable water bottle is saving the planet? Nope. Do I feel better, keeping my personal commitment to not purchasing more plastic bottles? Absolutely! And by allowing my values to lead my efforts to get organized – I practiced problem-solving skills to find a system that works for me. I can apply these problem-solving skills to other areas of my life that need organizing. And the system I’ve developed has a ripple effect. While I’m filling my water bottles, I’ll often take another 3 minutes to wash up whatever dishes are in the sink, or discard the expired leftovers in the fridge, keeping my space clear, and further enhancing the shiny feeling I’ve cultivated.

The pay-off of esteem I get for living my eco-value gives me mojo I can apply to other areas of my life. I can change my world – and the bigger world – one value at a time. 

I’m a firm believer we can all find the organization we need to live empowered in the world, getting the results we desire for ourselves. If you can trust a process of curiosity, trial and error, and sustained commitment – you will find your own personal organization and you will create the systems you need to thrive.