Get Your House In Order

I've done enough projects in alternative health to know the impact too much stress has on your health. And I know getting stressed about getting stressed doesn't help.

But in the last year, I've had my fair share of stressful life events. To cope, I practiced the art of doing the things I had to … letting go of the things that didn't seem (at the time) as pressing.

Finally, the jig was up. It'd been several months, and my client files were still in boxes around my desk. Receipts were in haphazard little piles with no notes on them to let me know at tax time if they were business or personal expenses.

"Don't sweat the small stuff" sounds like great advice when you're drowning in too much big stuff. But it adds up. Until, one day, your accountant calls and asks you to send him your tax information … and you have no idea where it might be.

The little things add to yet more stress on your system.

I know I'm not alone in this. It's hard to prioritize getting yourself organized. But disorganization costs more than most people realize … especially in the critical areas of your health and your wealth.

Your health suffers because a chronic lack of organization causes an increase in stress. Your body responds to stress by increasing production of the stress hormone cortisol. In small, occasional doses, cortisol can be a good thing. It heightens your ability to cope with sudden stress.

But when it's released often and in larger doses, cortisol leads to a state of chronic stress – which can cause many health challenges like:

  • Impaired cognitive performance
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Decreased bone density
  • Decrease in muscle tissue
  • Higher blood pressure and other conditions leading to heart disease and stroke

Not to mention, it makes you no fun to be around.

I'm willing to bet disorganization is also causing your wealth to suffer, probably more than you know. Every minute spent searching for something you should have been able to locate easily is time you could have spent on income-producing activities.

Time steals your money. Stress robs your productivity. And disorganization feeds off both.

So how are you going to reach the income goal you've set if you're chronically stressed and disorganized? You're not. Unless you do something about it.

If you're ready to dive into the chaos and make order out of it, here are three steps you're going to have to take:

  1. Feel the Pain

    Denial has to go. The mess, the disorganization is costing you dearly in terms of time and money. And it's going to take more time to clean up than you feel like spending. So what? Do it anyway. Surrender to it … let go of the resistance.

    Do whatever you can to take the edge off. I had a good bottle of red wine on hand, set up my favorite music, and lit candles. You might have thought I was settling in to a nice long bubble bath. But it worked

  2. Make the Change

    Don't just put a band-aid on the disorganization. Put systems into place so you never have to do this again. Spend time at an office supply store. Pick up things like colored folders and an automatic label maker. If organization doesn't come naturally to you, pick up a book that will help.

    When you're finished, you'll have more than clean counters and pretty color-coded files. You'll have a system that takes almost no time to manage. And you can delight in the knowledge that paperwork and organization never have to get out of control again.

  3. Keep It Up

    This last step makes your organizational system work in the long run. Being organized frees me to be more creative, more productive, and more successful. But I made a key error six months ago that I paid for dearly.

    I moved … and I didn't set up my systems right away. By the time I turned my attention to the disarray, I had all but lost them. I practically had to start from scratch.

The work you do today will reward you for years to come … as long as you keep it up no matter what curve balls life throws your way.

[Ed. Note: Monica Day is a very successful AWAI-trained copywriter who's written for such industry giants as Nightingale-Conant and Agora. Her twice-weekly e-letter "Copy Protege" (written with fellow AWAIer Krista Jones) is a must read for any copywriter just starting out.

"Copy Protege" not only discusses Monica's and Krista's paths to successful copywriting careers, it also details the missteps, pitfalls, and problems they've faced. To sign up, click this link:]

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Published: March 12, 2007

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