“…myself today to see if I still feel. I focus on the pain. The only thing that’s real…”
I dunno about you but I LOVE Johnny Cash’s version of this song. Not that Nine Inch Nails sounds terrible or anything. It’s just…I guess it’s just that Mr. Cash’s version haunts me. Something in his voice captures such stark regret, such heartbreak. Self-loathing even. No matter what the lyrics read, the underlying current of pain is unmistakable.
Pain’s a funny thing, isn’t it?
The difference in how each individual feels it. Some people get a paper cut and-HOLY MOSES-you’d think they’d lost a digit! Others? Well, others could accidentally snap off a finger and keep right on truckin’ with nary a complaint.
It’s pretty much the same situation when it comes to organization. Well, DISorganization.
Just like we all feel pain differently, we also feel the C.R.A.P. differently.
Some people are bothered by the slightest object out of place. Others could care less if they have to dig through a week’s worth of newspapers to find their shoes. Some thrive in an almost sterile environment while others…well, that’s just their idea of hell!
Now I don’t have a degree in psychology or anything but I believe that everyone functions better in a space that has SOME sense of order. You know, at least a teensy bit!
(Feel free to disagree with me in the comments! Don’t be mean though, okay? I know I bummed you out using those lyrics but still… have a heart.)
The key is to figure out HOW MUCH order you need. How much DISoganization RELIEF is necessary in order to feel good and function well.
To do that, you first have to figure out where you fall on the pain of disorganization scale.
It’s like when you get a tattoo. Everybody has SOME amount of pain with it just like most people have SOME sort of discomfort from disorganization. In order to figure out if you’re gonna need to be anesthetized during the whole thing or if a popsicle will be enough to get you through, you first have to figure out just how much pain you’re in, right? Does it REALLY feel like just plucking your eyebrows or does it feel more like you’re being actively mauled by a bear? In organizational terms, how bad is the mess? Do you occasionally lose your keys or did it take you a half hour to dig your toddler out of your laundry room? To fix it, do you need a few hours with One Organized girl or do you need her to bring a bulldozer?
Now there are two things you need to keep in mind in this whole comparison between pain and disorganization-
I. Just like you can gauge pain levels (and how much relief you need) numerically, you can also numerically label your disorganization. Check out the cartoon below and imagine that you’re rating how you feel in your space/ the shape your space is in instead of your latest sustained injury. (I have no idea who created this but I. ADORE. IT.)
II. Figuring out your level of disorganization discomfort is also like pain because it’s pretty darn personal. Your needs are not going to be exactly like someone else’s. Hell, your needs could vary from day to day! To figure out that “sweet spot” when it comes to how much C.R.A.P. you can and can’t tolerate, you need to consider two things-
- What type of environment you feel good in
- What kind of maintenance you’re willing to keep up with
To put it in terms of a toothache, how much of a toothache can you take and still feel good? A 3? A 7? What are you willing to do to make that toothache go away?
This is where that concept of “zero” comes in so handy.
Figuring out exactly what your C.R.A.P. tolerance is and making sure you can maintain it is pretty much what zero is all about.
(I know I keep talking about this whole “zero” idea, but it really is THAT good.)
Establishing your zero is all about figuring out that first question up there- the one about knowing what type of environment you feel good in- and then doing the work in the space to achieve your goal. Getting back to zero is all about that second question up there and figuring out strategies to make it as painless as possible.
If you feel good surrounded by your treasures then your zero is gonna look different than the person who can’t stand it when the magazines are messed up at the doctor’s office. AND THAT’S OKAY. That’s the brilliance of zero! It’s tailor-made for everyone because no one gets to determine your zero but you!
If you’re up for your own journey to zero, you can get started right here, right now. All you’ve gotta do is print The Journey to Zero Starts Here Step 1 right down there at the end of this post and follow the directions. (I’ve included a sample just in case you need it!) It’ll get you started on your journey to zero and I promise, once you get there, you’ll never look back!
After all, who goes back to a pain reliever that they KNOW doesn’t work once they find one that does? Nobody you wanna be, that’s for sure!