Being organized is a funny thing. You can be organized about some things but not others. You can be organized in one setting but not in another. The biggest complaint I hear from people is that they’re organized at work but not at home and they don’t know why. There are actually several good reasons.
- When you’re at work, you HAVE to work or there will be serious consequences – like getting fired. But at home, there are less urgent consequences (messy house, empty refrigerator, etc.) and no fear of getting fired.
- After you’ve spent eight or more hours at work, you’re tired. You’ve been “on” all day, but once you get home, you’re off duty and can relax. Unfortunately, once you start relaxing, it’s hard to get going again.
- You don’t have as much time as home as you do at work. You’re at work for eight hours plus travel time, and by the time you get home, there’s not much time before you have to go to bed again. And during the winter, when it gets dark early, it’s even worse. Who wants to clean house when it’s cold and dark outside.
- Work is much more rewarding than cleaning house. Even if you don’t love your job, you still get a paycheck, compliments, raises, office parties, etc. After you’ve cleaned the house, you don’t usually hear from anyone, “Wow, the sink looks great.” or “The floors are so shiny and clean!” It just isn’t as rewarding as the perks of a job.
- At work, there’s usually already a system in place that you maintain or tweak but you don’t usually have to start something from scratch. If you do have to create something, you usually have resources and support. But at home, you have to create all the systems. You have to make everything work, often without proper resources and support.
- Unless you’re the boss, someone else makes the major decisions and is responsible if someone drops the ball. At home, it’s all you!
- At work, you pretty much know exactly what you have to do. At home, you have to decide. And it’s easier to do nothing than try to figure out what to do.
- Work gets the best hours of your day. By the time you’re done, you’re tired. The last thing you want to do is clean house.
These reasons aren’t to discourage you – they’re to show you that the feelings you have when you get home are normal and expected. It’s just a lot easier to be organized at work than it is at home.
So what can you do? Here are a few ideas:
- Lower your expectations. Unless you’re highly motivated when you get home, you’re probably not going to be able (or willing) to do as much as you want to. So be realistic. Think about how much time and energy you have and plan accordingly.
I’ve shared this before, but when I was working full-time a few years ago, I was frustrated at how little I was getting done. I had been a full-time homemaker forever and thought I could get just as much done even though I was gone all day. Nope. It wasn’t possible. So I lowered my expectations – several times. Finally I sat down with my calendar and mapped out my time. That’s when I figured out I only had an hour or so to get things done each evening (not counting making, eating and cleaning up dinner). Once I realized how much time I actually had, I was able to plan more realistically – about an hour’s worth of work each evening. I also didn’t plan to work the whole evening. After working all day, making dinner and doing an hour’s worth of tasks, I was done. That’s all I had. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing on the couch with my husband and the tv.
- Make homemaking as simple as possible.
- Plan simple meals and be sure you have all the ingredients purchased and thawed.
- Get rid of clutter so your house is easier to clean.
- Have a simple housecleaning plan. If you can eliminate decision-making, you can probably be more productive. If you have to decide what you’re going to do, it will likely be nothing. If you have a plan in writing, you just do what’s on the list.
- Do a load of laundry each day. I usually put a load in the washer in the morning, switched it to the dryer when I got home, and folded it and put it away after dinner.
- Pick up after yourself so you don’t have as much cleaning to do.
- Don’t expect to be as organized at home as you are at work. Some people are organized everywhere in every situation. But if you’re not one of them, just let that expectation go. Do the best you can and don’t worry about it. Remember that it’s a lot easier to be organized at work than home.
- Do more on the weekends but don’t work yourself to death or skip fun activities or relaxation. The weekends aren’t all about work but they are a good time to get some things done that you can’t do during the week.
So there you have it. Those are some reasons why you’re more organized at work than home and a few things you can do about it.
What’s your style? Are you organized at home and work or just work? If you’re not organized at home, what are your biggest struggles? If you’re organized both places, what are your secrets?