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Form and Content

Once we get conscious of the desire for organization and beauty in our environments, we start to naturally seek a balance between form and content. If you worry about form all of the time and are doing things like making the bed while your spouse is still in it or clearing the dinner table before your guests have finished eating, pretty soon life will become a little bland as you start avoiding any situations that throw your form out of whack, even for a few hours.

If you’re all about the content, you may have a bounty of experiences — be they work or play — but leave quite a bit of wreckage in your wake as bills go unpaid, family ignored, laundry undone and appointments missed. Obviously, a balance must be struck.

My most successful clients are self-conscious enough to know when they have to take a time-out in their busy, exciting, content-rich lives and spend time bringing the form back to high-function mode. Usually, this happens when enough of their friends, family members and colleagues begin to chafe under the burden of dates and deadlines missed and household dysfunction. Once the balance is back, it is easy to swing slightly to and fro on the organization pendulum if you have the tools to restore order.

For the content-heavy who want to restore some order, hiring help, delegating tasks and setting aside one day a week to review things such as calendars, task lists, mail, etc. works well. If your content is work-related, you may have enough income to take some tasks off your plate completely. If your content is play-related, you may choose to let go of a few social dates per week to focus on the home and work front.

For those who struggle with letting life get bigger at the expense of tidiness, therapy, coaching or a spiritual program, such as meditation, can really help. Those who struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mood or personality disorders can greatly benefit from prescription drugs that, even taken for a short term, can give an idea of what “normal thinking” feels like. Only your doctor can say if that is an appropriate choice for you.

Coaching was beneficial for me when I could not figure out how to get started on some big projects and was keeping my life very small. Having a certified coach lead me from brainstorming to epiphanies gave me a whole new tool set. I learned that I could be orderly but still very creative and take risks as well.

Since we are all headed in the same basic direction (mortality), letting the dishes go, eating ice cream once in awhile, taking the risk of traveling to an exotic destination or a time out from work seem like healthy and necessary choices on occasion. Being organized (form) means knowing when these choices are appropriate and won’t deter you from reaching your goals, and that makes the ice cream or the trip to Bermuda so much more enjoyable.