Certified Professional Organizer (see why CPO designation is important)
Certified Public Accountant
Want someone in your life to be more organized? Be a good role model, be organized yourself. Having influence helps. Try to stick with people you feel comfortable with: your children, aging parents, a friend, a staff member, a student. Be authentic, walk the talk, and consider yourself a teacher. Routinely look at your environment, habits, and organizing processes to ensure that they meet your expectations. Others will see how well you function and will naturally be drawn to you.
Tip: Help friends and family improve their organizing skills by sharing your experiences and successes. However, be cautious and understand when you are being a good role model versus being bossy and trying to take control. Other people will be put out by misuse of power, which leads to resentment. Instead, once someone gains knowledge, allow them to implement their newly acquired skills. Allow them to make mistakes. Messing up aids learning. Learning empowers the mind and builds self-confidence which leads to independence.
Why bother? Why influence others to get organized? If you are not used to being admired for your work, being a role model can put you in an uncomfortable situation. You might think, why bother? Because generally, when you are in a relationship with someone, you care or you should care. It is human nature, we help people we care about. As a role model, your admirers trust you, which implies certain expectations, including providing advice when appropriate.
Another reason to bother is because you live with other people and you need to be able to find stuff quickly. When you live under the same roof, organization is necessary. The household will flow better if someone steps up as a role model. Ideally, the group will then understand how to be organized and the family/group will function better (assuming they buy in and participate). When a group functions as a team, they reduce friction and enjoy each other more and living in a happy home is heavenly.
What should you model? That depends on your strengths. You may be an excellent role model on organizing time but not money, or stuff but not tasks. Almost everything needs to be organized. Pick and choose what you are good at and act accordingly.
Are there pitfalls? Eventually, there might be resistance. As a role model, if you are pushing your ways on someone constantly, at some point, they will resist. Resistance and resentment tend to coincide, which could lead to unpleasant behavior. Consider your own children as an example: if they are forced to be organized and do not like it, they will probably misbehave. I suggest backing off. As a role model, gain trust by knowing when to step aside. Buy-in is a less difficult path than enforcement.
Another possible situation that sparks difficulties, when you and your student have different organizing styles. As a role model, encourage them to find what works for them. For example, while one person may function well with stacks of stuff around them, the next might crumble with the least bit of clutter in the room. Let your student find their style.
Organizing is not about creating a space that looks like a magazine cover, it is about being able to find stuff quickly based on your habits. We all have different thinking styles, our brains are unique. What works for mom may not work for daughter. For example, individuals with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) process thoughts much differently than someone without ADD. ADD physically inhibits individuals from processing thoughts in the same manner as someone without ADD. As a role model, do your homework so you are aware of what works for both of you.
What are the rewards? Ideally, we help others, without expectations, because it is the right thing to do. In reality, we help others because it makes us feel good about ourselves. As a role model, as long as your behavior is ethical then self-fulfillment is acceptable. Go ahead and feel good but make sure your student learns how to be organized through the relationship.
With confidence comes independence. Teaching someone how to stand on their own two feet, as one retailer puts it, is “priceless.” Also, knowing you have influence over others is quite empowering. This builds your own self-confidence, which can inspire you to be even more organized or move on to other tasks. Additionally, being a role model can provide a strong sense of accomplishment which is empowering. As long as power is used ethically, it can be an excellent motivator for yourself.