You need to have order in your life...
Say those words and you will instantly become any teenager’s arch enemy.
Repeat those words to a person in their 20s and you will get a good slap on your face.
Whisper those words to anyone above 30 and you will get chased away from them by a set of nice, good looking STONES.
Today I’m going to be bold. I’m going to say the dangerous phrase. You need to have order in your life.
Before we deal with the reasons why, let’s have a deep dive into why people hate this phrase and why I also hated it.
I grew up in an environment where everyone was organized. Everyone but me. If I set a meeting at 2.00 pm, everyone would be at the meeting place at 1.50 pm and I would be looking for my bath soap. That’s how bad it was. Everyone around me was much older and these people were raised to respect this thing called time.
They tried to pass on that culture to me but that obviously didn’t work. I loved the way people of my generation did their things. They had the mantra “There’s no hurry in Africa” and I had that mantra too. I loved that saying so much, that it became one of my shower songs – more about that on another day.
So, I found myself always late for everything. I learnt the fine art of bathing, changing, packing my lunch and running to get transport before I got left behind all in under 10 minutes (yes it’s possible).
I learnt the fine art of setting appointments, going to bath 5 minutes before the appointment time, rushing to find transport and coming up with a good person to blame for my lateness. I learnt the fine art of packing all of the clothes, books and items I needed for the semester just 45 minutes before leaving home.
One thing was pretty consistent. I would always leave or forget something important. It’s either I forgot the keys, my money or something else of great value. I told myself that I have to change. But I didn’t.
There are two main reasons why: 1. I was afraid to fail and 2. I wasn’t willing to put in the effort
You see, getting organized is something that seems to be super tough to do and one is led to believe that if you are not chosen by the gods then you are doomed to become a confused soul for all eternity.
I was afraid that if I were to try to make myself organized, I would fail dismally and waste a great deal of time and effort. I was afraid that I wasn’t a “chosen one.” It’s absolute nonsense now that I come to think of it.
Another thing – I wasn’t willing to put in the effort. You see, in this generation, being on time isn’t cool. Being the guy whose waited for is cool. Being organized isn’t pleasant as well. You have to do a lot of boring work that no normal person would want to subject themselves to.
You have to actually wake up when your alarm rings, pack your bag for school/work THE DAY BEFORE, and sleep at reasonable times (before 10).
Because of those two things, I said no. I won’t try...until something really significant happened.
So, I was a trainee and I lived 10 minutes away from the workplace. It was 7.50 and it was time to make another miracle again. Work started at 8. I had to bath, change, pack my bag, lock the doors and run to work. I didn’t want my name to get written as one of the late comers.
I had a mighty good run and because the workplace’s watches were 3 minutes behind, I made it right on “time.” I repeated this two more times and actually got at work a minute before “8” on the third day. The person at the gate looked at me with a troubled face and gave me a good lecture on how what I was doing wasn’t good for my body and how I was going to finish my training period running everyday as that had become a habit.
Imagine. Running to work everyday. That didn’t seem appealing at all to me. After almost being late the next day and almost having my name written down, I came to the following realization.
I didn’t want to be Usain Bolt. It was time to change.
I started doing research on how to get good habits and how to improve my life. Amy Landino (a youtuber) proved to be extremely helpful. Her advice was super useful and I put it to good use.
Here’s what I learnt:
You need to sleep. Work backwards. If you sleep 8 hours a day, write down the time you want to wake up and subtract 8 and a half hours. That’s your time to go to bed. You pack your bag before you go to sleep. Not 3 minutes before darting out of the house.
Being early for meetings is cool. The people you meet up with tend to respect you a lot as you respect their time. Plus early birds tend to be super organized people with a lot of valuable technical, social and entrepreneurial skills and advice to share.
You don’t need to be chosen by the gods to be organized. You just need to put in the effort.
You need to learn to resist the temptation to hit the snooze button.
It's okay if you slip up once in a while. You're human. Humans aren't 100% perfect.
My Biggest Lesson
You need to be organized. When you’re organized there are so many benefits that come that you didn’t even know existed.
Plus you won’t have to run to work everyday.
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See you next week Tuesday and as always...