The executive function skill of organization

Get Organized—Everything Needs a Home

Organizing is an executive function skill of the brain that many people struggle with. In Seeing My Time, I ask  a question, “What things do you keep misplacing?” Once that list is jotted down we talk about how everything, each object we own, each category of item, needs to have one specific and predictable “home” where they belong so that you can readily find them.

We then do some problem solving, asking where would be each item’s most logical home. For example, my computer glasses belong in the case right next to my monitor. My purse always hangs on the back of a chair, just at the top of the stairs coming from the garage.

Of course you have to train yourself to “take it to its home” when you find an item in the wrong location. Doing that extra step requires building metacognition, which will train you to keep up the pattern.  If I can do that, anyone can!

One student of mine decided that the top of his dresser would work for his keys, wallet, phone, iPod, etc. He asked his mom if he could draw an outline around each object so he could tell when it wasn’t in it’s home. That empty outline would remind him to take his phone out of his pocket, or go and get his keys that he left next to the back door. His mom graciously thought that was a great idea! If you didn’t want to paint on a furniture surface you could cut mat board, or something like it, to fit the top and draw outlines on that. You can also use think painters tape to mark where the items should go.

Having a home for everything keeps you from being late looking for important objects. It can also be a great stress reducer. One of my Seeing My Time clients shared the story about how, in marriage counseling, they’d solved a continuing battle between himself and his wife connected to the mail. His wife would pick it up and he could never find it. They agreed to one basket next to the door so he could find his mail on the way to work. Sometimes it’s the little things that destroy or save a marriage!

Improve your executive functioning skill of organization by creating a home for those constantly missing items. You’ll breathe easier!

About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program®. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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