A compelling reason to be more organized

Some people seem to have a special knack for staying organized.
If you stop in unexpectedly, their living rooms are clutter-free and every blade of grass in their yard is standing at attention.
And they also seem to get a lot of work done.
I have quite a few friends like that.
On the other hand, many people struggle to keep on top of their clutter and always seem to be behind.
I’m one of the latter.
Underneath, I’m pretty organized. My five filing cabinets are assembled alphabetically. My storage room is neat and tidy. And when anyone asks for something, I usually know where it is.
But my desk is cluttered, my closets are bulging, and it seems that there’s always something around the house that needs tidying.
Like many people, I just have too much stuff! And it’s hard to keep it organized.
But recently, I’ve become aware of a very compelling reason to stay organized. It seems that being organized may lengthen and sweeten your life.
In a recent study, Howard Friedman and Margaret Kern from the University of California found that highly-organized people live longer and happier than less-organized people.
In order to come to this conclusion, the researchers analyzed 20 different psychological studies.
All together, there were almost 9,000 people in the completed study. The subjects came from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Japan.
The researchers actually were exploring the link between conscientiousness and longevity, and organization was only one of the variables that correlated with longevity.
They found that conscientious people live up to four years longer then less-disciplined people.
The two qualities of conscientiousness that were most positively linked to longevity were organization and achievement (marked by persistence and industriousness).
And Friedman, the lead researcher, said the study showed reliably that conscientiousness is predictive of mortality risk.
So that’s surely a good reason to stay organized and work towards your goals!
One mortality factor may be that the more conscientious people have healthier lifestyles. They’re less likely to smoke or drink excessively, and live in healthier environments.
And they don’t take risks, like driving too fast or driving without a seatbelt.
According to Friedman and Kern, conscientious people are not only healthier, but also happier.
They’re more satisfied with their lives than slothful and disorganized people. They usually have stable jobs, stable relationships, and better incomes. And good health alone could make them happier.
But don’t despair if your house and garage are cluttered, or if you sometimes feel a little lazy. There’s hope, according to the researchers.
The qualities of organization and industriousness are not inborn, but can be developed at any time during your lifetime—even late in life.
So why not begin right now to organize your life. Toss paper ruthlessly. Ask if you’ll ever need it again. If you could get the information elsewhere at a later date, don’t keep it.
Discard the clothes you haven’t worn for a year. Cull your storage room.
Then cultivate the habit of putting everything in its proper place immediately.
Feel how good it is to become more organized. And reap the rewards of living longer and happier.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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