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Training your Brain to Organize

Planning and organizing is constant no matter what phase we are in our lives. At this very moment, I can hear my husband on his Zoom call talking about dates for the next proposal and deciding who will take on what role in the project. In the kitchen, I see my son on his computer organizing his slides for his science research project. My daughter is on FaceTime with her classmate and it's Twin Day at school tomorrow so they are planning out what to wear. My 5-year-old is playing "restaurant" and as the owner and chef, he's written out a menu where the rest of the family will be ordering $500 hamburgers and $1000 pizzas. I'm sitting at my desk and listing out the things I need to do before month end.

We are all doing some form of planning and organizing. Everyone does this. We do it subconsciously on a daily basis. We are planning and organizing and deciding ALL the time. From choosing what groceries to buy for dinner to planning out holidays and itineraries (we will, hopefully, soon get back to this), our brains are forever planning and organizing.

But when I ask students and parents whether they write out, set and organize schedules around schoolwork and extra-curricular activities, they often say "no" or "It's so hard to get organized." or "I don't know where to begin."

So why, when it comes to actually having people sit down and write out a schedule and list out what needs to be done, is this so difficult?

In order to make anything become "easy", we need to train our brains. In other words, we need to consciously perform actions to make these actions become subconscious. Once our brain transfers these actions as subconscious, they become habits and these habits will become automatic to the point where the tasks are performed without effort.

Sounds straight-forward, right? However, many people find it a challenge to train their brains to get to this stage. It takes a bit of effort to succeed in this training. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes a bit of motivation. And people often struggle to get it done because they lack the time, or the patience or the motivation to start. To overcome this, It's important to think of the end game. Think of how easier life would be if your child (and you) can organize and plan out school nights, so that timelines are met and work gets done without a hitch.

When you get a new puppy, you have to train your dog to do his business outside. It takes time, it takes patience, but you do it, because if you don't, you will be forever wiping and cleaning your floors and get upset each time it happens. When you get a new job, you get training. Again, this takes time and there's a learning curve, but you have to do it to become competent in your job. When you learn a new sport, you train. You go to practice, you learn the skills to get better and again, this takes time and effort. You can't just join an elite team without taking the time to practice and work hard. When you play an instrument, you don't just automatically become pro. You train. You practice, practice, practice. (When my son decided to learn the saxophone last year, I was so excited and anticipated hearing live Kenny G. in my living room. Ha! Not quite yet.)

All this proves that you "train" all the time, so "training your brain" is do-able if you set your mind to it (pun again, always intended). Your brain, and your child's brain, is worth it. You and your child are worth it so it's important to spend some time and energy to create a mindset shift to organize and start setting goals. This is do-able. Your brain can be trained. Your brain is like a muscle, and the more you work it, the more it evolves and grows.

Keeping this mindset is imperative to foster happiness and success. It's so important to remember this whenever something feels "too hard" or when something feels like it will take forever to accomplish. It's often mind over matter. It's all about mindset and training your brain.

Understanding this will help parents and students shift their mindset to commit to consciously planning and organizing to create game-changing habits and this is beneficial in the long run.

Interested in finding out how you and your child can start training your brains to organize? Stay tuned for my next blog.

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