Thursday, December 20, 2012

Are You a Little "Jumbled" Too? - Part Two

Okay, so in Part One, I gave you a snapshot of a 24-hour period in my life that had been particularly jumbled to see if you could relate to it. After what turned out to be a *very* long exposition, I gave you a list of three reactions about my crazy day and asked you to choose which best describes you. Here they are for your review:
  1. Reaction #1: "I have not a clue what this woman is talking about. She must literally be insane."
  2. Reaction #2: "Wow, that's really funny, I guess my life gets kind of crazy like that sometimes, but it's not nearly as crazy as this lady's life appears to be . . . "
  3. Reaction #3: "Oh. My. Gosh. That is so totally me. Wow, I think I could have written that post myself about MY last 24 hours!"
So the question is, based on your reaction, what do you think? Are you jumbled too?

Well honestly, you're the only one who can decide for sure, but your reaction could point to some important clues about your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can do to be your best self, no matter what your tendencies are. So let's discuss the different reactions and I'll give you "my take" on what they mean.

Reaction #1: "I have not a clue what this woman is talking about. She must literally be insane."

If you chose Reaction #1, then you are definitely not jumbled by my definition. You are one of those people that jumbled people really admire and look up to and want to be like. But try and try as we might, we never quite get there. You probably have a really good routine set up that you follow nearly every day because you know the value in it. For you, it's not restrictive, but smart. You get done what has to be done, and you do it efficiently, and then you are free to pursue a few other interests.

You probably carry around a planner, or feel like your smart phone is an extension of your arm because it keeps you on track with all the responsibilities of your demanding life. You are likely successful at much - or all - of what you do. But you limit yourself to what makes sense given the time parameters and realities of your life. You are what Flylady calls "Born Organized" (See "No More Parents Left Behind").

The question is, can someone really be "born" organized? I suppose that depends on who you ask. Here's an article on this subject from called Productivity & Organizing Myth #1 – Born Organized. According to them, the idea that "some people are born with an organizing gene or are natural organizers and others will never be organized" is a myth. They explain: "Organized and productive people have a set of skills that lead to their being organized." After explaining this, the article lists a lot of organizing skills and what people can do to learn them.

Honestly, this is the kind of thinking that jumbled people usually find when they go looking for "organization help" on the internet. A lot of "should do's" and "must do's" to make themselves feel guilty because they can never live up to it. At least that's my take.

I will admit that I have no idea if people are born with an "organizing gene" or not. However, I believe that everyone is born with talents and strengths as well as weaknesses. People who are so-called "born organized" simply have a talent for organization! It comes naturally to them, or they learned it from a very organized environment growing up. Or, as is sometimes the case, they may have had an extremely disorganized parent and went the opposite direction because it frustrated them so much! But no matter it's roots, the fact remains that for some people, organization comes more naturally that it does for others.

I want to make a point though, that someone with a talent for organization can actually be a jumbled personality in disguise! Many of my friends and colleagues were probably surprised to read this blog for the first time and realize how random my life can be! That's because, honestly, I am pretty put-together despite my weaknesses. I suppose I have a talent for taking a bunch of random ideas and organizing them into a concise and detailed format or system. My problem comes with maintaining the system I have created because I get distracted and don't follow it for awhile, then I give up on it, thinking the system is broken. Either that, or I just get bored with it! I follow a continuous cycle of implementing new solutions written by organized folks and then moving on when I am not receiving value from it anymore.

Summary: If you answered with #1 you may not read my blog for very long. However, if you stay, know that us jumbled people greatly value your contribution to our lives! Many of us are married to "born organized" people, or we are their children or parents. You keep us on track and help us learn how to do better. My only request is that you please try to be understanding, even when our actions make no sense! We need love, not judgement.

Okay, let's move on. . .

Reaction #2: "Wow, that's really funny, I guess my life gets kind of crazy like that sometimes, but it's not nearly as crazy as this lady's life appears to be . . . "

If you chose Reaction #2, you are somewhere in the middle between "born organized" and "jumbled". You are a likely a fairly balanced personality with perhaps some tendency towards distraction. You probably have a lot of great creative ideas, but you have them mostly under control. You get sidetracked once in awhile, but mostly your life runs smoothly. You've put into place a few routines and systems that work for you. You change them up once in awhile to add variety to your life, but there's a lot of consistency because you've learned that it makes your life so much better.

You may be the type of person who writes an organization book  because you think you're disorganized, even though you're really not, at least when compared to some of us! You're the person that jumbled people have a hope of becoming and most likely they can achieve it with patience and perseverance. Chances are, you may actually be a jumbled personality in disguise!

Lastly. . .

Reaction #3: "Oh. My. Gosh. That is so totally me. Wow, I think I could have written that post myself about MY last 24 hours!"

Hahaha! If you chose Reaction #3, then you are definitely jumbled! But don't despair - this personality is truly a blessing as well as a curse! You may find your mind distracted dozens of times per day, but what is the outcome? If you are constantly forgetting things, running late, losing things, and your home looks like a bomb went off (and has for weeks or months on end!), then you are well aware of the "curse" part of this personality. It is certainly worth striving to work on these weaknesses to develop habits and routines that can make your life run more smoothly.

However, as it was put so perfectly in this quote: "If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses." ~ Dan Sullivan~ 

Is that perfect or what? Of course it's important - and worth the work - to improve your weaknesses, but don't forget about your strengths! If you focus on your talents, they will become even better, and you will find a joy and contentment with your life that you never dreamed was possible.

Here's an example of one of the blessings of a jumbled personality that may have been viewed as a curse: When I first read the book "Sidetracked Home Executives", I learned about two women with disheveled homes and distracted lives. One of them writes about being in her PJ's and inside a blanket-made tent in the living room with her kids when someone "important" knocked on the door. Her horror at being discovered like this with her hair and home a mess were a wake-up call for her.

The crazy situation of that fateful day led these two women to start anew with their lives and to seek out and refine techniques that worked for them. They went on to write the very successful aforementioned book that has become a classic in organization circles. All of this is wonderful, and honestly their book was a foundation for helping me develop homemaking skills as a new mother 20 years ago. But there's another side to this story.

I can't help wondering what her kids thought about that morning. Did they care that she was in her PJ's when someone knocked on the door? Or that her hair was a mess and she had no makeup on? Well maybe they did a little, but I have a feeling that all they cared about was the fact that Mom was playing with them! I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, one of my most favorite things in the world was when we got permission to make a big tent with blankets downstairs in the family room! What would her kids have have written in their journals about that day? For her small children, her jumbled personality was certainly a blessing when it came to having a great time with Mom.

A lovely story comes to mind about a man who spends the day fishing with his son and they both come away with very different views of how their time was spent. Years later, the elderly father uncovers two old journals - one his, one his son's - and recalls faded memories. Here's what happens:

". . . He sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold, while his son's was tattered and the name "Jimmy" had been nearly scuffed from its surface. . . As he opened his journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words: "Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn't catch a thing." With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read: "Went fishing with my dad. Best day of my life."

You can read the full story HERE. It's worth a read - but have a hanky nearby!

By focusing on these "blessings", you may think I'm just giving excuses for the "curse" side of being jumbled, and trying to say that one should just accept things the way they are. But that's not it at all. I am a firm believer in continual self-improvement, and I have spent my life constantly seeking out strategies and developing systems and tools to help me stay in control of my life. This is part of being a mature and responsible adult, and is an important life-long quest. However, we need to be careful not to squelch the jumbled sunshine within. 

After all, even Jesus gave us encouraging words when he said: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

After all, you are who you are - for a reason. Remember that old poster from the 70's?
"I know I'm somebody. . . 'cause God don't make no junk!"
God created you for a purpose. He created us all and gave us talents, abilities and weaknesses. We certainly need to celebrate our strengths and strengthen our weaknesses. But never, ever, apologize for your "jumbled sunshine" that lights the world around you!

Think about it. . . why do we laugh and cry in the theater? Because someone somewhere had a jumbled avalanche of thoughts about a story. . . an idea. . . and acted upon it, even if it meant they got no sleep for a few days! And after that, the drafted script was likely transformed by the creative genius of a producer, a director, and many talented actors who have the ability to step outside reality and take us into the world of imagination. You can just bet that a good number of those people have what I am referring to as "jumbled personalities". You know how it was in High School, "Oh, the *drama* people. . . " hahaha!

All of that said, we should never put-down or be ungrateful for the contributions of the born organized people among us. After all, a writer can't turn his idea into a movie all by himself, even with the help of all his jumbled friends. No, wait, let me re-phrase that - *especially* not with the help of all his jumbled friends! The movie would never be produced if it weren't for the people who turn the script into a finished product with their organizational skills and discipline!

It takes many people with various talents to product a film: the director, cinematographer, casting director, set designer, construction crew, camera operators, sound crew, costume designers, seamstresses, hair and makeup artists, a script supervisor, film and sound editors. . . not to mention the assistants who make it all happen! We've all seen those long lists of names at the end of even the shortest films or the briefest of one-act plays. The world needs us all.

So be proud of your jumbled nature, or your born organized nature - whichever you have been blessed with. Look for the strengths that come naturally to you and capitalize on them. Use your talents to help others who maybe aren't as blessed with that particular ability. Acknowledge your weaknesses and look for ways to improve, even if only a little bit, every single day. This is truly how you can bring a bit of jumbled sunshine into the world.


  1. Love your blog! I am beginning to make peace with my "jumbled" life. Absolutely agree with your thought, "I am a firm believer in continual self-improvement, and I have spent my life constantly seeking out strategies and developing systems and tools to help me stay in control of my life. This is part of being a mature and responsible adult, and is an important life-long quest". After all, isn't that the purpose of this earthly sojourn, a time to perfect ourselves and prepare to meet God?

  2. Great comment Dennie Lou! So grateful for your support. :)


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