The Rehabilitation of Organization

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Previously on our blog I outlined the importance of organization in helping people with limited energy reserves to make sure their energy is spent on enjoyable or purposeful tasks and is not wasted looking for things that should be easy to find.

Helping clients to become more organized can take many forms, depending on the client, the nature of their problems, and how they previously organized their stuff and their time.  What I tend to witness is the time lost and sheer frustration that clients experience looking for cell phones, wallets and keys.  Often, cell phones become used as a “second brain” assisting people to maintain a schedule and make appointments (calendar), remember things (task lists), have access to support systems (contacts, calls, text, email), and negotiate their environment (maps and GPS).  If this gadget is so important, it is even more important that people know where it is.  Having a catch tray by the front door, in their room, or a standard docking station can be helpful.  Wallets and keys should also be left in a consistent location.  I am sure we can all relate to that feeling of looking for our keys in their usual spot to find they are missing.  But if you lack the ability to efficiently look for these, or the energy, it could completely derail your plans.

After the day to day items have a place, then as a therapist we can work with our clients to simplify other spaces that are barriers to function.  Perhaps the kitchen has become too cluttered to allow for efficient meal preparation, or the bills are piling up because these become forgotten in a stack of papers.  In the world of insurance I find that clients become overwhelmed by the paperwork and this results in them missing appointments, not responding to time sensitive material, or failing to submit for expense reimbursement.

Slowly, over time and with suggestions and tools (filing cabinets, labels, folders) clients will be able to more efficiently spend their units of energy on things that are more important, or more fun.