Reviewed by Antonella Townsend
When a kind person sends you Lorraine Murphy’s latest book, Get Remarkably Organised, it is best to squash the urge to tell them to get remarkably lost. A better strategy is to look around, maybe open a few cupboards and let the piling, spilling, messy, evidence speak for itself. Another response might be to passively read during a coffee and cake break, but here’s the rub, Lorraine Murphy’s Get Remarkably Organised is a ‘doing’ book. And there is inspiration within these ease-to-read pages. I found myself reading, and then, as if hypnotised, getting quite organised.
In an earlier book Remarkability, Lorraine had written a chapter on getting organised. The feedback from readers inspired her to write a book purely on that subject – “What I thought were pretty simple tips had a transformational effect on their lives.”
Lorraine urges readers to think seriously about ‘Your Future Self’. ‘Be kind to Your Future Self’ echoes mantra style throughout this book. Disorganised living creates a hassle in the future. Give yourself a calm, successful future and get organised. She’s right. Brilliant!
The initial phase requires energy and determination, so a tad painful, but totally worth it. It is the Declutter stage. Lorraine firmly believes a jam-packed living space causes a cluttered, unfocused mind that impedes processing new information and creativity. Lorraine references Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a cult classic amongst aspiring neat-freaks. Apparently, the decluttering process will take a weekend. I think this is optimistic, some of us might require two skips and a fortnight, but whatever it takes, it needs to be done.
Now, in this newly created, light and airy minimalist, living space, the reader can progress to Chapter 3 Basics. Move from reactive to proactive, “firmly placing you back in the driving seat of your life”. In this step Lorraine refers to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. He emphasises the need to be proactive, taking responsibility for your own life, rather than reactive, and at the mercy of external circumstances.
Second point is ‘Work on your self-talk’. Now this gets really interesting, if not a bit creepy. Lorraine details research by Masaru Emoto, who conducted experiments with water taken from lakes and streams then separated into two containers. The containers subjected to negative comments developed disfigured crystals and the positive developed beautiful symmetrical crystals. A similar experiment, designed by author Danielle LaPorte and her young son, involved an apple split in two and place in separate sealed glass jars. After one month positive comments resulted in the apple being in good shape, only one brown spot, whereas negative apple was completely rotten! This really does suggest that it is vital for us all to get into good psychological shape through positive self-talk.
Other points in the basics are good sleep, smart wardrobe and create an inspiring space in which to work.
There are so many good life-improving strategies in this book to help being remarkably organised. Prioritizing what is important takes some introspection; Lorraine uses an organisational wheel to sort out the issues. Structuring time by developing a morning and evening routine, which frees up creativity. The science around forming new helpful habits by understanding how neural pathways in the brain works. Lorraine uses the research of psychologist and author Jeremy Dean in Making Habits, Breaking Habits, and Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habits.
Distractions are rabbit holes of destruction, demotivating, contagious and sometimes deliciously sinful (she’s referring to food). Time guzzling social media is, of course, now well researched and it is clear that it is causing stress. Lorraine insists social media must be in a scheduled time slot, rather than distracting all day long. Notification must be turn off! This is going to be hard for millennial people.
Overcoming Procrastination is a vital chapter. Lorraine refers to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow, he makes a useful comparison between pleasure and enjoyment. Keeping this in mind it can be seen that pleasure is a short-term distraction that causes us to procrastinate, whereas enjoyment is the more fulfilling emotion, but requires long-term effort. The enemy of procrastination is willpower. Here Lorraine uses The Willpower Project by psychologist Kelly McGonigal to discuss the three forces of willpower – ‘I wont’, ‘I will’ and ‘I want’. ‘I want’ reminds us of our long-term goals that are going to provide real enjoyment. ‘I will’ and ‘I wont’ states what is useful or not. This is a chapter that deserves several readings over time, in order to combat the procrastination habit.
There are so many useful ideas in this book, either new information or reminders of strategies to take up again: lists, vision worksheets, writing down goals and reading daily, affirmations, and visualization. Lorraine backs up her approach with evidence based research, like Dr Gail Matthews, who has studied the art and science of writing down and reading goals, which involves both the right and left side of the brain, with the result that goal attainment is improved by 42%!
Get Remarkably Organised is a book that is broadly researched, holding vital information, but written lightly and is fun to read. Highly Recommended.
By Lorraine Murphy
Paperback – ISBN 9780733639487 – $29.99
e-Book – ISBN 9780733639494 – $14.99