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Getting organized is like growing a garden. Each step in the process is important: clearing the land, planting the seeds and tending the growth - weeding and watering.

The process is the same for any growing cycle, be it parenting, developing a business or building a marriage.Disorganized people have overlooked an important step in the growth process. Rushing into new life experiences without clearing the debris of our history is a mistake, be it psychological debris such as anger about failed relationships or subconscious beliefs from childhood. The debris could also be the more obvious physical debris - old love letters, clothes that no longer fit, even debts.

Like getting rid of the rocks from a planting field or picking weeds, it's necessary to do the psychological and physical work that supports growth.

Sometimes that means a major organizational effort: throwing out and cleaning up. It might also mean seeing a therapist or a financial counselor.

While his definition may sound a bit pedantic, Fritz Perls, father of gestalt psychology, defines disorganization as the basis of neurosis: "An illness which arises when the individual somehow interrupts the ongoing process of life and saddles himself with so many unfinished situations he cannot satisfactorily get on with the process of living.' "

Another contributor to failure of the growth process is not handling maintenance-level activities: answering letters, paying bills, cleaning the house.

While there are unexpected frosts or hailstorms that destroy sprouting plants, most often a garden suffers from lack of attention, too little water or an abundance of weeds.

Our lives suffer from the same lack of attention. We often are ecstatic about our new relationships, jobs or homes. But, as we move into a daily routine, life can become a rut where we forget to take time to tend to what is really important to us.

For that reason, our lives require constant maintenance. The best way I know to keep a life on track is with a weekly review.

Build a system into your life to identify those things that are beginning to drain your energy. Then take action to handle them.