I normally hate organizing acronyms, believing that they are just branding tools that professional organizers use to hook people on their services. However, there is one that really makes sense and is worth learning because it is so helpful for the fundamental issues that people who struggle with organization must deal with.

This brilliant system is called “The PRESENT Principle” and was developed by Claire Diaz Ortiz for her personal use. She shares it with her blog subscribers as a free, downloadable e-book. The whole e-book is worth reading but I am just going to summarize and paraphrase it.

Her point is that good, productive days start with good mornings, and the key to good mornings are self-care practices that facilitate being healthy, alert, positive, calm, and clear-thinking. These practices are summarized as PRESENT, a lovely metaphor that works on multiple levels:

Being organized, managing time well, and overcoming hoarding all require focused attention, consistent action, and a belief that you deserve a better life. Using each PRESENT Principle  element for 15 minutes (roughly) every morning can help you achieve these things. I have expanded and/or adapted Ms. Diaz-Ortiz’ definitions to make them more applicable.

P – Peace, pause, pay attention, pray (practice conscious relaxation, chanting, meditation, or some similar activity daily)
R – Read something inspirational and let it uplift and encourage you
E – Exercise (yes, every day; use a different kind every other day) aerobics are particularly good as morning activities
S – Schedule your most important tasks for the day
E – Express your thoughts, emotions, dreams and ideas in a journal or to another person (much more on this in the e-book)
N – Nourish your body with healthy food, your mind with solving challenges, and your emotions with inspiration and positive inputs
T – Track your activities to improve your use of time and your performance (via tiny changes)

This list may sound like a lot to do, but you don't have to implement all elements at the same time (although there will be huge benefits if you can). Start with one, do it consistently for a month, then add another when you are ready for more progress. Exercise is often a good element to start with because it will energize and inspire you to do everything else. Most elements should take about 15 minutes each morning (some people prefer to do the Read, Schedule and Track {I do Track throughout the day} components the night before, which reduces pressure on morning time), so you may need to adjust your wake-up time if you have activities such as work or school to get to. Getting up earlier for PRESENT activities is enormously worthwhile because doing so will enable managing your entire life better. All of these elements are investments in a more productive, constructive, positive present and future.

© Gloria Valoris, 2013

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