Overview

What is the Flexible Structure Method?

The Flexible Structure Method (FSM) is a proven technique to facilitate productivity and organization with lasting results. The seven components of this method are based on the idea that people want organization to provide structure in their current environments, but flexibility to easily modify these systems as their personal or professional life changes.

What makes FSM different from other organizing methods?

The Flexible Structure Method takes into account the fact that organizing isn’t a black-and-white process that can be achieved in distinct steps. It is more of a “gray” process with a language all its own. For people who aren’t “naturally organized,” getting organized in a way that matters to them and their lifestyle requires learning, action and maintenance. This doesn’t mean that organizing is unattainable or something to fear. It’s simply an indication that you need a meaningful framework to develop your “organizing muscles.”

It’s never too late to learn the language of organizing and use it with family, friends or colleagues. If you’re an empty-nester, childless by choice, or have children or teens, you can master it. CEOs, managers and anyone in the workforce can acquire the knowledge as well. What makes learning the language of organizing different is taking words you’re familiar with and giving them a new context. It is all based on our proprietary Flexible Structure Method of organizing and productivity: boundaries, choices, habits, outside clutter, inside clutter, flow and tools.

Boundaries: are set for the amount of space you allow for categories of stuff or the amount of time allotted for tasks.

Choices: are made around whether or not you stick to your boundaries. Choices are also made about your acquisition of new stuff, information or tasks.

Habits:
are developed around what you do with new stuff, data or tasks when it enters your space. You already have habits, but they might not be functional.

Outside Clutter:
is managed when you decrease or eliminate the source of clutter in your space or schedule. If the source of clutter is homeless items, then creating a home for your stuff is your first step. If limitations (space or skill set) are the source of the clutter, then increasing these is usually the answer. The same principles apply to organizing your time.

Inside Clutter:
is minimized when you are able to quiet the brain chatter* that tells you that a deal is “too good to pass up” or that you’re tired and will “process the mail tomorrow.” You may need to conquer a fear (i.e. about needing an item once it’s deleted) , gain new clarity (i.e. around your organizing goals) or unlearn a long-standing behavior (i.e. move from a standard perfection to excellence).

Flow:
is known when you have established ways for your stuff, information and tasks to flow into and out of your space or your schedule. Most people are great at having stuff, data and tasks flow in but aren’t sure how to make them flow out. Without having equal “outflow” and “inflow,” you are likely to experience overwhelm.

Tools: are selected according to your current space and needs but with an eye toward the future when circumstance may change and you want to be able to take these tools and re-purpose them. There are three types of tools:
Supplies: storage related items, including boxes, bins, shelving, etc.
Skills: decision-making, deleting, delegating and other skills which move the organizing process forward
Support: other people such as family, friends, therapists, coaches, organizing professionals who can assist with parts of the organizing process that are more difficult for you.

You don’t have to learn the FSM organizing language all at once. But it is helpful if you are deliberate and consistent in your use of the vocabulary and concepts.

Are you an overwhelmed homeowner who wants to transform your clutter into calm so you can find your stuff in a flash? Need some support learning this language of organizing? Contact us for “language lessons.”

*More information about Brain Chatter:
Brain Chatter About Stuff
Your Brain on Stuff

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