Can You Live a Good Enough Life?

I am fascinated by how the concept of ‘good enough’ relates to being organized and our many attempts to be what we perceive as ‘well organized’.  What does being organized mean to you?  Most likely not the same as it does to your spouse, your best friend or your children.  What if, instead of constantly striving to be more organized, better organized or even, heaven forbid, perfectly organized we strove for ‘good enough’?

According to Sarah Hampson the author of an article entitled, The Secret to happiness? Live a ‘good enough’ life,  “. . . when you don’t expect much, when you manage the ideas of what you think your life should be, you can be pleasantly surprised – and grateful – for the good fortune that comes your way.”

Somehow this sounds like lowering expectations, reducing the standards of what is acceptable and seems to me like settling for mediocrity.  Not acceptable to someone like me who is a recovering perfectionist and still battling with doing my ‘best’ instead of striving for ‘perfect’.  So, the concept of good enough doesn’t sit well with me but I know for many of you it might be just what you need.

If your kitchen drawers are organized so that you can find what you need but you don’t have those fancy dividers that you saw in a friends kitchen that might just be good enough?  If your clothes are all hanging up but not on matching hangers is that good enough?  If your papers are all off the floor and in tidy piles on your desk where you can put your fingers on what you need that might just be good enough.  If your email inbox is down to 50 messages, instead of 500, maybe that is good enough?

I like the idea of good enough as opposed to perfectly organized as it does allow us to lower our expectations of what organized means and move towards a level of organization that is achievable.  I think this concept is especially important for those who don’t like to spend their time organizing or find it difficult to know when to stop organizing.

What we see in magazines and on television is often not realistic and perhaps that is where some of our expectations of perfectly organized come from?  Have you ever noticed the desk in the corner of the living room on a makeover show with a computer on it but not a single cord in sight nor a stitch of paper – no matter how organized we are our space will never look like that so perhaps lowering our expectations is exactly what the doctor ordered!

Everything in life seems to come back to deciding what matters most.  As long as your home and office are organized ‘enough’ so that you can function effectively and enjoy your space, forget about what others may think and go with what works for you.  I think the summer is the perfect time to try some ‘good enough’ thinking – at least for you my dear readers even if not for me!

2 comments

  1. Excellent, thought-provoking article Jane. Sometimes you just have to go with “good enough”….and let it go. I’ve only learned to accept that when it applies to what I do for myself though!

    1. Hi Eileen – good to know that you don’t do ‘good enough’ for your clients! I certainly go over and above for mine. However, I still struggle with what ‘good enough’ actually is on the personal side. I must say, though, that learning this from my clients has been good for me – I have learned to relax my standards of what organized is and understanding that ‘better’ organized is what most of us want to achieve not ‘perfectly’ organized.

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