Disorganization is a symptom not a cause

Question markPeople often say they can’t get things done because they are too disorganized.

The causes of disorganization can be both personal as well as situational. In either case it requires an ability to make effective decisions.

Even with plenty of space, you can still be disorganized. Why? Because getting organized requires taking action and action requires decision making.  Disorganization is often the result of delayed decision making or deficits in decision making. If you find you have difficulty making decisions it may be because:

  1. The task ahead of you is too overwhelming
  2. You are afraid that you’ll lose something or accidentally get rid of something you’ll need later
  3. You group important and non-important items together
  4. You don’t have the time, mental capacity or physical ability to devote to organizing
  5. People around you do not support your organizing goals and may even sabotage them intentionally or otherwise
  6. You don’t have a system for maintaining your changes once you’ve made them. In other words having a S Y S T E M will Save You Space Time Energy and Money
  7. Your space does not efficiently accommodate the stuff you have such as a poorly designed closet or a storage area is inaccessible, broken or filled to capacity
  8. You’re afraid of the consequence of your decision
  9. You’re not really motivated to decide – that is there’s nothing compelling you enough to take an action
  10. Poor health in the moment or on an ongoing basis. This can be temporary such as fatigue or more chronic such as neurological conditions that affect your brain’s ability to distinguish between options.

If you experience these or any other moments of indecisiveness, try one of these ideas to get you unstuck:

  1. Give yourself less options: Instead of focusing on all that you have to do, choose the two that get your attention the most and pick one of them. (Flip a coin if you have to.)
  2. Ask yourself if making the decision will improve your life in any way and if so, how?
  3. Recognize that not everything is important and that some things are more important than others. Imagine you had one hour to leave your home, what would you take with you? What would you leave behind? What do you know you would be able to find again if you had to?
  4. Understand and accept your limitations. Most of us are good at some things but not at everything. Not even dentists can fill their own cavities.
  5. Take the advice of people who have what you want. Don’t listen to people who discourage you if you suspect they don’t have your best interests at heart or if they have something to gain from your staying stuck.
  6. Look for alternatives. If you can’t afford the high-end closet organizing system you dream about, get a design estimate for one anyway, then look for ways you can build or create your own system that will accomplish the same functional goals even if you have to let go of the pretty wood finishes.
  7. Imagine the worst. Go ahead, take yourself through the scenario of what you are really afraid of and then ask yourself, “Is it true?” or “Will this really happen?” If you are convinced it will,  then try a different route.
  8. Get absolutely clear on what’s in it for you.  What would you stand to gain or lose? Is this really that important to you? If not, then it’s not going to motivate you to take action. Find something that you absolutely care about without question.
  9. Do nothing for a while and wait to see if anything changes. Do you feel worse? Are others impacted by your indecision and do their feelings matter to you? Are you stressed by your own inaction? These are the times to ask for help since you know that something has to change but you know you can’t do it alone.
  10. Ask yourself what is this costing me in terms of my time, money or my quality of life? Are you spending your time doing what you want to be doing? Are you able to afford what you need and a few extras too without feelings stressed about the consequences? Does your life feel rich with the things that really matter to you be them friends, family, community, a sense of purpose, fun, health or whatever else makes you happy? If not, then it’s time to make a change.
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