What Struggling to Stay Organized Means (and What to Do About It)
Struggling to stay organized isn't a matter of self-discipline. There can actually be root causes of issues like distraction and overwhelm. It's also a common problem. Surveys shows that 54% of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have, and 78% feel unsure or too complicated to deal with, so they let it build up over time.
Ready to get organized? Get to the root of your disorganization and find tips and strategies to deal with the overwhelm.
Distractions are a normal part of life, especially when working on something that doesn't interest you. Not everyone loves diving into organizational tools and processes, so it's normal for your mind to wander when cleaning up toys or your living room. As a result, distraction often leads to procrastination and lack of focus.
Tip: Clarify your day before you tame the chaos to help breaking free from distraction. Use your daily planner to schedule a time to organize and set a timer when you get started. Make it your goal to beat a 30-minute timer and get as much done as possible on one area that needs organizing.
You're a Perfectionist
If you have unrealistic expectations for how things should go in your life, including how your home or workspace should look, you may suffer from perfectionism. Several factors feed into perfectionism, including fear of rejection from others or feeling inadequate in your work and home life. As a result, perfectionism can stop us in our tracks and keep us from truly doing the work to declutter and get organized.
Tip: Embrace the idea that "done is better than perfect" and do your best to stay in the moment. Challenge those perfectionistic tendencies with pep talks, "No one but me cares what this desk looks like, so let's get it functional!"
Overwhelm is a suffocating, all-encompassing feeling where you're not sure how to break free from the stuff in your life. Whether it's an over-committed work or school schedule, overwhelm leads to burnout and mental exhaustion.
You can tackle overwhelm with strategies like delegation, declining personal commitments, and letting go of control and worry. It's also important to say no to your own self-imposed deadlines. Don't decide to clean and organize your entire kitchen in one day. Instead, work on a cabinet or just the fridge and congratulate yourself on a well-done job.
Tip: Your brain needs decluttering and organization, just like your stuff. Schedule small, realistic time blocks to tidy up. But you should also make time to do nothing and let your brain decompress from the daily business.
You Feel Too Attached to Your Stuff
If you're struggling with one area of organization, ask yourself if you feel emotionally attached. Getting rid of old letters, furniture, and clothing triggers memories and a sentimental attachment to stuff. Instead of organizing, we avoid the project or continue to hold onto things that no longer serve us.
Tip: Take a moment to consider whether these items are useful and whether or not they bring you happiness. Taking a photo of yourself with the object or giving it to someone who would love it can help you let go and focus on organizing your space.
You Struggle with Memory
Forgetfulness makes it challenging to get organized and stay that way. Instead of thinking through a system or process, you move things around and never actually organize anything.
Memory struggles could point to cognitive issues but also have other causes. Lack of sleep, medications, an under-active thyroid, too much stress, drinking too much, and depression can all lead to forgetfulness. Getting on top of your rest, anxiety, and lifestyle could all help improve your memory and your ability to organize.
Tip: Memory struggles can also be managed by writing things down. Make sure you have the right planners, notebooks, and accessories to write out detailed information and make a plan for when you'll organize, what you have already sorted, and what to do next.
Are you struggling to decide what to organize and how to handle your things? People are indecisive for reasons ranging from overwhelm to perfectionism, fear of failure, and lack of confidence. In some cases, indecisiveness could be a sign of conditions like ADHD.
Tip: Time management techniques and personal deadlines can help get on top of indecisiveness. Setting a timer and reminding yourself of what you'll accomplish, for example, "When I'm done, nothing will be on my desk," are ways to guide you towards good decision-making. You also need to be vested in the outcome, like a clean office or stress-free work experience.
You're Experiencing Anxiety or Depression
Depression and anxiety often make you feel detached and disconnected, leading to issues like disorganization and lack of motivation. Sometimes anxiety and depression are triggered by stressful life events, and you can help with stress management and organizational techniques. Make sure to schedule in time for self-care and to slow down to address your mental health.
Tip: No one should diagnose mental health conditions for you except a doctor or trained expert. Talk to a professional if you suspect you're suffering from anxiety and depression or feel like something isn't right with your mental health.
Ready to get on top of decluttering and organization? Pick and choose your favorite ideas from this list and grab some of our organizational tools to get started. Choose from our planners, accessories, writing tools, and more from our favorite collections here.