I remember a time in my life when I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know how to break free.
I was so hellbent on controlling everything and everyone in my life that I struggled to delegate tasks.
I felt busy all the time yet I didn’t seem to be getting any further ahead. I thought MY way was the ONLY way (of course!).
As a result, my relationships with my husband and children suffered. And so did my health.
I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from trying to keep the schedules of three other people, as well as my own to-do lists, events, goals and priorities straight in my head.
I had read every life-changing book and tried every productivity and organisation app on the market. I’d even attempted to stick post-it notes around my house. That’s when I realized that trying to find a work life balance is BS because it doesn’t exist. We have ONE life to live – not one life with a work compartment and a life compartment!
I realized quickly that I needed a central place where I could dump my work, business and family commitments in one happy place.
I needed to declutter my brain so I could feel organized, prioritize what was most important to me and reclaim a sense of calm that I didn’t even realize I was missing.
I actually couldn’t find that happy place… so I created it. And in 2015, the Life Sorted app was born.
There could be many reasons you’re so disorganized
There are many reasons for disorganization including perfectionism, lack of skills, our beliefs and indecision, as well as mental health and brain-related conditions. When we understand the reason, it can help increase our ability to become more organized (and stay that way!).
Signs of a disorganized person
Okay, you may or may not have sweaty palms as you read this list and realize that some (or all!) of these apply to you!
But the good news is, I’m also giving you an action step you can take to try to fix it!
- You’re often late for appointments.
- You can’t find anything (I see you – reprinting things you’ve already printed, buying another stapler because your other one went walking!)
- You always seem to be hit with surprise deadlines (What do you mean it’s her birthday… again?!)
- You’re making the moolah but you never seem to have enough money.
- You run out of household supplies when you need them (repeat after me… tissues are NOT the same as toilet paper)
- Communication in your life is causing havoc, your phone storage is always full, your computer files are everywhere (and nowhere!), and you’re often misunderstood.
And this one may come as a surprize…
- You’re NOT willing to take a risk. When all of your ducks are not in a row to begin with, it can be challenging to add any more uncertainty or spontaneity into your life.
Sound familiar? Let’s look at why it’s so important to find a way to become more organized.
Why is organization important?
When we are organized and our home and brain is free from clutter, we feel more calm and are able to focus and be more productive. We are also able to connect to those around us and be more spontaneous and fun without feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed.
If we feel good, this has a positive impact on other people in our lives. So, are you ready to crack the code about why you’re so disorganized? I’ll also give you some practical tips to help you fix it!
Here are 5 reasons you’re so disorganized (and how you can fix it!)
// 1. Your beliefs
Your beliefs about material objects in your life make it difficult and seemingly impossible for you to let go of things, people, ideas and emotions from the past. Having a cluttered home (or brain!) makes it difficult for you to feel organized and impedes your ability to focus and be productive. According to NBC News, evidence suggests that when multiple visual stimuli are competing for your attention, you have a harder time focusing.
THE FIX: Mari Kondo-ing your life. If you’ve not heard of Mari Kondo before, you really need to check out this article that teaches you how I KonMari my brain before doing anything else. And if you’re looking for a quick fix – check out the easy way to declutter your home (and your life!).
// 2. Procrastination
You delay starting or completing tasks. There are so many causes of procrastination, including fear of the unknown, you believe you’ll do it later, indecision, working on small tasks or the wrong tasks because they’re easier, a lack of motivation, you don’t know how to begin, you know the task will require effort and hard work, or you get distracted. A big cause of procrastination is perfectionism.
THE FIX: Write a list of the things you need to do. Use Eisenhower’s urgent/important principle to prioritize what needs to be actioned first and to help you manage your time effectively. Even if you feel ‘too busy’ try adding some exercise into your day. You’ll be surprized by the mindset benefits of exercise. After you complete a task, why not reward yourself with a little ‘me time’. Who says rewards as incentives don’t work for adults!?
// 3. Perfectionism
You have an unrealistic expectation that everything will be perfect all of the time (and you most probably don’t think that this is an unrealistic expectation!). Many factors – including fear of disapproval from others or feelings of insecurity and inadequacy – can contribute to developing perfectionism. While I consider myself to be a Recovering Perfectionist, perfectionism still rears its ugly head from time to time, causing anxiety and inaction.
THE FIX: While there is no quick fix, reminding yourself to ‘be present where you are with the people you’re with’ or ‘done is better than perfect’ may be helpful. Reduce perfectionist tendencies by learning how to minimize brain clutter. Check out my secret weapon to combat brain-clutter here. You can also dive into The Gifts Of Imperfectionism by Brene Brown, where she shares how you can overcome paralyzing fear and self-consciousness and strengthen your connection to the world.
// 4. Lack of focus
One of the reasons for disorganization is an inability to focus. When we’re distracted, don’t have clear priorities and don’t have a way to control our brain clutter, it is difficult to be focused and organized. My friends and family often ask me how I manage to focus on my goals and always seem to get everything done. The truth is, I help myself focus by doing three simple things – streamlining, systemising and automating. Check out how you can you use this simple three step process to help you focus and get sh*t done in your life too!
THE FIX: To increase your productivity while working, try brain dumping your to-do list before you start. You can add your to-do list for the day into the list section of an app like Life Sorted. During work time you can use the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique helps you manage your time and improve your focus and productivity by breaking it into 25 minute intervals with designated short or long break between each period. You can easily add the Marinara: Pomodoro Assistant aka a tomato timer as a Chrome extension. For a bit of fun, visit Coffitivity, which gives you atmosphere noises of being in a coffee shop to improve your focus as you work.
// 5. Indecision
One of the biggest causes of disorganization is indecisiveness. Getting organized requires taking action and action requires decision-making. Disorganization can often be the result of delayed decision-making. But how do you work out what your priorities should be and what tasks you should action first? It’s important to remind yourself that not everything is important and it can’t all be important at once. You’re only human after all!
THE FIX: Change your mindset around the word ‘priority’. The word ‘priority’ means ‘one thing’. We made up the word priorities and overcomplicated things for ourselves. The reality is that you can’t have a lot of priorities because that’s not the meaning of the word. Using a simple framework, such as the 4-D Framework to combat brain clutter will help you decide if you should DO, DELEGATE, DEFER or DITCH the task. This will help you understand and prioritize what is urgent vs what is important so you can be more decisive and take action faster.
A disorganized mind can be paralyzing. When we know why we are disorganized, it becomes so much easier to fix it. Life is short – it’s so important that we are living our best life that is as streamlined and as stress-free as possible. We can do this by working on improving some of our habits that keep us disorganized and stuck so that we can spend more time doing the things we are passionate about with the people that we love. What are your favourite hacks for getting (and staying!) organized?
Drop your ideas in the comments below. We’d love to hear!