- Have you ever tried to organize your possessions, paperwork, a room, etc. but failed?
- Do you constantly wonder that mistakes you’re making?
- Do you ever wonder what you’re doing wrong?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, don’t despair. You’re not alone. Before they called me, I estimate that 95% of my clients have tried to organize certain areas of their lives, but they failed. Most of the time, it’s not because something is wrong with them. In my humble opinion, it’s because they simply don’t know the intricacies involved in the process that we, as NAPO professionals and Certified Professional Organizers® are trained in. As part of my mission to educate people, here are the 50 most common reasons people fail in their attempts to get organized.
1. Automatically assume they’ll fail again if they failed in the past
2. Don’t develop a new, positive mindset before each new attempt
3. Don’t plan in advance as I always recommend; they simply dive in and hope for the best.
4. Don’t analyze the reason they failed in the past
5. Don’t clearly identify their project goals or desired end result
6. Don’t define their ‘why,” their motivating reasons to get organized
7. Don’t analyst the reasons for their clutter
8. Don’t recognize errors in their organizing system that can easily be fixed
9. Don’t account for external factors beyond their control
10. Don’t acknowledge their bad habits that contribute to the clutter (lack of planning, over-shopping, not allowing sufficient time, lack of motivation, etc.)
11. Don’t acknowledge their nonproductive routines (procrastination, not sticking to a schedule, etc.)
12. Don’t acknowledge where they’re stuck, why they’re stuck, and what they need to do to get unstuck
13. Procrastilearn- spending a lot of time learning how to get organized (via reading, videos, podcasts, etc.), yet never actually pull the trigger to start. They procrastinate by learning.
14. Organize the same way over and over again and fail, yet expect a different result
15. Don’t acknowledge their inadequacies with time and information management, setting priorities
16. If technical skills are required, they don’t acknowledge their skill level, comfort level, and what, if any, new skills need to be acquired
17. Don’t consider their physical limitations, if any (injury, illness, limited mobility)
18. Don’t consider their mental health issues, if any (depression, ADHD, etc.)
19. They try to use existing organizing supplies that don’t meet their needs
20. They buy organizing supplies first (the fun step) without knowing the quantity/size of items they need
21. They don’t consider the most important features they need in organizing supplies and just buy what’s easiest, most attractive, etc.
22. They don’t have all the materials they need in place before they start the project
Project Plan Development:
23. Don’t create a Project/Action Plan with a timeline
24. Don’t determine the scope of the project
25. Don’t create a SMART goal for each project
26. Don’t prioritize their objectives based on values, needs, deadlines, etc.
27. Don’t estimate how long each task will take
28. They over- or under-estimate how long a task will take
29. Don’t identify what resources they may need to acquire (organizing/productivity/technology, furniture, other professionals, removal options for the stuff they don’t need to keep, etc.)
30. Don’t take their current commitments and obligations into consideration before they start; they assume they have time to work on the project but in reality, may not
31. Don’t estimate a budget in advance for what it will cost to complete the organizing project
Project Plan Implementation:
32. When sorting, they don’t ask themselves “how many do I REALLY need” of an item
33. They are so accustomed to seeing their excess possessions, paperwork, etc. that they become clutter-blind. They automatically keep them and don’t think to discard them
34. Don’t know what questions to ask themselves to help determine if they should keep/purge an item
35. Don’t make the sometimes difficult decisions regarding what to keep, purge, etc.
36. Don’t want to feel negative emotions so they avoid decluttering sentimental items
37. Don’t break the project down into small, actionable steps
38. Once completed, they don’t track how long each task took in reality for better future planning
39. Don’t ask someone else to help them stay accountable to complete the project
40. Don’t challenge themselves enough, only tackling what’s easy
41. Don’t assign zones for their possessions in their home/office
42. Don’t assign homes within zones for their possessions in their home/office
43. Don’t ask themselves the tough questions that a professional organizer would ask
44. Don’t schedule days and times during which to execute their project plan
45. Don’t optimize their own resources (energy, money, health) to complete the project
46. They don’t set boundaries (learn to say no, etc.) to help themselves stay on track with the project and avoid distractions, etc.
47. At the end of the project, they don’t analyze what went right and what went wrong so they can learn for the next time
48. Once the ideal system has been achieved, they don’t establish rules and routines for maintenance
49. Don’t develop rules about how much stuff they should have and keep
50. Don’t replace their bad habits with good habits
While this is a long list, I’m sure it’s not 100% complete. My goal was to give you an overview of some of the critical things you need to consider if you want to organize something on your own. I want to open your eyes and mind to do something different because I want you to be successful. Consider something you’ve never tried before. If it doesn’t work, try something else until you find what works best for YOU. I want you to feel the euphoria from when you’ve organized something, know where to find what you’re looking for, and can put your hands on it immediately! And if you decide you don’t want to go it alone, here are some tips regarding how to hire a Professional Organizer.
Brenda Tringali, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer)
Organizing | Productivity | Speaker
At Your Fingertips Organizing
Serving Greater Myrtle Beach, SC or “virtually” anywhere via video
Brenda Tringali is the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides Speaking, Organizing & Productivity services to Workplace/Residential clients both in person in the greater Myrtle Beach, SC area & “virtually” anywhere else via video, phone, etc. Brenda is an active member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals) and the former Chair of NAPOCares, NAPO’s Social Responsibility Committee.
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If you’ve tried to organize on your own but have not been successful, comment below noting where you’re stuck. Maybe, just maybe, I can help unstick you!