A couple of years ago, while I was visiting my family in Ontario, I helped my sister and brother-in-law do a few organizing projects around their house. It didn’t take me long to notice that my brother-in-law had a really bad habit of doing something that I know is a common mistake for many when it comes to organizing.
Scattered and unfocused organizing.
It will get you into a whole pile of trouble.
Unless of course you have all the time in the world then don’t worry about it.
Except most of us don’t.
We find pockets of time here and there to organize our spaces. Nothing wrong with that.
Except when we don’t focus on the task at hand and instead find ourselves here there and everywhere leaving a trail of disorganization behind us that spans multiple rooms.
Scattered organizing will get you nothing but one great big mess.
I can’t even tell you how many times I had to say to my BIL, “focus, stay focused”. He was all over the place moving from one room to the next organizing a little here and a little there (he really really loves to organize so for him he just kept getting ahead of himself). Things quickly get out of hand this way though.
It’s not effective.
It’s not productive.
It can be overwhelming.
And it’s very very common.
Focus –> Freedom Out of Curing the Urge to Scatter
It happens so easily. You start organizing in one room when you find something that belongs in another room. You go to put it away in that space and realize you should actually deal with the toys scattered all over the bedroom floor. However that means you need to find somewhere to put them all away. And while you are doing that, you realize a piece to one of the toy sets is missing. So you head over to the living room to find it. Your eyes land on the pile of paper on the coffee table and that’s when you remember there is a bill to be paid somewhere in that towering stack. The papers end up scattered all over the floor in your search but you find the bill to pay!
At this point you realize you really need to go the bathroom. Yet once you get to the bathroom you see your hair products scattered all over and start cleaning them up. And on and on it goes. As you can imagine the path of destruction by this time is totally out of hand. You feel like a failure and beat yourself up.
There is a cure for this.
Start a task and finish it before moving onto the next. This is why I recommend setting smaller task goals that can be completed in reasonable and practical amounts of time. Never say to yourself “I need to organize my playroom today”. Break it down to manageable steps…I need to organize the Polly Pockets, I need to organize the Lego, I need to organize the dress up clothes, I need to buy x, y and z, etc.
Always have a container near you for items that need to be relocated elsewhere and toss things into that rather than moving it to the other room right then and there. At the end of your time, relocate all items at once. It will not only save you time but your sanity as well.
In order to motivate yourself to continue you need to see that you are making progress and you can’t do that if you never allow yourself to complete any one task.
Don’t be a scatter pants.
As you go about your day today be mindful of this pattern of behavior to see if any of it rings true for you. Making this one little adjustment might be just the mental shift you need to stay on track and get things done.
Does this bad organizing habit apply to you?
If you are still struggling to get organized, be sure to follow my step by step organizing PROCESS.
*This post was originally published in 2011.