Everyone knows at least one person who is constantly organized. It doesn't matter if they are at work, at home, traveling, or just walking around the block — they have their sh*t together, and it shows. These people are a sight to behold, and yet they can leave you wondering why you always feel so disorganized.
After all, what does this organizational guru have that you don't have? They don't seem any smarter or richer or more talented than you. (Well, except in the organizational category.) And yet there they are, with their calm collectedness, their perfectly appointed schedule, and probably a closet with shoe racks to die for.
These are the same people who always have a pen, or a tissue, or hand sanitizer when you need it. For these reasons, they make great friends, and even greater travel companions. And yet, I ask again — how do they do it?
Well, as it turns out, being organized isn't actually that difficult. Yes, it takes some work. And yes, it's a skill that needs to be honed. But once you get your life together, it's quite easy to see what had been tripping you up all along. Below are some of the reasons you always feel disorganized, as well as what to do about it.
1. You Aren't Up On Your Planner Game
I'm a huge fan of real, bonafide paper planners. At the start of every year I get myself a Moleskine, and then revel in 12 months of organizational bliss. Of course, I do see the benefits of using the calendar on my phone or laptop. But did you know that writing things down helps you remember? Plus, it's fun to pick out pretty agenda books, papers, and pens. I'm sure my fellow stationary aficionados will agree.
2. You Write Notes On Napkins
If you don't have a planner, or any way of tracking your schedule, then you might get into the habit of jotting down notes on any surface available. Scraps of paper, napkins — even your hand. It makes sense in the moment. And yet that paper will get lost, you will wash your hands, and soon you'll be stuck questioning the day of your doctor's appointment, or what time that meeting was on Thursday. (Was it Thursday?) It's much better to keep everything in one spot.
3. You Have Several Bad Habits
Be honest with yourself, and think about what you do with important things like your mail, your keys, or your wallet. Do you toss them onto the counter, without a second thought? It can help to take a moment and recognize these kinds of bad habits. "Acknowledging [your] habits is the first step to restoring order," said professional organizer Vicki Norris on HGTV.com. Once you've admitted the error of your ways, there's more hope for change in the future.
4. There Is Too Much Junk In Your Life
Think of all the times you've lost a shoe and found it (hours later) buried under a bunch of junk. "Chronically disorganized people have a lot of stuff, far more than they can use or need," noted Gregory Han on ApartmentTherapy.com. Even though you like your stuff, there's nothing organized about piles of crap.
5. Your Phone Is Never Charged
Apart from the agony that is a dead phone, this can be quite the problem if you need to check an email for work, or add something to your calendar. So get in the habit of charging your phone, and carrying around an extra cable. Your frayed nerves will thank you.
6. You Start Too Many Projects At Once
It's great that you have a ton of hobbies, and therefore a bunch of projects going on. And yet this often means every surface in your house is covered in crafts and papers. "Disorganized people tend to be interested in many things, and some of the clutter is a result of many half-finished projects," Han said. It may be worth doing one thing at a time, if only for the sake of your sanity.
7. Procrastination Is Your Middle Name
They say "why do today what you can save until tomorrow?" And of course that's hilarious. But it's not so funny when your life is a disaster, and your apartment is a mess. "If you are a procrastinator, you already know it," said professional organizer Audrey Thomas, on her blog OrganizedAudrey.com. "The only problem is there’s too much to do when tomorrow arrives, so things either don’t get done ... they slip between the cracks, or you find yourself working late… again." It makes for a very stressful life.
8. A Schedule Seems Like A Suggestion
A lack of schedule may feel fun and freeing at first, but it eventually just adds to the ongoing sense of chaos in your life. "If you don’t create a plan on a daily or weekly basis, becoming disorganized is easy," said Rebekah Epstein on Entrepreneur. So pick a routine, and stick to it every day. It may help reign things in.
9. You're Bad At Making Decisions
I can totally relate to this one, as I am the queen of the pro/con list. And yet I know that a lack of decision making skills can lead to all sorts of problems. In fact, it's probably one of the biggest reasons people have disorganization at home or at work, according to Thomas.
10. You Don't Straighten Up
I have several friends who won't go to bed if the dishwasher is full, or their blankets aren't folded. To me, this often feels like overkill. But there's something to be said for tidying up on a daily basis. This might mean straightening your apartment, cleaning out your purse, or emptying the trash before it overflows. It'll save you from falling behind on cleaning, while also keeping your life neatly organized.
11. Things Are Never Left In The Same Spot
Remember what I said about tossing your keys? We all do it, despite the mad search come morning. So wouldn't life would be so much simpler if we put them in the same spot every day? The same goes for your bag, your wallet, and your phone. Keep these things in the same spot (like by the front door), and you'll feel like quite the organizational pro.
Because it doesn't take much to get disorganized, or to lead a life of chaos. It's totally worth the tiniest bit of extra effort to keep your life running as smoothly, and organized, as ever.
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