How To Be More Organised
Develop an attitude of enquiring curiosity towards your current disorganisation and learn something about yourself in the process.
People may be disorganised for different reasons. If you familiarise yourself with your particular way of being disorganised and think about what it means to you, what are the consequences it has for you and those around you, it will then make it much easier to change.
For example, when you reflect and think about it, you may come to the realisation that being disorganised is really part of your identity, so much that your closest friends and family make jokes about it. This means that you may be – without necessarily being consciously aware – quite attached to this trait of yours, so much that letting go of this trait would mean not being ‘you’ any more and somehow losing your identity.
On the other side, as a result of your disorganisation you may end up letting people down; for example, you may arrive late to appointments or end up forgetting important events. If this upsets you, then it’s a good starting point to be more motivated in getting organised. If you identify that being dependable for your loved ones really matters to you, then you’ll be more committed to bringing changes into your life and getting more organised.
It’s helpful to reflect on the outcome of your disorganisation and also consider if there are any hidden reasons for it. One client of mine for example found herself always juggling all sorts of different tasks in the morning while getting ready to go to work, and felt incredibly indecisive about what to wear, what she needed for the day, and somehow she could never find her car keys when it was time to leave her home and drive to work. On surface it seemed a straightforward problem with disorganisation, but on reflection it transpired that deep down she dreaded going into work as she was no longer enjoying her job and hated interacting with her colleagues. Once she managed to change job and found a more satisfying working environment, somehow she stopped losing her car keys!
So that’s what I mean by being curious about all the possible underlying reasons for your disorganisation - don’t stop at the first answer you come up with, keep asking yourself, dig deeper into yourself:
- What is preventing you from introducing more order and organisation into your life?
- What are the payoffs of being disorganised?
- What do you feel you would lose as a result of it?
- What’s your immediate emotional response if you imagine yourself being more organised? Is it a positive response, do you feel relaxation, a sense of achievement? Or is it a negative one, where you see yourself as a boring person not having any fun? If you have a negative response, it may be useful to challenge the underlying beliefs (for example, the belief that organised people are dull and boring – in fact, they are saving time and getting more out of life, as they have more time to do fun things).
Once you have familiarised yourself with the reasons for your current disorganization and have identified your own good reasons for getting organised, and feel clear about the priorities in your life, commitment is really all you need to get organised, deciding to get organised. Everything else is just processes and systems which you can easily learn.
We can all be organised if we want to, it’s not an innate talent but a skill that most people develop out of necessity, to efficiently manage their limited time and complete tasks within a given timeline. So it’s not that surprising that usually (although not always) people who have administrative or managerial jobs where they constantly have to meet deadlines and work within teams, where other people’s work depend on their ability to deliver in time, tend to be more organised. Their career depends on it so what this is telling us is that if it’s really important to you, you can be organised. If you can’t, something is holding you back and it’s key to identify what that is. As mentioned earlier, the first answer that comes to mind may not be the one that really sheds light on the problem.
Being organised is about identifying what really matters to you, what are your priorities and therefore bringing focus into your life. This will also translate into a key element of being organised, namely the ability to make decisions, sometimes under pressure. We can only do that if we have clarity in our mind about our priorities. Conficting priorities will translate into indecisiveness.
Once you have committed to becoming more organised and have gained focus there are all sorts of systems and practical tips out there available to help you, from online guides, to books, to applications for your phone, to planners and diaries.