What is the single biggest mistake you see people make that causes disorganization?
Not following simple daily routines and systems. It is really easy to spiral into disorganization and chaos in any area of life. Success all comes back to basically two things: systems or routines that make sense for our life and our goals, and daily discipline to maintain them. If routines and systems are optional, there will be way too many days we end up not following them. As soon as we even start thinking about not sticking to our simple routines, we begin to spiral into disorganization.
Melissa Michaels from The Inspired Room (rss)
It tends to be the little things that are done consistently that make the biggest difference. It is a silly example, but think of someone brushing their teeth. Someone who brushes their teeth for 2 minutes everyday will come out ahead of someone who brushes for 5 hours every two years.
People have a tendency to buy a book, watch a TV show, or try to implement a system that is the latest craze without taking into consideration their own organizing style. Not every system is for every person. Each individual is unique in their thinking, in their circumstances, in the way they organize. To think that you can buy a book and immediately have the end all organizing solution is essentially setting yourself up for failure. In the end, you get frustrated, you give up, and you create the mindset of “hopelessly disorganized”. Take it one step at a time and don’t try to organize your entire life in one fail swoop. Keep it as simple as setting up the routine of putting the dishes in the dishwasher after you use it and not piling them up on the counter. Once you have that mastered, move onto the next step.
Suzanne Babb from Let’s Talk Organizing (rss)
I think that some people enjoy looking for solutions more than implementing solutions.
Not using quality organizing tools and OVERSTUFFING the tools they do have! Also, having TO FILE and TO shred piles is a big problem. See my article on the “10 Most Common Filing Mistakes“.
Ariane Benefit from Neat and Simple Living (rss)
This reminds me of a conversation I had years ago. I was explaining to a friend that I hated camping. I didn’t like waking up in the morning with everything wet on the sides of the tent or trying to cook stuff over an old grill. My friend said, “You just haven’t been camping with the right equipment.” I think it is easy to concentrate to much on having the right stuff to get organized, but if you find something that works, you might as well invest in something that is a joy to use. The $20 file cabinet from Wal-mart, probably doesn’t fit into the category of “high quality” and “joy to use”.
A lot of people have piles of paperwork on their desk, because they’re afraid that if they put it away, they’ll forget to do whatever it is they’re supposed to do with that piece of paper. But what ends up happening is they have so much on their desk that the important stuff gets buried and they end up forgetting about it anyway, or wasting time looking for it.
Janet Barclay from From the Desk of Janet Barclay
I know I sometimes leave something on my desk because it is “important”. Once there are more than 3 items on my desk the idea of it being “important” kind of goes away because there is simply too many things for them all to be high priority.
Unrealistic expectations about what “organized” means. “Organized” simply means you can find what you need in five minutes or less. I see people strive for “perfection” like impeccably clean countertops, overly categorized filing systems and complicated routines. If you can’t keep those things up long term, you’ll slip back into old habits, feel badly and disorganizations starts all over again. Not a fun cycle, and unfortunately a lot of people fall victim to it.
Brandie Kajino from The Home Office Organizer
This is a good point. People often look at how someone else is organized and decide that is what they need to do. While it can be a good idea to look at others methods, it is important to define something that works for you. Your friend may have an impeccable home office because they spend 13 hours a day at work and there is no time to mess anything up. The home office you use to run a business may look more like some place that is getting constant use–and that isn’t a bad thing.