We all want to be successful in life but what if you struggle with being disorganized. Being organized doesn’t come naturally which is why we first have to define what is disorganization.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines disorganization as “the quality of being badly planned and without order.”
Merriam-Webster dictionary describes disorganization as “psychopathological inconsistencies in personality, mental functions or overt behaviour”.
What does that really mean?
To me being disorganized can be the result of a life event, such as an illness or the birth of a child.
Think about the chaos that ensues after the birth of a baby.
You are severely sleep-deprived, trying to figure out life with this new responsibility that needs constant care, you have a spouse that needs attention, perhaps other children that need attention, meals need prepared, the house needs cleaning and bills need paying and if that isn’t enough, your body needs to heal from the physical exertion of childbirth.
Yes, things are pretty chaotic at first but it usually only takes a few weeks for things to fall back into place as you learn to create a new normal and plan each day so things get done in a timely manner.
So let’s take a closer look at disorganization and learn what we can do to overcome it.
Why Is Organization Important?
When we are organized, our home, workspace and brain are uncluttered making us feel relaxed, calm and able to face whatever challenges come our way.
Because I am a full-time online entrepreneur, being organized is extremely important.
As a blogger, I need to block out time to research and write new articles on time since I publish every Tuesday and Thursday.
I also block out time to review old articles and make any necessary changes to update them.
Learn How I Got Started Making Living Online
Since we also have an online store, I need to block out time for finding products and filling orders.
I also need time blocked for bookkeeping which lately has not been getting done. This weekend will be catch-up time.
It is easy to see why I could forget important tasks if I didn’t use a planner.
We are able to focus and be productive, meeting deadlines and being on time for appointments is so much easier.
Being organized also allows us to be more spontaneous and meet up with family and friends or pursue a hobby without feeling rushed, anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
When we feel good this also has an effect on other people we come into contact with enhancing our relationships.
The symptoms of disorganization
So what does it look like to be disorganized?
Well actually there are some pretty classic symptoms:
- frequently late for appointments
- can’t find anything
- constantly hit with deadlines that catch you unaware
- making good money but you’re always broke
- run out of household items when you need them the most
- communication is suffering (phone storage is always full, emails are piling up unanswered, computer files are everywhere)
- not willing to try new things or take a risk
Recognize any of those in your own life?
I know I have struggled with several of those.
So now that we know what to look for let’s take a look at what may cause people to be disorganized.
What caused this disorganization
First of all, I want to be perfectly clear that habitually being disorganized is not a medical or mental disorder.
It is just a series of bad habits that are wreaking havoc in our lives and causing us to not be able to find important papers in a timely manner or to be late for appointments or miss deadlines at work giving us the reputation of being unreliable.
Let’s take a closer look at how this even becomes a problem, what causes people to become disorganized in the first place.
Sometimes life throws us a curveball and things may be in a state of chaos temporarily until we sort things out again.
Maybe we became ill, a family member became ill and we must tend them. Maybe we get a new project at work that unexpectedly requires us to travel or has a ridiculously short deadline.
Or perhaps it was a life change, like a marriage, birth or death and we need time to establish a new normal.
This type of chaos and disorganization is temporary and order will be restored within a reasonable amount of time.
During these transition periods, a certain amount of chaos and disorganization is normal and is called situational disorganization and is a normal side effect of life changes or situations.
Habitual disorganization is the result of bad habits developed over time and is self-inflicted.
It is usually the result of:
- procrastination on either starting or finishing a project
- overscheduling our life
Don’t fall into the habit of just tossing the keys on the counter and throwing your jacket on the chair, take the few moments to properly put them away and your mind and home will be less cluttered.
And give yourself some time like a month to get used to the new habit and you will love yourself for it.
This is often the result of modelling our upbringing.
People often imitate the behaviours they grew up in.
They were never taught the skills that would assist them in living organized and orderly lives.
I remember growing up my mother was not the most organized person. In fact, as I recall her disorganization was the cause of many arguments between her and my father.
He hated being late yet it seemed we were always late because Mom had forgotten something or couldn’t find this or that.
I remember thinking “I don’t want to live like that.”
This is influenced by our social world. We have all heard the expression “keeping up with the Jones”.
This is where you want to accumulate more stuff than your neighbour. This leads to having more stuff than you need and end up renting a storage container or buying a bigger house.
I know people like this as well which when visiting can turn into nothing more than a tour of their house while they show off all the new things.
To be honest, I tend to avoid these kinds of visits because it becomes more of a show home than a visit.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not the same as your friend bought something that you are checking out.
No, this is a disorder of trying to impress others with what they purchased.
Chronic disorganization actually causes a debilitating state of disorder regularly.
Someone who is chronically disorganized usually has a past history of disorganization and several failed self-help attempts.
These people are often described as being “packrats” “collectors” or “messy.”
This is more common than I realized and they even made a television show about “Hoarders” which I refuse to watch. I mean why would anyone want to put that into your head. I would rather watch organized people.
What Can I Do?
If you recognize that you may have a problem with disorganization there are several things you can do to have more control over your life.
It takes time to develop new habits so don’t be too critical of yourself if you fall into your old ways from time to time.
Just recognize the error and move forward. Old habits are hard to break sometimes.
We get better at things by practicing.
Evaluate How You Spend Your Time
Feel like you never have enough time? Can’t get it all done? Feeling stressed and overwhelmed and don’t have time for the things you enjoy?
Oh sure, we all have times when we are busy and can’t meet that friend for lunch but if you are consistently struggling to meet that deadline or can’t spare 15 minutes to read your favourite book then maybe you are taking on too many responsibilities.
Take a closer look at the things you are doing.
- Can I delegate any of these tasks?
- If you are checking your phone too often perhaps turning it off during certain “work” time periods you may find you are able to get more accomplished in that time frame.
Sometimes by simply delegating one or two tasks frees us up to complete the other tasks on time and without feeling so rushed.
Organize Your Time Wisely
Time management is not always an easy thing to learn.
Using a planner is very helpful for me in every part of my day. Work and personal events all go into my planner.
I schedule appointments deadlines for work, lunch dates, even dates with my husband.
To me, if it isn’t in the planner it won’t get done.
Plan, Prioritize And Follow-through
I like to start my day by thinking about the tasks I want to be done that day. I then prioritize them and make sure they are in my planner.
for me, I set blocks of time for each task and literally check them off in my planner as I accomplish them.
Absolutely everything from answering emails to laundry is in my planner, each task with its own time slot.
Being consistent from day to day and week to week will help establish the habit of doing those tasks at those times and they will be less likely to be forgotten.
Find A Home For Everything
This is a big one that I find essential and avoids a ton of wasted time hunting for lost things.
When you are working from home it is essential that the house stays tidy and uncluttered.
Finding a home for everything avoids collecting piles of bills or papers on the counter.
In our home, keys are hung on a hook by the door. They are always ready to grab on your way out the door and we are never late because we couldn’t find the keys. We learned this one the hard way when we had to replace the ignition in the vehicle because the keys went missing.
Now over 20 years later we have never had a problem with lost keys because after that incident he built a key hook for all keys to go on. It also makes a great gift for someone.
For me, a cluttered house lessons my ability to focus on work because I am thinking about the messy house that needs cleaning.
Once I made it a habit to always put things in their place, the house never looks cluttered or messy and I can much more easily focus on my work.
Drop Bad Habits
This can take time but little changes can make a big difference.
If you habitually say yes to every request, try saying NO sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be you to do everything.
For example, when we would invite the kids over for dinner or a holiday I would be busy doing everything. I would buy the groceries, cook all the food, bake the desserts and clean the kitchen afterwards.
While the family all enjoyed their visit, I was working in the kitchen. I didn’t get to visit because often I wasn’t done working till they were ready to leave.
The whole reason I invited them was that I wanted to visit them.
So now, with my husband’s advice, I enlist the family members to help out.
- Husband still does the carving
- The granddaughter sets the table
- My daughter can make the gravy
- Son-in-law cuts the salt-pork and pours the wine
- The grandkids clear and load the dishwasher
By delegating tasks I now get to visit and talk to our guests. The most important part is that we are building stronger relationships by working together.
Another thing is don’t rely on your memory, use that planner for everything.
Manage External Time Wasters
Sometimes, external factors can have a significant effect on our day.
This could be unexpected visitors or a meeting that dragged on or maybe you got stuck in traffic.
If you are concerned about traffic then leave earlier, allowing extra time in case of heavy traffic.
One thing we have done is tell our friends and family when we are working by choosing consistent hours. This helps them to know when it is okay to drop by or call.
Set a specific time for making phone calls or returning emails then shut your notifications off when you are working. It is less of a distraction allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
How I Make A Living Online
By now I hope we have a more thorough understanding of what is disorganization.
There are many different reasons why people may become disorganized.
We have also learned that being disorganized doesn’t have to be something that plagues our entire life.
It is possible to learn effective time management that helps us become much more organized.
Try several methods and see if you can’t improve the quality of your life.
As a self-employed blogger, I personally found that by decluttering my home and my mind I am better able to focus on my work and get more done in less time.
Using a planner is an essential tool that I can’t live without and I strongly urge you to try using one.
Have you struggled with disorganization?
Do you use a planner?
Click Here To Learn How I Got Started Making Making A Living Online
22 thoughts on “What Is Disorganization?”
I absolutely love the section about dropping bad habits. I have been there where I invited family and friends over and when they are ready to leave, after a good time, I realized I spent the entire afternoon, sometimes day just working to make them tasty meals.
I don’t mind doing the cooking, but I also missed out on the visit. Hence, I can appreciate how you shared the work to buy yourself some quality time with loved ones. Excellent idea.
For those of us who are establishing, or has established an online presence and by and large online businesses, it is imperative to set work times and to exercise the self-discipline to treat that time as precious hours at work. If we don’t, then you are perfectly correct – wasted time.
This is a useful article for people desirous of succeeding. Thank you for helping us. All the best and God bless.
So good to have you drop by and leave your thoughts with us, we really appreciate hearing from our readers and knowing if our articles are of any help. So I thank you for your feedback Josephine.
Yes, it appears to be a lot of people spend a lot of their time to please which is great however for some reason they believe they need to do it all.
Deborah, my wife, for years would not let anyone else help in any way. It took me a long time to understand why that was and it turned out that she believed it’s her duty or role as a mother/wife to take care of everyone. The other reason was that she always thought no one wanted to help so she did not want to bother them with it.
She accepts more help from others today thank goodness but she still likes to do a lot herself.
You are correct Josephine, when you start any type of business, it’s very important for all to jump in and take care of things that need to be done or that one person will be overworked and get burnout which is not good.
For us, we both have a blog page so we both get to write which is healthy for the mind. We both also help each other around the house as well and she has even helped me in the garage when I needed a hand.
We get things done when needed done.
Yes, I do agree with you, it’s an excellent article for anyone wishing to do better in their lives and wanting to succedd in anything they take on. Effeciency in the work area which includes the home is vital for success.
I am glad you enjoyed the article Jaosephine, She will be very pleased to know you found it helpful.
I wish you all the best my dear,
Take care now
Richard, you hit the nail on the head. I would usually feel like I am bothering people when I ask them for help and I was misconceived in thinking it was my duty to keep everyone happy.
I really do appreciate the article and the time taken to respond. Freedom is WONDERFUL!
Thank you Josephine for your kind words. I am pleased to know you enjoyed and appreciate my article, which means a lot to me.
You are right, Freedom is Wonderful and the sad thing is, most don’t realize the value of the freedom they have until it’s taken away from them.
There are plenty of greedy people in this world that are willing to take your freedom away from you which we must always be ready to fight to keep it.
Yes, most do feel like they are bothering others when you ask for assistance and in some cases, you may be right.
The big thing you have to keep in mind is for those that are bothered with it is not because of you asking but the values they have in viewing your request.
If it truly bothers someone then they will stop coming but the truth is that anyone that likes you and enjoys being around you feels even greater pleasure when you offer them a chance to help you.
This request tells them you value their knowledge, ability and friendship enough to ask them for assistance which builds friendship and love among those you keep close to you.
Start asking for assistance and see for yourself the value it holds and how close your family and friends become.
Thanks for dropping by Josephine and leaving your thoughts with us.
I wish you all the best.
Yep, this article was made for me. Guilty as charged. Although, not for every part of my life. I guess that is also possible, Richard? To be disorganized in some parts and very organized in others?
I got back to your list after my first remark and am concluding it is not as bad as it sounded. I am hardly ever late. When I still had my company (LOL, you wouldn’t say maybe, but I am retired!) I always made the deadlines.
But ‘can’t find anything’ that is definitely me. Nowadays I hardly even spend time on it. Whenever I can’t find something quickly enough, Tom handles it for me. He finds everything! In what category of disorganization would this fall, do you know?
Thank you for dropping by and making me laugh today, your comment really cracked me up, to say the least.
It’s funny how someone else can find our “missing items”.
I remember this one time when I was out in the shop working on something and Deborah came out to visit. I said, “I just can’t seem to find my green drill, I had it a few days ago and now it’s nowhere to be seen”.
She said, “let me have a look for you”.
I said, “sure but I am telling you it’s not in that shop but have a look if you wish”.
About 30 sec’s later she replied, “is that it?”
Let me tell you, I could not believe the item was sitting right there in front of me the whole time.
It’s true, many times someone else can find our stuff for us because if we have a home for it our minds do not focus on where we put it at the time because it normally has a home so you are not use to having to remember where you put it.
If it doesn’t have a regular home then every time you put it down you have to remember where you put it.
Both my wife and I have to find things for each other every now and then. No matter how organized you become you will still end up misplacing stuff when things are not put back especially due to a distraction.
This occurs due to the lack of memory attached to the event. When things are placed back in their normal spot your memory of the event is really strong because you always do it.
So, if you are in a hurry and place your keys down somewhere to run to the washroom, expect to have to look for them again later unless you put them in the middle of the floor or on the counter to find them easily or create a memory for the event.
If you don’t you will forget that you put the keys in some other place than where they suppose to go and won’t worry about them until it’s time to drive somewhere.
If it happens a lot then one may have ADHD.
Losing things regularly is one of its symptoms. This boils down to what I mentioned, not paying attention to what you are doing at the moment in order to create that memory trigger.
You can test yourself, every time you put something somewhere make sure it’s in its home. If it’s not understand why it’s not and trigger your memory of its location by remembering this event.
If you lose things less frequently then you may not have ADHD and you are just not paying attention to the event.
I hope this helps you out on finding your stuff, remember, don’t expect to be perfect. We all misplace things from time to time.
Thank you for your comment and I wish you all the best.
Dropping bad habits is, has been, and will be the way to go. A lot has changed since I’ve dropped a few of my bad ones myself, and I’m absolutely sure that it will have the same effect on anyone else.
Btw, I checked out your recommendation for making money online, and I honestly think it’s one of the most legit platforms you can find. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll sure as hell will.
Thanks for the lovely post on disorganization. I’m sure it benefits many.
Hey Gorjan thanks for swinging by. I get what you mean, most of us when we get older we tend to drop a lot of bad habits we picked up learning to grow up. It’s amazing how much we realize we don’t know when we get older.
Yes, my Top Recommendation is still the best way today to make money oneline for several reasons.
1. For one it contains everything you need to know to get started and grow afterwards
2. It’s the lowest cost for a legit program especially for what you get for the training.
3. You can get to check it out for free before spending a cent, how good is that?
Be sure to take advantage of the free account and learn everything you can. If you got any questions I will be pleased to answer them for you.
Don’t forget with the link I provided you will get a 59% discount on the first month if you decide to keep going with your website.
Enjoy the training Gorjan and I wish you all the best.
I don’t think I am that disorganized, but my desk is messy. Not cluttered, but messy, and I tend to work better with the mess and I always find everything I need. When I clean up, I don’t find anything anymore 😉 Somehow I have order in my chaos 🙂
I always write down what I plan for each day of the week, for my websites and books I work on, but I just realized what a good idea it is to add time blocks to it. That will be a lot more helpful.
I’ve also been to houses where the host or hostess did the tour of the house and then showed me every single item they possessed, and I honestly didn’t like that very much, it felt a lot like “look what I got, look how well I’m doing.” I understand when friends want to show something special or a great achievement, I would do the same, but those big house tours are not my favorite either. I know someone who watched the show on hoarders. Once I watched part of it with her and I didn’t understand why she was watching it. I found it a little depressing to see all that stuff piled up and people living among it all. I don’t remember if the show’s purpose was to just show hoarders and the extent of their hoarding or if it also offered help. I hope that they offered help as well.
Thanks for dropping by Christine. I tend to have a little mess when I am working however I do like to keep things tidy but not spotless. I do leave a few things on the desk to quickly grab when needed.
Yes, those show-offs are very cold to be around, they are all about physical items.
I never watched hoarders so I am not sure what the purpose of it really was except to get viewers. Not sure if they offered help in the end and if they did I am sure it was short-lived because they didn’t fix their habit.
Thanks for leaving a comment Christine.
I am SO pleased that I came across this article. I have become so disorganised with my work lately. I had it good at the beginning of the year. I had my plans in place, I dropped my bad habits and I was exercising every day which helped me mentally and kept me organised. But, after a while I fell out of it and I don’t know why. I need to get back to that place again and your article will help with this.
I will let you know how I am getting on and how you are helping me. If I have any issues or burning questions then I will get in touch, if that is OK with you?
Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.
All the best,
You are not alone Tom, many of us will find ourselves drifting away from our set plans. It is quite common these days with our lives been so busy and of course, this covid19 either offers less work to some while creates a plateful of things that need to be done for others.
Getting back on is a crucial step in staying productive and self-motivated. I know for my self when my area is not organized I find myself wanting to give up due to self-disappointment for allowing myself to fall into bad habits.
Here is a great article that may help to stay on track which you can read here.
You may have to sign up for a free account which is well worth it because the community offers powerful suggestions and help for specific situations which I find awesome. There is no cost to sign up for a free account and they have plenty lessons you can take advantage of as well. Don’t worry because they don’t sell your email or spam you.
Yes, by all means, contact me anytime and I will be happy to help you out in any way I can.
You are very welcome Tom.
Thank you for your comment and take care Tom
I can certainly relate to this post about disorganisation! In fact I’ve recently started allocating time each day for gradually working my way through the clutter in my home. I had let things slide but now in the midst of a major cleaning project. My next task is the coffee table which I plan to attack tomorrow! I’m very organised with my online business though, and do exactly as you mentioned. Every morning I start out with a plan for the day and tick each task off when completed. Time management is key, and something I’m good at:)
That is fantastic that you are good at time management. You already are ahead of the pack my dear.
Most have a difficult time managing their time because they have never practiced using a schedule of any type. Without a schedule of some type, you are setting yourself up for failure at the beginning.
It’s proven that when anyone leaves it to their memory to get things done, they usually don’t get done the necessity things because the things that we choose to get done during your day are the 3 most important things to you which end up being the things you most like to do.
This no doubt will have a negative impact on your online business so as you can see you are already doing very well.
And it seems you already are taking action towards cleaning up your clutter which will also help you in the long run.
I am glad my article will help keep your mind on the object of taking care of the clutter which is the whole objective of the article, to help others.
Thanks for dropping by Kathy and good luck with your project.
Thanks for such a great article! I definitely fall under many of the disorganized categories. You have a lot of great tips in here that are life changing but not difficult at all. Just taking a few extra minutes to put a coat away or other items gets rid of clutter. Sounds so simple and makes me wonder how I became so lazy! Delegating holiday duties actually sounds like a fun way to get the family to chip in. I’m going to start doing this myself! I look forward to other tips and articles from you. Thank you so much!
You got it, those few extra seconds seem like a long time during the moment when you’re tired or just too lazy or you say to yourself, “I will be going back out so I will just lay it here for now”. This is what leads to total disorganized surroundings around you.
Having to look at that day after day and knowing it’s your failure that did it, your laziness that caused it and in many cases causes many arguments with others.
All this leads to you being unpleased with yourself and degrades your own character within yourself. And of course, this is the last thing you want to do when running any kind of business right?
Thanks, Jamie, yes these are some of the best tips that I have collected to share so others can see the truth of what’s happening around them.
Then maybe they can take action and change some of the old habits into new ones that will take them to new heights.
Actually, Jamie, I did find delegating duties to others (providing it’s done in a respectful manner) was a lot of fun. Even those that participated now take that task on every year automatically which they never have to be asked again. Perhaps an odd time someone needs to be told they are up or something like that but most of the time they are waiting for the moment when they are needed.
It gives others a feeling of importance and belonging to something important as a group or family.
I got this from being in the military having to give out tasks and when they are done correctly people don’t mind doing them even as a job.
Of course, you may find an odd one that resists the idea but the trick is don’t force them, let them choose a job and if they wish to participate in the group. Never try to make them feel bad about it.
Jamie, no one is born lazy, we all develope a lazy habit from watching others being lazy. But the biggest reason why some become lazy is because they never grew up in the envirement of helping others as a group and just getting things done.
As a young teenager I remember we managed to scrap up for a small piece of land in the woods. We had no money or jobs to pay for the material to build a cabin so we had to use our minds to solve it.
We really wanted a cabin so we decided to search around for any houses getting torn down and asked if we could have some of the material from it.
Most will agree with it because it costs to take away the old garbage so the more we took the less they had to pay.
The first summer we collected enough wood to build the 20 x 25 foot cabin. The following summer we spend pulling nails out of the old wood.
By the third summer, we were building our cabin which still stands today over 40 years later.
Even the siding we got for free which all we did was painted it and it was beautiful.
When you are around people like that it makes you want to get up and go as well.
You are very welcome Jamie, I am glad we could be of help. Yes please come back, it was great having you.
Take care and good luck my friend.
I have definitely seen a lot of these types of disorganization. It’s very helpful to start with just the recognition of what is going on and the reasons behind it. Our home had a challenge when we combined two households into one, also decreasing our square footage in the process. It was helpful to work together to evaluate our problem areas and get control of places that were disorganized.
Combining two households into one can be challenging at best of times. Our daughter just got through having another family come stay with them for 6 months which was not too bad. Not only does it create space and tidiness issues it also causes some heated-up moments or discomfort when dealing with your kids.
At least you guys were able to work together to solve any issues that came up. At the same time, it’s really so good when a family changes their own lifestyle to fit another family in with them.
Thank goodness we still have good quality people like this to go out of their way to help one and other.
Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts with us Aly.
God Bless and take care
This is a very important topic. I was a disorganized person until things change. Well let’s say I grew up. When I was younger I just wanted to have fun. But as I grew up I started to develop hate for stuff not being placed in order or done on time. That started to change my character and caused me to become organized. I hate coming to place and nothing is in order. I literally have to change that immediately.
I get what you mean, I have walked into someone else’s office and look at the paperwork all over the place. They say this is their organization. I just want to start organizing the place because it just seems to bother me to the point I have to leave, I just can’t stay because I can’t concentrate on anything but the mess.
I suppose you can say we grow up but it’s more like what we are taught and practiced when we were younger. Some rebel against tightness because they grew up all around it. Others will continue to be tidy if they grow up around it. It also has nothing to do with money.
At least you changed your habits Bernard.
Thanks for leaving a comment for me, I appreciate it.
Being disorganized will definately affect every part of your life especially the financial part. We have to declutter our lives to move forard.
I would like to think that i am pretty organized but i am no saint and at one point my life was a mess because everything around me was a mess. My only life only started changing for the better when i started planning and creating order in my life and that included getting rid of unwanted stuff and organizing my home and work space.
One can follow the best online marketing programs and i know for a fact that Wealthy Affilliate is one of the best but you will never succeed if you are disorganized.
Reading your post is a very good place to start.
I love the way you say that Lawrence, “We have to declutter our lives to move forward”. You are absolutely right, we can tend to let our disorganized lifestyle drag us down like an anchor.
And that’s another very important step in our lives, getting rid of collected junk over the years.
I spent 27 years in the military and when it was getting close to releasing I decided to start getting rid of all the junk I had collected. I could not believe how much I had collected just over my last move. I would collect bolts, screws, wire and metal that were going to be thrown out so I took them home in case I need them.
One day I thought what if I didn’t have all this junk, I would not need the shed, garage. I also would save a lot of space in my basement that just stored junk not being used. I also realized that it costs money to store junk.
I can see the benefits of living in an apartment, you can’t collect anything.
I agree, if you are running a business or planning on starting a quality training like this one, I would suggest getting organized first or it will distract you and drag you down.
Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it.
Take care and have a great day