Habits of Super Disorganized People

Habits of Super Disorganized People

I once heard that every woman needs five kinds of friends in her life. There is a childhood friend who knows absolutely everything about you. Then there is the friend who mirrors your life. You get married, have children, and reach major milestones at the same time. You have that fabulous friend who stretches you beyond anything you believed was possible. There’s your work bestie and finally, that one special friend who is your go-to, your confidant. She’s the one person you pour your heart out to and keeps every last one of your secrets.

What if, magically, there’s that one beautiful human being that’s all those friends wrapped up in one?

I was 14 years old when I first met Tracy. She was 16, glamorous, sophisticated, and everything I wanted to be. With long blonde hair and a beaming smile, she was the most popular girl I knew.

Tracy took me under her wing; she gave me confidence and made me feel like I was cool. She taught me everything I needed to know about unconditional friendship and love. I never imagined this bond would continue for decades. Our friendship survived men, marriages, and tremendous loss. It even thrived as we had babies, children, teenagers, and more recently, grandchildren.

She was fun and bigger than life in a glittery sort of way. If she loved you, you were more than a charm that she adored. We had a silent pact. She watched over me and I was her protector. No one was ever able to cross her if within my reach. If I heard something unpleasant, I would step in and shrink them down to size, because she was my girl.

Super Disorganized People

Tracy always kept me laughing. As much as I loved this happy, spicy & lovable soul, she had one small flaw… she couldn’t tell time! So I nicknamed her spacey Tracy. Once she even showed up at an awards dinner that she was being honored at a full day early (after getting dressed, hair and makeup done and renting a limousine)! Make no mistake; being super disorganized wasn’t part of her charm. It was baffling and annoying. So, for years our friendship was a yin and yang situation because she wasn’t motivated to change.

So, you’re charming and lovable and can carry on a conversation with anyone, anywhere at any time. All is good with the world except you missed your flight to Paris and now you’ll miss your friend’s wedding. You are meeting friends for dinner, but the restaurant won’t seat the party until everyone is there and you’re running 20 minutes late. Since you forgot to send in the school forms, it’s too late for your daughter to join the lacrosse team. Your bills are paid late, your handbag looks like a war zone, and you still have boxes to unpack though you moved eight months ago.

You miss deadlines, forget birthdays, and your roots are starting to show badly. Your refrigerator smells like everything has expired and you have so many junk drawers you can’t find a thing. You keep buying new sheets because you don’t have time to do the wash and you bring your clothes to the thrift shop but they refuse them. This may not be exactly about you, but it is exactly about people that need organization, just like my tardy friend.

Habits of Super Disorganized People

Why Are You Super Disorganized?

Super disorganized people move through the world differently. They have a different style, a different pace, a different mindset. They go to that place of inner chaos when a task is overwhelming or time-consuming. You’d rather be doing something else? I don’t blame you, but then disorganization multiplies and you have no idea where to begin.

A Thousand Myths

The impact of disorganization on everyone else is downright frustrating. It’s more than not responding to emails, texts, or forgetting to show up (or showing up on the wrong day or wrong time). It’s a series of myths and excuses that get old by day two.

Here are 4 examples:

Myth 1

I know that my desk and chair are piled with stacks of papers and books. But I know where everything is and can find it if I need it. (Maybe, 25 minutes later.)

Myth 2

I’m running late because of traffic. (You’re running late because you’re running late and you didn’t leave enough time, plus an extra 15 minutes for the unexpected, to get to your appointment.)

Myth 3

It’s not my fault. There were too many obstacles or a series of distractions, or others taking me hostage and sabotaging my time. (It may not be your fault, but how you turn it around and find solutions is the difference between super organized and super disorganized.)

Myth 4

I don’t have time. Who does? Most of us are overworked, overstressed, and sometimes feel on the verge of collapse. Still, if you want something done, you ask a busy person because they know how to navigate their time. And, people do make time for the things they really want to do, don’t they? Such as celebrating birthdays, talking to, and spending time with friends. At least we should because it’s the best part of life. If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time.

Habits of Super Disorganized People

The Truth is

Life isn’t perfect, things do go wrong, we’re only human and we can have bad days. It can happen to anyone and everyone. It only becomes an issue when it becomes a habit. Habits can be entanglements that are really hard to climb out of and break away from. Organization is a skill. It’s a mindset. And, just like any other skill, whether it’s learning to bake like a pro, master photography, or understanding sign language, it takes consistent effort… one step at a time. It has to hit a nerve to keep going.

Reasons You Just Can’t Get Organized

So, disorganization is no longer working for you? Most people decide it’s time to get organized when they’ve had it up to “here” so to speak. Life is overwhelming; you can’t get things done, find what you’re looking for, or get to appointments on time. I assure you, organization is not something someone is born with. I don’t believe anyone is hardwired to be super disorganized. Instead, organization is a trait that is built over time. That means it’s something you can learn and implement, just by adapting your lifestyle slightly. So why does it seem so difficult? And, why can’t you just get it together? I have listed some of the main reasons for disorganization below. All of these may not apply to you, but they could definitely give you a better insight into your why you’re disorganized.

It’s All about Prioritizing

Correct me if I’m wrong, but maybe this sounds just like you? Your to-do list is longer than the novel you still haven’t gotten around to finishing yet. And, you add more to it about 20 times a day. The overwhelming number of commitments on it is starting to make you nervous. And, it feels as if your mind has to focus on a million different things at once. This is a classic example of someone who is unable to prioritize. When you don’t have a clear sense of what’s important, you cannot be organized. When you’re faced with too many things to do, ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing for me to do right now? What must get done and what can wait?” By asking yourself these two questions, your priorities will quickly come to mind.

You Don’t Have the Right Tools

We live in a modern era full of handy tools, apps, and technology that make all our lives easier. Use this tool to help you along your organizational journey. It doesn’t matter what tools you use, as long as you find ones that work for you. Download an app that allows you to schedule your priorities, use the timer on your phone to help you keep track of the time, or even use online mind maps to break down tasks into smaller manageable chunks.

Habits of Super Disorganized People

Procrastination is Real

Let me guess, you tend to put off things today thinking you’ll get to it tomorrow? The problem with procrastination is that you have other things to do which also gets moved along. Procrastination is probably the worst kind of disorganization and the effects seep into everything. This persistent problem is usually caused by uncertainty (you don’t know how to do it or how to get started), shifted priorities (you’d rather be doing something else), or fear (fear of failure). Just for a moment, think about this, try projecting yourself into the future. Consider how you will feel in the future if you do something now compared to if you don’t do it. Once you understand it from this perspective, your present self may just want to help your future self by not procrastinating.

A Multitasking Frenzy

Here’s a reality buster, multitasking does not mean organized. Actually, trying to multitask is impossible (well, for tasks that require you to be mentally focused). Stop trying to do everything at once. Rather, simplify your life by doing one thing at a time. By giving a task all your attention, you can get it done faster and better.

Systemless is Your Thing

Organized people think differently. They create systems that work for them. Having a personal navigation system is a game-changer. It helps you to manage an endless list of to do’s that can rattle you to the core if you’re super disorganized. The best thing to do is to find simple solutions. Systems that are easy to implement and that provide you with solutions that work for you. Such as a basket or envelope that holds current receipts, a hook for kids to hang their coats on, and a place to store items used daily such as keys, pens, and your wallet.

You Are a Creature of Clutter

You know this is you if every surface in your house or office is full of stuff. There are piles stacked just about everywhere and they keep toppling over. Clutter is chaos and the ultimate sign of disorganization. Make your organizational journey easier by minimizing. Organization becomes simpler when there is less to deal with. If something is not useful, functional, important, or sentimental, eliminate it. Make an effort to recycle, donate, or gift items that you no longer need (think about it, it’s not useful if you don’t use it). Not only will this make you feel good, but it will make your organizational tasks much more doable.

Keep Up Rather Than Catch Up

Do you find yourself constantly racing to catch up on everything in your life? And, things just keep being heaped on to the mess? This is because organization requires continual upkeep. It needs to be maintained. It needs to be managed. Being organized involves taking the time to keep up with everything by maintaining it through the simple systems you have created. Rather than spending all your time running around like an out-of-breath crazy person, change gears. Put things back in the right place, archive an email to clear your inbox, or actually put the papers in that file. It takes less time to keep up regularly than to catch up on things that have been avoided for too long.

Habits of Super Disorganized People

You Need Support

Let’s face it, all these things are easier said than done. Especially for someone who is super disorganized. So, I encourage you to seek support if you need it. Ask for help when creating new systems. Listen to advice from the professionals and follow their guidance. Find someone who will hold you accountable. Before you know, these new habits will help to create a life that you enjoy!

Do you have a super disorganized person in your life? Share this post with them!


Comments 13

  1. You know, that one about being late is a good one. I hear that a lot. I think chronically late people have somehow accepted that this is a personality characteristic, rather than a behavior. People who prioritize timeliness make different choices in order to arrive early-to-on-time. Great read!

    1. Post

      Thank you very much for your thoughts on time. I’ve always believed that being on time makes an important statement. There are lots of reasons why people aren’t. It works for them and they get the attention they want even if it’s negative. More important, there aren’t consequences that inspire change, yet.
      I have to admit it’s a pet peeve of mine. 🙂

    2. Thank you very much for your thoughts on time. I’ve always believed that being on time makes an important statement. There are lots of reasons why people aren’t. It works for them and they get the attention they want even if it’s negative. More important, there aren’t consequences that inspire change, yet.
      I have to admit it’s a pet peeve of mine. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Janet for your feedback. Drawing the reader in is exactly what I hoped for. I like to introduce a personal story because I think it helps the reader identify with what I’m presenting.
      I love being part of the group. Thank you again!

  2. You point things out without judgment, which is such a rare talent! Makes the medicine easier to take!

    1. Thank you for reading this piece and taking the time to comment. Honestly, I try not to be judgmental because it’s not helpful and it doesn’t encourage change. We also never know the roots of someone’s behavior. It’s impossible to help someone if I’m judging what they do.

  3. I agree with you that being organized is a skill that can be learned, but it’s also one that some come to more naturally than others. So it’s easier to maintain order, develop systems, and be on time. For some, when there are brain differences, especially in the pre-frontal cortex, the executive functioning/organizing area) of the brain, getting organized is particularly challenging. Typical organizing is based on linear thinking. But so many people don’t think that way, so the systems that work need to reflect those differences.

    All this is to say that organizing looks and feels differently for people. There is no one way or right way. And there’s certainly isn’t a perfect way.

    1. Thank you so much for your smart response. Your points are excellent and of course they make so much sense. I understand them well because one of my three children isn’t as organized as the other two. He struggles and I understand how he functions. He gets to places on time but he forgets to do most everything, regardless of all the systems that have been put in place for him. His closet is picture perfect but he can’t do routines. So on and so on.
      In my writings, I tend to stay away from the psychology as it’s not my expertise. That’s very much why I don’t consult with hoarders because I don’t have enough training to help them, and so I refer them to experts in the field.
      In this piece, I did try to acknowledge how people think differently. Organization is definitely easier for some than others and it can be a constant struggle. My information is often based on working with over 1,000 people whom I’ve observed closely over the years.
      Much, much appreciation for this information and I love that you share.

    2. Thank you for commenting with this. Many of us try our entire lives to be organized. We read all the books we use all the apps we read all the articles like this. Telling people with ADD or other neuro diversities that they just don’t have the right tools or priorities is judging them. I try very hard to be punctual and to be organized but it is a continual struggle for me because of the way my brain works. I have other wonderful qualities that are valuable and actually make me better at some things than my organized friends and spouse. I tend to not commit to a lot of things because I know my limitations. But can you imagine how that interferes with peoples ability to make a living and simply run their life? We also tend to be continually critical of ourselves and suffer from tremendous anxiety and often depression that we do not share with other people because of the judgment attached to it and that people think we are choosing to be disorganized.

  4. I’d be willing to bet A LOT on your friend having undiagnosed ADHD. I have it myself and everything you wrote about, every example of her disorganization and chaotic life is an example of ADHD.

    She sounds like a lot of us in the ADHD community; we’re bright, fun, loyal, honest, have a lot of interests and overall we’re likeable people. On the other hand, we (and we have very good intentions) bite off more than we can chew, we have ideas/plans that are too big and we lose interest and leave projects half finished. We miss deadlines or are fighting at the very last second to complete something we had weeks or months to work on. We are blind to time. Everything for us exists in the present. We aren’t future oriented, and we don’t learn from the past. We live in the now. We don’t plan well for getting to appointments on time (if we remember having the appointments at all). We are almost always running late, because we misjudge how long we’ll need to get ready to go. Our homes (for the majority of us) are messy and disorganized. We make a lot of impulsive decisions. We are generous, which is good, but not great with finances which isn’t good. I could go on for paragraph after paragraph with examples that would probably remind you of your friend.

    The big thing I wish people knew, is that we mean well. We don’t want to be late, miss important things and let our friends and loved ones down or constantly keep them waiting. But it really isn’t a matter of will power and trying harder to organize our life. Our brains are literally wired differently. We are not neurotypical. Some of our most positive qualities and unique personalities (I believe) stem from being neurodiverse. Now there is hope for improving the things we have trouble with, which is great! A doctor that has ADHD videos on youtube, Dr. Russell Barkley, says ADHD is the most easily treated mental disorder. There are many medications available that really make a positive difference in everyday life. So maybe your friend could benefit from being assessed by a doctor. It’s never too late to try something that can benefit your life. Personally I’m glad I did for myself, and I did it at age 39. 🙂

    Gosh, I know I went on and on here, without being asked for my opinion lol. So I hope your don’t find it offensive. I just had alarm bells going off in my head reading your post and waiting for the part about her ADHD and then not seeing it.

    My life has been complicated by the symptoms of ADHD since I was little, and it’s only as an adult that I realize how much I could have altered my life for the better if I had just understood my brain, and my treatment options. And I get very passionate about sharing with others, so if they’re like me, they don’t stay in the dark about why they feel so different.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I’m delighted that you commented on my post.
      I am aware that those with ADHD struggle. It’s challenging for you to get things done, get to appointments on time, and find what you’re looking for. That’s why special accommodations and learning new skills to help you organize become critically important.
      I offer many solutions on my blog to lots of different areas of concern and problems, many which you may relate to.
      I’m happy to answer any questions you may have and I’m always here for guidance.

      Warm regards,

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