Though my clients come from various educational, career, and cultural backgrounds, there are a few common threads I repeatedly observe. One of them is anxiety. Oftentimes, a person who suffers from general anxiety, may find that the struggle is spilling over into his or her perceived ability to maintain an organized environment at home or at work. Many people who struggle with organizing find that they feel overwhelmed the minute they attempt an organizing-related task. Others are able to begin work, but may lose their sense of direction and motivation while in the middle of completing the task. The following steps can help virtually anyone begin, continue, or complete organizing projects that may at first seem endless and cumbersome or downright overwhelming.
- Before beginning, think about the project in terms of manageable phases. Set a clearly defined end goal, and establish a realistic timeline. Don’t forget to think about how much time you would specifically like allocate to completing each phase in addition to creating an overall project deadline.
- If possible, approach each phase of the task with a clear mindset and adequate rest. Pausing to take periodic five-minute breaks can be extremely helpful. If time management is a concern, setting a timer may be an effective way to appropriately set boundaries between “working time” and “break time.”
- No negative self-talk. It’s true that we are oftentimes our worst critic. Instead of focusing on what you are afraid you will not accomplish, acknowledge small victories throughout the process, and look forward to completing each phase and starting a new one.
- If panic begins to set in, take a few deep breaths, and actively tell yourself not to panic. Oftentimes, remaining calm is a matter of slowing down, taking a step back, and making a very conscious decision to maintain a positive, peaceful focus.
- Take baby steps. Most of my clients begin to see progress when they begin by taking small steps toward “reclaiming” and improving an area of their home or office. I am always amazed at how quickly they become motivated to tackle larger and larger organizing projects, often without my supervision. More importantly, by slowly and deliberately working through the organizing process, they are able to self-identify any habits that may serve as obstacles to maintaining an orderly space, and they are eventually able to modify their behaviors and correct themselves by employing the tools and techniques they learn during our sessions.