Anxiety can make it difficult to do just about everything in day-to-day life, and organization is a major part of this. Organization is difficult for most people, but when you add anxiety, it can seem downright insurmountable. If you’ve found yourself unsure of where to get started, follow these tips.
7 Roadblocks To Getting Organized When You Have Anxiety
1. Problem: I don’t know WHERE to start…
It’s not important to know where to get started, it’s just important to get started on something. When you feel overwhelmed, give yourself a very small task to complete. Don’t declutter the whole house: work room by room. Declutter the smallest room in your home, such as a guest room or bathroom. Once you get started, you’ll find it easier to start with each subsequent area.
You don’t need to organize everything all at once; in fact, organizing in small ways as you go can be better. The next time you cook in your kitchen, you can declutter and organize all of your drawers. The next time you put away your clothing, you can organize your closet and your shoe racks.
2. Problem: I don’t have the TIME to get organized…
Most people don’t have the time to not get organized. A disorganized home or office is going to ruin your focus, which means that all of your tasks are going to take longer and you’re going to be less productive overall. When you’re disorganized, you will spend extra time trying to find things, time that you could have used simply putting them away. Disorganization can often lead to emergencies as well, such as losing important items, and all of the costs associated with this.
Though it may not seem like you have time to get organized, you probably do; you just need to schedule it into time that you would otherwise spend working on other things.
Organization is an essential task. It is the foundation of everything else that you do, and you’ll quickly find that organization will have an impact on your daily lifestyle. When you don’t have to worry about where things are or excess clutter, you’ll find yourself less anxious and less prone to panic.
3. Problem: I don’t know HOW to get organized…
There’s a trait that is common among disorganized people: many disorganized people grew up in disorganized households.
That means that you may simply have never learned how to organize; you may not have been taught it as a child and it was never developed as a habit.
But organization is a skill just like any other. There are books, videos, and other tutorials solely focused around how to organize your life. Organization is all about getting rid of anything you don’t need and putting everything that you do need in a specific and appropriate space. Once you get the hang of it, it will be instinctive.
Most people don’t get a tutorial on how to organize throughout their lives, they simply learn over time which spaces are best for their things and which spaces are inconvenient. The more you organize, the more practice you’ll have and the better feel you’ll get for it.
4. Problem: I don’t know what I’ll NEED in the future…
Anxiety can make it difficult to get organized because you may feel as though you need every item you have, even if these items are just uselessly cluttering up your home. The only way to get past this is simple discipline: ask yourself whether you really need an item. If you haven’t touched something in the last six months (and it isn’t completely seasonal), you’re really not likely to need it in the future.
Any item that doesn’t have a place or doesn’t see use can be placed in a box and stored in a basement or an attic. But it isn’t to be stored there forever. If it remains untouched for a few months, it should then be sold at a garage sale or simply donated. If you haven’t needed it yet, you probably won’t need it in the future.
5. Problem: I don’t know how to MAINTAIN my organization…
Sometimes it isn’t about getting organized: it’s about staying organized. Being organized can feel like a futile task when there are other things that are commanding your mental energy. When you’re busy and when you have anxiety, you may find yourself falling into a repeated cycle: you get organized, you fall out of organization, you get discouraged… and then, well, it all gets a bit messy.
The solution to this is to develop habits. Everyone can develop a habit. Getting organized by setting aside a little time each day at a scheduled time is the key to not falling prey to this cycle. And you shouldn’t punish yourself if you do fail from time to time; everyone does. It takes about two months to develop a new habit, so getting started now is the first step.
6. Problem: I don’t think I can FOCUS…
Do you find yourself simply losing focus while you organize, and wandering away to complete a different task? This is actually probably more common than you think. Anxiety, depression, and attention disorders can all make it difficult to focus on the task at hand.
In order to avoid a loss of focus, you should make sure that your environment is suitable to organization. Turn off your television and play some music instead. Turn off your phone and avoid instant messaging services or long conversations. Your time to organize should be solely time to organize.
7. Problem: I don’t have the MOTIVATION…
What if you just… don’t want to? Anxiety and depression can make it feel pointless to get organized; after all, everything is going to get messy again later anyway, isn’t it? When you have bigger psychological fish to fry, it can be very difficult to keep your house tidy; that’s why an unclean house is one of the signs of anxiety and depression.
But no problem is insurmountable. Developing motivation is often a matter of avoiding procrastination, cleaning as you go, and trying to divide your work into smaller, manageable tasks. There’s nothing most people can do to “force” themselves to feel motivated, but you can force yourself to complete small tasks at a scheduled time.
Of course, sometimes it just feels insurmountable. Ask family or friends can help you get organized so that you can stay organized; that way you won’t be dealing with everything on your own. If you’re truly dealing with anxiety and depression that is impacting your daily life, including your ability to organize, then we encourage you to seek professional help.