Getting More Organized

By Chris Crouch

It’s that time of year. People are thinking about getting more organized. As a consultant who occasionally helps people follow up on such thoughts, I’ve found that your beliefs make all the difference in the world if you want to get organized. Here are five false beliefs and five true beliefs that you must consider if you are serious about getting organized.

Let’s begin with the false beliefs:

False Belief 1: Being busy always means I am productive. Not so according to brain experts and researchers. When you are busy or overloaded, it is very easy to confuse frenetic motion with constructive action.

False Belief 2: Everything I do matters and the 80/20 Principle does not apply to me. When you are unorganized, you are most likely to get 80 percent of your results from 20 percent of your efforts. In other words, 80 percent of what you are doing probably does not matter.

False Belief 3: Multitasking is possible and is a positive trait. According to “The Myth of Multitasking” by Dave Crenshaw, there is no such thing as multitasking. It would be more accurate to call such behavior switchtasking – and the switching back and forth between and among tasks absolutely kills productivity.

False Belief 4: Consistently overloading and overscheduling are acts of rational humans. Not so. The flow of time operates similar to the flow of liquid and you can’t pour a gallon of liquid into a quart jar. It is highly irrational to try and consistently do so.

False Belief 5: Gadgets are more important than habits. Most people select organizing gadgets and then try to form habits to support their use. That’s backwards. Select appropriate and effective habits first and then consider if you need any gadgets to support the habit.

Now, for the true beliefs:

True Belief 1: You must disrupt your current, and often cherished, beliefs to learn new things. No new learning takes place and no lasting change in behavior occurs unless you disrupt some of your current beliefs.

True Belief 2: Being organized is primarily about personal choices. Every choice you make through the day moves you toward or away from being more organized. Simply make more of the former and less of the latter choices.

True Belief 3: Being organized should not be too difficult. Once you have simple systems set up in your work environment and form a few simple habits, it is much easier to be organized than disorganized. Being organized is, in effect, choosing the easy way to live.

True Belief 4: It is OK to give yourself permission to focus on one thing at a time. Focus only on that for a moment!

True Belief 5: Solving problems require that you think differently.

OK, I’ll admit that true belief 1 and 5 are very similar. That comes under the heading of “repetition is the key to success.” Both of these beliefs relate to the most important concept you must ultimately embrace if you want to get more organized. Happy New Year!

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through