Fear is probably the most powerful obstacle we face in getting organized. What can be done?
Believe it or not, you might be afraid of getting organized. I know, that’s silly, right? When we think of being afraid, we are likely to conjure images of heights, death, pain, or public speaking.
But fear permeates our decision-making. We don’t eat something because we are afraid it might lead to cancer. We don’t express our genuine thoughts because we are afraid of being embarrassed. And we may avoid trying to get organized because we are afraid as well, of things like:
Failing – I am afraid that if I start trying to sort through the mess, I will end up with a bigger mess than I started with.
Not Being Able To Finish – I am afraid that if I start carrying boxes down from the attic, I am going to hurt my back, and then I’ll be stuck.
Making a Mistake – I am afraid if I throw away these papers, I might accidentally get rid of something that I need.
Regretting Your Decisions – I am afraid that if I get rid of this antique meat grinder from Grandma, I am going to be sad about it.
Sabotaging Another Area of Your Life – I am afraid that if I spend this weekend clearing out the garage, I am going to fall behind in my work.
Fear is paralyzing, as the power it holds over us is the vague threat it poses. The best way to tackle your fears is to break them down into small pieces and make a plan to minimize the risk you are facing. If you have been wanting to get organized for a long time, but recognize yourself in one of the examples above, plan now to spend a few minutes tackling your fears. Here is how you do it:
- Find a comfortable place, maybe pour a glass of wine, put on some nice music… whatever makes you feel relaxed.
- Write down what you are afraid of.
- Identify what you can do to minimize each risk. For example, if you are afraid of making a bigger mess, you need to chop the project up into teeny bits which you can tackle in the time you have. (“Today I’ll do the top drawer”) Or if you are afraid of making a mistake, you need to find an expert who can guide you. (“I’m going to schedule a time with my accountant to review whatever I am uncertain about.”)
- Get support. One of the best ways to make yourself start is to schedule time for someone to come and help you get started. This can be a professional like The Seana Method, or even just a friend or family member. You are much more likely to carry through with your plan if someone is showing up on your doorstep.
- Don’t delay. Fear is most powerful because it keeps us from taking any action at all, which makes the problem bigger. This is the classic “snowball effect.” Typically, taking even ONE STEP pulls the rug out from under our fears, and empowers us to do more.
As a professional organizer, I can guarantee that organizing your time, space and belongings is very freeing. It produces endorphins, the exact opposite of the tension that you may be living with now.
January is “GO” or “Get Organized” Month. The Seana Method will be posting a 15-20 minute activity each day that you can take to start getting organized. Please check back during December to see how you can get ready to make the most of the New Year. Happy Thanksgiving!
Next week: The Countdown to GO Month (“Get Organized” Month) Begins!
Submitted by Seana Turner, professional organizer & President of The Seana Method.