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  • Writer's pictureStacy G. Smith, MS, LPC

Overcoming Anxiety: Tip #18

Some individuals cringe when thinking about organization. They may label themselves as "so disorganized," and tell others, "my desk is always such a mess!" While we may joke about being disorganized, we often look at others and say, "I wish I could be as organized as you!" Being organized is a powerful feeling. It gives us control in a world of uncertainly.

The good news is, anyone can become organized!

Keep in mind, staying organized requires balance. Too much disorganization and our mind becomes overwhelmed. We may be unable to find important documents, forget about an appointment, or lose track of which assignments and errands need to be done when. While this may happen to everyone once in awhile, anxiety can take over when this becomes an ongoing occurrence. On the flip side, too much organization can result in anxiety as well - the feeling of having to make sure everything has its location, and that every note or thought is written down. You may find yourself with numerous planners and memos, and becoming easily frustrated with those around you if their standards for organization do not match yours.

Now, I know staying organized may feel like a chore. You may think, "I already have so much on my plate, who has time for organization?" The key to overcoming this barrier is to first think of organization as a helpful tool, rather than a boring, time-consuming chore. Remind yourself the benefits of staying organized, and why you are choosing to make this positive change. Remember, staying organized does not mean becoming a "neat freak." It does not mean having every item in your line of sight perfectly placed in its proper location, or every table shining spotlessly without a crumb to be found.

What it does mean, is to feel comfortable knowing where or when something is. Think about coming out of a meeting at work - your mind swirling with dozens of tasks to get done - and you walk into your office to find piles upon piles of paper, post-its everywhere, pens all over the place, and little to no room to get your actual work done. Imagine how different you'd feel walking into an office with papers in their respective folders, pens in their cup holder, and your to-do list written neatly in a planner? Chances are, you'd feel better prepared and ready to tackle what needs to get done. While your mind may feel cluttered, you can breath a sigh of relief knowing there's no visual clutter to add to it.

If you are looking to take the first steps towards organization, I recommend starting out small.

For example, you can start out by making your bed each morning. This can take 30 seconds, and make an immediate impact when you come home after a long and stressful day. After 1-2 weeks of consistency, add something new. You may decide to leave a folder near the door labeled "mail," for you to sort through at a convenient time. You can become mindful of using a planner, or not leaving cups or wrappers in your car. After developing some consistency with implementing these steps, they will quickly become habit. Imagine what it would be like to make your bed, clear your desk, and write down appointments automatically? Without having to think about it? Remind yourself you are taking one step closer to making that a reality!

Whatever small steps you decide are right for you, keep them small, and gradually build. Be patient with yourself, and watch the added anxiety that comes with disorganization slowly fade away.

What small step will you take today?


DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.​

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