Are you TOO organized? Avoid these 5 mistakes

As much as I crave order, there IS an overboard line you can cross. Here are 5 ways being “too organized” can work AGAINST you:

1.  Setting up TOO many categories: When setting up your filing system (in your file cabinet OR computer), the goal is to be able to:  FIND what you need QUICKLY …. AND put papers (or documents, etc) EASILY.

Many of us – with good intentions, of course – set up categories with SUB-categories with SUB-SUB-categories… you get the picture. By the time you’ve found what it was you were looking for, you forget why you needed it in the first place.

TIP:  Use stickies or pencil & paper to map out a smart filing system.  Think to yourself: What’s the 1st word that comes to mind when thinking of a file name / category? Once you have a plan that makes best sense, rearrange your stuff accordingly.

2.  KEEPING TOO MUCH: While we’re on the subject of “filing,” how much of what we have in our cabinets / boxes / computer do we actually NEED? A majority – probably never.

TIPS: Before you file, ask yourself: Do I really need to keep? Can I get this info somewhere else if needed? ALSO, purge your {computer AND paper} files – either as you are using that particular one OR block out at least once a year to weed out all the excess.

These labels might work fabulously well for some - but not us!

3.  GETTING OCD:  I can do this on occasion! For example, I thought it’d be super smart to label my boys’ coat hangers with days of week, specific activities, etc. Well finding the “right” coat hanger for the “right” day / time of day / activity quickly drove us all crazy.

TIP: Once you get the results your looking for, leave it alone. Don’t make it overly complicated. Basic sections in the closet for us work just fine.

4.  TACKLING TOO MUCH:  I used to think I can get this whole house / closet full of photos / (fill in your own blank) organized in a whole day. {Which may have been the case BEFORE kids.} I’m a hard worker and optimistic {two good things} but am working on the “let’s be realistic” part.

TIP: Don’t lose that “I can do it” spirit, but DO break bigger projects down into doable start & finish in 1 hr or 1 morning increments.

5.  CRAMMING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE into your day {which leads to week which leads to month….} This is one area of my life I’ve made big changes. While I still enjoy being productive, I no longer try to squeeze all I can into the day. As a time management coach, I’m become quite knowledgeable on how to work smarter, be more efficient but I also have become much more aware of WHY I’m doing what I’m doing.

TIP: Get in the habit of asking yourself: Okay, why am I doing all of this? Is this really the way I want my life to be? Because, as one of my favorite {Annie Dillard} quotes says, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Do YOU go into organizing overload at times? Tell me about it in comments below!

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  1. Rachel Smith says:

    Please don’t call it “OCD” when being neat or overly organized. That is very different than obsessive compulsive disorder. Using the wrong term trivializes the experience of people who actually suffer from OCD. OCD can be severe and life-consuming, and is not just being meticulous.

    • Angela says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and pointing this out, Rachel. I meant it in its mildest form, like making sure everything is straightened perfectly in the pantry / closet / etc. or checking to see if you’ve turned off curling iron multiple times. I’ve experienced a bit of this and it’s no fun. Can’t imagine how it must be for those dealing with it in a serious way.

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