Why Organizational Products Do Not Work


They are everywhere!  Planners to keep your appointments and schedules organized; calendars to keep on the walls for writing appointments, meetings, etc.; scheduling forms so you do not have to write everything out; reminder programs so our computer tells us we have an engagement; sticky notes to paper the walls with your reminders; small note pads for quick messages; even message pads so we can record all pertinent information.  And do not even get me started on the electronic devices out there.  Yet, with all of these things available, most of us do not use them for very long.  We go through all the work of gathering our information and setting it down in the forms provided and we do our very best to remember the items as we move about, but after only a short period we stop reaching for it.  Why?

Here Is How It Usually Works

At least for most of us

When we gather things together and try to organize them and set things up, re-file things, re-organize things, etc., we are usually doing it for a reason; most of the time the reason is that someone else told us to get organized.  We needed to get organized for work so our projects were completed on time; we needed to get organized for home because we kept missing the kid’s special events; we needed to get organized for our friends because we kept forgetting we had set up get-togethers with them, but we fail to recognize the fact that we need to get organized for ourselves.  Without that kind of incentive, we rarely use the organizational items we buy for any length of time.  Yes, we use them at first, and we have every intention of continuing to use them; however, we slowly lose the excitement of the item and before long it sits gathering dust in a corner of the office or gets stuffed under the bed.  Even the laptop is rarely used for organizing once we have all the information in there.


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Motivation Is the Key to Getting Organized

How do you motivate yourself to continue to use organizational items?

You want to look good and you want to remember everything, but you do not want to drag something with you all the time.  You want to get things done on time and find all of your notes, etc.; but again, you do not want to drag things around with you.  

Look at your situation in these two ways.  First:  Imagine you are in a large pit.  There is unlimited water, food, protection from the cold and heat, excellent entertainment, and friendly people.  Then someone comes up to you and says you need to find a way out of this pit for your good.  Would you honestly try to get out of there?  Most people would not.  Now imagine that you are in a large pit filled with snakes (or spiders, or scorpions, whatever will motivate you to want to get out of the pit).  With that motivation, you will try to find a way out of the pit, I am sure.  It is the same with organizational items.  Most people are content with a quick note on the calendar or a piece of paper they stick on the wall somewhere.  It does not work very well, but it is written somewhere.  If someone tells them they need to get organized, they will point out the note and smile; perfectly content that they have done their part.

Now that We See Life (the pit) in a Different Light, How Do We Motivate Ourselves to Get Out?

Let us analyze our situation

Why do we want to get organized (and get out of that pit)?  Then we need to analyze our habits: Is getting organized necessary in our case (or can we stay in that pit and remain happy)? Then we need to decide what we will need to get organized (or not depending on our situation-maybe we just want something to carry our laptop around with us):  What would be best to organize us in our case (what could we use as a symbolic ladder to climb out)?

Let Us Look at that First Question and See How We Do

Why do we want to get organized?

If it is because someone else wants us to get organized, we might just as well quit right now.  We will most likely not follow through with the exercise; or will we.  Perhaps that can be a good motivator.  Let us look at how we do things when we need something or have something due, etc.  Do we spend a lot of time searching for things?  Do we lose important documents, tools, etc?  Do we have fights with people because we were supposed to be somewhere or do something and we forgot?  Are we always in trouble at work because we are never (or rarely) on time with anything? Getting organized will make life easier.  It will also give us more time for fun and relaxation because we will not be constantly looking for things.  It will also help us to do better at work.  Hmm, maybe we are in that nasty pit and we just did not realize it because we were so unorganized.

Let Us Look at the Next Question and See How We Do with that One

Is getting organized necessary in our case?

Well, remember when you could not find your car keys (or that special report, or your license, or whatever you might have recently been looking for)?  How long did you search for that item?  An hour; two hours; maybe three?  Did you find it?  Or did you have to go back and try again later?  Now, how much time would you have spent if you had a place for the item and put it there every time you were done with it?  Let us see, a minute, maybe two to put it away; and another minute, maybe two to retrieve it, hmmmmm, seems like a rather large difference to me; how about you?  And, to top it off, you will not have to go back and clean up the mess you made while you were searching.  Seems to take a lot less energy when you are organized.

Could it be we do need to get organized and just never realized it because we were spending so much time trying to find things (and cleaning up when we were done)?  Could we need that boost of confidence we would get when someone asked us for something AND WE KNEW WHERE IT WAS?  Could we be kidding ourselves when we say we are “good to go”?

Okay, Now Let Us Look at the Last Question

What would be best to organize us in our case?

Before you look at what is out there for organizational items, remember one simple rule:  It takes less time and effort to be organized than it does to be unorganized; however using an organizational item for the first time takes PRACTICE so you can get used to it. 

Now, are you ready to begin? Are you ready to show up that upstart at work who always gets his/her work done before you? Are you ready to stop hearing the boss rave about their work even when it stinks because it was in on time? Are you ready to find what you need quickly and easily? Are you ready to shine? Good, then here we go.

Here Are Some Examples of Organizational Products and How They Can Help You

I have tried to simplify this list because there are hundreds of things you can use.

⁃ If you want to be ready for anything, you might want to acquire a briefcase (hard or soft) ⁃

A briefcase can hold everything you need. Many have compartments for pens, pencils, notepads, files, money, laptops, phones, you name it, they have it. Open the case and look inside before you buy to see if it has what you need. Remember to keep it simple, do not try to go for as many pockets as possible unless you need them. You do not want to spend a lot of money on a large briefcase that you carry one little file around in. Take your time looking at briefcases so that you get the right one for you.

 If you often need a calendar ⁃

A planner might be best for you. They can usually be written on with pencil, ink, or marker. There are several different types from large portfolio types to small ones that fit in your pocket. Chose the one that will fit the majority of your needs. Think about keeping everything together in one place so you do not have to carry several things and then decide what size and type would work best for you. You may need a small one to put in a briefcase or you might want to use the planner itself to carry things.

⁃ If you have a lot of equipment that you need and/or use ⁃

Such as phones, pagers, laptops, scanners, etc., you might want to consider carrying a shoulder bag with you. That way you can put all of your equipment, your planners, your notes, even your lunch in it. Shoulder bags come in cloth, leather, and every material in-between. Some zip, some stay open, some have pockets, some have adjustable straps. Take your time looking to be sure you get what you need.

Remember, Whatever You Get, You Will Have to Set It Up before You Can Use It

Be aware of how much effort you will need for that phase before you buy.

To set it upright, you will need to gather everything together.  That means appointments, important papers, report notes, meetings, etc will have to be organized into or on the item before you can begin using it.  This may take a while and be a bit cumbersome until you are used to it, so be sure to allow time (and plenty of patience) for this phase.

Keep in mind that just because an item looks nice and/or costs a lot of money, does not mean that it will be the item you need for your particular situation.  And do not let friends and/or co-workers try to convince you to get what they have unless it will suit your needs.  The trick is to analyze what you need for all of your organizational needs and purchase accordingly. 

Also, before you buy, check out second-hand stores.  They often have many different types of organizational items for sale (because of those who bought and failed to use the items) at a much better price.  Most of these items have never been used and are still in their packages because the people who bought them decided not to put in the effort to set them up.  But you will, because you now know why it is so important, right?

Just a Couple of Quick Notes before I Leave You to Your Organizing

It does take time to set up your item, whatever one you have chosen, and sometimes we get it so well set that we do not remember where we put things (something I do all the time).  To alleviate this problem, try labeling pockets and such.  Also, once you set it up, it will be a bit awkward and time-consuming to use.  DO NOT GIVE UP!  You will get the hang of it with time (faster if you practice).  And then, when the boss calls a meeting and asks if someone can give him the sales figures for last week, while everyone is digging through their mess of papers, you reach into your item, grab the correct sheet and begin rattling off figures—Great Job!  Now you are organized! 

“Oh, and remember the upstart who was taking all of your limelight?  Not anymore.  The boss just found out how good your work is compared to theirs.”

Author’s Bio:

Bianca J. Ward is a business coach for Australia and New Zeland based companies. Besides, she is an online essay writerOpens in a new tab. at EssayWriterFree where she provides people with qualified works. Besides, she is a passionate photographer and traveler who has visited 52 countries all over the world. Bianca dreams about creating a photo exhibition to present her works to others.

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