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Is “Lack of Time” One of Your Organizing Obstacles?

Lack of time is often one of the presenting problems when it comes to getting organized.

When we’re busy and need to tidy-up, it’s easy to think, “but I don’t have time.”

Can you relate?

If so, what high priority organizing project needs to get done and (approximately) how much time do you need to start AND finish the space?

Maybe your answer is: I need to organize the office and I need 10 hours to do it.


Now ask yourself: Do you need to start AND finish your organizing project in one sitting?

If your answer is yes, when will you, with 100% certainty, have 10 straight hours of disruption-free time to start AND finish organizing your office?

While it’s ideal to start and finish an organizing project in one sitting (so you don’t have to later recall where you left off and piles won’t have the opportunity to get shuffled), sometimes this can be unrealistic when we have a lot going on.

If you’re like most busy people, it’s probably hard to predict with 100% certainty when you’ll have a long stretch of interruption-free time while guaranteeing unexpected events won’t pop up (e.g., kids, work, not feeling well, etc.). Plus, if you do manage to make the time logistically speaking, there’s always the chance it might not be when you’re in the “organizing mood.”

If you can’t easily tackle an organizing project in one sitting, the next best thing to do is break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

For example, if you need to organize your office and it’ll take you about 10 hours, you’d be done in 10 days if you tackled just one hour per day. Easy!

But for others, doing a little bit of organizing at a time poses even more challenges as unfinished organizing projects can be visual triggers for negative thoughts and feelings, both of which influence our actions.

For example, the piles of paper you finally started sorting in the office last week could flood you with feelings of failure (this week) since you never finished what you started last week. And feeling like a failure can easily influence your choice to procrastinate instead of continuing to organize your office.

Likewise, the half-filled bag of clothes to donate in your bedroom can easily remind you of one more thing you’re behind on, which could lead to feelings of inadequacy. Not feeling good enough can easily influence your choice to avoid finishing the closet despite the 15 minutes you may have available right now. And if one of your vehicles for avoidance is shopping, well, the cycle of clutter continues.

On the surface it may seem like “lack of time” is the issue but if you identify with any of the above, the logistics of time may not be the real (or only) problem. Instead, the problem could be our own limiting beliefs getting in the way (all of which can be changed!).

Sure, it may be a challenge to find time in your busy schedule, but most people can carve out at least 15 minutes per day. And if you did just 15 minutes per day, in one month you’ll have done 7.5 hours of organizing!

If you knew you had exactly 15-minutes right NOW of distraction-free time to work on a high-priority project, would you do it? If the answer is no, dig deeper and figure out why. Get to the root and address the problem. After all, good roots lead to good fruits!


If you know someone that’s busy and needs to get organized, consider sharing this article with them. Sometimes we’re too close to our problems and need perspective to move forward.


    Alejandra Costello
  • About Alejandra

  • Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and "The Decluttering Queen" by Good Morning America, Alejandra's expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah.com, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. You can read more about Alejandra here or see our Press page here.


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