Q: How do I start motivating myself to get organized?

A: Great question! The short, real answer is if you’re waiting to feel motivated or have a belief that motivation is necessary in order to get started with something, it’s just not true. 

You can choose to start getting organized regardless of how you feel because more than anything else, it is a choice. Here are a few tips for doing so:

1) Start small.

Take on the easiest or quickest tasks first. For example, turning on the dishwasher. You could also start with the most pleasant — for example, folding clothes (for those who find this therapeutic) or cleaning off your desk to make room for new decor. Then tackle the more difficult or time-consuming tasks later. 

2) Make a checklist.

Put your tasks into a checklist or chart and document your progress over time. It’s easy (and common) to feel overwhelmed by the never-ending list of to-dos in your head. But writing these to-dos out on a piece of paper or even a note on your phone will show that the list is not, in fact, never-ending.

3) Reward your progress.

Consider connecting each accomplishment with a reward to give yourself positive reinforcement. After you’ve finished cleaning off your desk, grab your favorite beverage from the fridge and take a little break. 

4) Give yourself deadlines.

Many people are most productive when they have due dates to work toward. Motivate yourself to get organized by setting deadlines for each task on your list. If you’d like to knock them out in one day, set deadlines at specific times. If you’d prefer to give yourself more time, spread your due dates out over a few days. 

5) Try to make it fun.

We’re more likely to do something (and stick with it) if it’s fun. Think about what would make your organizational tasks more enjoyable. For example, you could invite a friend over to help or keep you company. You could also get a planner that’s nice to look at or has motivational messages throughout.  

If this issue with organization is affecting your ability to function on a daily basis, consider talking with a licensed therapist. They will get to know your needs and then design a custom treatment plan, tailored specifically to you!