Have you ever:
- Tried an organizing system that you were not able to make ‘stick’?
- Read a book, listened to a podcast or several, but didn’t know how to apply the information?
- Found your inability to ‘get organized’ to be affecting your daily living? It could have been your schedule was too full, you seemed to be misplacing important objects or documents, you may have a hard time letting go of things or you may be bringing in too much to your space, among other things
- Felt your organizing challenges have been a difficulty for a long time, possibly as long as you could remember?
- Felt like the future held no change?
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) has identified the above as the characteristics of ‘chronic disorganization.’ While this title is not an official ‘diagnosis’, it helps individuals, organizers and other professionals such as therapists better understand the challenges they are facing.
What is behind the chronic disorganization could be any multitude of things including issues that could be actual diagnoses such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Hoarding. It may also be issues that do not come to mind as quickly such as Anxiety, Depression, Dementia, PTSD or other brain-based concerns. It could even be a physical difference or a situational challenge.
Members of ICD include professional organizers, productivity consultants, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and teachers. Through ICD, these individuals fund research into chronic disorganization, its effects, and causes. They also spend hours in education and collaboration in order to better understand and share what works to help individuals who are chronically disorganized.
What does this all mean for you?
First of all, you are a-ok just the way you are! There are literally hundreds of people going to bat for you on a monthly basis to find and provide the best possible solutions to the challenges that you face. You can find out more on the ICD website (www.challengingdisorganization.org). Second, you are in great company, while we don’t know how many people identify as chronically disorganized, we do know information on diagnoses that are related to CD and those show that in the general population about 4% have Hoarding Disorder, about 5-11% have ADHD, about 18% of people have Anxiety, and about 6.9% of the US population has Depression. Anyone of these diagnoses (among others) can cause a difficulty with organization and time management, it doesn’t have to be hoarding or ADHD.
Here’s what you can do now:
- Find an organizer or productivity specialist who has the credentials Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization (CPO-CD). This is a master’s level certification that ensures the person you are working with understands the challenges you are facing and is continuing to further the research and understanding of chronic disorganization.
- Ask questions and reflect, you need not have a diagnosis to begin thinking about what may be the root of your organizing challenges. When do you struggle the most? What is most difficult for you: time management, letting go, creating a system, sticking to it?
- Focus on your strengths. It’s important to look at where you are struggling but then to pivot and focus on what you already do really, really well. The solution lays in your strengths as you are not going to ‘fix’ your challenges.
- Support your brain. For many of the issues that contribute to chronic disorganization, you can ‘raise the bar’ so to speak by focusing on getting enough sleep, water, exercise and fresh fruits & vegetables. While this will never solve the challenge entirely, it will give your brain what it needs to function at its best!
- Take a class. Learn more and be supported in a community.
If you want to know more or to find out what you can do, schedule a time to talk. The conversation is free 🙂