Saturday, June 6, 2009

When your disorganization trumps your good intentions

Let's be honest: We all have a messy closet, a junk drawer, hidden stashes of "something" or a desk/table where you carry out most of your daily activities. I am right, aren't I? Your office appears neat and clean, but, wait! ...Don't you dare open those upper cabinets! Your bedroom is a model room...if you only looked under the bed! Uff!...OK, maybe if you truly are more organized, maybe you have just a tiny corner in your house, a small box with "items" (yet, you still labeled the box "random things"), a little shelf (a hidden shelf, of course!) that holds a few papers or "stuff". The hidden disorganization. I believe I can live with that!

The reason why I decided to write about disorganization, is because I believe chronic disorganization can ruin our goals. This is so sad. I've seen people giving up because they couldn't find their "to do list" they were working on and after starting a new one, they once again misplace it. I've seen people not going to the gym because they postponed doing their laundry, didn't check detergent was actually missing and had nothing to wear to the gym. Their enthusiasm, so great, was eaten up by disorganization. I've also seen people avoid calling important people, or getting back via e-mail because (and they told me that), they misplaced their contact info! Wow!
I've experienced being silently ignored by someone who had so much, so much in his hands, he couldn't even schedule answering me back in his amazingly busy 24h day. He told me he didn't sleep, so I figured ... "Hey, maybe I have a chance of receiving an e-mail from him, even if it's at 3 a.m. I wouldn't mind!" He couldn't really fit me into his 24h day, and while I move on, my perception of him changed quite a bit.

I wrote a previous post about the following: We live in a society. No matter who we are, who we want to be or what beliefs we have, it is how OTHERS PERCEIVE us that will, partly, influence how successful our social life, our social interactions are. If you come across as a snob, yet you feel you are not one, you are clearly doing something wrong. If you come across as rude, yet you are perplexed to hear that Mary gossiped to Lauren and John about your rude remarks and they all agreed on it, you're certainly doing something wrong! Don't kid yourself. This is serious stuff.

If I interact with you one day, and the next day I meet you say, in your office, you are inviting me in to explore more of who you are. If your office is a mess, a chaotic dump, you are telling me this about you. I might continue to consider you an extremely, friendly, outgoing, fun, capable, knowledgeable person, yet, I will also think of you as messy and disorganized. Will this have a negative impact on my future judgement of you? Maybe.

Chronic disorganization at the workplace, in your Association, in your Club, even at home, sends signals to others that something is not in sync with you. Can we really, really reach full efficiency if our surroundings are messy? Think about it. Do you picture your dream workplace as a messy place? Honestly, I don't think you would. Some would argue that most geniuses were totally disorganized. OK, but are you a genius like Einstein or Galileo? Hm.

I have a few hidden, junk drawers, junk closets and "holds whatever"- cabinets. Both at work and at home. I live peacefully with my mess. I call it organized mess, because it doesn't affect my day, it doesn't affect my goals, it doesn't bother me. Many of us realize the mess, ignore it and literally suffer from the negative effects it has on us, on our goals and possible negative perceptions others can have of us.

If you are doing business where people need to have very positive perceptions of you, re-think your office mess, your mess in your car (picking up a client for lunch?), your mess in your purse (does it take you 15 minutes to locate your business cards?). You have goals to achieve in your social and business interactions, and don't let your messy surroundings ruin them for you!

1 comment:

Esperan├ža Futuro said...

hello denise!
I could not agree more with you about the disorganization ruining your goals. In fact, I have a system of organizing things (everything from headbands to important files) that when I keep it organized, everything runs smoother because I know exactly where it is, and it takes me a few minutes to get it or to tell my husband (even trhough the phone) where things are. This way, I am able to balance the house chores with the daily life with work and other activities. I also believe my house to be my "safe port", and if it is a mess, dirty and not taken care of, well then I will not feel "safe" anymore, which actually means, I will not feel comfortable enough to do my house activities. I guees this applies also to your office, a place you are supposed to concentrate and produce your work! Last note, I feel it to be easier to clean things up right away than leaving them lying around for days. By the end of these days, you will have a huge pile of stuff lying around, and it will take you more time cleaning up a huge pile of stuff than cleaning up only some things!
Leticia Futuro