How Does a Disorganized Person Get Organized?

I am one of the most organized, disorganized people on the planet.  I call it OD! Organized Disorganization. On top of that I have a healthy dose of ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Dis… Squirrel! Look at the words in that definition.

My work is done here

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Attention Deficit: Can’t pay attention,

Hyperactivity: But always busy doing something.

Are any of you out there like me?  Does the influx of tasks seem overwhelming? Does it take you a decade to clean clean your desk and only days for it to disappear beneath a stack of stuff again? Here’s how I am learning to survive.

  • I’ve stopped beating myself up!  

I have accepted the fact that the daydreamer in me will always be at war with the perfectionist. When the perfectionist begins cleaning the desk, the daydreamer starts reading the first book I pick up. The buzz on my phone signals a text message. I drop the book to pick up a phone covered with icons that call out to me. How many people have commented on my blog post? Is that my grandson’s picture on Instagram?

This war can only be won by a firm commitment to stick to the most important task until it is done.  I give thanks that the daydreamer in me has created 15 books, a motion picture, and a career bringing joy to millions of people.  The organized perfectionist can be used to keep the daydreamer dreaming in the right direction just long enough to get the present task done.

I’ve put the daydreamer to work!

The ability to dream, to let your mind go, is a gift. But to daydream about nothing, and never accomplish anything is a curse. I must force myself to know when the dreaming about a project is over, the doing the project must begin. My mind screams, “dream until it’s perfect!!” Reality counters, “Get it started and make it better as you go.”

I’ve let the organized me schedule time to be the disorganized dreamer.

If I truly believe that God has given me this somewhat disheveled mind, then I must organize time to use it. I must set aside time to dream about goals, be interrupted by squirrels, flowers, icons or even the voice of God.

I am surrounded by precise friends. People who plan, organize, execute and succeed. They have pristine desks; A place for everything and everything in it’s place. I can learn from them, but I will never be like them. The organized perfectionist in me will always be dragging the disorganized dreamer back to the task at hand.

I will continue to believe that my job is to ask God to help me be all I was created to be. I will not give up trying to make peace between the organized perfectionist and the disorganized dreamer. They are both important parts of who I am.

Am I the only Organized – Disorganized person out here?

What do you do to to get organized? [reminder]


  1. I am definitely with you on this! I have worked hard to make myself chase squirrels less. I have come to terms that I will always be fairly easily distracted, but I can still live a productive side because of my other desire to be organized and efficient

  2. I USED to be a very organized perfectionist with an extremely creative mind. HOWEVER, I also married a hoarder and my health is declining. I think God is trying (I say trying because I’m a poor listener) to teach me that it isn’t the end of the world if something is out of place. Luckily, the creative side is still there, with probably 10-15 unfinished projects laying around. This brings me to a full circle of needing to be more organized. Hmmmm.

  3. Oh no. You are not alone. I want it perfect; it never happens. I have many projects running, some years in the making, yet I’ll start something new and exciting & race to finish it. Praise God, he gave me a sense of humor or I actually might be depressed that nothing happens remotely the way I plan or on the time schedule I plan. To be honest my favorite song recently, “This is the stuff” by Francesca Battistelli sums it up rather nicely. That and a quote from you on my bathroom mirror. “Time flies. I’m still an idiot, and God still loves me. What more could you ask?”

  4. I’m with you also Ken. Personally, I’m OCD AND ADHD, which means everything has to be perfect, but not for long!

  5. No you’re not alone. I think creative minds tend to thrive on creative spaces but I have learned over the years if I wanted to find those little things like my car keys, my purse, my son… I would have to purge on a regular basis or else I would be sitting on pile of craft projects, books I’ve been meaning to read, books I started to read, pictures that are still waiting to go into albums, pictures that are now going to be scanned since I never got around to putting them in the albums, clothes that range in about 10 sizes depending on the availability of Hagen Daz Chocolate Chocolate Chip ice cream, and all those brochures that depict all the fabulous things that I can do in my area but still haven’t done.

  6. Ken,
    Thank you for perfectly describing the tension I have felt for so long. I WANT to be organized like so many others I work with, but really struggle to stay on top of those kind of details. Thanks to this article, I have once and for all decided to allow myself to follow what I am good at and allow those people in my life that have better orginizational skills to take care of the details!

  7. Thank you for giving me a way to be happy being a day dreamer in my required to be organized life!! It’s on my schedule from now on!!

  8. I love it! Organized disorganized! This is me! The whole house can be falling apart, and I will clean out a drawer…slowly going through every little thing I haven’t seen in years…meanwhile you need a snow plow to get through the rest of the house. I am improving, but I haven’t arrived yet! I am a poet, I need time to dream too, thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Finally, I can silence some of the guilt of being a musician who has to constantly look at my calander to make sure I havn’t missed an appointment, birthday, etc. Plus, my house is usually a mess which I have no problem leaving to sit at my baby grand piano and play all styles of music; classical, jazz, gospel, sacred, pop standards, orginal compositions, etc. . . . until I start feeling guilty and start cleaning up a little for my husband. It’s like my mind can think of many things at once instead of focusing on the tast at hand? Is anybody else like this too? Is there any hope?

  9. I really tried to read your article but…butterfly!! The organized perfectionist can be used to keep the daydreamer dreaming in the right direction just long enough to get the present task done. That is really perfect for me!

  10. As a school teacher, I start every year saying that I WILL be organized. I am, until the first day with students. After that, it’s back to my piles and stacks. I can’t get people to understand that this is my organization. I know
    What’s in every pile. It drives my OCD students
    crazy. (My wife too) It’s got to be something in
    a creative mind.

  11. I call people like you Creative Messies. It is not a curse, it is who you are. I grew up with two sisters just like this and they are still like this. I go in and get them organized at their request and it does not last long. I shrug my shoulders, laugh inside and thank God for these people in my life. I need them. Our dear aunt was the most creative and artistic person in the family. She had a sign over her studio desk…”This mess is a place.” One of my sisters took it after auntie died, still looking for it in her home…

  12. There may be a little of the Organized-Disorganizer in each of us, Ken. I never thought of myself in this light, but you are writing about me! Thanks for the tips.

  13. Ken dear you kindly shoke my hand and even talked to me in Lancacater.When you go OD spotting you catch ODers in the headlights dreaming. My son, husband, and I are all ADHD yes ODers can be spotted even in Lancaster,PA. Now I have a term for it “messies”. Can’t even keep the mind uncluttered, trip over my own thoughts I do! LOL and Lighten Up!

  14. Precisely describes who I am. Thank you for reminding me it is ok to be me.

  15. Ken Davis, you just discribed my entire life! And I have beat myself up my whole life for it! Everyone around has beat me up over it as well! I’m getting emotional just typing this reply. Thank you for the ideas and tips. Thank you for reminding me it’s ok to be me! God Bless you!

  16. Thank you, Ken, for shining a light on the fact that God created us all and takes delight in what He has made. Truth like this is like fresh air. My son is ADHD and I believe God has a great plan to use all that energy and creativity for HIs glory! We are all in process, but it’s not about being “fixed”. It’s about growing into all He made us to be.

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  18. I can organize like nobody’s business…I just can’t seem to stay that way….I dream of ….being organized?

  19. Hello sir my name is Art and I feel as you feel my wife says that I am the hardest working person that she knows I accomplished a lot and sometimes I have things so nice and meet till it’s crazy and then a week later I am it’s back we do have a lot of clutter from kids that we are trying to get to their homes . Once that is there hopefully we can have more room to spread out and not look as cluttered I am a full-time truck driver for a very great company on the East Coast and I also run a DJ and lighting company and am the main campus audio engineer for our church with the youth campus main sanctuary I work on average of 80 to 90 hours a week and still feel like I can’t get everything done I’m glad that you mentioned in your comments because he is the only way that we will succeed in anything he is the way the truth and the life And I know this but I tend to try to help and can sometimes silly me. Let’s just keep each other in prayer that we become the person that God truly want this to be and not other people want us to be ourselves us to be. Sincerely Not completely messy but somewhat disorganized

  20. i feel like being disorganized is ruining my life. mentally at least. i’m a very creative outgoing person, but the circle of cleaning and then being in squalor in a matter of days again is giving me the kind of anxiety that permeates all of my life with a thick blanket of unease. every time i set to work and clean i feel amazing. and i always say the same thing “this time it’s going to stay this way” and then i blink my eyes and the mess is twice as bad. i feel like i’m drowning and i just don’t know where to even begin. i want control of my life.

  21. Mr Davis, I was very interested in how you got the daydreamer to allow the organized perfectionist to help him.
    I retired from secular work 2 years ago. I am a full-time Pastor now of a small church. I find it extremely difficult
    to get myself organized in a effective manner. I waste so much time that it makes no sense at all. I want to do better
    but I find it extremely hard. Can you give me some strategies that you used to help yourself-it would be much

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