The #1 Roadblock To Staying Organized

Organizing affects everything and everyone- every career, every relationship, every household.

When you have a disorganized house, a disorganized schedule, or don’t have a routine at work, life becomes difficult not just for yourself, but for the people surrounding you in your life.

So, you know that already, don’t you?  Everyone knows, a messy house creates clutter in the brain, which actually means your brain was cluttered first and manifested from your thoughts. It’s a never ending cycle.

So you tried to do something about it.

You probably went online and read up on “how to get organized” or went out and bought a book from Peter Walsh or Julie Morgenstern on how to increase productivity or looked up what papers you’re allowed to toss safely if the government should ever, so generously, give you an auditing surprise party.

You probably went on Pinterest and looked up creative DIY solutions to organizing your closet or kitchen.

You may have even looked up free budget tracker websites to get organized with your spending habits.

You also tried to create to-do lists and big calendars with multi-colored markers outlining different important tasks, you tried to get through unopened boxes you never went through when you moved into your apartment 2 years ago, you attempted to open the garage door and wade through the miscellaneous things that had no physical place in your home, so they got pushed outside.

And you probably started off super motivated, too. Didn’t you?

It feels good at first, writing the to-do list, taking things out of a box, THROWING THINGS IN A BAG TO GET RID OF, being on time, planning in advance.

But then, after a couple hours, or for the extreme go-getters, a couple days, … it gets exhausting.

It gets overwhelming.

All of a sudden, panic sets in because there is just too much around you to take care of, too many tasks built up on the list, you don’t know what to start on first and then you find an overdue bill you forgot about.

It seemed so easy at first, putting your life back on track, keeping in that way. The plan was there! The resources were there! The shiny books with toothy smiling celebrity professional organizers had fun ideas and some prolific words!

So, what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened.

The #1 Roadblock to staying organized is FINISHING.

Sounds simple and obvious, doesn’t it?

Oh, Monica Fay, really? Finishing is your answer?


Finishing the task, no matter how small or how big, is crucial to becoming organized.

A major problem I used to have, and still work every day at overcoming, is the ability to complete the tasks and goals I’ve set for myself- to honor my commitment to being organized and living a life that flows effortlessly.

Stubborn as I am, I didn’t discover this roadblock until AFTER I became a professional organizer.  At the time, I was still a live-in nanny, and editor for a local magazine, trying to finish up college (late as usual) and trying to get old credit card bills from when I was 18 under control.

As ambitious as I was, as much as I wanted to live this life as a responsible adult who could live easily and happily, I realized I was fighting the same battle every single day and never completely taking care of one task to its finishing point!  I would make new task lists every day, I would tackle portions of my room, I would spend time writing for the magazine or encouraging my staff of writers, but at the end of the day, there was no satisfaction that anything had really actually happened! It was pure stagnation of life.

At one point, when I was 30 minutes late to pick up the youngest child from school, after I had just worked an organizing session for a client I was also late for, AND my phone shut off because I hadn’t allocated the funds for the bill so I didn’t have a means to call any of these people to let them also prepare for disruptions in THEIR hard-earned life flow, I realized that my disorganization, my failure and inability to FINISH, not only made my life very difficult, it forced others to feel the effect of my actions!

That is when I realized that FINISHING is the biggest problem to living a life of ease and success.

So many times, we create the lists, map out the schedule, attack boxes or stacks of mail, we buy the bins, baskets and wall hanging devices, answer emails, but fail to accomplish the daunting task of perfecting flow and organization.

This is because we do not give importance to FINISHING. It doesn’t matter how many things you need to do, how many boxes to go through, how much paper is on the counter, how junky your closet is, how hard to reach someone is.

You cannot be organized and at the same time have half completed goals/tasks.

When you finish something, a small bit as it may seem to be, you can successfully move on to the next increment of organization.

Being organized is the act of several small repetitive systems put in place to make life flow, and each system has steps that have to be completed in order to move forward and work.

When I finally got this concept, and I mean REALLY got it, that is when I was able to finally share this authentically with my clients and teach them through my own mistakes in an easier to understand and easier to accomplish method, and it changed the nature of the relationship I had with these people completely.

I also realized, who would be more effective at getting you to make a permanent change? Someone who made the mistakes before and has come to correct them? Or someone who has always lived a certain way and never felt the sting of failure or has never known the struggle of how to rise from the bottom?