How to Stay Organized


Do you ever get organized and then fall back into your old habits?

Maybe you cleared your desk…only to find that clutter seems to magically reappear?

Maybe you got your inbox down to a manageable size… only to have it clog up again?

Maybe you finally got serious about getting rid of your scattered post-it notes and created ONE task list…only to slip back into grabbing one of those stickies?

Ready to find out how to get motivated to stay organized? Check out this video:


We received an email from Tom who asked us, “How do I get motivated to stay organized with all the other things I have to do?” That’s a great question, right?

How do you get motivated to stay organized? Well.. actually, that should be the second question you ask yourself about anything. There is a question that’s important to ask yourself first before you go to “How.”

That question is “Why?”

Instead of asking yourself, “How am I ever going to finish this project?” or “How should I approach this problem?” start by asking yourself “Why?”

So instead of asking, “How do I get motivated to stay organized?” we should instead ask Why, “Why do I want to stay organized?”

There are two types of motivation:

External motivation: motivation that comes from outside of ourselves. Maybe it’s a boss, maybe you want somebody to like you, or you think you ‘should’, you feel obligated, etc.  Intrinsic motivation: motivation that comes from within ourselves. Maybe you want to stay organized because your reputation means a lot to you and your word means a lot to you. Maybe you want to do the job well so that you feel good about your work.
If you have created a goal or want to be organized because you want to impress somebody or you want to do it because you think you ‘should’, the motivation for that will be very short-lived. That’s because, with external motivation, you can only keep up with it for a limited period of time.

But when you start to ask yourself, “Why” (do I want to be organized?), maybe it’s you want to follow through with your clients, or maybe it’s because you want to stop wasting time searching for things which eats into your personal time. As long as it’s internally motivated, then you can start to put the steps in place to keep it moving forward, to keep that reason and that “why” moving forward.

So the first question to ask yourself before, “How do I stay motivated?” Or, “How do I achieve this goal?” Or, “How do we complete this project?” Is “Why?”

Starting With Why

Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself:

Why do I want to have that?
Why is that my goal?
Why is that my project?
Why am I going to rock this task?
If you’re like most people, probably not. Often, we just assume that everything that comes our way is just “the way it is” and it’s our job to figure out the “How.”

But if you start with “Why” – and if your answers come from within – now you have the key to getting things done! Because now you have the motivation you need to follow through on things.

Then it becomes the “How.”

Case Study

Okay, so let’s say for Tom, his motivation is internal.

“I want to stay organized so that I can follow up with everybody that I promise I’m gonna follow up with.” Whatever Tom wants to say, whatever his “Why” is. He’s answering the question, “Why do you want to stay motivated?

Maybe his answer is: “So that my word actually counts.” Maybe Tom could create an index card to remind him about why he wants to be motivated to stay organized – so he can make sure that his word does count.

We all have issues like Tom – we just need to start asking the right questions.

Don’t Focus on the “How”

Your why is your motivation. Your why is either going to be externally motivated – very short lived – or internally motivated.

So what are you doing right now? What are you doing in your career, in your work, in your life that you’re just thinking, “Oh how can I do that?”

Where are you thinking about the “How?” but you haven’t yet first asked yourself, “Why?” TWEET THAT!

Again, who you are and what you do is essential and important. And if you’re doing things for other people or for reasons that are externally motivated, your unique brilliance, your calling, your gifts cannot bubble up to the surface.

You are being motivated externally instead of using what’s within you to be the powerhouse that you are born to be, to be the powerhouse that you actually are right now.

So again, whenever you hear yourself asking “How?” Make sure to ask yourself “Why?” first.

What areas of your work or life have you been asking “How?” Where are you going to start asking “Why?” instead? Let us know how it goes in the comments below!


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