It’s finally happened – the last traces of holiday candy, cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, kettle corn and other assorted holiday treats that have filled my home for the last month and a half have been consumed. At last I can continue my quest to eat more healthfully. Sure, I could have embraced healthy eating all along, but until all temptation disappeared from my sight, the lure of sugar always seemed to overtake my limited willpower. And it wouldn't have been fair to the rest of my household to just throw out those tempting morsels.
So what does this is have to do with organizing? Just like my limited willpower regarding junk food would have made it incredibly difficult to avoid eating it, circumstances in your life may make getting or staying organized a real challenge. Now that doesn't mean you can't overcome those challenges, but it's important to recognize that they’re there. Why? First, so you’ll cut yourself some slack about why the seemingly simple quest to get organized can be so challenging. Second, so you can do something to move those obstacles out of the way.
What kinds of challenges am I talking about? Some of the more common ones I encounter with my clients are: a workload that leaves no time or energy for organizing; limited knowledge about how to get organized; feeling overwhelmed; fear of failure; perfectionism; and finding organizing boring and isolating.
All of these challenges can, at least in part, be mitigated by working on your organizing project with someone else. Working with someone else can give you the energy and motivation you need to stay on task, and can make the process move along more quickly than when you work solo. An organizing partner can help you develop new ideas about how to approach your most challenging organizing obstacles, and can help you break your project down into manageable steps to remove that sense of overwhelm. Working with someone else can give you a sense of accountability so that you are more inclined to maintain your organizing systems. Your organizing buddy can help you recognize when you're falling into perfectionism mode and help you identify just how detailed your organizing efforts need to be. And best of all, an organizing partner can make the organizing process easier, interesting and yes, even enjoyable. There are a lot of similarities to the benefits of working with a personal trainer, which I’ve written about previously.
So how do you choose your organizing partner? The key characteristics for a successful partnership are working with someone who is nonjudgmental, will work confidentially, and who will gently bring you back on track when you’ve veered off. In addition, they must be focused on helping you achieve your goals, not theirs. They must be patient and supportive, and most of all, someone with whom you’re comfortable sharing your situation and your memories. If you’re not lucky enough to have a friend or family member who embraces these qualities or who is willing to help you, I’m at your service.
So what obstacles are getting in the way of you organizing goals? What can you do to eliminate them?

Author's Bio: 

Internationally known professional organizer, author, and speaker Sue Becker is the founder and owner of From Piles to Smiles®. She enjoys helping people from around the world live better lives by creating customized systems to overcome their overwhelming paperwork, clutter, and schedules. She specializes in helping people who are chronically disorganized - those for whom disorganization has been a lifelong struggle that negatively impacts every aspect of their life, especially people with AD/HD. Her hands-on help, as well as her presentations, have helped thousands of individuals create substantial change in their lives.

Sue is Illinois’ first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. She co-authored the book Conversations on Success, and has appeared as an organizational expert on NBC News and the national TV show, Starting Over. A CPA, Sue has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.