When you fail at organization

Three ways to help yourself keep going when you are ready to quit

What do you do when all your attempts at organization fail? How do you deal with the chaos that results from attempting to calm the chaos? What do you do when you’re so emotionally exhausted that you want to give up on being organized?

I have been facing those questions and emotions the past couple of weeks. If it hadn’t been for all of my writing this month, I probably would be very tempted to quit trying to be organized. See, while I have been writing about how I am trying to be organized, I feel like I am actually failing. 

My garage challenge has put some pressure on me. A couple of weeks into my challenge, I realized I was going to be gone for a week during July on vacation. And on top of the garage, the entire house feels like it is falling apart. Everything is everywhere. There have also been non-house related factors that have been affecting how much time I spend on the house. 

It really has felt like a perfect storm. And it has worn me out. I want to throw my hands up and quit. But thanks to this blog, I have become accountable to you. That accountability gives me the umph I need to keep going and see the project through to completion. 

But what do you do when you don’t have accountability to keep you going? What do you do when you want to give up and quit? What do you do when you fail? I would like to offer three suggestions.

  1. Give yourself grace

I have learned that these are the times to give myself grace. Please don’t read grace as allowing myself to make excuses, but to forgive myself for not living up to my own expectations. 

If I may go down a rabbit trail for a minute, I would say that we should give ourselves a similar kind of grace as what God gives us. We sin and fail to live up to God’s standard. He extends forgiveness to us, even though we don’t deserve it. 

It is also similar to how we show grace to our children. Sometimes they fail miserably. But instead of giving them the full punishment they deserve, we give grace and allow the experience to be the punishment. 

In the same way, we need to give ourselves grace when we fail to live up to our own standards. As I said earlier, it is not about making excuses and justifying why you are right. It is about admitting your failures and weaknesses and accepting responsibility. Once you have done that, then you are able to extend grace and forgiveness and move on. 

  1. Get up and try again

Once you have forgiven yourself, it is time to get up and try again. 

I am reminded of my children as they learn to walk. They fail a lot. They fall a lot. Once they have learned to walk, they still trip and fall. When they fall, they stand up and try again. They don’t let something like a fall keep them from being on their feet. 

Just like our children don’t lay on the ground screaming about how they can’t walk, but get back up, so should we. Getting back up may include some time to reevaluate what we are doing and if there is a better way to go about it. We may need to take some time away from the project. Taking a step back can give some new perspective. It doesn’t matter what is involved with getting back up and trying again. What is important is the getting back up and trying again.

3. Reach out for help (and make yourself accountable)

This one is hard. Asking others for help feels like it goes against our nature, but it is important. If you are stuck, ask someone else for help. Be specific with the kind of help you need, whether it be accountability, someone to come to your house and give ideas or someone to do the job for you (presumably with pay). Make sure the person you ask for help is someone you can trust and understands your struggles and goals. It could be a friend, parent, sibling or a professional. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as they are able to give you the support you need. 

My next steps

I feel I would be letting you down if I didn’t tell you how this is playing out in my life with my garage project. Since I was gone a week during the middle of the challenge, I have decided to extend grace to myself and give myself an extra week to finish. I think I should be able to get it done in that time period. Truthfully, I’m not entirely optimistic, but I am telling myself that tomorrow is a new day and that I should keep going and do as much as I can. Doing a little bit is better than none at all.

To help with the mess in the house, I am employing the help of my children. They are old enough to clean their rooms and pick up their toys. The rest, I can deal with.

I will continue to be accountable to you and will give you a final update on my garage challenge next week. I am looking forward to having pictures of a nice, clean garage to show you.

Until next time…