The short answer to struggling with poor organization and planning is stress. When you experience stress, your amygdala and other areas of your lower and primal brain become activated. This leads to a fight or flight response, where your brain and body become flooded with adrenaline as you ready to act.
If you were dealing with a situation where your well being was a risk, this system would serve you well. As the surge in adrenaline, coupled with the narrow focus to either engage or flee would help resolve the situation from seconds to minutes. However, in the world we live in, stressful situations are mostly matters of inconvenience as opposed to life threatening.
To expand on the short answer of stress, the main cause for poor organization and planning is trying to do too many things at once. This can be caused by poor foresight, a lack of patience and too many goals.
When you suffer from poor foresight, you struggle with procrastination. In the absence of a well defined short to long term goal, you will experience a lack of motivation for most activities. A good example would be academia. When students struggle to consistently complete their assignments on a timely basis, it’s a sign that they don’t have any plans after school. In these cases, the students are simply following a protocol. An example of such protocols would a high school student who does not know what to do after high school. Another example would be a college student, who is either undecided or does not know what to do with his chosen major.
This lack of a foresight leads to low motivation in following through with daily monotonous tasks associated with the accomplishment of any goal.
The solution would be to sit down and develop a goal. A good goal starts with a well thought out and written vision, of where you would like to be. This post goes in depth to discuss how to develop a vision and bring it to reality with an action plan.
Lack of Patience
When working towards a goal, setbacks are common. It’s easy to become anxious and demoralized when things don’t go according to plan. A common behavior that soon follows you start to lose faith, is to give up.
What this looks like, is that you become inconsistent in following through on daily tasks associated with what you are trying to accomplish. This then leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy, where your path towards your goals becomes more difficult as you become more inconsistent.
To improve on your patience, you must exercise discipline and maintain focus on your established goals when things are not going to plan. One thing that helps with this is to create a timeline for the future, regarding your estimates on when you plan to reach each milestone and then the eventual goal.
Too Many Goals
Goals are best accomplished one at a time. I have met with clients who were engaged in multiple activities One of their chief complaints was that they were struggling to concentrate on what they needed to get done. The problem was that each of the goals they had taken, needed a lot of commitment in order to be accomplished.
A common theme I notice with people in these predicaments is strong desire for notoriety. They are usually not particularly passionate about the goals they have listed, but instead they have sought these goals as vehicles toward accomplishing notoriety. When things get tough, they simply stop working and move on to the next project.
If you find yourself in this position, you must be honest with yourself. Chances are, if what you are trying to accomplish, commands a lot of respect from the public, it is going to require a lot of work. You will have to address your issues as related to your emotional needs and understanding about which needs have been successfully met and those that have not been met.
For example, let’s say you have issues with rejection and over the years you have compensated for this issue by playing the role of an over achiever. The solution will be for you to make peace with yourself and accept yourself unconditionally. Here are two posts which deal with rejection and unconditional self-acceptance.
In summary, following through with one goal at a time, is your solution to poor organization and planning. When you are focused on one goal at a time, it becomes easier to keep up with multiple objectives. This is because these objectives are naturally synced with each other, because they are related to one goal. This makes it easy for you to keep track of your objectives.