Finding Your Organization Style (a Must-Have Guide for the Disorganized)

Published on July 8, 2015 By Lauren

Looking for a way to get Organized? If you're anything like me, you might need some help. And these tips and questions helped me get organized when nothing else worked!

Before we can get started looking deeper into your organizational style, I have to take a minute to debunk a common myth about being organized.  It is a common belief that being organized is a strength you either have or don’t.  This is NOT true; everyone can be organized, but they have to do it in their own way.  The key is finding what works for you and then working that system; there is no correct way to organize yourself.

There are many resources available to help you dive deeper into discovering your personality, style, and strengths, but I have compiled a lot of that information here for an easy, figure-out-your-style quiz complete with a few tips to make your style start working for you! Keep track of your answers to the questions below and see what your style is.

cal on phone

1. How do you keep track of your time and appointments?

A) A very detailed planner, which might be color coded or contain lists

B) I’m always with people and I just kind of go from event to event, sometimes I’m late or double booked, I leave notes around

C) I… don’t… unless there is a big deadline.

D) I just know them all, I’ll be fine

2. You have a new project—how do you get started?

A) Make a plan, make lists, buy supplies, do some research, set up a work space, put on old clothes, start with task one on the list

B) I’m not sure how to start, I might call a friend to see what they are doing or if they want to help

C) I just start; I have such great ideas!

D) I lay everything out so I can see it and keep the end product in mind

3. What do you do with your receipts?

A) They get filed for various purposes: business, medical, in-case-I-have-to-return-it, etc…

B) They are in a pile somewhere, I’ll end up keeping ones from significant events, if I ever sort them out

C) What receipts?  They might be crumpled in the cup holders of my car…

D) Why do I have to keep receipts?

4. Your significant other is looking for an important document—where might it be?

A) It is clearly marked in a file folder, where it belongs, let me get it for you

B) I’m not sure, but I’ll help look!

C) I don’t keep track of that stuff, my significant other does

D) Why do they need it?  I’m sure it’s where ever we keep those

5. The last time you cleaned out your closet was…

A) It’s a tie between the last time I did laundry and the last time I bought new clothes, very recently

B) I don’t know that I cleaned it out, but I put new stuff in the last time I shopped with my cousin!

C) That would be a waste of my time!

D) What is the end goal of cleaning out my closet?  If I know that, I might do it

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6. If you are late for an event, it is because…

A) I’m rarely late, but when I am it’s because I was finishing a task and couldn’t leave it partially done

B) I was so caught up having coffee with someone or chatting with a friend that I lost track of time

C) I was making this awesome new project, don’t you love it

D) I lost track of the event within my larger calendar or I didn’t think that the event was very important

7. Sharing a living or working space with others is…

A) Fine, as long as we have clearly separate zones and your stuff does not infringe on mine

B) Awesome!  I love to spend time with people and chat all the time

C) Inspiring, but I think that my creative mess bothers others

D) Fine, as long as it helps accomplish my end goals

8. You have several tasks to accomplish today, how do you approach your day?

A) Lists, smaller lists, check marks; I made the lists before I went to bed the night before

B) I’m not sure!  It depends on what comes up and who I need to see

C) I’m going to start on what I’m most excited about and work until I get bored or overwhelmed, wait, what else am I supposed to do

D) Figure out my end goal and shoot for that, the details of how to get there don’t totally matter

9. A TON of catalogues come in the mail, what do you do with them?

A) If I have time, browse and then recycle, if not, recycle immediately

B) I put them in the bathroom so other people could look at them if they wanted to

C) I put them in the bathroom so I can read them later for inspiration

D) They are in the giant pile of mail on the counter, it’ll get addressed soon

10. If you had a giant pad of post-its, what would you most likely use it for?

A) Lots of lists!!!

B) Little reminders to myself, I stick them everywhere

C) To rotate ideas around on a calendar or brainstorm new ideas

D) Set goals, create overviews, or doodle while I zone out

post-its

If you chose mostly As: You are likely a CLASSIC organizer!

This might be more commonly referred to as a Type A personality, perfectionist, planner, or someone who people believe to be organized already.  In fact, you might not need any tips on how to be organized, you are likely very organized right now, and people ask you for organizing advice.  However, if you are like me (I had ALL As) you are constantly finding new little ways to change up your organization.

Tip: Pay attention to the tips given in styles B, C, and D, and don’t be afraid to grow a little bit!

If you chose mostly Bs: You are likely a RELATIONAL organizer!

You care primarily about people and relationships.  Organizing probably plays 2nd fiddle to attending events, bonding with friends, and celebrating with family.  You don’t have time to file papers; you’re busy feeding into others and trying to decide which events win in the competition for your time.  You probably have some pack rat tendencies since many things have sentimental value OR because you just have not found the time to sort!

Tips: Try using a calendar on your phone, since you are likely attached to it; schedule some time to sort and clean out, make it an activity with a friend or family member, maybe one who is a bit more of the A style; and carry a pad of post-its in your purse and leave notes for yourself, don’t be afraid to be the person with little notes everywhere if it works for you!

If you chose mostly Cs: You are likely an ARTISTIC organizer!

As someone who is married to an artistic organizer, the phrase kind of sounds like an oxymoron, but there is actually a method to the madness.  You are always searching for inspiration, you thrive under pressure from deadlines, and adrenaline fuels your millions of creative projects. It might be hard for you to stay interested or follow through on everything you start, and it’s easy for you to lose track of things.  You might see organizing as a waste of time, when you could be creating!

Tips: Try keeping a paper calendar that you can see and make it flexible by using dry erase or post-its, don’t limit yourself to a desk space, since it will become a place to pile things and ideas. You need to spread out more, be able to re-arrange, and then have big containers to pile everything into when done.  If you work well with the pressure of a deadline, create some for yourself to get important, but less creative, tasks done.

If you chose mostly Ds: You are likely an ENSEMBLE organizer!

You have more of a holistic, big picture vision, and you are focused more on strategies to meet your end goals than on the details it might take to get there.  You have a lot of questions about why something must be done and you love to see the end product of your work.  This can make it hard for you to focus on a smaller step or individual detail that might be important to your end goal.

Tips: Create a visual representation of your goals, but with smaller steps broken down underneath, so you can keep in mind the importance of those steps.  Keep a really large view calendar so that the “big picture” is more visible to you.  Use labeled bins to sort things in the short term and then undertake occasionally organizing them as an important task in which you can see the value.

You might feel as though your answers show that you might be a combination of a few of these styles, and that’s a definite possibility!  You should still be on the road to better understanding what works for you organizationally, which is what’s important!  Once you find something that works for you, that’s all that matters!

Comment below and let me know what your style is.

Looking for a way to get Organized? If you're anything like me, you might need some help. And these tips and questions helped me get organized when nothing else worked!

COMMENTS

  • I enjoyed taking this test. I had a tie between A and B. I do relate more to the answer of B though. Thank you for having this out there!

  • I fell into all of them. I did have more on the Bs though. Most of my issues are because I have never had a reason to before, so I am still learning.

  • Hi, I’m teaching a course to writers at a writers’ conference about organizing their information using Microsoft OneNote. I’d love to use this quiz in the beginning of the class to help attendees understand their organizational style before we get into the nuts and bolts of the app. I would, of course, not only attribute it to you, but provide a link to your website. Is this okay with you? Feel free to email me directly for more information, if needed.

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