How Organization and Productivity Can Help You If You’re Feeling Lost or Knocked Down

Updated March 14, 2020, originally posted November 10, 2016

There is no doubt that times of uncertainty in society can cause all of us to struggle. Throughout my adult life, when we’ve experienced big events that have shaken my city or the nation (9/11, Boston Marathon Bombing, an election with a divisive outcome, and most recently, the COVID-19 proactive social distancing and cancellations), I’ve been aware of on constant phenomenon. People tend to start focusing on their homes. I’ve heard through each one how people have said they’ve started cleaning or organizing, sometimes because they don’t know what else to do, or because they’re now looking at it a lot more. This response isn’t too surprising because it taps into two things we all need when we face uncertainty or disappointment: A desire to be in a safe and comfortable place, and a need to feel some control. 

So, because I’m hoping it will help some of us figure out where to go from here, I offer you 5 ways that Organizing and Productivity can help you through a challenging time. 

How Organizing and Productivity Can Help if You're Feeling Knocked Down


Figure out what’s important to you and eliminate what is not.

Sometimes, experiencing challenges or a struggle can help you look around and see things with fresh eyes. Things you once thought were important suddenly seem meaningless with a new perspective. Take some time to gather those items and move them out. Make room for the things that *are* important. 

Tackle an important-but-ugly project that you’ve ignored for a while since it doesn’t look so awful anymore.

As you focus on the future, it’s an opportunity for fresh starts. Find one of those projects that you know you should focus on, especially one of those Important-but-not-urgent ones that will help you know you’re taking care of things and not letting them build up and be scarier over time. A good example might be scheduling a long-overdue physical or doing your estate plan paperwork or creating a budget. Or tackle something on your “Someday, Maybe” list. Maybe it’s time to finally write that book you’ve been meaning to write, or finally learn another language…

Start a new (positive) habit.

A way to get hope and enthusiasm for the future is to try to make some meaningful change in your own life. Maybe it’s time to really get your spending under control, start focusing on your health or weight, stop smoking, volunteering… you probably have an idea in mind already. Start to develop a positive outlook by committing to make a difference in your own life. 

Extinguish a not-so-good habit.

Tackle a vice, one that gets in your way of enjoying your life more fully, and discover how you might be a little more freed up to spend time on positive things. For some of us, this might mean less time on social media, less tv, fewer emotional triggers that seem to bring out the worst in us. In 2020, with a focus on not touching your face, what a wonderful opportunity this is for nail-biters to break that habit, right? 

Create a healthy home that makes you feel good to be in it, good about yourself, and welcoming to others.

Some people may be anticipating staying squirreled in at home for a bit. If you ignore house cleaning and keeping up on the condition of your home, it will contribute to depression, apathy, and despair. Do what you can to combat this and create an environment for yourself that is nurturing and healthy. I’m not saying you have to get out of your pajamas; I’m just saying to throw out last night’s empty Chinese food containers and take the trash out on trash day. Keep up the basic habits of cleanliness, and let your home support you. 


I hope this helps you if you’re struggling and trying to figure out where to go from here. It helped me to write it for you. 





  1. Geralin Thomas

    Love this post! The months and months of pre-election TV commercials and news-thats-not-new gave me the “oomph” to hyper-clean and micro-organize everything in my garage, home, and calendar!

  2. clevergirlorg

    Thanks, Geralin! It’s amazing how small things like that can motivate us to some great results!

  3. Hazel Thornton

    I so agree! We feel helpless when it seems we have no control over our lives. Pick something you DO have control over, and focus on that. I’ve undertaken a photo organizing project at my house. OMG…so many duplicates! Easy to pare down to what matters.

    • clevergirlorg

      Photo organizing is a great example of a project that works for this! Thanks for the idea! I might just put that one on my list now…

  4. Kim Benson

    Yes! Organizing can be a method for “letting go” of both physical and emotional stuff. It’s also a safe first step in making your world a more sensible place. Once you experience that, you might feel empowered to take bigger steps to help make your community more sensible.

  5. Seana Turner

    I think feeling in control of “something” is always helpful when we face a sittuation that feels out of control. This is a great list because it is empowering. We are never really in control, but we do have spheres of influence, where our decisions and actions can make a tangible (and delightful!) difference.

    • clevergirlorg

      Thank you, Seana!

  6. Daria Harvey

    I agree with all these great ladies-organizing gives us the feeling of control when we face something over which we have no control. Plus, I feel that when we organize-specifically the decluttering process-we are processing in our minds. Can I let go of this? That feeling of letting go often spills over into other areas of our lives. Great post!

    • clevergirlorg

      Thanks, Daria… let all that good feeling spill!! 🙂

  7. Judy Ellen Eisenberg

    Kathy, your post was really useful to those who are having to stay at home due to this pandemic. Focusing on letting go of stuff in the home not only simplifies your surroundings, but helps you feel better by easing anxiety while focusing on the de-cluttering decisions and actions (even for 1/2 hour) you take. Meditation also helps to relieve anxiety and worry.

  8. Ellen Delap

    I love this list of actionable items. We often want to do something and get moving just to start our momentum. Thank you for sharing!


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