I came across an article I’ve been saving that really has nothing to do with organizing, “I won’t I won’t I won’t – you can’t make me” by Carl Duivenvorden. However, the point he makes about the difference between “can’t” and “won’t” has everything to do with organizing.
So many times clients have said to me, “I just can’t seem to get organized, what’s wrong with me?”. First of all, there is nothing wrong with you, there is something wrong with your storage, systems and processes. And perhaps there is something wrong with the word “can’t”. Technically speaking that word means that it is physically impossible for you to get organized. Maybe, what you actually should be saying is, I “won’t” get organized.
Most people I work with don’t like the work associated with getting organized. Since one of the best ways to achieve better organization is to have as little “stuff” as possible, there is a lot of work to do to minimize all of your stuff. And then there is the work of taking time to think about how you can make a home for absolutely everything in your home or office, and I mean everything.
Sometimes you also have to create the right storage solution in order for your stuff to have a proper home. You can’t just put it somewhere and hope that it stays organized if the place you put it isn’t perfectly designed for the stuff.
Since it appears that you actually can get organized, what is stopping you from doing so? Well, technically it’s that you “won’t” make the time to go through your stuff and set up a proper solution for storing what’s left. I know, you’re a busy person and you “can’t” possibly make time for that along with everything else you have to do.
Well, technically, you can make time if you eliminate some of the other things that are using up your time. However, therein lies the problem. You don’t want to stop doing the other things because they are a lot more fun than organizing, right? Well then, you really only have two choices. Keep living in a disorganized state by choice and stop saying you “can’t” get organized. Or, get someone to help you thereby forcing you to make the time for the work that needs to be done.
As you reach out for help, instead of telling the other person you “can’t” get organized, you can tell them you “won’t” get organized unless they help you. I wonder if the semantics of those two small words really matter? I think perhaps saying “won’t” helps you take responsibility for the solution to the problem and helps you realize you actually “can” get organized.
Replace can’t with won’t for a week and let me know what you discover.