My eyelids drooped, and I struggled to keep them open. I hadn’t had any real sleep in days. It was too dangerous for me to rest; if I took even the shortest of naps, I’d be done for.

Just then, the clock struck midnight. My heart began to race as I realized what time it was. Panic rose inside me. Over the last few hours, the darkness had been creeping from the corners of the room, and now all I could see was the shadows looming around me.

“Why me?!” I shouted to the darkness. “Why am I staying up this late to get work done AGAIN!?”

Maybe if you hadn’t left everything to the lasssstttt minuteeee, I heard a voice whisper.

My eyes darted around the room, and I saw all the things that were haunting me: the dishes in the sink, the unfinished knitting project, the Netflix DVD I hadn’t returned, and the most evil of all my demons…my never-ending, ever-growing to do list.

It had me working way past my bedtime just to catch up, and it made me feel overwhelmed and anxious because of all the tasks on it that weren’t yet done.

It had started as a simple to do list a few days before, but as it grew, it had gotten overwhelming. I started procrastinating, putting things off for as long as possibly, and eventually having to work late into the night to get it all done.

And when I wasn’t working, I felt guilty. That made me procrastinate even more.

After one-too-many late nights spent feeling resentful and unhappy, I decided I’d get organized.


Getting organized can be scary. It seems impossible to find the time, the energy, or the right “style” to ensure you keep up with whatever new system or philosophy you set up.

But being organized has a huge benefit: it increases our performance, which in turn enhances our capacity to further our vision. It’s a solid support we can lean on no matter how challenging or fast-moving our projects are.

It’s also deeply tied to personal ecology. When we’re in control of our schedule and tasks, we’re also in control of the time we spend outside of the office, which is a key piece to sustaining ourselves over a lifetime of work.

So, in honor of National Get Organized Week (and the spooky month of October), we’ve compiled a big list of tricks & treats to help you get organized — at home, at work, and within yourself.

And what about my terrifying tale? It actually has a happy ending: after experimenting with all different kinds of organization systems and tools, I found something that worked beautifully for me, and I still use it today. What helped most of all was that I didn’t try and do everything at once; I did a little bit all the time. If something was really daunting, or if I just didn’t have hours to focus on it, I would set a timer for 5-10 minutes, and do however much I could in that time.

Good luck! If you do start getting organized, share it with us in the comments!