10 Lies Disorganized People Like to Tell

Unproductive People

Disorganized people leave a wake of non-productivity in their path.

They impact not only themselves, but entire teams around them.

And yet, disorganized individuals love to deny their disorganization.

They will say almost anything to cover their lack of getting things done.

I’m Not Disorganized, Just Too Busy

We all know that disorganized individual who will pine to the end-of-the-earth that they are not responsible for their disarray.

Even worse than their disorganization, are the tall tales they tell to justify their lack of productivity.

They make excuses. State outlandish claims. And even lie to cover their tracks.

Which of the following denials have you heard?

9 Lies that Disorganized People Like to Tell:

  1. “I’m not disorganized, just too busy.” Like many things in life, if someone has to boast about how they are something, it means that they probably aren’t. (Bonus tip: This applies to those who brag about how honest they are, as well…)
  2. “I just don’t have time.” Actually, they have the same amount of time as the rest of us. However, how they choose to spend it isn’t getting the job done.
  3. “I am overloaded.” This is a bold statement from someone who can’t list all the things they are working on. This is usually a broad brush excuse for everything they are not getting done.
  4. “I know exactly which pile I put that paper in.” Disorganized individuals will often try to explain their messy desk as organized. When a desk is a mess, it’s a mess. Piles are not organization.
  5. “I was late because I was held up.” Late is late. Blaming traffic or the train or whatever, only means that you didn’t leave early enough. Tough, but true.
  6. “Someone else is keeping me from doing my job.” Everyone faces obstacles in getting their work done. Find a way around that wall, but don’t blame-shift.
  7. “I didn’t get your email.” Of all the emails that were sent on the planet yesterday, apparently the email-man lost this one.
  8. “I’ll get that done by tomorrow.” Of course, by tomorrow they mean the day after next. And tomorrow is always tomorrow.
  9. “I’ll get right back to you.” Assurances of returned calls that never happen. Don’t wait for the phone to ring on this one.
  10. “I’ll send that right over.” Ah, the often promised delivery. Yet, the email never comes. The package never arrives. And the person never ships what they promised.

Lies or Disorganization?

Are these disorganized individuals guilty of lying?

Or are they so in denial about their disorganization that they truly believe their statements?

Either way, beware when you hear these tall tales and outright fibs.

And if someone has to brag about how organized they are… run the other way.

Question: What lies have you heard as excuses for disorganization?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    There isn’t much as annoying as working with someone who is disorganized – they don’t read your emails, show up for meetings, and create additional stress for everyone. I think I’ve heard all of those lies at one time or another. Big thing that helped me is that I don’t go home without filing everything and eliminating the piles, I always start and end each day with a clean desk.

  • http://www.rileyadamvoth.com/ Riley Adam Voth

    Good stuff Craig! So sad but so true.
    Here’s one as well: “Well you’ll never truly accomplish it.” – It’s a fairly true statement, in that it’s a forever ongoing effort, but if we never battle it, things will only get worse and worse! I let that lie, as well as others, get me for a few years in college, even though I’m nearly obsessive about my organization. So when I finally chose to truly battle, it’s taken me over a year to get things reasonably conquered… long story… but I’m there! It’s totally possible… just ongoing.

  • http://www.joshuarivers.net/ Joshua Rivers

    “It was just right here a minute ago…” Never said by me…today…

    I’ve been working on my organizational skills recently, and have made some progress. I’m usually very organized at my job, but then chaos takes over at home. I hope that becomes a historical rather than continual story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/txshawn Shawn Guenther

    OK, so I admit it: I am a disorganized person, and I don’t know how to stop.

    I have all the pieces; I offloaded half of my long-term memory to Evernote, I use it to catalog audio and notes from every meeting. At the end of every meeting I convert any notes that are actionable to tasks in ToDoist. I keep all my notes and all my tasks tagged and prioritized. I have a time tracker app on my tablet that I use to track every second of my day and where it’s going. I just can’t seem to assemble them into a coherent organizational system.

    I was completely organized at my previous job, but about a year ago I moved companies and inherited this massive pile of chaos. That’s not an excuse, but it’s definitely shown me some major holes in my strategy because I am not tangibly closer to sorting it all out than I was a year ago.

    I’ve got 137 tasks open right now. 40 of them are overdue by more than 3 weeks, and the average time to completion is 4 hours (17 of them are technical-manual-writing tasks, for example). I add, on average, 14 tasks a day. So clearly I am getting some stuff cleared out, but the size of my overdue list makes me feel like a hot mess.

    • David John Dempsey

      Sounds more like an organised person in a chaotic environment. A disorganised person wouldn’t have the metrics you’re logging!
      Are you able to re-set deadlines to realistic ones taking account of the chaos? i.e. add 10 days to everything as that’s how deep you’re buried right now.
      My brother was struggling like you are now. Eventually his boss noticed and helped him by dropping his entire desk load in a bin. “If it’s important, they’ll call you. If so explain you’re new and you’ll get right on it.” Only a few called.

  • kevin

    You forgot the one I always use. “A cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind.”

  • http://twitter.com/blondpharmacist Blonde Pharmacist

    We all have the same amount of time? Yes, true. But some have more obligations sucking that time dry. Right?

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Yes. However, more of those are choices than we often realize… :)

  • David John Dempsey

    It’s important to not confuse organisation with neatness. Research has shown that Pilers are actually more efficient than Filers in general, and that staff are more creative in a messy office. Filing has time overheads and piles end up with frequently used docs on top. Filers in knowledge work tend to file before working out if it’s a useful doc.

    http://www.hermanmiller.com/research/research-summaries/its-here-somewhere-the-effects-of-storage-methods-on-job-performance.html

  • Anonymous

    “I was late because I was held up.” Late is late. Blaming traffic or the train or whatever, only means that you didn’t leave early enough. Tough, but true.

    Wrong late is not late. Everyones watch is faster or slower than everyone elses. Sometimes you do get held up in traffic. Or a blizzard with five feet of snow . Its okay for managers to be late, but god forbid a serf does it. Sounds like every boss you ever had was a sociopath that probably watched youtube videos all day. Another variation is why are you so tired when you come in. Maybe the person is a polyphasic sleeper. Corporate Amerika, and the world I found after expatriating, only caters to one person: The mindless, dumbed down, fucking drone. Anyone else is despised, hated, and treated like scum. Despite the fact when the power goes out, the food dwindles, and all hell breaks loose the latter is instantly asked for help.

    “Someone else is keeping me from doing my job.” Everyone faces obstacles in getting their work done. Find a way around that wall, but don’t blame-shift.

    Nope wrong again. Every job I have ever worked I have finished my work early. When I offer to do the other persons job I get blank stares and gossip directed at me about being a know it all. Most people are fucking worthless and I say that with the utmost confidence. The ones that are worth a damn at any job, or at all in life, are always socially engineered out for telling the fucking truth. This species is fucking doomed.

    “I didn’t get your email.” Of all the emails that were sent on the planet yesterday, apparently the email-man lost this one.

    This happens sometimes. Actually, the amount of email sent out these days is far more compared to when humans had to send letters out to each other. This actually lowers IQ. More work gets done, but at what cost to human intelligence and the quality of excellence of that work.