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What is Chronic Disorganisation?

Chronic disorganisation is a term used to describe a persistent and severe inability to maintain organisation in various aspects of life, including physical spaces, time management, and task completion. Unlike occasional disorganisation, which can happen to anyone from time to time, chronic disorganisation is characterised by its long-term and often detrimental impact on a person's quality of life. In this article, we will delve into the details of chronic disorganisation, its causes, and potential strategies to manage it.

Chronic disorganisation is not limited to a cluttered home or a messy desk; it extends to the inability to effectively manage one's time, responsibilities, and daily tasks. Those who experience chronic disorganisation often face significant challenges in their personal and professional lives. This can result in increased stress, decreased productivity, missed opportunities, and strained relationships.

a graphic of a messy living room and computer desk

Causes of Chronic Disorganisation

Chronic disorganisation can have various underlying causes, and it is essential to recognise that it is not solely a matter of laziness or lack of motivation. Some of the factors contributing to chronic disorganisation include:

Psychological Factors:

Mental health conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can lead to chronic disorganisation. These conditions can affect one's ability to focus, make decisions, and follow through with tasks.

Neurological Factors:

Certain neurological conditions or injuries can impair cognitive functions related to organisation and planning. For example, traumatic brain injuries or conditions like dementia may contribute to chronic disorganisation.

Environmental Factors:

Chaotic or unstable living conditions, frequent moves, or the absence of organisational role models in one's upbringing can also contribute to chronic disorganisation.

Executive Functioning Deficits:

Executive functions are a set of cognitive skills that help individuals plan, organise, initiate tasks, and monitor their progress. People with deficits in executive functioning may struggle with chronic disorganisation.


Impact of Chronic Disorganisation

Chronic disorganisation can have a significant impact on several aspects of a person's life:

Stress: Living in disorganised environments and constantly feeling overwhelmed by uncompleted tasks can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.

Work and Productivity: At work, chronic disorganisation can result in missed deadlines, inefficiency, and reduced job performance, potentially affecting career progression.

Relationships: Disorganisation can strain relationships, as it may lead to conflicts over shared responsibilities, time management, and home maintenance.

Health: Disorganisation can affect health indirectly, as it can lead to neglect of self-care and poor health habits.


Managing Chronic Disorganisation

Managing chronic disorganisation often requires a multi-faceted approach that considers the individual's specific challenges and needs. Strategies may include:

Professional Help: Seeking assistance from therapists, counsellors, or organisers who specialize in chronic disorganisation can provide valuable insights and guidance. At Clearout NI we are members of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, the leading body in the USA providing essential training for Professional Organisers and Hoarding Practitioners.

Medication: In cases where underlying mental health conditions are contributing to chronic disorganisation, medication prescribed by a healthcare professional may be helpful.

Organizational Tools: Using tools like planners, calendars, to-do lists, and organizing apps can aid in managing daily tasks and appointments.

Decluttering and Organisation: Tackling the physical clutter in one's living space can significantly reduce feelings of overwhelm and improve overall organisation.

Establishing Routines: Creating daily routines and habits can help individuals manage their time more effectively and reduce disorganisation.


Chronic disorganisation is a persistent challenge that affects various aspects of a person's life. It can be caused by psychological, neurological, or environmental factors and can lead to stress, reduced productivity, and strained relationships. Seeking professional help and implementing strategies to improve organisation can make a significant difference in managing chronic disorganisation and improving one's overall quality of life.

Read more about the training our team members undertake with the ICD HERE


(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission through qualifying purchases. Links are not recommendations unless stated)


Recommended Reading:


Further reading from our Book List on Amazon:

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Clearout NI

Therapeutic Decluttering and

De-hoarding services

(Northern Ireland / UK)

Tel: 02895 555 600


(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission through qualifying purchases. Links are not recommendations unless stated)

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