Adaptability: How Being Adaptable Can Help You Be More Organized

What does it mean to be adaptable?

Being adaptable means how you respond and how flexible you are in a situation. It’s something that you can learn over time and involves being willing and your ability to actually change. This can be difficult for many because of lack of self awareness, poor communication skills and lack of accountability. However, going through a process of learning to check in, self regulate and an openness to change, helps you develop the skills needed to stay healthy.


Shirley Tan talks about the overall benefits to being adaptable both in your personal and professional life. Some examples are:

More valuable to your employer

Companies now consider your ability to adapt as a major factor when hiring. People who are adaptable anticipate barriers and obstacles making them better prepared to anticipate changes. This also means they are calmer when unexpected situations arise because they have mentally prepared for them.  This also makes an individual a better leader because they can act fast when changes occur, instead of holding onto old systems and protocols.

Happier + more satisfied with life

Having adaptability means that you are more connected to your values and not the status quo.; you do what’s right for you. Because there is an openness to change it allows for the ability to meet challenges and not feel stuck.  This is also key in healthy relationships when individuals feel differently about something or need to reassess plans.  With a willingness to change it helps that being adaptable also means accepting when a situation is out of a person’s control.  Happiness then comes from the ability to feel empowered and stay connected to your true self.

Bounce back faster

Having a willingness to change and grow from challenging experiences increases your resiliency which is a key factor in a person’s success.  So instead of dwelling in “should haves” it means adjusting thoughts and expectations on how to move forward. Going through this process makes you stronger and less stressed the next time you are in a similar situation.

How Being adaptable helps you stay organized

When you are able to go with the flow and keep up with unexpected daily occurrences you are less reactionary and less likely to get thrown off balance.  Taking risks and going outside of your comfort zone can seem like a challenge but it helps you look at how you can do things differently that may benefit you, especially staying organized.  For example, if you buy impulsively, it’s really a matter of looking at your patterns and seeing how they are creating clutter in your life. It’s not that you can’t keep up with staying organized or that you just did a purge so that should do the trick, it’s that your mindset and habits need to shift.  

When and how to adapt

When the stress comes on and you’re feeling like something needs to change, try taking a step back to look at the big picture.  Check in to see what you are holding on to? How are you not being flexible? There are three categories in which you can see where you’re not being flexible; your thinking, emotions/physical, and situational.  From there you can assess what you need and what direction to take. This could be acceptance, facing your fears or even looking at resources to help you out.  Below are questions you can ask yourself in each area to help you identify and adapt to the situation and maintain your mental health and wellbeing.

Three Categories For Checking In:


  • Am I being flexible with my thinking?

  • Am I stuck in black and white thinking?

  • What am I telling myself?

  • What belief is coming up?

  • What other options do I have?

  • Can I approach these tasks or situations differently?

  • Do I need to change my perspective?


  • Are my emotions taking over?

  • Am I reacting or responding?

  • Am I outside of my nervous system window?

  • Do I need to adapt the way I am communicating in the moment? 

    • Is my tone harsh? 

    • Am I raising my voice?

    • Do I sound judgemental?

  • Is what I am doing draining or energizing me? 


  • Is there something in my environment that needs to change?

  • Is this something I can control? If no, then what is in my control?

  • What is challenging about this situation? How can I learn and grow from it?

  • Are my expectations realistic?
    If not, how can I reframe them?

Strategies to Move Forward

Acceptance – understanding your situation

  • Look at what’s happening, and accept what can’t be changed.

  • What can I take responsibility for in this situation?

  • What expectations or beliefs are keeping me stuck in this situation?

  • What can I control and what can I change in this situation?

Face Fears + Learn From Them

  • Is there a fear that is stopping me from moving forward in this situation?

  • What is the root cause of this fear?

  • What is the worst case scenario?

  • Who can I talk to to help me work through this fear?

  • How can facing this fear help me grow and create new opportunities?

Resources – Knowing What to Use and When

  • Is this something I can address on my own or is it more helpful to reach out to someone?

  • What resources or tools can help me in this situation (e.g. reading material, journaling, meditation, counselor, friend)

  • Is trying to figure this out on my own causing more stress than good?

Whether your setting new goals for yourself around your mental health and well being or trying to shift gears at work, learning how to improve your adaptability makes your life less stressful and richer. Going through a process of setting goals, making a plan and then letting go of what doesn’t match, can help you get rid of the clutter getting in the way of adapting easily.  If you reflect during this process it gives you the insight on how and where to adapt making your life easier. 

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