Less Clutter, More Productivity
These days everyone knows that clutter is bad. It’s been the favorite whipping boy of life coaches for a few years now. But when it comes to articulating why it is bad, or what to do about it, many people come up short. Today we’ll look at how dealing with the clutter in your life can help to boost your productivity – and a few simple steps toward accomplishing the tasks around clutter and productivity.
Clutter sucks. But that doesn’t really capture the how and why of it. Clutter has a deleterious effect on our health, mental state, and productivity – so it is important to address the problem before it gets out of control. The effects of clutter are relatively new to humanity – as we spend the first several thousand years of our existence struggling to have enough. But now we have to address a new problem – having too much.
So, why is clutter bad? For our purposes, there are two negative effects that need to be addressed: it slows you down and it causes stress. Clutter slows you down because you have to hunt for what you need. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to break my workflow because I had to search for a tool or piece of information.
And clutter causes stress because your mind has to work extra hard keeping everything organized. Even people who say they don’t mind clutter are unnecessarily taxing themselves – because your brain is trying to organize everything whether you want it to or not. Imagine the freedom of not having to remember the order underneath the chaos of your clutter!
Declutter Your Space
Decluttering should start in your most used spaces, which for most people is their office and desk. You don’t have to be a clean freak to start decluttering – just follow a few simple steps:
- Be Systematic: It’s easy to get distracted, so focus on one small area at a time
- Ask Questions: When considering what to do with something, ask yourself a few questions. ‘When was the last time I used this?’ ‘What benefit does this bring me?’ ‘Does this make me happy?’
- Prioritize: Keep the more important stuff closer and the less important stuff can be safely tucked away.
If you don’t naturally lean toward organization, don’t try to follow every piece of advice on Pinterest. Just start small and build from there. Do the easy stuff this week, and if it works do a little more next week. You’ll be amazed the transformation that can happen over the course of 3-4 months.
Declutter Your Mind
Decluttering your space is only half the battle because the true goal is freeing your mind to get more done. Once your work space is clear, it is time to turn to decluttering your mind. The human mind is incredibly powerful – holding millions of data points together as a cohesive whole. So, give it a break by reducing the number of random things it has to remember.
To begin setting your mind free to be more productive follow, try these three steps:
- Write it Down: Writing things down lets your brain relax and safely forget about things.>
- Take Breaks: Not just breaks, but the right kind of breaks. Relax, meditate, unwind – don’t use your breaks to add more mental clutter
- Prioritize: Spend some time each day thinking about your tasks and prioritizing them. This will allow you to rest easy knowing that the important stuff is getting done.
A decluttered mind is ready to take on the day’s task from a place of stress-free productivity.
Declutter for Productivity
By setting your workspace and mind free from clutter, you can focus on the task at hand and reduce interruptions. There’s nothing worse than getting in the zone and then having your flow broken by needless clutter.
There’s no need to be the next anti-clutter guru, start small and see the benefits for yourself. Then you can go from there – continuing on the declutter journey until you reach an optimal balance between your personality type and your potential productivity.