We all have a clutter of clutter in our lives. Sometimes, that clutter is physical – files on the work desk or piles of junk in the home. Other times, it’s emotional or mental clutter. Do you always seem to have too much to think about? Are you anxious and stressed about the things you haven’t accomplished? Do you struggle to focus on one thing? Clutter is the culprit.
Clutter, whether mental or physical, can seriously damage your productivity. When you’re surrounded by clutter, you can’t dedicate yourself to the task at hand. Files all over your desk make it difficult to work on the one you need to focus on. Junk all over your home makes it hard to keep on top of your household chores. Decluttering your life is, therefore, key to staying productive and achieving your personal best.
Clutter – The Enemy of Productivity
A cluttered environment is a chaotic environment. Chaos impacts negatively on your focus. It also stops your brain from properly processing information. Clutter distracts you and stops you from completing tasks efficiently and effectively. Conversely, a serene, organized and uncluttered environment is conducive to helping you focus.
Why is clutter so detrimental to your ability to focus?
When you overload the brain, it has to divide its power. This makes it harder to process information and switch between tasks. It also impacts on your working memory.
When you’re in the workplace, clutter can be extremely detrimental. It can literally prevent you from carrying out your job. Studies have shown that the average worker spends around
4.3 hours each week just looking for paperwork. Not only does this add frustration and stress to the work environment, but it also reduces creative thinking and concentration.
When your workspace is decluttered, you can be more organized. You can, therefore, sustain higher productivity, remaining fully focused on your priorities.
How can you declutter at work? Follow these top tips:
- Adopt an effective filing If you allow paperwork to pile up, you’ll just waste time searching for papers. A systematic system of filing means you’ll know where everything is when you need it. It will also keep items off your desk and in a designated location.
- Keep your work surfaces as clear as possible. Keep essentials like pens or notebooks within arm’s length. Keep everything else in drawers or cabinets out of the way.
- A study has shown that Americans waste up to one week each year searching for missing items. Don’t become a statistic! Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. That way, you’ll never be wondering where items are.
- At the end of each workday, give your desk an Check to see if any items can be thrown away or put away. This will help you to stay on top of the clutter that piles up over time.
What about in the home? Clutter in your house leads to clutter in your mind. It’s therefore important to keep mess to a minimum in your living space too.
How can you reduce the clutter at home? Here are some top tips:
- Be ruthless. Don’t keep items because you’re sentimental about them. If there’s something that has sentimental value but isn’t useful, take a photo of it. You can then get rid of the item itself and just display the
- Set yourself regular times throughout the year to donate items to charity. Once a month is a good target. Keep a box for this purpose and put items in it throughout the month. Then, on your chosen date, take it to a local donation organization.
- Consider selling any items you no longer use or Not only will this declutter your home, but it’ll also make some useful extra cash.
- Don’t shop for fun. If you genuinely need something, you should only take enough money to pay for that item. Don’t shop because you feel depressed or for a way to pass the Remove shopping apps from your smartphone. This will help you to save money and will stop clutter from building up.
- Check what you’ve got and use it. Instead of buying new furniture, give old pieces a makeover with a coat of paint. Rather than buying a new outfit, consider how you can repurpose existing clothing. Turn worn-out jeans into shorts or cut the sleeves off an old jacket to make a short sleve style.
- Consider adopting the trial period If you’re hesitant to get rid of a certain item, store it away for a set period. You’ll probably find that you can easily manage without it. Then you can get rid of it.
- Adopt the one thing in, one thing out If you buy one new thing, get rid of an old thing. This stops clutter from building up. Instead of a closet full of shoes, you’ll only have the ones you need and wear, for example.
It’s never easy to declutter your life. We all tend to hoard items. However, we rarely need the things that mount up in our homes and workspaces. By being ruthless, we can minimize the physical clutter. This, in turn, helps us to get more done and feel better mentally too.
Eliminate Digital Distractions
Distractions aren’t all physical. These days, there are plenty of digital distractions too. These can be even more detrimental to productivity than physical ones. Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Facebook instead of working on that important report? It’s an all-too-common problem.
It seems that distractions are everywhere. From TV to social media, it’s important to remove them when you have other things to focus on. Whether you’re working on a task at home or in the office, digital clutter halts your productivity.