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Why Streamlining Your Life Is So Essential

Why Streamlining Your Life Is So Essential

When we have clutter in our lives, productivity goes downhill, we become flustered and it’s often difficult to focus. Streamlining your life can affect you in more positive ways than you realize. As you reduce clutter from your space, you begin to think more clearly. Clearer thinking is going to bring productivity into your life. It takes some determination but the benefits are worth it. Experts say the hardest part is the first step but once you begin, you’ll feel lighter immediately.

Streamlining Your Life via Minimalism

The opposite of clutter is minimalism and to achieve this, the rule of thumb is to have no more than 100 items to your name.This might feel a little scary but it’s time to do some inventory of what you have in your space. Remember not to beat yourself up for all of the things you’ve accumulated. You’re probably going to be surprised how much “stuff” you have. Make a plan to tackle one room at a time and give yourself a deadline.

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It’s possible you may become overwhelmed when you begin the process of streamlining your life. There is often a psychological reason you have difficulty letting go of material items. You may find it hard to let go because of the sentimental value or perhaps you spent a lot of money on something. Even if you haven’t used the object in a long time, you have an emotional reason to hold onto it. Researchers of Yale have recently discovered that areas of your brain that associate with pain give the same response to giving up an object as real pain. You connect to these material items and letting them go can feel like losing a part of yourself.

Note that everyone has a different tolerance for the clutter around them. Researchers have discovered that some people even thrive well in a work environment that has a little bit of clutter. This can be attested by a picture of Steve Jobs work space. Yes, clutter has been proven to show a negative effective on job performance but it’s how you look at your clutter that matters more. Say you have photos of loved ones on your desk because it makes you happy, that’s not clutter. Your space, above all, should make you feel calm and happy.

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Why Streamlining Your Life is so Important

When you have “stuff” everywhere, it’s difficult to process information properly. Neuroscientists at Princeton University have compared an organized and unorganized person’s task performance. What they found was that clutter is distracting and takes attention away from performing well and it can cause stress. UCLA researchers found that a mother’s stress hormones will increase greatly when they have to deal with their things. It’s the same effect on the brain as multitasking is as the clutter stresses one out with an overload of sensory data.

Beware of the Digital Clutter

Most of you don’t even realize how many messages are being thrown at you from your digital devices. Notifications noises and visuals from social networking are distracting you from sticking to one task. The digital clutter deteriorates your ability to perform any one task to the best of your abilities. Mark Hurst, a New York Times best seller author spoke of the problem we face dealing with the incredible amount of information thrown at us constantly. The amount of to-do items are overwhelming so you have no way of investing your energy into any one thing. This causes a problem with your ability to filter information, bounce between tasks efficiently and keep a strong memory. It’s called physical clutter which is varied between people

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Turn off your devices when you have a task to do and also when you go to bed. Give yourself a specific amount of time to complete tasks and don’t deviate from the task. Don’t check your email, don’t answer the phone, shut your door and focus on one thing at a time. Of course, this isn’t always realistic but one of the things you should always do is turn off notifications on your mobile device.

Meditation for Streamlining Your Life

Meditation can allow you to slow the mind down, center your body and go deep within. As you feel the deepest emotions of yourself, it prevents you from spending money on things. Finding the inner peace and fulfillment really has an impact on how you feel about yourself. There are certain meditation methods that can greatly help you find simplicity within. A time where you’re not connected to the digital world or dealing with anything else but being present in the moment.

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Loraine Couturier

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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