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Reduce Your Clutter, Reduce Your Stress

Reduce Your Clutter, Reduce Your Stress

When your parents used to threaten to ground you if you didn’t clean your room, it’s possible they were just looking out for your mental health. Clutter definitely affects your mental health, increasing anxiety and depression.

It can also lead to avoidant tactics as this survey shows where one-third of the respondents did not want to go home in order to avoid the clutter. Imagine not wanting to go to your house, a place that is meant for comfort and enjoyment?

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If your house is messy, this is very understandable. Research shows that clutter affects your brain, as too much stimuli hinders your concentration and ability to process information. No wonder you’d rather take the keys and enjoy a cleaner space elsewhere.

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The Correlation Between Mess And Stress

You don’t have to be on an episode of Hoarders to feel the mental side effects of clutter. So what’s the correlation between mess and stress?

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  1. Missing those keys? Can’t find that file for work? You can count on that increasing both levels of frustration and cortisol.
  2. Clutter causes our minds to do extra mental lifting. Those messes translate to added stimuli that wouldn’t exist with an uncluttered home or office.
  3. That pile of papers on the desk? It represents a constant reminder of work that needs to be done.
  4. Imagine trying to write a paper while a construction worker uses a jackhammer outside your office. Clutter is a distraction, pulling your attention away from the task at hand.

Decluttering Tips

We’ll avoid cluttering the page with too many more reasons; instead how about we  focus on methods of decluttering your life? Here are a few tips:

  1. Treat your home like a filing cabinet. Have designated spot for household items that don’t get frequent use? Try to limit them to drawers, cabinets or closets to keep stimuli to a minimum. As the cliche goes: out of sight, out of mind.
  2. Don’t use it, don’t keep it. Seems simple, but how often do we hold onto that “As Seen on TV” item we couldn’t live without, or that pair of heels that haven’t seen the light of day for years? Clean your clutter and do some good in the process by donating your unused items.
  3. How much time would we save if we simply put things away when we were done with them? The answer is a lot. We have bigger things to worry about than clutter, so take those extra few seconds to put an item away as soon you’re done using it.
  4. Keep cleaning fun! Add some music to the mix or brush up on your basketball skills when tossing out that spam mail. Treat it like a chore and it’ll feel like a chore.
  5. Have a method to the madness. Don’t worry about covering the entire house or even the entire room at once. Pick a corner and work from there. Those small victories will help you continue to push forward until you have an entire house looking fresh and clean.
  6. Teamwork always helps. Whether it’s family or a friend, having someone to lend a helping hand can make all the difference between organizing that clutter or calling it quits. Not to mention you’ll be able to get the job done in a fraction of the time.

Are you buried beneath that clutter and don’t know where to start? Don’t be afraid to bring in the reinforcements. Make it a family affair or bring in the professionals. A cleaning company can be a great way to get things to a more manageable place, eliminating the stress of household chores.

Whatever you decide, don’t let your brain get cluttered with the clutter around you.

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More by this author

Josh Dailey

Owner My Model Maid

Reduce Your Clutter, Reduce Your Stress

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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