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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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