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How to Conquer Your Messy Room Fast but Not Furious

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How to Conquer Your Messy Room Fast but Not Furious

Do you find yourself surrounded by piles of papers, unread magazines, and books you are holding on to in case you may want to read them in the future? Is your closet bursting with clothes, half of which haven’t seen the light of day in years? Do you feel like you are drowning under an uncontrollable mess? Take charge and declutter your life right now.

Living under piles and tiptoeing down that small path through personal possessions just to reach your bed is not only unhealthy for your body, with dust mites, possible mold and more, but also detrimental to your mind. Clearing your physical space will also free the clutter from your mind.

Decluttering will not only make you healthier, but all of the clean, open spaces will also make you happier.

The hardest part of decluttering your life can be letting go. You have to decide what to throw out and what to keep. Some stuff is cut and dry. Old and broken? Chuck. No longer used? Recycle or give away.

What about the blurred lines? You may place personal value on items, like that misshapen clay horse your 36 year old son presented to you in kindergarten. At 36, chances are he may not even remember it. Does it make you happy? Keep it. But if you find yourself under a mountain of these meaningful mementos, it may be a sign to let go.

Tackle Your Clutter in 15 Minute Intervals

If you are facing a daunting mess of ginormous proportions, you may feel like giving up before you even start. Don’t! Tackle your clutter in smaller chunks of time.[1] Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on clearing a room. When the alarm goes off, walk away and do something else. You can choose to return later for another 15 minute stint, or just do 15 minutes a day. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in those 15 minutes.

Don’t Let Yourself Go Off on a Tangent

It’s so easy to find that marble rabbit statue your Aunt Elsie gave to you and suddenly wonder how she is and end up in a two hour phone conversation catching up. Stop yourself from going down that rabbit hole. Focus on clearing your clutter during your allotted time. You can call Aunt Elsie later.

Declutter Your House Room By Room

Go through each room in your house methodically, one at a time.[2] Clear the items that you no longer need or use from drawers, closets and under beds. Make a stack of things you use and things you can recycle or give away. When you are done, box up the recyclables and stash in your car to drop off at the local thrift store. Then put back all the things you are keeping.

Go through each room from one end to the other

Clear a work space for yourself and declutter your chosen room starting from one end of the room, making your way to the other. Don’t jump around. It will only add mess upon mess and have you throwing up your hands in defeat.

Declutter Your Wardrobe

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    Clearing out your wardrobe

    Keep two big trash bags or boxes on hand when you go through the items in your wardrobe. In one throw all those clothes that are soiled, damaged or too worn out. You will be throwing these away. In the second box place all those clothes that you haven’t worn in more than six months, except for season items like jackets and scarves/swimsuits and sarongs that you will be wearing for that time of year. Donate the second box to a charity shop or thrift store. You you are going through your kids clothes, pass them on to a family with kids younger than yours.

    Keeping a seasonal wardrobe

    Still facing too many clothes? Consider having a seasonal wardrobe to free up space in that closet and in those drawers. When you are facing warm weather, pack up the winter coats, scarves and long sleeve shirts. When the temperatures take that winter nose dive, break out the winter wear and pack up those shorts and swimsuits. Place a dryer sheet or two in the box when storing clothes to keep them fresh smelling. It also helps keep moths at bay.

    Declutter Your Bathroom

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      Dealing with old products

      Go through all of the drawers in your bathroom, and the space under the sink. Toss out any old products that you no longer use, like that neon pink hairspray from two Halloweens ago. Do you have a bunch of those little hotel shampoos? Combine them together. Use organizers to hold cotton buds, cotton balls, toothbrushes and makeup. Throw any old makeup out.

      Cleaning your medicine chest

      Remove all the medicine from your medicine chest. Throw out everything that is out of date. Have a box ready to chuck the old medicine Have half a bottle of diet pills from two years ago? Toss. Clean out the chest and replace only what you use. Most medicines can be safely disposed in the trash, but some have substances harmful to children and pets. If you are in doubt, the FDA provides guidelines for disposing medications safely.

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      Tidying Your Kitchen

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        Clear your kitchen counters

        Keep your counters clear. Have an espresso machine collecting dust? Consider selling it or put it in a cupboard. Remove anything that you don’t use on a daily basis. If you have any item in your kitchen that you haven’t used in over six months, stick it in a box to donate, sell, or recycle.

        Invest in storage containers and organizers

        Consider purchasing organizers for your drawers and storage containers for your food. Putting the sugar, flour, coffee, and tea into tidy, clean, matching containers will make your kitchen look more organized and uniform than leaving everything in their original packaging.

        Keep the kitchen clean

        Clean up your kitchen anytime you are making a meal. Put away spice jars, toss out empty boxes or jars. When you cook a meal, wash the pots and pans immediately after use and store before sitting down to eat. After a meal, clean up, washing dishes and putting away any condiments, leftovers, etc. When you or someone else walks into a clean kitchen, they are more apt to throw their trash into the bin and place dishes in the sink.

        Dealing with Paper Piles

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          Sorting your mail

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          Tackle your papers by throwing out the stuff you don’t need and organizing the rest. Deal with mail the moment it comes in the house by chucking out the junk mail. Any bills open and write the due date and amount on the outside of the envelope (give yourself leeway if it is to be mailed or your automated system takes a few days). Place bills in a basket according to due date.

          Using a filing system

          Keep a small filing system with different folders, labeled accordingly in which to place important papers, and items required for end of year taxes. Paid bills should be placed in these folders as well.

          Keeping track of your kids’ papers

          Have kids? Make a file for each of them in which to put important school papers such as teacher information, class syllabus, report cards and progress reports. Any papers they give you during the year can be stashed into these files.

          The moment school is out for summer, go through these folders and chuck the papers. You child doesn’t want to see his fifth grade math test when he’s 25, even if it was a A. If there are items you simply cannot part with, like that incredible report on Jamestown or that painting that looks like a Picasso, store in a ‘keep’ file.

          Handling boxes of photographs

          Scan your old photos and store digital copies on a flash drive or external hard drive- just in case that computer crashes. There are companies that can take all of your old VCR home movies and make them into easy to store digital copies too. Purchase an organizer to keep them safe and dust free.

          Dealing with laundry

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            Dirty Laundry

            Have a laundry basket located in each bedroom, in which everyone should place their dirty clothes. Make it clear that only clothes in these baskets will be washed, not the items strewn over furniture or dropped onto the floor. Stick to this and eventually when those favorite jeans are dirty on that important day, they’ll get the message.

            Clean Laundry

            Do never-ending piles of laundry occupy every free chair in your living room, threatening to topple over? Deal with laundry each load at a time. Fold the laundry as you remove it from the dryer or line. This saves massive amounts of ironing as well. Then sort it in one location and put away the clothes there and then, placing stray socks in a drawer to be sorted weekly- ther are always stray socks! Ideally, you can get each family member to put away their own clothes too!

            So, you’ve cleaned your house. Congratulations! Now how do you stop that clutter from piling up again?

            Stop bringing it home!

            Before you swing by that yard sale to pick up the china ballerina figurine that catches your eye, ask yourself these questions:

            • Do you really need it, or do you just want it?
            • Will it bring value to your life now?
            • Will it be valuable to you in the future?

            If the figurine is a priceless find that you plan on unloading on eBay, go for it. However if you want it just because it’s cute, stop yourself. Don’t bring it home. You can always stick all that money you save from unnecessary purchases in a jar and opt for a memory-making clutter-free vacation instead!

            Feel really painful when letting go of stuff? It could be an illness.

            Do you have feel physical pain when parting with possessions? Hoarding is a real illness.[3] A psychological disorder. Hoarding puts an emotional, financial, and social strain on you and your family.

            If you have a real inability to let go of possessions, you may want to seek professional counseling.

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            Last Updated on October 7, 2021

            Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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            Are You Addicted to Productivity?

            “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

            Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

            “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

            Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

            Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

            “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

            This is my mantra:

            I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

            But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

            Addiction to Productivity is Real

            Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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            “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

            Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

            “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

            Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

            “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

            “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

            “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

            There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

            Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

            By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

            Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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            Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

            Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

            Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

            The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

            Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

            • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
            • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
            • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
            • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
            • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
            • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
            • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

            The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

            Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

            Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

            1. Set Limits

            Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

            For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

            2. Create a Not-to-Do List

            Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

            3. Be Vulnerable

            By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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            4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

            Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

            Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

            There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

            5. Don’t Be a Copycat

            Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

            That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

            6. Say Yes to Less

            Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

            That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

            Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

            7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

            “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

            “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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            • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
            • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
            • Establish realistic goals.
            • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
            • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
            • Hold yourself accountable.
            • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
            • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

            8. Simplify

            Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

            The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

            9. Learn How to Relax

            “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

            “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

            “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

            But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

            • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
            • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
            • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
            • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
            • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
            • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
            • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
            • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
            • Visit a massage therapist.
            • Just breathe.

            “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

            It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

            Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

            Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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