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4 Simple Tips on How to Achieve Clutter-Free Living

4 Simple Tips on How to Achieve Clutter-Free Living


    Have you been feeling considerably stressed out, fatigued or inefficient lately?  Can’t find the exact reason why you are feeling this way?

    Try and look around you.

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    Do you see a lot of unnecessary things lying around your home, office, or your mind? Not a lot of people are aware of this, but clutter can be a significant source of stress. When we are surrounded by clutter, our minds are constantly bombarded with excessive stimuli — often visual but sometimes also tactile and olfactory. This makes it impossible for our mind to rest.

    Clutter can be a major stress inducer, but it is one of the easiest stress-inducing elements to deal with compared to other common sources of stress (like finances, relationships and career) because it is completely under your control. Although comparatively easy, still a lot of people hate the thought of decluttering, as an overwhelming amount of stuff can seem like an impossible task.  But fear not, it can be done. Let me share with you 4 simple tips on how to achieve clutter-free living:

    1. Learn to sort and classify

    This is the very first step in your decluttering journey. The simplest way to do this would be to group things in two:

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    1. Necessary/Wanted
    2. Unnecessary/Unwanted

    Go through your things and sort which ones are still useful or important to you. Sometimes we are afraid of putting things away because we feel that we might them in the future, but the general rule is if you haven’t used an item in a year then there is a good chance that you will not be using it again in the future.

    You can also go ahead and further classify things to three categories:

    1. Fix it
    2. Reuse/Donate
    3. Put away

    2. Set up a system

    This means that you will have to create rules to keep your life free from clutter. You can create filing systems or implement rules. For instance, in your home, you can designate specific places for specific items. And in your office, you can implement a “Clear Desk, Clear Floor” policy. Success with this step can be supported with the help of some equipment like filing cabinets, labeled boxes, racks, and shelves.

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    3. Tidy up all year round

    In order to sustain a clutter-free life, you need to declutter every day. Some organization experts suggest the use of a “declutter calendar”, which will guide you as to what and where you should be decluttering for a particular day of the year. It would also help if you set a specific time each day for this duty — a time which you are most likely able to fulfill. It can be right after coming home from work, after dinner, or before going to bed. It is not necessary to spend hours tidying up; 10-30 minutes each day can be enough. The more frequently you do it, the less time you will have to spend each time you do it.

    4. Involve others

    You will have a greater chance of succeeding if you involve other people in your plans. In your home you must share the need to declutter your space with the rest of your family, and in your office share the idea to your co-workers. You will need to have their full cooperation as you cannot keep these particular areas clutter-free if other people are constantly bringing in clutter.

    The very basic principle of decluttering is to keep things as simple as possible, free from the shackles of having too much.

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    (Photo credit: Comfortable and Serene Bedside via Shutterstock)

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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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