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10 Things To Start With If You Want To Remove Clutter From Your Life

10 Things To Start With If You Want To Remove Clutter From Your Life

Is clutter weighing you down at home and the office?

Not sure where to start when it comes to clearing things out?

Here are 10 clutter-clearing ideas to help you simplify and streamline your life.

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Tidy up your desk.

Do you find it difficult to work on your desk or find office supplies when you need them? Remove old sticky notes, outdated papers and notes, junk mail, magazines, as well as any obvious trash and wrappers from your work space. Corral office supplies such as pens, paper clips and pushpins in small decorative containers, or store items in flat storage bins or trays in your desk drawers. Don’t forget to chuck any broken office supplies or dead plants that are on your desk or sitting in your office.

Clear out your closet.

Closets are notorious for being cluttered with anything and everything from last year’s spring shirts to shoes from the 80s. Begin by purging any clothes that are obviously stained, damaged, ripped, torn, or no longer fit. Next, remove any clothing and accessories you no longer want or need. Finally, take a good look at items you haven’t worn or used in a year or two as well as items that are hopelessly outdated. Will you really use these items soon, say tomorrow or even in a months’ time? It might be time to bite the bullet and say goodbye to these items.

Deal with junk drawers.

Crack open that drawer you know you are afraid to open…it’s time to do some much needed cleaning! First, pull out any items you can easily identify and know you will use and set them aside. Second, get rid of anything that is broken, expired, leaking, damaged, mismatched or missing a mate or working part. Third, donate or give away any sealed items or products you no longer want or unnecessary duplicates you do not need (do you really need five can openers if there’s only two of you in the house?)

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Sort out your files.

Pull together any loose files that are floating around the house or your office. Go through each of the files and check the contents. If files are still active, file them; if files are inactive, be sure to archive them. Any material that is expired and/or no longer needed should be shredded and properly recycled. Do you have any duplicate files or one too many files for a particular project or item? Consolidate the contents of files where you can to save space and clean up your filing system.

Tackle clutter in the rooms of your home.

An easy way to figure out what constitutes clutter in a room is simply what doesn’t belong or doesn’t add value to a particular room. It could also be anything that is an eyesore, or that makes you grit your teeth or turn your eyes the other way when you come across it! Take a look at the different rooms of your home. What doesn’t belong? What items should be processed and taken care of? Common household clutter includes items such as unopened mail, junk mail, old magazines, books, receipts, bags filled with recycling materials and the like.

Dust off daily routines.

Is your daily routine cluttered? That is, is there an easier way to do something in your daily routine or is there actual physical clutter that hinders or blocks you from actually physically doing something? Maybe there’s a simpler or easier way to get to work instead of your normal route? Could you clean up that pile of junk at the foot of your bed that you always trip over on your way to the dresser or closet? Take a minute or two to think about what tiny changes you could make in your daily routine to make things a little bit easier for yourself.

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Give your computer a cleanse.

Clutter can appear in many different forms on your computer. Consider clearing out files from your desktop screen (file items or delete them), cleaning out or emptying your computer’s trash or recycle bin, defragmenting your drive, or getting rid of applications and programs you no longer use. Finish things off by wiping down your computer’s screen and keyboard with an appropriate computer cleansing solution and cloth to clear off dirt and germs.

Reassess your commitments to friends, family and coworkers.

Overpromising your time is one way to clutter up your schedule. If you can’t truly commit to appointments, you are creating unnecessary havoc in your calendar and chaos in your life. Clear out mental clutter by removing yourself from commitments, appointments and meetings you know you can’t possibly keep. Take care to be more conscious in future as to how you offer your time and energy to friends, family and coworkers. Remember, a cluttered and chaotic mind helps no one!

Overhaul your information intake systems.

Pop-quiz: how many RSS feeds do you follow? What about all of your email and magazine subscriptions? How many people, businesses and organizations do you follow on social media? Chances are you probably have lots of information coming at you from different angles over the course of a single day. Unsubscribe from RSS feeds you haven’t touched in weeks, email subscriptions you don’t read and be choosy about who you follow, friend and like on social media channels.

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Declutter your car.

Your car is a busy place: you bring things in and out of it, leave things in it…basically stuff tends to pile up over time. Grab a trash bag and a small box and head over to your car. Be sure to get to clear out these areas: the glove compartment, trunk, driver side console, front passenger console and the backseat. Trash any junk and clutter you find. Use the small box to collect and transport items you need to bring into the house or office.

Where does clutter seem to accumulate the most in your life? What plans do you have to tackle it? Leave a comment below.

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Rashelle Isip

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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