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Become A Clean Person This Year In 10 Steps

Become A Clean Person This Year In 10 Steps

If you are struggling to become a clean person and keeping yourself and your space in order this year, here are 10 ways to make a clean break from your old habits and become a cleaner, more organized person in 2014. Many things may affect your personal cleanliness and home, but you do not have to let it. Your mess does not own you, you own your mess.

1. Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health.

If you noticed that you abandoned cleaning or keeping up with yourself in the past year, you may choose to ask yourself if depression, fatigue, health issues, too many obligations or low self-esteem were at play. If so, you may wish to enlist the help of a loved one, confidant or trusted guide or therapist and reflect on your thinking patterns or life changes that may have affected you deeply in the previous year. Cleaning your mind is one of the first steps you can take to a more organized year and to become a clean person. You will find great empowerment in a little soul cleansing. Sometimes, we are not even aware of the impact of a certain experience on ourselves, until long after. To become a clean person, you have to take into consideration that your inside environment may be affecting what is going on around you and could be acting as a barrier.

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2. Write Down Three Cleaning Goals Every Day and Do Them.

If you are facing piles of papers, boxes, trinkets, toys, unopened mail and clothes strewn about, you may feel overwhelmed. It may seem easy to just walk away and ignore the mess until it gets bigger again and even more overwhelming.  Don’t let an already out of control mess get worse.  Take it on slowly, one step at a time.  Make a point to sit down everyday with your calendar or notepad and write a list of three things that you would like to attend to.  The list is only for you to see, so don’t feel obligated to show anyone else. Your list might include things like throwing away unused magazines, mopping the kitchen floor, clipping your toenails, organizing your purse or wallet. At the end of each day, you can take pride in having completed your tasks and if you’re up to it, add on two or more to the list.  Slow and steady wins the race and before you know it, you’re once daunting mess, will become smaller and more manageable.

3. Start Small.

Small gestures toward your goal to become a clean person are what leads to success. As the Sufis and Buddha say; “Each drop of water makes an ocean.” These simple efforts will go a long way in re-establishing your patterns and intentions for the new year. Each step is in its own way, a journey to better understanding yourself. Your small act of cleanliness might simply be taking a deep zen breath and getting in a good shower or bath, doing your laundry, washing your car, dusting your bookshelf, wiping down your computer keyboard or hanging up your clothes. As you build your cleaning prowess, you may graduate to tackling one room at a time.

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4. Decide What Products you Need to Help you Clean.

Take a look at your list of goals and see what sorts of products you will need to purchase, if you don’t already have them. You may realize you need silver cleaning cloths so you can clean your favorite time piece and organize your jewelry box, garment bags or more hangers for your closet. You may not figure out what you need until you are in the midst of cleaning.  Write them down as you go along so you’ll know what to buy the next time you go to the store.

5. Keep a Small Stock of Basic Cleaning and Grooming Needs.

Now that you have a sense of what you will need to become a clean person, you can make a small investment in keeping your items organized and in place.  Make a list of the items you need for yourself and your home and stock up at the store.  Or save some money by swapping with friends or family, check out free-cycle type community pages online where others can share and give away what they are not using or needing and you can return the favor to them, especially as you uncover all sorts of items that may have been sitting around, unused.

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6. Approach Each Task with Curiosity.

Try to remove self-judgement and stay present in your activity. Do not beat yourself up for the mess of unfolded towels or dirty dishes. Treat each activity like therapy. It’s something that’s helping you relax and allowing you to contemplate new ways to make use of the things you have. You may wish to even turn on some calming music as you clean or organize. Cleaning is a great time to think and act in silence. A mantra to encourage your desire to become a clean person, may bring you comfort, too. Whether you are cleaning yourself, your home or the dishes, it is all an act of appreciation for your little sliver of the world. Do not be surprised if you are suddenly inspired and struck with brand new ideas to approach other aspects of your life.

7. Learn to See Things for What They Are: Things.

It is very easy to accumulate a significant amount of things due to attachment and romantic thoughts associated with each piece. As you aim to become a clean person this year, you will want to assess whether the things you have are serving you positively or weighing you down emotionally. It may be affecting your productivity, ability to start a new project, or keep up with basic house chores and personal grooming. Some of your treasures inspire and uplift you.  Keep the things you cherish and display them in your home.  But also be aware of items you’re attached to simply because they’ve always been in your life or you think you ‘might need it someday.’  This type of thinking and attachment to things can create a mountain of unusable goods that just sits around and collects dust.  Learning to let go of your stuff will lead to a really profound emotional freedom within you and you’ll soon learn that you don’t need ‘things’ to make you happy.

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8. Make a Small Pile of What you Want to Keep and Let Go of the Rest.

As you go through your list of cleaning goals, you will want to pay close attention to the items you are cleaning, using, organizing and putting in order. Are there dried roses, dirty pillow cases, a weird foot massaging contraption you never used, or out of date make up? Make a few piles of those items that need to retire to the bottom of the recycling/trash bin or be donated.  This may seem harder than it is but once you remove judgement, attachment and expectation, you will find that minimizing your possessions will allow you more time and space to get creative and clean.

9. Give Yourself Time.

When starting on your cleaning goals, allow yourself enough time so you do not feel overwhelmed and rushed. If you start to feel so, stop and take inventory of what you want to do and what your time will realistically allow at that moment in your quest to become a clean person. You may want to start an alarm, if you have other pressing matters you need to attend to afterwards. Or you can set a timer to see how long certain tasks will take you, so you can better plan and schedule them throughout your week and develop them as routines. You may only get to one of the three and put off the other two for later on in the day, or another day all together, and put in its place another task that will take less of your time. That is okay. Your mere intention and action are half the battle. In the end, you can still relish in the fact that you took action and completed something. Do not feel you must accomplish everything at once.

10. Always, always make your bed. (And floss!)

Studies continue to show that those who make their bed daily are happier, feel more energized, clear-headed and able to focus better. A simple routine of making your bed can inject something positive into your day so include this in your daily routine.  Making your bed is not only for the benefit of a cleaner, more organized space but it’s also a good gift to yourself as you become a clean person, creating an inviting space for you to return to after a long day. A great book on creating lasting habits is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Like flossing, you will feel the difference immediately when you make your bed. And you will save money and time that might go to constantly replacing ill-cared for bed sheets or dental visits!

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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