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Stop your Clutter from Killing your Creativity (The steps you need to do)

Stop your Clutter from Killing your Creativity (The steps you need to do)

A disorganized work space is an antagonist; a strong enemy. It stops you from doing your art. Clutter pushes you to stall. A desk in disarray is a time and energy snatcher. So, now that you know what it is, really, you need to devise a way to kick it out of your life. Specifically, your work life.

Let’s study clutter deeply and thoroughly. Everything; a pen, paper, your phone, your audio speakers, your sticky notes  — all are stimulants  —  whether you like it or not. When you look at them your brain recognizes each one even if you’re not consciously thinking of them. Once your eyes glance at them they have an imprint on your gray matter. Analyzing it now, every bit of them is registered in your brain. All occupy space in your human hard drive. Your supercomputer (the one located between your ears) treats every one of them as data. Simply put, the clutter on your desk is also clutter in your brain. (But that’s just one aspect of clutter).

Like your PC, your brain slows down when it has too much data. That’s the reason decluttering gives your brain space to play on. When you do your art i.e. write, compose music, design, draw, paint, whatever you do, you’ll function much better if your brain has a space to move around. The free space boosts its cells to function much better and more efficiently. Making way for it to pump up creative juices needed to manufacture art.

Step #1. Clear up your brain.

If you have a long list of activities, you have to start accomplishing some of them or else you’ll be slowed down by the thought that you have not accomplished them. However, there are items in your list that can be treated as not urgent. These can be left alone for a while, but you have to do something about the ones that are urgent. Something to accomplish them pronto!

Reason behind: After you have accomplished them, you’ll find that your mind will be more free to create. If they are left undone, they clog the brain like fat clogging the heart.

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Step#2. Remove distractions.

Turn off the TV. Shut the radio off. If you really want to focus on just writing, kill the Internet as well. Just open one window on your PC, and do just one thing — write. Multitasking is a big creativity killer.

Step #3. Tidy up.

When Patsy Clairmont began her career as a writer and speaker, she picked an unexpected route. She did not research, she did not free write, she did not drink a cup of coffee, or went walking for 20 minutes. Everyone was surprised with what she did: she washed the dishes.

I can see that big question mark written all over your face. What’s really my point? She has a message for the world and she wants to put it out, but when she was about to start working on the message, she felt a strong nudge to start differently. She got out of bed and started tidying up her place.

In other terms, she cleaned up her clutter, and this very act positioned her to live more creatively. You and I should do the same. Delivering your message to the world doesn’t start on the world stage, it starts from the home front. From your closet, your office space, your desk. Eradicate all the mess there and make room for creation.

Step #4. Apply the principle: Less is More

Simplify things and achieve more. When doing your art, or any work you do for that matter, always remember to make sure you just focus on the essentials and cut off the fluff. Once you will apply this principle in your life you will create more. Talking about this belief of making more with less, I encourage you to check Leo Babauta’s book “The Power of Less”.

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Here are three takeaways from Leo Babauta’s book:

  1. In simplicity is power — choose the essential and eliminate the rest.
  2. Start with small habit changes and take baby steps.
  3. Do one thing at a time to increase your effectiveness.

Don’t take a bite you can’t chew. Stop being greedy. Accept only the assignments that you can handle well. If you take too much work, in the end, you will suffer the consequences. To really be effective, take one step at a time. Study the load that is just right for your capabilities and sanity; accept only this.

Step #5 Journal.

It’s a famous option because it works. Journaling issues which are bothering you sashays you in reorganizing your thoughts. Whether it’s your upcoming meeting, your personal life, or the struggles you are currently facing, scribbling your problems will help you produce new strategies, angles, and answers. Everything clears up when you write them down on a piece of paper, or encoded on a screen.

Write down everything you need to accomplish each day and do them, one at a time, no matter what.

Unavoidable clutter

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No matter what you do, there will always be unavoidable clutter in your work and life in general. This makes it hard to focus on just one task. Based on the findings of researchers at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute, the brain has a limit when it comes to processing info. So, if you can’t manage your workspace and workload properly (when it’s disorganized and overwhelming) it can bring down your overall performance. Your attention is pulled in different directions, so at its worst, it can drag you away from your art.

6. Organize your storage system.

The destination for your go-to objects is significant, but the most used items should only be the ones allowed in your work station. (This is to minimize things in your work area). Remember less is more.

Regarding your most used tools, accessibility is the name of the game. They should be located within arms length. Example: in the top most drawers of your desk, or on a shelf very close to you. With just one step, you can reach for them anytime you need to. Not so important items, on the other hand, should be filed away and must not appear at work on a daily basis.

Example: your PC must reside on top of your desk, but your writing manual (whatever you use) should only enter the scene during writing and editing sessions.

7. Begin putting out clutter-free messages.

Find a way to set restrictions in your work. This will ignite creativity.

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Sources:

Clutter Is Killing Your Creativity (And What to Do About It) by Jeff Goins

Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process information by Erin Donald

Your Messy Desk is Hurting Your Writing Career. Here’s How to Declutter by Marcy Mckay

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: dorsia via Compfight cc via compfight.com

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Anthony Dejolde

TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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