Clear the Clutter

It is interesting how you can actually feel clutter building up around you. You can feel it there even when you are trying to ignore it, just like trying to ignore a pet waiting to be taken on a walk. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to devote your full attention to a task or project until you deal with the problem: clear out the clutter.

Clutter can be in your home, office, and even your mind. Ciara Conlon at reminds us that “Clutter is stagnant energy and by removing it from your life you will free up time and space for the more important things in life.” The idea of wasting your time thinking about the stuff piling up around you is discouraging. When you are striving for increased productivity, you don’t want to be wasting energy on things that don’t matter.

Free your mind

The Getting Things Done approach to productivity helps you control the clutter in your mind. It’s a system to organize your thoughts and eliminate the extra stuff floating around your consciousness. By clearing your mind, you will be able to improve your focus and get more done. Implementing a system such as GTD to deal with all your stuff as it comes in can help you become a clutter-free person.

The important part of finding a system that works for you is maintaining that system. It’s easy to deal with clutter in a binge-and-purge manner; you just wait till you have energy, tackle the enormous job of getting everything organized, and then wait for the stuff to pile up again. The problem with this method is that you only have a few days at a time where you are in control, thus you still spend too much energy worrying about the clutter in your mind.

No place like a clutter-free home

Your house should be a place where you can be comfortable and inspired. However, if you’ve had a stressful day or if you’re short on time, it is likely that you’ll first let go of your cleaning habits at home. Suddenly you have a messy, cluttered house and you don’t have the time to do a deep clean. If you develop a system in your home to deal with clutter each day, you won’t have the chance to be overwhelmed by stuff.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits strongly believes in de-cluttering our lives. He suggests, “Create clean-as-you-go habits. These take seconds, and if you do them, you don’t need to do a lot of cleaning later.” Developing these habits seems like a challenge, but you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to clean your house a little each day rather than waiting for the time to do everything at once. Plus, when you maintain these de-cluttering habits, your home will be clean more often than not. The boost in productivity you’ll receive from living in a generally clean house will be inspirational.

Office Space

Your office is generally the scene of the most productive part of your day. We talked about doing a thorough clearing out of your office as a New Year’s Resolution. In order to maintain a smaller space, you really only need a few minutes each day. I clean off my desk at the end of the day so that in the morning, I only get out the tools I will need during that day. As I’m writing, I don’t want to be too easily distracted by clutter around me, so the tools on my desk are minimal. You may have another system that works for you; as long as you take the time to clear out the clutter from your office, your technique is up to you.

What benefits have you seen from clearing out the clutter in your life?

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