The true workoholic knows the importance of de-cluttering. Be it the workspace or your mental space, one cannot deny the amount of trash that can accumulate in our environments, all of which can bring down your productivity and affect your overall capacity to work and live efficiently. The mind has to go through a variety of stresses on a daily basis, and finding calm in the chaos of everyday life is challenging, but essential. Mental calm and peace is directly linked to our productivity at work. Your well-being is not just what you eat or drink, but also what and how you think. De-cluttering your mind and workspace is about elimination. It’s about finding what needs to be there and deserves attention over what one can do without. This is easier said than done when it comes to your mind. But if you feel you forget things a lot lately, can’t seem to make decisions or feel confused in your personal life, you need to clear your mind and work environment. Here’s how you can start:
When decluttering your workspace, it’s important to clear out everything, and then start filling in the space again with the stuff you need. But even here, you have to start small. The task of cleaning a desk or even an entire work room can be daunting and prone to procrastination, but if you start small, you’ll get it done. If it’s a desk you’re cleaning start with the main work area on top. Then progress to the drawers and other file cabinets. It helps to mark things as Junk, Important or Confused. Throw the junk immediately, keep the important stuff and then go through the third category and decide.
A very similar pattern can be followed when trying to sort out yourself mentally. The simplest and smallest bit you can start with is to breathe. Learn to relax and focus on your breathing. It helps to keep your mind off thinking for a while and calms you. Helps a lot if you can keep the rhythm going for when you start working again.
Write Things Down
This is particularly essential for mental decluttering. Your mind is going through a lot of complicated thoughts and feelings, causing you to feel out of place and confused. In this scenario, the best thing to do is just write down all those thoughts. Try and incorporate as much detail as possible. This doesn’t have to be on a notebook, in a proper list format. Take any piece of paper visible and just write. The benefit of being articulate in your writing will be that you’ll not only let everything out, but perhaps may also find a solution in the very description of the problem.
In your work environment, try and keep one notepad for your scribblings. The maximum amount of junk that comes out in cleaning is paper. Reduce this wastage while working by keeping all your notes in one place. It’ll only make it easier for you to find it later as well.
Your thoughts and things are equals
While trying to declutter, be it your mind or workspace, remember that viewing something as important even before starting will result in you dismissing the need to possibly clear it out too. For eg. After having a look at your desk, you automatically presume that the huge desktop you have is obviously important and doesn’t need to be cleared. But maybe, it is the one causing too much clutter on your desk? Perhaps it’s time to invest in a laptop and make life simpler?
Same goes for when you’re trying to decide what needs to be on your mental priority list. Your best friend’s problems are obviously important, but are they? When trying to sort out your mind, it is important to keep in view the fact that no matter how close you are to a person, their life is not your first priority.
Map out your space consciously
Once you’ve removed everything out from your workspace, before you put all the important things back, map it out. Make a mental picture of what goes where. This will not only make the process faster, it will also help you analyze how you can conserve the space and organize intelligently. Decluttering is a process that involves intelligent elimination. If you’re able to eliminate things without worry, you’re doing it right. Keep this as a basic rule for when dealing with confusing thoughts. Elimination is the key before mental order. Find what is needed in the immediate present and keep it in your conscious. You can deal with the rest as and when they come. Identify the essential by writing things down and cross out the non-essential things. Try and see what can fit into which aspect of your life. It will help you identify the resources you have to deal with it as well.
Know that physical and mental clutter go together
You can’t keep your workspace decluttered for too long if you’re mentally confused. Similarly, if you try to think clear while surrounded by visual clutter, your thoughts will automatically tend to worry about the clutter subconsciously, and even tend to internalize the clutter into your thoughts. Realize that neither can function too long in the presence of the other. Keep your space clear physically and see how it affects your thinking. Keep your mental space clear and you’ll automatically do things in the physical work in a more organized way.