Updated: May 11
Are you struggling to stay on task during the day amid a constant array of interruptions? Is the chaos causing your desk (and life) to get cluttered? You may be asking, "So, what?" Well, that rat's nest of an office has a cost. It costs you time, productivity, and even mental well-being. Based on psychological studies, your disorganization, unfinished projects, and piles of to-dos may be contributing to your excess weight gain, heightened stress levels, and diminished creative thinking. It's time to take charge and get the clutter under control.
4 Steps to a More Organized Life
Create a designated work space free from clutter.
Whether you work at home or in an office, a clutter-free space is a productive space. If you work remotely, creating a designated area is even more crucial. There should be a distinct boundary between your work space and personal space. Remove anything from your desk that may distract you. Make sure you have quick access to the things you use daily, but eliminate (or tuck away) any non-essentials. Feeling overwhelmed? Start with one small area and clean it daily for 30 minutes (junk drawer, I'm talking to you!). Then, move on to other parts of your desk or office until completely clutter-free. Once clean, create a schedule to maintain your newly organized space.
Tackle your tasks.
You don't have to color-coordinate your folders or alphabetize your documents (unless you want to)! But, it is important to stay organized. Keep a checklist of your daily tasks, and prioritize them by urgency or deadline. I like to use a planner. Writing things down helps me to stay on top of my responsibilities and better see the things I need to do. It also allows me to minimize any impractical expectations. If I see that I have 20 tasks crammed into one day, I will reorganize my schedule to allow it to flow into the next day or two so that I am not making unreasonable demands on myself. You can also use your smart device or digital planning software, if you prefer, so you can set reminders for tasks. The key is to use what works for you. And, don't forget to allow flexibility for the unanticipated happenings of life. Some projects may take longer than expected, and that's okay. I like to work on my most challenging tasks at the beginning of my day when I have more bandwidth to deal with them.
Ditch the digital junk.
Have a mountain of emails? It's time to get rid of the digital clutter! Many of us waste too much time sorting through our inbox. Like the rest of you, I'm guilty of subscribing to dozens of interesting e-magazines. But, if you don't actually read them, they aren't serving you. Unsubscribe from marketing emails or newsletters that make you unhappy or that you don't find useful. And, be sure to check your SPAM folder periodically to make sure that important correspondence you actually care about isn't ending up there.
Embrace meditation and sound therapy.
Is your life hectic? Need a little white noise to drown out a chatty cubicle partner or to silence that pesky owl that insists on hooting until 3:00 a.m.? There's an app for that! I never used to feel the need for meditation. I was a goal-getter who worked in the hustle and bustle of newsrooms and successfully managed high-levels of stress for extended periods of time. But, a panic attack or two puts things in perspective. Now, I don't try to go it alone. Guided meditation has worked wonders to help lull my hyperactive brain to sleep. I also really enjoy being able to create my own sound mix of relaxing melodies. And, I think you will, too. So, check out your mobile app store. There are many free and low-cost meditation and sound apps that provide great value.