You’ve thought of clearing clutter from your home as a way to free up space and make everything look a little nicer. But did you know that decluttering may make you feel more peaceful as well?
Clutter is stressful. At even moderate levels, disorganization affects every facet of life including career opportunities, family relationships, social activities, physical and mental health, and finances.
Eliminating clutter helps eliminate worries. As a result, you’re able to think more clearly and focus better. Instead of getting bogged down and confused, you have more time and stamina to devote to tasks.
“When you’re organized, motivation kicks in, so you can tackle challenges and accomplish goals,” says professional organizer Janine Adams.
Eliminating mental clutter is just as important as dealing with physical stuff. In fact, many people find doing some mental housekeeping a necessary prelude to actually cleaning house.
Sweeping Away the Cobwebs
The following tips can help you identify energy exhausters while bolstering your self-confidence.
- Polish your attitude: If you tend to dwell on the negative, learn to reinforce your good points instead. “Be grateful and remember what you want to do, be or have,” says motivational speaker Penny Tremblay. Using positive words—such as saying “I will make this work” instead of “I can’t”—recognizes your strengths and ensures an uplifting attitude.
- Fill your bucket: One way to cultivate happiness by focusing on the good in micro-moments, says psychologist Barbara Fredrickson. Fredrickson led a study that showed appreciating small moments, like the beauty outside a window or kind things people do, improves mood and help you rebound from adversity and stress.
- Clean out neglected mental business: Anger and other prickly emotions can drain energy and contaminate relationships, so it’s necessary to free yourself from past mistakes. If you need to apologize, do it. If you have hurt someone, either by words, actions or silence, ask for forgiveness.
- Lighten your load: Unfinished actions deflect energy from more useful purposes, so if there’s an undone chore or unresolved conflict that keeps nagging at you, get if off your plate. Try this: Write down what needs to be done and check off things as they are accomplished.
Ways to Manage Your Time Wisely
For many people, how they handle time can be as much as source of mental clutter as anything else. Here are five simple time management tips:
- Plan your day: ...and make it visible. Not planning each day’s activities leaves you at the mercy of whatever happens, which is a recipe for inefficiency. And don’t try to carry your plan in your head. For some people, this means using a written to-do list or a paper calendar; others are more comfortable keeping track of tasks through a cell phone app or a laptop/electronic notepad. Find what works for you and stick with it.
- Set priorities: Just because you want to check off all the items on your list doesn’t mean they all carry equal weight. Set aside time for the important tasks first—meeting a work deadline, paying your bills—and go from there.
- Break large jobs into smaller steps: One way to feel overwhelmed is to see large, complex tasks as, well, large, complex tasks. The answer is to break them up into manageable chunks and do a little each day. Let’s say you want to turn a patch of lawn into a garden, for example. Think of all the things you need to do to make that happen: Deciding what to grow, buying seeds or transplants, turning over the soil, planting, watering, mulching. Then account for each task in your daily planning.
- Don’t try to do everything (and do it perfectly): One of the most useful words is also the shortest: No. Learn to say it with conviction when people try to push their to-do lists onto you. And while it’s important to execute tasks carefully—sloppy work needs redoing, which wastes even more time—learn to discern the difference between doing a good job and nitpicking over details.
- Be flexible—and kind to yourself: Each day will bring its distractions no matter how much you plan, so don’t schedule tasks too tightly. In addition, make time for your own needs: eating lunch away from your desk, taking a walk or stretch break in the afternoon. All work and no play makes you not only dull but tired and ineffective as well.
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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.