For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with organization. My mom loves telling the story about how when I was 4-years-yold I used to take all of the folded clothes out of my drawers, unfold them, then refold them for fun (I was a cool kid, I know). But there is just something about an uncluttered living space that I find so calming.
As I got older this carried into other areas of my life, such as my inability to have unread messages/emails on my phone or random things lying around the house – even a piece of paper laying on the side is too much for me ha! It immediately makes me feel scatter-brained, which I have now learned is totally normal and I’m not actually just weird…okay maybe a little bit weird 😉
When Neuroscientists at Princeton University looked at task performance in organized vs disorganized environments, they found that: “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.”
Now you may just be thinking about this as a work-related problem. However, I believe a cluttered environment (physical or mental) can also carry determine how motivated you are for things like exercising and healthy eating. The more you unclutter your life, the more you will be able to focus your attention where you need to, rather than feeling a chicken with your head cut off all the time.
So below I’ve outlined 5 tips to help you declutter your life and hopefully as a result, rev up your motivation:
- Tidy up your space – Where is the bulk of your clutter? Maybe it’s in your home, at your office, or even on your phone (emails). Heck, maybe it’s all three! If that’s the case, simply choose one to start with and begin the process of clearing out. If you are finding things you haven’t used in years, chances are you don’t need it. Be diligent with yourself, eliminate what you don’t need, and find an organized storage space to keep the things you do.
- Give up the telly/phone scrolling – Do you spend a lot of your time staring at a screen? Maybe it’s watching crappy TV shows or mindlessly scrolling through your phone for the 600th time that day. When we do this it can diminish our ability to think clearly and creatively. If you’re struggling with productivity, try giving your mind a bit of space to actually unwind and think for itself.
- Get outdoors – As a society we spend loads of time on our backsides indoors, usually doing the things listed above, which doesn’t leave much time for fresh air or exercise. Try making the time for a walk each day, even a small one, to reap the benefits of lower cortisol levels, increased endorphins, and a clearer head as you enjoy the outdoors. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, even a 10 minute break from your desk to walk outside can do wonders for productivity. Try leaving your phone behind if you can, yes that means no music, audiobooks or podcasts. Remember, we’re trying to give our brains a break!
- Journal – Write it out! One trick I’ve found can help, especially when you can’t sleep, is to jot down all of the things on your mind just to get them out there. It doesn’t have to be wordy, even bullet point journaling can work. Put your thoughts on paper, clear your mind of them. This may help you to see where your focus needs to be as well. If you feel like you have SO much to do you don’t even know where to begin, write it all down and prioritize it on paper. If you’re struggling emotionally, try getting your feelings out on paper, some people find this extremely therapeutic.
- CHILL OUT – Finally, this is me officially giving you permission to do absolutely NOTHING. Put your feet up, run a hot bath, take a nap, meditate. Whatever floats your boat, just relax. Let your mind completely just switch off, stop multitasking, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Now don’t let this list overwhelm you. If you feel like you could benefit from all of them and don’t know where to even start, just pick one of the tips to implement and focus on that one for now. If you try to make too many changes at once you may end up feeling totally overwhelmed and just decide to do none of them instead. Don’t let that happen!
Pick one, get working on it, and see how it positively impacts the rest of your life 🙂