I lost count of the number of times I heard my Mum and Grandma say,
“Everything has a place and if you put it there you will get more done.”
Most of the time, I was too busy to pay attention and follow their advice because I could always find what I needed.
Sometimes, I’d get so overwhelmed that I’d realise that the clutter was causing me to procrastinate… and not even do things I really enjoyed. About then I would sort things out, put things where they were most useful and ready-to-hand and suddenly find that my mind was clear and I was ready to take the next step.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo and “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, if not, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:
- Pull everything out of your cupboards, drawers, etc
- Throw out everything you don’t need and love (if relevant acknowledge its past contribution to your life)
- Put the things you are keeping away where they belong and are easily accessible
- Feel instantly lighter and happier
That’s great stuff!
She’s missed the key point: when you unclutter your STUFF, you are not only able to get more done, you are MOTIVATED to do it.
It works for tasks, emotions, responsibilities and many other areas of life as well!
“I just don’t feel motivated to do…”
Last Monday, I walked into my office and felt instantly overwhelmed by all the things I had to do. In that moment my motivation plummetted to zero and I was ready to procrastinate… unproductively.
Realising that I was going to waste a lot of time and energy fighting for motivation, I decided to procrastinate productively and spend 30 minutes organising myself so I set a timer.
30 minutes later, my space was ready for action with essential items ordered and close at hand, lots of stuff in the bin and my mind was also ready for action.
That simple task of clearing, organising, removing, and setting aside things from my physical space also cleared my mental space and magically eliminated my overwhelm.
This strategy works best with items that are visible and can actually be completed, or at least completed to a definite degree. Your email inbox is a terrible place to start because no matter how effectively you clear it out, there is always new stuff filling it up.
This is also why it’s best to break your larger projects down into manageable pieces so that you can physically tick off the item.