Recently I was reading an organisation book and one particular statement jumped off of the page at me … the piles that gather about our homes and workplaces stem from a time management issue.
I use to think it was because we didn’t have a place for our stuff or that we didn’t put it away when we were done.
Does the saying “ A place for everything and everything in it’s place” come to mind? Me too. It seems so much easier to say than it is to do. Or is it?
As I read this statement about our piles of papers and stuff being a time management issue, I was intrigued.
Now I had to stop and think a little deeper about why we have piles of stuff about our homes and work spaces, and I had to agree.
It wasn’t because those things didn’t have a home, although sometimes that may be true. We have piles of stuff because we haven’t taken the TIME to create a space or system to deal with them.
Our clutter is really a time management issue. So what’ the big deal about clutter?
Maybe you’re a lot like me. Having piles of papers, laundry, messages, mail and all manner of unfinished business in our homes and workspace drains your energy.
There’s no doubt about it, clutter has a negative effect on us.
Researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that a cluttered environment competes for our attention affecting our ability to focus resulting in a decrease of productivity and increase in stress.
While UCLA Centre on Everyday Lives of Families researchers found mother’s stress hormones were elevated when dealing with the volume of their possessions. One thing that struck me in this article was that even though people had more, they were living less.
Clutter overloads your senses, affecting your ability to think creatively and making you feel stressed. And I would add that it hinders you from living + enjoying the life you long to live.
When our family use to do our house cleaning chores together on Saturdays, I called it “snap back Saturday”. Because it was the day that everything went back in it’s place. (We’ve since moved home cleaning jobs to Friday because it works better for our lifestyle.)
By having “snap back Saturdays” I could overlook the mess of learning and earning together through the week knowing that Saturday it would all returned to it’s home.
It was good for the easy, surface stuff that we used in our everyday life, . But what about the things that can’t be tidied up and put away so quickly each week?
I confess, I have one of those piles. For me it’s my accounts.
I love it when my book work is up to date but doing it doesn’t light me up. And that’s probably because I know it’s going to be quite the chore to get things in order because I’ve left it for too long. Needless to say It’s not the first, or the last thing, I want to do when it’s time to work.
I use to have clients that required me to keep my accounts up to date each week, at worst monthly. When my work changed I discovered that it’s been a constant struggle to get them done and stay up to date.
These are the piles of clutter that hold you back, zap your energy and stop you from living a life of freedom and peace. It keeps you from experiencing more joy in what you do each day.
So to solve my problem of not having my accounts in order I’ve scheduled a set period of time into my weekly routine to do the work and take care of business to have the result I want, accounts that are always up to date.
I’m addressing my account clutter by managing my time. By giving myself the time I need to do what needs to be done I eliminate the clutter, gain peace of mind and make more space for joy in my day. No longer will I dread the task because I will have created a system and given time to doing my accounts.
It’ll take me a little time to achieve that goal but I know by establishing the habit of weekly book work time I’ll have the result I want, to always know the state of my business finances and have a whole lot less stress about it.
And it doesn’t have to take you a huge amount of time or stop you from doing what you need to do today. You don’t need any special organising tools.
By taking these steps you can begin to increase your productivity and reduce your stress.
How do you start clearing the clutter?
1. Collect : Make a list
Look around your home and workspace, including your computer, and make a list of the kinds of unfinished business that surrounds you.
Do you have :
- paperwork to file
- laundry to put away
- dishes to do
- invoices to send out
- book work to update
- messages to reply to
- bills to pay
- mail to sort
- items you no longer use
- downloads to file
- articles to read
- training to complete
- books to read or return
2. Reflect : Journal your findings
Take a moment to reflect about how it makes you feel about your space and how it impacts what you need to do today. Do these things represent who you want to be or who you were?
Write about it on your journal to capture those thoughts and feelings. This helps to define why it’s important to you. And it fuels you to #takeAction and achieve your goal of living a life without clutter.
3. Connect : Make a plan
Now have a look over your list and see which tasks can be delegated or systemised. Maybe it’s time to :
- involve your children with the laundry
- create a kitchen roster to share the cooking and cleaning up
- hire a house cleaner
- pay to have the yard maintained
- hire an assistance in your business
- invest in a book keeper
Talk about these items at your next family meeting. Strategise together to find solutions that work for you and your family.
Finally, schedule time in your calendar to #takeAction :
- unsubscribe from emails and physical mail that no longer serves you
- file your paperwork and digital downloads
- clean up your desktop
- delete old messages
- donate things that you no longer use
- do the laundry, including the ironing, and watch your favourite show while you do it, this is about finding more joy too!
Grab your business + life housekeeping checklist below to keep the clutter away.
Whether you create a “snap back Saturday” of your own or some other system or habit, you can make the change to avoid piles of clutter gathering around your home and work space.
You can be the kind of person that does what’s needed to have the result you want.