Wednesday August 24, 2016
Are you feeling overwhelmed, unable to catch up in life and work, and unsure where the ball dropped in the first place? What if we told you that cleaning your space could realign your focus and get you back on track?
Your space is a reflection of your mind. That is never more true than peering into the back seat of your car. Your car is the personal space of personal spaces. Most people use their car as a base of operations and a collection point for their busy lives. When was the last time you took a good, long look at the back seat and the floorboards? What does it say about your schedule, your previous work, what you consider important?
Another place that becomes cluttered is our office space. As deadlines, projects, and busy schedules collide, our organization systems become inefficient. Those piles of papers that were perfectly organized become a blur as stacks slip into one another, file folders become overstuffed, and the desk is a hodge podge of family and business life.
The home is no different. Its scale, however, makes it feel like a greater burden or, in some cases, impossible to keep clean.
When things become cluttered around us, it creates a spiral of mental disorganization that further enables the mess until we wonder how in the world it got this way.
Here are some quick tips to help you get a handle on your cluttered spaces.
Take the time to sort through your car once a week. One quick tip is to put a garbage bag and two file folders (or boxes, if you have larger stuff) in your back seat. Label one "home" and the other "work". The next time you stop for gas, sort through the stuff in your back seat. What you need to keep for everyday can remain. Home and work items need to be taken there. Trash can be gathered. This might take a week or so, but get into the habit of taking the work box into work and the home box back home every day. Keep the boxes/file folders and bag in a safe place and away from children while you're driving.
Once your backseat is cleared out, take the time to get your car upholstery cleaned. It will clear the air and help maintain your car. If you schedule regular upholstery cleanings, you'll be less likely to let your car get into disarray again.
Keep only the things you use every day on your desk. A desk is not a storage solution, it's a work station. Build action stations in your work area. This works whether you have a home office or are using your dining room table. Things that are completed need to be filed away (or better yet, digitally saved and tossed/shredded unless you need the original documents). Ongoing projects need to have a designated color or label. Vacuum or sweep your floors once a week to help freshen the air around you. Don't forget your chair as well. Taking the time to wipe down, vacuum, dust, etc. the place you spend most of your work time is necessary for maintaining good hygiene and focus.
Keeping the house in order can be tough, but it doesn't have to be. Have an easy to carry container labeled for each room in the house. Once a day do a sweep of each room and toss in the things that belong elsewhere. Deliver them to the right room for storage, and half the battle is over.
Dust at least once a week to keep allergies at all-time lows. It takes up to twelve hours for any dust you missed to settle in the carpets, so make sure you vacuum the next day.
Here's a tip from the trenches: Tackle laundry and personal development with this time saving solution. Your washer and dryer will have preset times for each cycle (usually up to 1.5 hours for both). Schedule-permitting, dedicate a time block that covers at least two loads of laundry. While the first load washes, set up your ironing board, iron, hangers, etc. for the laundry's completion. While you're working on laundry, consider listening to an audiobook, a favorite podcast, or enjoying music. For the length of two loads of laundry, you would be 1/3 the way through a favorite novel, have listened to at least two podcasts, or enjoyed hours of music. If audio enjoyment isn't your thing, use your laundry time as focus time. Use it to plan your week, organize your schedule, update your family calendar, or any number of things that can be done while you wait.
Take the time to gain control of your environment and your mind will become less cluttered, your mood will lighten, and the health benefits of keeping your area clean and neat will do wonders for you.