Getting rid of items you no longer need and organizing papers and knick-knacks can significantly reduce stress and enhance productivity. Find out how to streamline this often-daunting task with these decluttering tips.
We all have those drawers, tables, and closets filled with items we may not use every single day but simply can’t bear to part with. Or maybe your office clutter is less material and more digital with stacks of unread reports, inboxes rife with emails, and voicemails that remain unreturned.
Whether or not you realize it, clutter can take a toll on more than just the aesthetics of your office. The superfluous stuff may even begin to mock you emotionally.
Staring at clutter or simply having it quietly exist in the background can cause anxiety, depression, and unnecessary stress—not to mention hamper your ability to work productively. When you can’t find the items you need to take care of your to-do list, that’s when the problems begin to arise.
The good news is that you can take back control. A few simple decluttering practices can help get your space back to shipshape and boost your spirits as a result.
4 Steps to Streamline
According to Julie Holland, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, accumulating clutter is normal. It simply needs to be managed through these easy steps.
Take inspiration from John Cusack organizing his beloved record collection in the film High Fidelity. He embraces organization as a tool to get his personal life back on track, putting records in order on an autobiographical basis.
Find a similar method that inspires you and begin sorting items into three piles: things you need, those you don’t need, and the things you will use for different tasks. Place them into appropriately labeled boxes.
Toss with a plan.
Do you typically throw everything from coats to files in one specific spot where they begin to pile up? Don’t sacrifice that space. Simply find a way to organize the items appropriately. Hang up a sleek coatrack and actually use it! Or place an eye-catching file tower next to or on top of your desk to keep track of things that often get lost in the shuffle.
Shift your thinking to things you love.
Making your space more cozy, joyful and productive may be easier if you approach the purge of extra stuff by focusing on the items that bring you happiness and satisfaction. Go through items one by one and instead of thinking, “Can I do without this?” concentrate on, “Does this enhance my life in any way personally or professionally?”
This method, recommended by Marie Kondo in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, may help you embrace items that are truly beneficial to your life and allow you to finally part with things that are more of a hindrance than a help.
Keep your workspace sensible and clear.
Organize cords that are bunched behind your computer or crowding your computer keyboard. Move files that are overcrowding your work area into neat and accessible folders that are arms’ length away. Arrange everything so it makes sense in terms of flow. Place the phone by the computer and have whatever you use to take notes, whether it is paper or your computer or tablet, within reaching distance in its usual spot.
Don’t let an “I’ll take care of that later” stack begin to represent the Leaning Tower of TPS Reports. Instead, spend time at the end of each workday organizing according to what you have completed and what you will work on tomorrow so that you may begin the next day with a fresh and focused perspective.
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