“When home feels out of control, no matter what the reason, unsettledness and anxiety can seep in, and then the chaos becomes internal as well as external.” —Myquillyn Smith
2020 will go down in history as the year of being at home.
It’s also the year where corporate wear got ditched in favour of active wear, (those elasticised waists have been a life saver for me – just saying) Zoom meetings became the norm, and working, schooling, eating and parenting generally took place from the home mission control – the kitchen table.
Unfortunately though, a by product of this working, schooling and living at home is that many people have found themselves overrun with clutter. For a few, their home is on the slippery slop to becoming a new episode on “Hoarders.” For most people however, the clutter creep is more insidious, with various “hot spots” appearing throughout the home.
Being a 6 year homeschooling veteran from back in the day when my children were high school aged and literally travelling the world with their sports – I learned that you need to not sweat the small stuff when it comes to clutter. If your child is in the midst of a large project that has taken over half of your dining table, of course you are not going to scoop it up and toss to one side. However, if the materials used to create that project are still there long after the project has been handed in – well sister, we have a problem.
I’ve written a lot over the years about clutter and the need to simplify our lives, (you can read some those articles HERE , HERE and HERE ) and I even devoted one of the hacks to the topic in my best selling book 21 Hacks to ROCK your Life! Clutter has the ability to cause sensory overload, which directly leads to overwhelm and procrastination – not at all the state you want to be in if you are desiring to live a purposeful and abundant life.
What is interesting though, is that your physical clutter is often a manifestation of your mental clutter – and vice versa. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, but actively clearing your physical space really does help your mental state. For some folks though, their mental clutter is so overwhelming that they can’t even bring themselves to pick up that first object, let alone ask if it sparks joy a la Marie Kondo.
Hence, I always recommend that any decluttering process starts with the mind. Read on for 3 easy hacks that you can implement right away, to help you to start clearing the clutter in your mind….
* Please note – this content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your mental health.
Hack #1 Begin with the end in mind. The very first hack that I share in my book 21 Hacks to ROCK your Life! is the power of visualisation. It’s not a “woo-woo” thing, but very much a practise rooted in scientific evidence, as visualisation stimulates your brain to form new neural pathways. By picturing the simplified, streamlined life that you WANT to live, and doing so for at least for 5 minutes at a time, 3 times a day, you will have a far greater likelihood of actually achieving it. Picturing clearly the goal that you want, as well as strengthening that image by asking yourself how you feel, means that you will know exactly what you are aiming for and what it will feel like to get there. This will be a powerful motivator for down the track when you are knee deep in the midst of your de-cluttering process and feeling like giving up.
Hack #2 Unsubscribe, turn off and tune out! Our brain absorbs literally thousands of pieces of information each hour, as it processes what we are taking in via all of our senses. Unfortunately though, overwhelm can easily occur when that information load increases so much that your internal filter can’t keep up. While there is so much information that we have no control over – feeling hot or cold, feeling itchy, feeling tired etc, there is also plenty of information that we can control and learning to do so will make a HUGE difference to the amount of clutter in your mind! Now while I hope that you won’t delete my newsletter, I do recommend that you filter your inbox every time that you open it. I systematically unsubscribe every week from newsletters that I might have loved a few years ago, but don’t relate to now. If I leave them in my inbox, the very sight of them adds to my mental stress as being yet another thing that wants my attention. Likewise, I am very selective about what I watch on TV these days. Too much watching of the news and I find my thinking turning negative with worry, and I struggle to get on with what I should be doing. These days I will spend 5 minutes catching up on the news online, then that is it. Watching TV news means being bombarded with opinions that add to your mental chatter as you try to make sense of them. Finally, choosing to tune out to drama – be that online or in real life – will do wonders for reducing the clutter in your mind. I consciously avoid political debates online for this very reason and as I get older, I have learned more and more the importance of staying in my own lane. The more I look at what others are doing, the more that my own mental chatter cranks up with negative self talk and I lose focus and momentum.
Hack #3 Stop Multi-tasking! This is another hack that I write about in my 21 Hacks book, as stopping this habit has the ability to really boost your productivity. We tend to pride ourselves on multi-tasking – throwing in a load of laundry while talking to a client on the phone, or texting and messaging while writing a proposal. Every time that you break your focus by changing to another task however, causes your brain to change direction meaning that it can take a few minutes to click back into gear. If you keep doing this repeatedly, checking every single time that you get a notification from your email or whatever social media platform you are on, you will not only lose valuable time, but you will also feel scrambled, overwhelmed and be wondering why you can’t focus. Try adopting work techniques such as the Pomodoro Method, or batching your work so that you are working on the one task for a designated period of time. As well, turn off ALL notifications, so that when you are working, you are fully focussed on the one task in front of you.
So there you have it, 3 hacks to help de-clutter your mind. They are all easy to implement in the moment, but the real effect will be felt over time. Hence, I am challenging you to make a promise to yourself to put them into action for the next 10 days. Let me know how you go! Once you pass the 10 day mark, you will be well on your way to establishing them as daily habits, and I can almost completely guarantee that you will find yourself feeling less stressed, more focused and more productive – and who doesn’t want to feel like that?
PS: Want a kick start to simplifying your life, by cutting the clutter so you can feel less stress? Grab my FREE workbook, 10 Hacks to Simplify your Life HERE!
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