by Sam at Management 3.0
When we think of clutter we think of physical objects. A book shelf with too many books on it, or stacks of newspapers, we haven’t thrown out, souvenirs we bought on trips that seemed like a good idea at the time. We notice that it takes space in our house or apartment and some of us go through it and others don’t mind it.
At Management 3.0 we say, let you do you, however, we also want to advise that there’s more than just physical clutter to be aware of and too much clutter can impede our live, our happiness and productivity. There’s mental clutter, digital clutter and emotional clutter, to name a few and when we have too much clutter, we can become immobilized and it can take time to get things done.
So in this blog we’re going to give you a few tips on how to reduce four kinds of clutter.
#1: Reducing physical clutter: Even if you’re not a minimalist, it’s good to go through your stuff every now and then and clear things out, even if it’s just to make room for more. Take an afternoon and survey each room, cupboard and drawer and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need this?
- Did I even know I had it?
- Did I miss it?
If you didn’t miss something and didn’t even know that you had it, and don’t need it, then you can get rid of it. There are sentimental attachments that are hard to lose, but with technology sometimes you can turn things into digital memories instead of physical ones. For example, I used to take photos and develop them every year, which meant I had at least 50 photo albums sitting on a shelf. I didn’t want to get rid of them, but I also couldn’t keep them all. So I kept a handful that I loved and then took photos of the photos and saved that in the cloud and in a folder on my computer. That solution might not be for everyone, but there are ways to reduce the clutter and keep the memories.
#2: Reducing mental clutter: The busier we are and the more we do, the more mental clutter we accrue. Mental clutter can overwhelm us and often prohibit us from moving ahead on tasks, be it work or personal endeavours and the more we gather the more paralyzed we feel and it becomes a vicious cycle. The best way to reduce mental clutter is to get whatever is in your head, out of your head. How do you do that? By writing it down! If it stays in your head it just swirls around, causing anxiety that you’re not getting enough done, or wondering when you’ll get it done. Get it out of there and into a place where you know you’ll look at it and take charge of it. The more space we have in our minds and the more clear headed we are, the more productive and successful we’ll be.
#3: Reducing emotional clutter: This can show up in several ways such as having negative patterns and beliefs you don’t even realize you’re carrying. It can be a mix of self limiting beliefs, imposter syndrome or un-dealt with relationship baggage, friends, romantic or otherwise. If you’re in a fight with someone that’s lasted a long time, are feeling resentment towards someone or feel like there’s a weight on you that hasn’t been dealt with, then this can manifest as emotional clutter. Like mental clutter it can be paralyzing, reduce productivity and overall happiness. The best way to deal with emotional clutter is to identify it, name it and then deal with it, all aspects of emotional intelligence. Deal with it, doesn’t mean you have to solve it, it can be as simple as acknowledging the issue and realizing that there is nothing you can or want to do about it. The problem stems from when we try to push it away and that’s when it becomes ‘clutter’ and festers. We won’t always have it all figured out, but the key is understanding that.
#4: Reducing digital clutter: Yes, this is a thing and it’s becoming more and more of an issue as we move into a paperless world. Are your folders in your computer labeled or do you have documents all over the place and every time you see your desktop you want to cringe? Decluttering our digital lives is as important as doing it in our physical lives. When our devices are overloaded with apps we don’t use, or our documents are in places that we can’t find, it makes it hard to work and unappealing to open those electronics. Just like your house, take an afternoon and go through your computer and phone. Erase apps you don’t use, make sure your files are in order, at least in a way that you can find things easily and refer to them. Not only does digital clutter take up space and slow down your devices, it takes up mental space and slows down your ability to work.
What types of clutter are in your life and how do you deal with them? Let us know below in the comments or contact us.