Productivity Tip: Attack Your Clutter Problem Head-On

declutter your life

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Is clutter bringing you down? What you may not realize is how much clutter kills your productivity.

Clutter keeps you from finding important information.

Clutter slows down your daily to-dos and chores.

Clutter even ruins your motivation due to the negative attitude it can cause.

The good news is, your clutter woes can be easily fixed. Try following these 5 simple steps for decluttering your life:

1) Choose Your Workspace

Start by identifying your most frequently used workspaces. Think for a second about the 2 or 3 primary areas where you spend the most time trying to get things done. It might be your office desk, your car, or even your kitchen sink – these are places you should focus the most energy on decluttering.

2) Take the First Step

The first step is one you can take right now. Flip open your notebook, personal planner, or planning software like Outlook and schedule a 30-minute appointment. Then, depending on the size of your workspace, schedule a similar appointment for the next few days.

What’s important here to remember: chopping your declutter time into smaller chunks keeps you from becoming overwhelmed – the likely reason your clutter grew in the first place.

3) Attack the Source

When your declutter appointment arrives, start at the most recognizable clutter source and work your way in. Think, what’s causing your clutter?

  • Is your inbox overflowing?
  • Are incomplete projects and loose ends sitting around?
  • Bills and invoices taking up space?
  • Odds and ends scattered everywhere?

When you find the cause of your clutter, you’re finding your pain point and now you can go about taking corrective action.

4) Decide and Conquer

Now take action. This is a vital step: you must make confident decisions where your decluttered objects will now go.

  • Paper piles: choose file, trash, or recycle
  • Mail: choose read, pay bill, file, trash, or recycle
  • Tools: sort by importance and establish a permanent “home” for each
  • Random items: store together less commonly used items

Expand out from the focal point of clutter and organize immediate surrounding areas. Remember: the actions you take now are the rules for where things are kept in the future.

That way, you can prevent clutter from forming again.

5) Use Fingertip Management

When decluttering, the rule of Fingertip Management is a great rule to live by. The idea here is to keep only your most important items within an arm’s reach of your workspace.

Here are some examples:

  • Desktop surface: keep only 3 pens, planner or notebook, inbox tray, keyboard and mouse – the rest can go in nearby drawers and storage cabinets
  • Bathroom vanity: prioritize storage by amount of use – only frequently used items stay on the counter top (the average person uses a toothbrush less than 5 minutes per day… does it need to sit out?)
  • Kitchen / workshop: keep your main tools and supplies at hand, keep others in bins sorted by project or task type

Start Decluttering Today

Take a stand on your clutter this week. Start by scheduling some time-saving, clutter-killing appointments today.

Did you like this article on decluttering?

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[photo credit: net_efekt via photopin cc]