Something in my peripheral vision kept drawing my attention. I stared at the blank screen and struggled to clear my mind so I could think of words to type. But the clutter in the corner wouldn’t stop calling my name. “Anita, you need to take care of me. I’m not going to let you go until you address me. You can’t ignore me, I’m not going away.”
Exasperated, I put my laptop down, picked up the magazines, folded the afghan, stowed the shoes neatly in my husband’s side of the closet, and straightened the television and X-Box remotes. Some of the items were not the result of my own messiness, however, the magnetism of their disorder caused distractions from the work I needed to do. How long did it take for me to tackle the project? All of ten minutes.
For me, a cluttered environment means a cluttered mind, and keeps me from thinking clearly.
But all clutter doesn’t look the same.
Yes, our homes can suffer from chaos, but so can our finances, our relationships, and our work. And if we aren’t careful, chaos and clutter can prevent productivity when we need to get something done.
Do you ever feel like you’re moving in slow-motion, though you desire to get more done? And yet, can’t figure out why?
Reducing clutter might help. But how?
- If it’s physical clutter in the home, delaying a clean-up may actually cost you time in the end. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish when we invest a few minutes to straightening the messes around us.
- Start cleaning financial chaos by creating a budget. I’m currently working on a simple budget form that will be available on my new website. Depending on your pay periods, you can choose between a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly format.
- Relational clutter is a common problem. Emotional problems weigh on us and suck the energy we need to get other things done. Go to the person you have an issue with, or who has an issue with you. You know when it’s happening. There’s a palpable tension in the air. I find that simply talking it out enables me to vent the pent-up emotions, allows the other person to share their side, and often, I find I assumed much more into the situation than factually existed. The release of all that pressure frees me to produce good work.
- Chaos at work is often the result of broken processes. If a pet peeve is nipping at your brain, then ask yourself if there is a process problem. Is there another way to get the job done? Maybe a simple point-of-view difference is all it takes to come up with a creative solution.
The day I struggled with my cluttered corner taught me an invaluable lesson. In ten minutes, I addressed the situation head-on, cleaned up the mess, and immediately sat down to a highly productive day. I was free to focus on the task at hand.
Had I allowed the disorganized environment around me to continue, at best I would have muddled and pushed to get a little bit done. At worst, my brain would have shut down completely.
Thomas Edison must have known the same principle, because his office was kept in immaculate order. His creative genius expands the boundaries of imagination. His example is one I want to follow.
A clean house releases a creative mind. At least that’s the way it is in my world.
Does clutter keep you from producing your best? How do you reduce chaos?
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV)
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Specialist, Certified Team Training Facilitator, Marketing Specialist, national speaker, and author. She lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.
She’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy marriage, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences.