Everybody’s reorganizing their thoughts and possessions these days… from setting priorities to clearing out closets. It’s proven to reduce daily stress levels, which will make you more productive and self-confident!
There are now books, magazine articles and television shows dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest time- and space-management tips – as well as serving up entertaining, thought-provoking reminders on the peace and happiness a little clean-up can bring.
Those who are well organized actually get more done, because there’s less confusion in their lives. How many times have you lost your keys on your desktop, in your tote bag or on your dresser – and stressed out about being late… yet again?
Or perhaps you just ran out of time to run an errand on the way home – or on the say to work – because you had to take the time to dump out your whole bag and then repack it, or sift through your work space before you could lock up and get your car started. The organized are just less likely to lose or forget things, because their world runs more smoothly.
So take some tips from those often-mocked more-organized folk, and see if surmounting the minutiae of life doesn’t grant you more balance and peace.
A word from the wise
People may joke with those who are “anal-retentive” (that is, the super-organized… who often have a predilection for making lists and compartmentalizing objects), but it does keep their stress levels down. Some people are natural list makers. Once they complete a task on their daily lists (to contact someone, or maybe to complete a chore or begin a work project) they highlight it in, say, pink. A page full of pink means a lot has gotten accomplished, and they can breathe more easily. Others keep two calendars- a personal one, plus one for work – so they don’t have to keep all those events in their heads.
Let it go
Such organizational tendencies can carry over into other areas as well. There’s a Chinese expression about monkeys swinging from vines. It refers to those sleepless nights when your mind races from one thought to the next, like a monkey going from vine to vine. The best route to a better night’s sleep? Make a list of all the thoughts that are running through your mind. Once they are written down on paper, they are halfway to being accomplished – because now you can visualize them. Plus, you’re not going to forget about that dentist appointment, or about pinning your boss down to talk about that great idea of yours – because you’ve already written it down. It’ll be waiting for you in the morning, so now you can shut your mind off and rest.
Clutter of the mind is stressful, but so is the physical clutter of your home or office. Is your desktop clean and simple? Your computer, your phone, pen/pencil holder, in and out file, notepad, and – if you must – that awesome picture from your skiing holiday in Banff last winter represent a comfortable amount of clutter. Anything else is probably taking up too much room, and causing you unnecessary stress.
In your home, take a cue from Martha Stewart, whose organizing skills gave her the time to bake gorgeous pies – and build a business empire. She may not be quite as hip as you are, but she is organized! Assign drawers or cubbies for specific items, just like the Queen of Clean. You can even attach labels to them. Use multi-functional items, such as ottomans that have storage space inside to hide board games or blankets. You’ll have less clutter, and fewer lost or misplaced items, because everything will have its place.
Now we come to the best idea of all for reducing your stress with organizational skills: Go through your home and remove anything that you don’t use any more or have outgrown. Give it to friends, donate it to charity or hold a garage sale. You can wind up with more money in your pockets, less clutter in your home and a smile on your face after accomplishing this task. Furthermore, someone else might benefit from your generosity, so you’ll have scored some karmic points as well.
Let’s face it: There are some of us who are more Oscar Madison than Felix Unger. For you, clutter is a way of life, but adopting a more Felix-like outlook will help you psychologically. Try the above techniques, and see how they make you feel. If you respond well to this change, then assess your mental and physical clutter level once a month. Has your list-making and chore-assigning eased you into more of a mental comfort zone?
Or, conversely, are paper piles growing like stalagmites on your desk and in corners? With a few self reminders, it won’t take you long to put them where they belong – because you’re already much more organized… and you’ll feel much better for it.
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