I'm obsessed with office supplies!
I sometimes have more than 5 different pens laying on my desk that I switch between and a minimum of 7 spiral bound notebooks in front of my keyboard along with random ideas scribbled on sticky notes everywhere. I usually laugh it off, but to be honest, it's embarrassing.
Clutter is procrastination. It's a form of self-sabotage that keeps us from reaching our full potential. It's a huge distraction and is hurting your business.
I work with hundreds of clients on zoom calls. While we discuss online business strategy and website development I get to peek behind the curtains. I see who is actually selling products, what their analytics look like, how many customers they have alongside what their lives look like.
After hundreds of meetings, I started noticing that the ones who had clean desks, organized schedules and efficient routines tended to be more successful than the ones who rambled on, couldn't find their notes under piles of papers on their desk and lived in chaos.
Clutter, Chaos and Confusion
If your desk is cluttered, your thoughts are chaotic. Our eyes process everything around us. Even though we're not thinking about the 5 pens, 7 notebooks and 30 sticky notes, our eyes see everything and is dealing with it subconsciously. We don't always notice it, but it shows up in ways such as brain farts, mental fatigue and indecisiveness. They are all distractions.
Have you ever noticed some of the Uber-Successful people such as Steve Jobs who wear the same thing? In this case, jeans and a long-sleeved black t-shirt. Decision fatigue is a real thing. After making hundreds of decisions every day, our brain gets overloaded. By cutting out choices, like what to wear each day, we free up bandwidth to make more important decisions such as new business ideas.
If our lives are messy, our brain is constantly working to catalog everything. If we take a little time to clean up our mess and cut out unimportant decisions, we free up space to work more efficiently.
What to do instead
The Inconvenient Convenience
When I took on the project of clearing the clutter out of my life, I realized that everything around me was an inconvenient convenience. For example, I had a bottle of lotion on my desk for convenience if I ever needed it while working. But what happens when I'm not at my desk. Where would I look for lotion? It then turns to an inconvenience because it's not in a spot I would normally look for it.
Step 1 to decluttering is to define "spots" for everything. Just like the kitchen has a silverware drawer where we keep all the utensils, everything needs a place. If you can't find a spot, either create one or think about getting rid of the item.
Step 2 is to make a habit of putting everything back in the spot when you're finished with it. It takes a few extra seconds to put things away, but drains energy when left out and takes extra time to clean up a pile of clutter later.
Step 3 continue to optimize your systems. You may realize that you use some things more than others. Move the most-used items closer to you. For example, I keep my favorite pens in a cup next to me but the 3-hole punch that I rarely use is kept in the very back of my bottom drawer.
This sounds simple, but making the mindset shift of understanding the concept of how convenience can become an inconvenience and lead to clutter, which causes us to not perform our best can be a game-changer!
How do you deal with the clutter in your life? Share in the comments.