I read something many years ago that said “a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind.” And the more I thought about that sentiment, the more it rang true. On the one hand, I’m a “piler.” I have piles of stuff everywhere. But I know exactly where everything is. And when you make me put it away, it’s like I can’t think. It’s a mess.
But as I thought about “cluttered desk, cluttered mind” and as my life and my schedule got more and more cluttered and more and more uncontrollable, I found myself in need of clear spaces. Clear physical space and clear mental space. Places where I could breathe.
Think about the time you decided to clean out your garage or the junk drawer or your closet. When you opened said space, there was so much stuff you didn’t know where to begin. And you probably said, “where did all this stuff come from?” or something similar. As you stood there looking, you were probably in an active debate with yourself about whether to just go ahead and get started or put it off…again. We find ourselves faced with too much “stuff” we can become paralyzed by the volume. We can’t move because we can’t seem to find a “quick start button.”
This same thing happens when our minds and work spaces are cluttered. Instead of being able to focus on the task or tasks at hand, we are overwhelmed by the sheer mountain of stuff in front of us. We fail to prioritize well because we can’t “see” everything clearly. Our responses are slower or less tactful. Our quality and completion rates suffer. Our frustration grows.
Now think about how you feel when you walk into a place that is clean an open. Perhaps there is a reason that we started moving to open floor plans and lofts in our living spaces. Those high ceilings and big windows allow in light and air making us feel calmer. The open space gives opportunity to both sit in solitude and connect with others. When we have space to breathe, we have space to think and create.
So, your task, as we wind down this year and prepare ourselves for a fabulous 2019, is declutter. What can you move out of your spaces to give you room to breathe and create? What projects can you reschedule or cancel to take them off your plate? Where can you create time and space to give yourself some space to focus on your goals and priorities? In that space you will be surprised what you are able to do!
That’s The Rutledge Perspective for this week. What are your best mental and physical decluttering techniques? We could all use a few more life hacks to get us over the hump! Leave your suggestions in the comments.