The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Emily R. at My Love For Words.
If you’re anything like me, you’re sick and tired of being surrounded by clutter. You’ve read books, tried different systems, and organizational products, but your house, without fail, always seems to end up just as it started… a mess.
Well I’m going to share a little secret with you; I think I’ve found the solution for how to organize your entire life by doing one thing. It may not be the be all end all solution for clutter, but it definitely can’t hurt.
I’m starting to think that the reason I’ve tried so many solutions and nothing has really worked long term is because I haven’t organized where it all begins, my mind.
I’m a homeschooling mom of four, and I run two businesses from home. I frequently feel overwhelmed and short on time. I feel like I have a million things to do and very little of it ever gets done. It can be really demoralizing.
However, I think with systems in place to organize my mind I could end up achieving a lot more. These are the steps I’m taking to organize everything in my life by doing one thing, organizing my mind.
Proper Care and Maintenance
The most important things we can do for our minds is to care for them properly. Adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise can only help to boost our thinking and keep us as clear and sharp as possible. Mind puzzles like sudoku or crossword puzzles are also a good idea as they help to keep our brains on their toes. (Yes, brains have toes!) :)
It may not be the prettiest sounding term, but a brain dump is a great strategy for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When your mind is racing and you’re having trouble concentrating try writing everything that comes to mind down on a piece of paper. Getting everything out of your head and on paper can be a huge stress reliever and make things feel more manageable. From here, you can sort your thoughts into categories and tackle the most important things first.
Walking away from projects or interactions when we’re feeling overwhelmed can help us clear our heads and think more clearly when we return to work. This is something I frequently do while writing. When writer’s block strikes, I know no amount of staring at my computer screen will help so I force myself to take breaks. Having a change of scenery and focus can make a huge difference in making me feel refreshed and inspired, and I usually end up racing back to my computer with the words flowing.
Creating and sticking to routines, and thereby eliminating choices, can make a big difference in how productive we are during the day. Many famous and successful people have created an almost uniform-like wardrobe so as to eliminate the number of decisions they have to make in one day. The theory is that when we have to make too many decisions we develop decision fatigue, exhaustion from decision making. The fear is that by making a bunch of small decisions, we aren’t able to focus on the big decisions when they arise.
Decision fatigue can be eliminated by doing simple things like choosing to always eat the same (or one of a few) breakfasts, wear the same clothes, put our keys in the same place, or always doing certain things at a specific time. The point is simply to make a choice once so you can focus on other choices going forward.
As much as possible, we need to focus on one task at a time and limit distractions. This means we also have to stop multitasking! According to this Forbes article, “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.” We can’t expect our brains to work efficiently if they’re constantly overloaded and being pulled in multiple directions. By focusing on one task at a time, we’re able to do better work more efficiently.
I think that by following these steps and creating an organized mind we’ll be much more able to handle the chaos within our homes. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and upset that our homes don’t look as we wish they did, we’ll know that each task has already been assigned a certain time during which it will be taken care of. If we feel overwhelmed while decluttering we can take breaks, change our focus, and rest.
I’ll be testing this theory over the next few months so I hope to have great results to share soon, but I’d love to hear what you think. Do you think an organized home begins with an organized mind?
Emily is a wife and stay-at-home mom to her four children. She’s currently sharing the good, bad, and ugly in her journey to creating an organized and decluttered home on her blog My Love for Words. She also shares recipes, crafts, home decor ideas, and thoughts on life and motherhood. When she isn’t blogging, she can be found reading, cooking, or homeschooling her kids.