Simi Nwogugu of Brooklyn, New York, felt that her life was filled with
clutter. Her drawers were filled with old notes and books from business school
and years of paid bills. Toys that her sons had outgrown still littered the
house. In fact, she felt so mentally cluttered that she couldn’t do the one
thing she wanted: write.
To get out from under the clutter, the founder of HOD Consulting rented an
expensive New York City office. Problem was, the clutter followed her.
Finally, she stopped trying to escape clutter and began to organize
“I know where everything is and it is so much more pleasing to work from
home. Most of all, I am writing again,” she says. Even her aching
back and shoulders feel better.
When you can’t find things, you can feel frustrated, angry, and
unproductive, says Kelli Ellis, an Orange County, Calif., design psychologist
who’s appeared on TLC’s Clean Sweep television show. “You see that
person who has papers flying out of files, or you see their handbag, and you
say, 'I know exactly what your car looks like or what your home office looks
like.'” Clutter spills over into every aspect of life.
Clutter, both mental and physical, can do a number on our productivity and
eat away at our time. Think of all the minutes we waste looking for items that
aren’t where they should be. Plus the sheer stress of a cluttered life means we
may miss deadlines, work longer hours, and lose important stuff. Clutter equals
stress. Where to start simplifying?
The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Clutter
Between a zillion to-dos, work and family life, errant worries, and
obligations, it’s no wonder you have a cluttered mind. Start by learning to let
“To be truly happy, sometimes you must eliminate unhealthy people and
situations from your life,” says Alex Lluch, author of Secrets to Love Life
and Be Happy. For instance, if you feel stuck in a dead-end job, resolve to
make a change.
Or if there’s someone in your life who constantly brings you down with a
negative attitude, find a way to disentangle yourself. “It may take some
courage to eliminate this stuff from your life, but you will feel much more
fulfilled once you are able to concentrate on the people and things that do
make you happy.”
Lluch advocates clean sweeping your thoughts with a hot bath, a meditation
practice, a long walk, a phone call to a friend -- whatever works for you.
Spend at least 15 minutes a day in a pursuit that allows you to decompress,
clear your mind, and rid your thoughts of the mental chitchat that clouds your
creativity, passion, and productivity.