“Get rid of the clutter and you just might find that it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for.”
~ Katrina Mayer
Clear the clutter, clear your mind! If you want to do your best work, you can’t let clutter distract your efforts. And, these days it comes in two varieties; the physical clutter all around us, and the mental clutter from too much device-noise. This week take time for a physical decluttering of your work space, and a mental decluttering of your device notifications and other digital distractions. Both eat up energy and clog precious bandwidth that stop you from being truly productive.
Watch the video below to learn how that happens, and what you can do about it… or read the transcript that follows
Hey, Michelle Cederberg here talking about clutter, two kinds of clutter in fact. I spent most of Sunday afternoon clearing the physical clutter in my pantry in my kitchen, and some of the cupboards in my kitchen that were so jam-packed full of stuff, I couldn’t tell what was in there. All of a sudden I’ve got space in my cupboards, which also interestingly enough led to space in my mind. I felt clearer, I felt more focused. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like a good tidy to help you feel better. Maybe Marie Kondo is onto something? Well, it made me think about our work environment and the types of clutter that we have around us every single day that impact our productivity. If you take a look at your desk around you, that’s the first key area that you need to pay attention to. All of the things that catch the corner of your eye, the papers that you’ve got there, the tabs you’ve got open on your screen, all of those things are going to distract you from your key projects.
Our Prefrontal Cortex, the lovely part of our brain right behind the forehead is all about organizing, sorting, and prioritizing. And, it’s also about blocking out distractions. If you’ve got too much stuff around you that is distracting your eye away from your work, your brain has to use energy to block it out, and then you get tired, and then you get less productive. We expend extra energy blocking out distractions while also trying to focus on the task in front of us. You would do well to clear the space around you especially when you’ve got important projects to work on.
The second kind of clutter is what I’ll call mental or digital clutter if you will. The noises coming from your phone, the beeps, the push notifications, somebody sends you a text message, the popups from your email or the noises that any of your devices make to say, “Stop whatever you’re doing and pay attention to ME.” Well, that’s a distraction that’s going to be even tougher to ‘declutter’ because our digital devices have this capacity to draw us in.
In fact, they’re designed to draw us in using the same neural pathways as gambling and addiction. So, once you’re in there, you’re going to be scrolling and liking and checking things out, and time will pass. If you want to do your best work, you need to have a clear environment around your desk, but you also need to turn off those notifications, because every time you get distracted away from the task at hand, it can take upwards of 20 to 25 minutes to regain that pre-distraction focus. You’re not going to do your best work under those circumstances. So, take a look at your physical environment, clear away the stuff you’re not working on, close the tabs on your computer that you’re not working on, and try and create a little bit of visual and mental free space to allow you to focus.
Turn off the notifications on your freaking device, do it and keep them off. Make sure that your popups on your email are also turned off. All of those distractions will stop you from doing your best work. I’ll say it again, physical clutter, mental distractions and clutter … clear it all away for a productive week that helps you work better with more focus. My name is Michelle Cederberg reminding you, you got one chance to do this life. I say Dare to Live it Big and dare to do it with less clutter and fewer distractions. You got this!
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