Get rid of the things you don’t need to achieve a less stressful, more organized life.
You probably know about the many natural, healthy ways to de-stress: there’s meditation, yoga, conscious breathing or a walk outside, to name a few. However, it doesn’t matter how many “ohms” you chant a day or how many yoga classes you attend each week – if you come home to a messy house, or a cluttered computer desktop, your brain will automatically go into stress mode.
“The brain is constantly scanning the environment,” according to Dr Heidi Hanna, CEO of Synergy and author of Stressaholic and the SHARP Solution. “When we have chaotic surroundings or a fragmented mindset, the brain can perceive this as a sign that there is more demand for energy than our current capacity, which triggers the stress response.”
When you de-clutter your external environment, you de-clutter your internal environment – just take it from Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the best-selling book about how organizing your home will organize your life. So how do you tackle the ever-foreboding organization issue? We’ve provided a few ways to seamlessly become more organized at home, with the help of some organization experts.
1. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need
It’s no wonder we’re stressed in the new millennium – an endless supply of apps, social media and websites are too much for our brains. The answer? Purge what you don’t need. Ari Meisel, entrepreneur, organization guru and founder of Less Doing, More Living, only has three programs on his computer: Google Chrome, Skype and Dropbox. He says by minimizing what’s on his computer, it runs faster and smoother, and he can seamlessly sign on to any other computer to access all of his information.
“I suggest people look at areas of clutter in their lives—their inbox, their junk drawer, and their filing cabinets…to set artificially restrictive limits,” he says. Another culprit is having too much screen time. Setting a strict time window, such as before 9 a.m. or after 10 p.m. to be device-free will give you the quiet time you need without all of the online noise.
2. Carve Out Time to List Your Priorities
“Being organized helps with a sense of control,” Meisel says. One thing we can do within our control is to set a dedicated amount of time every day to make lists, prioritize and check-in. Either before you go to bed at night or when you wake up in the morning, set a timer to cue when organizing time ends and action time begins.
“Allow yourself smaller sprints of time to organize throughout the day, such as 10 to 25 minutes for every two hours of productive time. Figure out what timing works best for you,” Hanna says. Oftentimes, we have trouble falling asleep because we’re ruminating about the 25 things we forgot to do that day or have to do the next day. Having a strict time to put those priorities on paper will help physically remove them from our minds, so we don’t have to worry about them.
3. Go Paperless
Save both the planet and your sanity by going paperless. With practically everything online nowadays, there’s no need for stacks of mail, bills and receipts when you can do it online. Apps, such as Genius Scan, will help you eliminate paper by scanning receipts, bills and documents you may need later, and allow you to share all of your paperwork to the cloud. Having one designated place for all of your documents – on your computer – will allow you to save time, so you’re not searching in piles of paper.
In an age where we’re overstimulated by technology and clutter, and our to-do lists are out of control, it’s essential to do everything in your power to reduce, re-organize and de-stress.