I have a confession to make. I am a closet hoarder. I have too much stuff. I think most of us do. I have not escaped my poor student/artist mindset. I have always had the habit of saving and storing things that might be useful later, might come in handy, that seem like they are good value if free and a bargain not to be missed. Therein lies the problem. The poorer people are, the more stuff they seem to have.
“Stuff” has become a lot cheaper, but our attitudes have not changed. Quite simply, we overvalue stuff!
I recently worked with a client who felt like he needed to be organised to get his business running. When I entered his home office I realised that clutter was really impacting on his professional persona.
Here are the Top 4 reasons the Clutter is bad for business:
- Clutter makes you waste time looking for things.
When you need that document, scissors or business card, a desk or drawer that is cluttered can render them invisible. And in the process of a search, you can be distracted by the things that you find on your quest. Paper is one of the top clutter items in the office. Go paperless!. Scan your papers and then back them up. If you must store paper, have a system (other than piling) to store them in an organized manner. Digital files are easier to search by words, names and content.
- Clutter consumes your energy.
Things are energy. You consume energy moving them. They consume your emotional energy. In Paul Graham’s essay about having too much stuff (www.unclutterer.com) he says:
And unless you’re extremely organized, a house full of stuff can be very depressing. A cluttered room saps one’s spirits. One reason, obviously, is that there’s less room for people in a room full of stuff. But there’s more going on than that. I think humans constantly scan their environment to build a mental model of what’s around them. And the harder a scene is to parse, the less energy you have left for conscious thoughts. A cluttered room is literally exhausting.”
- Clutter is a constant and visual reminder of all the things you haven’t done or still have to do.
Rather than using a developed technique of prioritising or organising this can be distracting and exhausting. Piles do not equal productivity. “Someday maybe” should not be in your visual space. You may say, “I know exactly where everything is.” But, what you are really saying is, “I don’t have the discipline to put things away.”
- Clutter makes you the slave not the leader.
Think about what your space says about you? Are you all over the place? Are you overwhelmed? Are you putting off some things? Are you putting out fires rather than seeing the bigger picture? If your working day ends at 5:00pm then make it end at 4:45pm. Use those last 15 minutes to clear your space ready for the working day and setting a list of things to do. Put away work that is completed.
Email or call us if you’d like some strategies that help you take control of your time and your office environment.
So until then, be kind to yourself, take time for yourself.