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Why pandemic stress breeds clutter—and how to break the cycle

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/08/why-coronavirus-stress-breeds-clutter-how-to-break-cycle/

nationalgeographic.com

Why pandemic stress breeds clutter—and how to break the cycle
Cluttered workspaces increase levels of stress and anxiety, which in turn make people more disorganized.

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Clutter increases stress

Clutter increases stress

"Cleanliness is next to godliness," theologian John Wesley said in a sermon.

When we see clutter, we can't think of anything else until it is dealt with. This feeling...

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A mess is a mark of creativity

  • Lawrence J. Peter famously asked, "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
  • Albert Einstein had a messy desk, ...

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Your divided attention

Many people are not good at processing clutter. It can become overwhelming and make our brains do more work to complete tasks.

The more stimuli we receive, the more the brain has to filter ...

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Mind over clutter

Organized, comfortable areas that feel inviting make for more productive environments than chaotic and messy ones.

If cleaning up is difficult, one can implement a strategy of mindfulness. ...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Reduce the stress of clutter

  • Apply constraints and stick to them: to tabs open in your browser, notebooks, magazines etc.
  • Use small storage spaces: Less room means less room for clutter.
  • Set time aside to clean, sort, and discard every single month.
  • Clean your desktop at the end of every workday so to-do items don’t linger and you’ve got a clean slate to start with the next day.

Find places that inspire you

You might not be in a position to choose your workspace, but there are quick fixes: look for a spot with natural light from a window or skylight, take a walk outside when you feel stuck, or simply explore a new location. 

A new environment can quite literally lead to new ideas.

Task association

It's when your brain knows that when you’re in a certain place, you’re taking a certain action.

Take advantage of the way different locations affect you. Our brains love habits, and if we can associate certain qualities with different places, it can help us get into a better working flow. 

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Time

Clutter drains you of your time. If you live in a cluttered place, you will spend extra time looking for lost items: keys, money, shoes, tools, etc. 

And even when you’re looking right at the lost item, it becomes difficult to see when surrounded by clutter.

Money

  • When you don’t have financial papers organized, bills can get lost, causing you to accrue fees for being late with the payments.
  • Replacing lost items and buying duplicates of those we didn’t realize we already had can carry a cost that adds up quickly.

Stress

Examples of stress clutter can cause:

  • Having guests over becomes an embarrassment or an event that takes all-day preparation.
  • Each room carries visual reminders of all the work that needs to be done in the way of cleaning.
  • According to the principles of feng shui, clutter drains you of your positive energy.

Clean up your workspaces

End the workday by taking a minute to tidy your desk, save everything you’re working on, and close of all your tabs and windows. Make sure your work app notifications are automatically snoozed outside of work hours.
A physical and digital declutter will help your future self start the next morning focused and distraction-free.

Review your "to-done’s"

Boost your mood and motivation by taking the time to review your completed tasks at the end of each day.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay motivated and build momentum at work is to celebrate your progress.

The procrastination “doom loop”

Confront the things you’ve been putting off. If you keep putting things off, you'll feel guilty and that makes you want to avoid them even more. You will get stuck in the “doom loop” of anxiety and avoidance.
Break this loop by identifying the tasks that you’ve been avoiding, break them down into smaller tasks and schedule the next step for the following day.