I run my business out of my house, so I’m in that space all the time. And while I do a pretty good job of keeping it clean, earlier this year I started to feel like I was drowning in stuff.
I didn’t realize it until I stumbled onto the topic of minimalism, and I started binge-watching videos on YouTube. When I saw the level of simplicity that others had achieved, I became inspired to reach for a new level (and simultaneously annoyed with all the clutter in our home).
Years ago, before she was a Netflix darling, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I found a lot of joy cleaning out my closets (really, I did!). They stayed sparse for a while, then life got crazy, and I got distracted, and they filled up again. Hard to find joy when you’re trying to stuff things in so the closet door will close.
One day this summer I had just seen a great speaker and was looking forward to putting some of that inspiration into my next presentation. I walked upstairs towards my home office, ready to get to work. But as I opened the door, I was instantly distracted by piles of stuff that were there reminding me of all these little tasks that hadn’t been done.
My inspiration evaporated as I started to flip through the piles, searching for that last physical form that needed to be filled out for the girl’s summer camp, moving papers from here to there not really knowing what to do with them.
And I realized that all the stuff was holding me back. It’s not just me, research shows that having lots of stuff around can be really distracting, and once distracted it can take us 25 minutes to get back on task. Think about what that does to your productivity if you’re distracted over and over.
This was also an important step in gaining control of my life as a single work-at-home mom. I realized that the clutter and disorganization were making me feel out of control generally, and I was ready to reclaim the house as a sanctuary and productive environment.
Improve Your Focus
For me, getting control of the stuff was also a way to focus on what was most important. Once I cleared the physical distractions, I could start to clear mental distractions as well. I was better able to focus on the changes I wanted to make on my business as I felt less overwhelmed by clutter.
The new year is a great time to clear off your desks, check off some to-dos and start fresh for 2020. See if you can get rid of some stuff to make space for what’s important. You can also take this opportunity to gift experiences and time, rather than stuff, to help the people that you love keep space in their own lives for what’s important to them.
Although I am definitely still an amateur minimalist, I am looking forward to starting 2020 with a clean(er) slate.