A cluttered workspace is a real energy thief when you are trying to work. In this article I will give you tips on how to declutter your workspace as well as your mind.
1. Declutter your desk
The first thing you want to do is to entirely clear out your desk from every item. Piles of paper, sticky notes, pens lying around. These things steal energy from you since the clutter constantly reminds you that you have to tidy up. It gets into your subconscious if you see it everyday. Everything that reaches you through your senses gets into your subconscious mind, so you do want to have control of what you let in there. If you want to declutter your life, start with the place where you spend a lot of time everyday.
When you have cleared out your desk entirely, continue with sorting out the items. Unsorted piles of paper can be a time and energy thief. Take the time you need to file the ones you need to keep, and toss out the rest. Don’t have a single paper on your desk. Then start to rearrange the things you do want to keep, but make it nice and tidy. Only keep items that represent good things and gives you good vibes.
2. Personalize your workspace
Photos of your children or other family members can remind you of all the joy you have in your life. But only if you get energy from the pictures. You don’t want to have pictures that remind you of a holiday where you didn’t get along that well. In that case, every time you look at the picture you build the memory of something that is wrong, and your energy will drop. If you have photos at your desk, choose ones that give you 100% good memories when you look at them. You want to feed your subconscious with good vibes all the time. Do you have a personal symbol you want to place near your work space? Maybe a souvenir from a trip or a piece of art to hang on the wall. If you keep a symbol near your workspace it will remind you of the positive things that this item represents. See tip #5.
3. Declutter your inbox and aim for inbox zero
This was me a time ago: I would open up an e-mail, read it, and then either answer it right away or save it for later. But I left it there right in my inbox, drowning with all the other emails that I would deal with later! Then when I would start on the task, I would have to dig into my inbox to find the mail I was looking for, open it again, and then, hopefully, accomplish the task. Or I would answer the email and then leave it in my inbox to slowly die, cluttering up the inbox even more.
So here is what I did: I finally scheduled a long email-decluttering session once and for all, to clear out my entire inbox. Since my goal was an empty inbox, I had to create subfolders to sort items I wanted to keep into the right place. Every item in the inbox had to be placed where it belonged. From that day I have an empty inbox every day before I leave work. Everything that reaches my inbox is either dealt with immediately or scheduled to my calendar.
Start by scheduling some time every day to bulk process the items in your inbox, preferably 2-3 times a day. The ideal situation is that you leave your office everyday with a nice and clean inbox. The feeling when you declutter your inbox once and for all is amazing. It reduces the time you spend each day on checking your email to about 15-20 minutes a day. This is also a great way to put tip #10 in this article into action 🙂
4. Boost your workspace with positive energy
You spend many hours at your desk, so you might as well make that experience a pleasant one. Declutter your desk from everything that doesn’t provide you with positive feelings. Place items that you associate with positivity on your desk. Pick out art you like that says something to you.
I know many people love affirmations, but I want to suggest another way to get positivity into your subconscious mind. The reason I don’t think that affirmations work that well is the way they are designed. For example, if you want to quit smoking, you might say the affirmation: “I am a non smoker.” But if you aren’t there yet, chances are you don’t believe it 100% and what happens is that you are sending another message to your subconscious, namely “I sure wish I could believe that I am a non smoker and free from the bad habit of smoking, but I know it’s not true yet”. The message you send to your subconscious is now “I’m still a smoker and also a liar”. If it hasn’t happened yet, chances are it won’t get into your subconscious the way you want it to.
So what I suggest instead is that you just write out meaningful words that you will see every day: “wealth”, “abundance” “beauty”, “health” or anything that gets you in a positive mood. Then your mind can start to build up an image of abundance, wealth or whatever it is you want to achieve without your current situation being in the way of your intention.
5. Load your workspace with symbols
Even though it is super important to declutter your desk from items you find distracting, it can also help to add some items that mean something extra for you. It can be photos of loved ones or other things that boosts your mind to get in the right mood. Place the items where you see them all the time. They will remind you to keep a positive attitude throughout the day.
These items can work like symbols for your subconscious. Since the subconscious has a tendency to work with a symbolic language, it understands the symbol you send to it and starts to act on it immediately. Once this symbolic meaning of the item reaches your subconscious you are starting to build momentum and eventually reach the goal you are intending with the symbol.
Our brains take in information through our senses, and much of it is processed in the subconscious mind. You want to help it to process things in the best way possible. One way is to “program” your mind to recognize a certain scent and connect it to a certain project or intention that you currently hold. I have done this many times with lovely results.
Choose a scent that you only use for a certain purpose. I can give you an example. I’m currently writing a novel, and whenever I sit down to write I wear a perfume that I purchased only for these occasions. I chose the fragrance carefully so that it would match the feeling I want to pursue with the book. I only wear this scent when I write, and it sticks to the brain.
This works well with incense or flowers as well, you don’t have to buy expensive perfumes for this to work. The thing is that if you want to focus on a specific project it is a method you can try. You will be reminded of your project and the small successes that you have accomplished so far during the project.
I love to have living, healthy plants by my desk. I’m almost sure that plants reflect the mindset of their owner. You want to strive for healthy plants. Give them love, water and the nutrition they need and you will gain their trust and they will produce that healthy oxygen in return. Keeping a lot of plants on my desk helps me to set my thoughts in an abundant direction. For me, plants with rounded leaves work best since I find sharp forms a bit aggressive. Of course it’s up to you what kind of plants you prefer. There are a lot of different plants you can choose from, and all of them are you little helpers when it comes to purifying your workspace with clean and healthy oxygen.
8. Create a workflow that works for you
The best way for me to get into work flow is to set a timer to 25 minutes of active and focused work, and then take a focused 5 minutes break. I find that the five minutes help me to cleanse my mind from clutter. Create something that works for you. It doesn’t matter as long as you get your work done and get some rest in between. Your brain has to get a chance to relax and reboot so to speak. This is an important step in your decluttering process since you don’t want a shiny desk but your head filled with clutter. Just take a few minutes every half hour to breathe and be in the now to get the best result.
It doesn’t have to be more than a couple of minutes, as long as you give yourself the permission to rest and declutter your brain. You gain focus almost immediately after taking a few long, deep breaths.
9. Put on your headphones
A way to declutter your mind is to listen to some relaxing music while you work. Put on some music you like, preferably something relaxing. Even though many might argue that music is in fact quite disturbing and to get some real work done you should work in complete silence, some soothing background music won’t hurt. And that is really up to you. Some people might get disturbed by music, and some people won’t.
If you are one of those people who can’t work with music, I recommend you to try tip #8 from this list: work for 25 minutes, then put on your headphones for a 5 minute break. Listen to a guided meditation during the break. That way you can return to your work and feel both relaxed and refreshed.
10. Stop multitasking
Studies show that we are terrible at multitasking. If you really want to declutter your mind, you have to start focusing on one task at a time and stop multitasking. What we really do when we think we are multitasking is that we are shift tasking, i.e. we shift between tasks all the time. And we also have a hard time to get back to what we were doing if we get interrupted all the time. Twenty five minutes is the average time it takes for us to get back to a task if we are interrupted. That is such a waste of time every day. Time you could spend on reading a book or taking a break and breathe in the fresh air.
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