The next time you are feeling frazzled and inefficient, try this experiment: stop what you are doing and spend an hour cleaning and organizing your house or workspace.
If you do, you’ll probably notice two things. The first is that it’s pretty hard to stop cleaning once you’ve started – it is deeply therapeutic and brings out an all-or-nothing mentality in us. The second is that, when you do go back to your other work, it’s suddenly easier to focus.
There are reasons for this, and they’re deeply tied to success. Let’s look at the rationale behind the organization-success relationship.
In Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk wrote that “The things you own end up owning you.” Nihilistic existentialism aside, there’s a lot to this quote. Everything in your life – your possessions, commitments, relationships, interests – occupies space in your mental hard drive.
When our lives aren’t organized, these things are in a constant state of motion. Our brains are keeping a subconscious track of where the keys are. Where our birth certificate is located. The dishes that need to be washed. That oil change on Friday morning. Meeting up with a coworker for lunch to discuss a project.
When they’re not tidy and compartmentalized, each one of these things occupies a chunk of our mental bandwidth. Successful people stay organized so they can devote all their bandwidth to the task at hand, without less tidy parts of their lives lurking on the sidelines to distract them.
This gets to the core of why going on a cleaning spree can help you focus on getting a project completed. After you’ve cleaned and organized, your mind isn’t busy keeping track of things. When you write everything down and keep a calendar, you’re not constantly reminding yourself of what needs to be done so that you don’t forget. You are completely available for what’s in front of you.
Being organized is the foundation of your capabilities. When the foundation is weak, everything else starts to crumble. That’s why it may be advisable, even though it sounds strange, to start working on your big business idea by cleaning your garage or deleting unused files on your desktop.
Here are some great ways to begin organizing your life:
1. Keep track of everything in a calendar.
2. Keep a list, adding to-do’s and crossing them off when complete.
3. Establish a routine.
4. Get professional help when it’s needed.
5. Exercise and practice self-care.
6. Keep your home and workplace tidy.
Follow these tips to enjoy increased productivity, a happier mindset, and a greater set-up for success.