Is your desk a wreck? Mine usually is! Most of us spend so much of our lives at our desks, they seem to become the gathering place for all the bits and bobs of daily life. Does all this clutter stress you out? It might, even if you don't realize it. One of my dearest wishes is to be able to clean my desk one day, and then miraculously keep it clean!
The amount of clutter at some arbitrary point A is the "critical mass of clutter." At this level of messiness, you to start losing bills or feel like you can't quickly clean up when it becomes distracting to the work at hand. In other words, going from pristine to a causes you some stress level of C, but getting to the slightly messier B suddenly doubles the stress to D.
The next step of this progression is where it starts impacting other areas in your life. Were you late for family dinner at your parent's place because you couldn't find the car keys? Or did you decide not to have friends over because you had this huge embarrassing mess and not enough time to deal with it? These are all stressors, and something none of us need in our lives is more stress!
In order to combat the mess and the stress, Tsai offers two tips:
1. Maintenance Mondays
Set a reminder on Monday afternoon every week to stop and de-clutter. Maybe that de-cluttering isn't just cleaning off your desktop, maybe it can stretch to include those 15 emails you've been putting off responding too, or sorting and filing away the files in your Dropbox or Downloads folder. We're all busy, and setting aside time for tasks like this can seem super-hard, but it's also super-necessary to a happy life.
2. Adopt your own "One Minute Rule"
If you walk into the house wearing a coat, what typically happens next? In my house, it's often the case that said coat gets dumped onto the back of the couch, even though we have to walk past the coat closet to get there. This leads to cats sleeping (and shedding) on coats, and in the end, more laundry. And seriously, who out there can remember the last time they washed outerwear? This pattern leads to not just clutter, but additional work down the line. So, we're adopting the One Minute Rule in my home, to cover this, and a multitude of other situations.
The rule is simple: if something takes a minute or less to complete, do it now. That means hanging up the coat when you take it off and filing a receipt you pull out of your pocket.
The whole goal here is simplicity. Simplify your life, increase your happiness. It works, we all know it does, it's just that pesky application of a structure to simplify things that gets most of us all hung up. Try these two tips in your life and let us know how they work!
*graphic from Lifehacker