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Get Unstuck: The power of an organized environment

Clutter hinders productivity, so here’s how to carve your own space


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How many times have you opened a room, closet, drawer or folder only to close it after several minutes as you say, “I’ll get to that tomorrow?” I can’t tell you how many times I opened the door to my teenager’s room only to quickly shut it after a prolonged stare-down. Procrastination comes when we give more power to the pile than to our belief that we can getter’ done.

What project continued to get pushed into the “tomorrow” folder for you these days? The piles in our life tend to get pushed under the bed, in a drawer, in a file within a file or on sticky notes. Perhaps you are a professional piler and you pile your pile on top of other piles and have a miraculous ability to remember where things are.

I myself am a recovering piler. Perhaps it’s the added bonus of being married to an incredibly organized and neat man. One of the perks from being clinically OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) happens to be his impeccable organizational skills. He knows exactly where everything is all the time. As his apprentice for over 13 years, I have slowly picked up on the power of an organized environment. Having a specific place for things actually frees up mind-space to getter’ done.

Whatever it is you desire to get done, when you have an organized space to work in, you are more likely to take an action step forward towards completion of a project at hand.

When my husband comes home from a trip the first thing he does is go to his office, clean up emails, organize his desk and folders to be prepared for another day of work. I too have picked up this habit and prepare for each client the night before. The ramification of this small shift has led to a powerful impact on business.

Studies show that clutter hinders productivity. Clean and organized workspaces offer more opportunity for a productive day. To be honest, I didn’t buy this notion at first, being that I have successfully managed my business for 18 years I thought, “I have my own system that works for me.”

However, I have seen the benefit in our household when everything gets put back where it belongs and have transferred that into my business space. My stress is considerably lower as I have freed up time to be productive rather than looking for my stuff.

For example, I know exactly where my keys are because we have a specific hook for my keys and when I’m done with them, I put them back. Seems simple enough right? Not quite, it does take focused efforts for the original clean up and organization along with some behavioral re-training around old habits. However, the end results far outweigh the energy investment.  

So, what do you do when you find yourself surrounded by disorganization or a project that seems too big to start?  Too often perfectionism walks hand in hand with procrastination. But let’s face it, not all projects have to be done perfectly. Do your best with your time and attention and release the rest.

The next time you feel the project is bigger than your time and attention, declare the mantra: carve a corner. Carving a corner means you bite off a small piece of whatever it is your desire to accomplish. If it’s organizing a room, then start with taking one corner of the desk and then another and another. If it’s organizing your files, start with files that are high priority. Chunk down your time and attention factor to doable action steps to override the thought that something is not worth doing if you can’t do it in one sitting.

When you override the thin veil of procrastination with one forward intentional action step, momentum takes over. Because of the momentum phenomenon, it’s helpful to intentionally set the amount of time you want to give to your corner of choice before you jump in, or time will be the boss of you.

So next time you feel stuck in the corner of procrastination and disorganization, get unstuck. Be intentional and choose the corner you want to start with and break open the momentum you need to getter’ done: Carve your corner.

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Lauren Miller

Lauren E Miller, has a masters in adult education with a certification in human resource development. She has personally conquered two of life's top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google's No. 1 Stress relief expert, award-winning author, speaker and certified executive and life coach, Miller provides process driven programs with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose. Explore more at: LaurenEMiller.com

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