Everyone is guilty of having one too many internet tabs open, sneaking a cheeky glance at Facebook, and dividing our attention across a range of activities all at once. Instead of focusing on one task at a time we often multitask, but by doing so we significantly reduce our focus and therefore the quality of our work. 

The reality is that it takes us a lot longer to get a simple task done because we are vulnerable to so many distractions. Here are some easy tips to clear your mind and help you feel more on top of your busy daily life.

  • When you're becoming the crazy knick-knack hoarder!

  • We’re all guilty of avoiding cleaning our spaces once in awhile, but your work and home environment has a huge impact on your productivity and mood. A clean bedroom or desk makes all the difference when it comes to finding motivation to study or work; after all, no one wants to work around piles of mess.

    While it’s normal to put off cleaning your space, there is a clear distinction between being a bit messy and suffering from hoarding disorder. Hoarding is the excessive collection and retention of any materials to the point where it impedes day to day functioning (Thomas 1998, 45).

    Certain circumstances, such as experiencing a recent loss or some other stress, can lead people to hoard possessions (Thomas 1998, 47). While hoarding disorder only affects 2-6% of the population (Portero 2015, 277), it can be a pretty debilitating illness so it’s important for you to recognise if this affects you.

    What are some easy ways you can prompt yourself to clean up your space?

    • The Five Minute Rule: This rule says that if a task will take under five minutes to complete, do it immediately. This will dramatically improve your life as you will have less to do later.
    • Use your imagination: Pretend your friend is about to visit. Visualise how you would want them to see your space (i.e. neat and tidy) and do as much as you can to make it look that way.
    • Would you buy it today?: This simple question is great for cleaning out your closet as well as areas filled with old junk. Just ask, “would I buy this today?” and if the answer is “no” throw it away.

    Don’t forget to close your windows

    Having multiple unnecessary internet tabs open is something we’re all guilty of but it can have a serious affect on our ability to get tasks done. By dividing our attention across multiple activities, we’re effectively limiting our ability to focus on a single task. As a result it can take a lot longer to complete work and study, leaving you feeling more overwhelmed.

    Prolific tab openers can now stay on track with a Chrome extension app called OneTab. This app will convert all your open tabs into a list on a single tab, saving up to 95% of memory just by reducing the amount of tabs open.

  • Follow the rainbow to find your pot of gold

  • Colour coding is an easy and fun way to declutter your life. Colour coding helps with organisation as you can easily identify different components.

    What are some things you can colour-code?

    • Study notes; Highlight key ideas.
    • Calendars; Colour-code events to make it easy to read.
    • Wardrobe; Organise your clothes by colour for a bright closet.
    • Folders; Custom folders and never get them mixed up again.
    • Keys; Paint the ends of your keys with different coloured nail polish.
    • Power cords; Avoid confusion with washi tape cord tags.

    For a comprehensive guide to fun DIY ways to colour-code your life, click here.

  • What’s the date again?

  • Lugging around a journal or planner everywhere is a pretty unappealing thought, and while annual journal sales may tell you otherwise, most people struggle to commit to using a planner. Luckily, Google Calendar can take away the some of the difficulty.

    Google Calendar is completely free and can be accessed through a Google account. In the event that your gmail account is attached to your phone the Google Calendar will automatically sync up making it easier than ever to stay on top of your workload. If Google Calendar doesn’t do it for you make sure you take advantage of the Notes and Calendar features on your phone for organisation on the go.

  • Shoot for success between the pages

  • Bullet journals are the latest craze in personal organisation. They’re fun and creative way to make a personalised journal and stay on top of everything months in advance. The concept behind bullet journals is to summarise all your ideas, experiences and future plans in bullet points as opposed to long sentences. This makes the journal easy to read at a glance, and also forces you to focus on the most important messages while saving you time by cutting out the extra words.

    Bullet journalling can be quite intricate, and there’s a lot to learn including abbreviations, symbols and advanced organisation techniques. For more information about bullet journals click here, or alternatively you can watch the video below.

    Decluttering your life is the first step to improve your focus and overall performance, leading to higher quality output on your behalf. Having a clean space, minimising internet distractions, colour-coding and advanced planning are all useful tips for a more organised life. Technology can be one huge distraction, but this article provides easy and simple ways you can make a positive change in your life by decluttering your mind.

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    Reference List:

    Benz, K. (2016). Bullet Journal 101: The Basics. Boho Berry. Accessed 10/01/2017. http://www.bohoberry.com/bullet-journal-101-basics/

    Molloy, A. (2016). How to Filter the Crap Out of Your Life. Collective Hub. Accessed 10/01/2017. https://collectivehub.com/2016/09/how-to-filter-the-crap-out-of-your-life/

    One Tab. (2016). One Tab Extension. Google Chrome. Accessed 10/01/2017. https://www.one-tab.com/

    Portero, A.K., Durmaz, D.A., Raines, A.M., Short, N.A. & Schmidt, N.B. (2015). Cognitive Processes in Hoarding: The Role of Rumination. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 277-281.

    Romano, A. (2015). 12 DIY Tips for Colour-Coding Your Life. Mashable. Accessed 10/01/2017. http://mashable.com/2015/03/28/diy-color-coding/#KpTMTNdvBEqp

    Thomas, N.D. (1998). Hoarding: Eccentricity or Pathology; When to Intervene? Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 29(1), 45-55.

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