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Clear Mind of Clutter to be More Productive

Democrat and Chronicle, 3/27/12
Dorothy Madden

Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

It is a humorous question that leads to asking, what is the state of your desk? Is it cluttered? Is it empty or bare? Is it something in between? Is it organized?

And what is the state of your mind? Is there too much swirling around? Mental clutter is often more difficult to process than physical clutter. Our minds are crammed with things to do, people to call, places to go, both professionally and personally. This adds up to considerable clutter in our minds.

What are some specific steps to clear the mental clutter so you can become as productive and efficient as possible?

Write it down. Take it off your mind and write it on paper or in an electronic document. The physical task of removing it from memory and jotting it down is constructive and the words become a visual reference and reminder. You also gain the therapeutic benefit of crossing it off your list when it’s done.

Organize your space. An organized office has a place for everything and each item has its own place. Time is not wasted looking for things and you can be productive as soon as you sit down. Take time at the end of today to put things away and create your To Do list for tomorrow.

Take a break. Taking a physical break usually provides a mental break. Get some fresh air and exercise by taking a 10-minute walk outside or close your eyes and visualize a peaceful place while taking 10 deep breaths. Silence relieves the chatter in your mind. Find a way to escape momentarily.

As your mind is cleared of clutter you naturally become more productive.