It is all around you, but you probably don’t even notice. It is a stealthy. It will drain your energy. And, most importantly, it may be sabotaging the goals you have for your health.
It is called clutter. Everyone has some. It can be physical clutter or mental clutter.
The insidious nature of clutter is this: it establishes itself so gradually and entrenches itself so deeply, that you don’t even consciously know it is there. But it is there, sapping our creativity, our energy, and our productivity, and ultimately your health.
Physical clutter is clutter in your physical environment.
- This can be in your car, your office, your kitchen, your bathroom, your closet, your garage etc. It can be unorganized, unkempt, or it can be organized and arranged: but it is stuff–and too much of it.
- You have to move it, step over it, dust it (feel guilty for not dusting it)
- You have to look at it (even thought your try to ignore it). It is there!
- It takes up space that could be better used or space that could simply be emptied and left serene and open.
A clear and focused mind needs a clear and focused environment.
When you are living surrounded by clutter (whether you even notice the clutter consciously or not), it constantly pulls at you, choking your forward momentum in life as well as your creativity.
It always demands to be dealt with, and that is a constant drain on your energy.
With less energy to focus on your fitness and your health, you have, well, less energy.
With less energy you shift into survival mode – simply doing the minimum to get through the day.
What you lose out on each day your health and energy levels are in the tank is the opportunity to truly experience and live life at your highest quality.
There is one other type of clutter that is even more detrimental to your health.
This robs you of energy from the moment you get out of bed until the moment you slump back into your bed exhausted late at night.
Mental clutter is clutter in your patterns of thinking and how you react to yourself and others and everyday circumstances.
- It operates under the radar most of the time, which makes it especially menacing.
- Can be self-defeating ways of thinking about yourself.
- Can be entrenched patterns of behavior with certain people
- Can be habitual ways of reacting to certain situations
- Can be a general approach to life that blindly runs on auto-pilot, satisfied to take “whatever comes your way”.
The trouble with living blindly, overwhelmed by daily mental clutter, is that you miss out on the life happening in front of you.
You can no longer see options or alternatives.
You no longer feel creative.
You become stagnate.
And your energy slowly drains away. Drip by drip. Day by day.
So how do you clear out clutter?
Whether it is physical clutter on your bookcase or the mental clutter of responding the same way to that person who always manages to raise your blood pressure, you can get to work on it immediately.
10 Steps To Remove Physical and Mental Clutter and Boost Your Energy:
1. Assess your environment
Take a look at the different environments that you live and work in. Take one small space at a time and physically touch each object (otherwise you won’t see many of them, because you are so used to it being there).
2. Only keep what enriches your life or the lives of others
Ask yourself—What is this? Why do I have it? What is its function? Does it enrich my life? Does it bless me? Would someone else be blessed by it? Is it trash? After I am gone, will someone else have to come in and get rid of it? If it does not serve a purpose or enrich your life, get rid of it.
3. Get help from a friend
Have a friend come in when you are finished and go through it again with them. You will have a fresh perspective, and they will have a more objective take on what to keep or unload.
4. Think really hard before acquiring more stuff.
Remove something from your environment each time you bring something additional in. Out with the old and in with the new.
5. Slow down
In order to identify your mental clutter, you must slow down and really pay attention.
6. Check in with yourself several times a day
“Why am I doing what I am doing right now?”, “Why am I doing it this way?”, “Do I have other options?” Whether it is when that ‘someone’ is beginning to push your buttons or whether you are rushing to get to work again. Slow down for a moment. Come up with one or two other scenarios that would allow you to better address the situation the next time it presents.
7. Create space in your day
Even if just for 5 minutes mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon. Set a reminder in your phone or desktop calendar. Take note of what you are doing when the reminder sounds. Are you eating? Should you be eating, or is it “mindless eating”? Checking Facebook for the 12th time today? Having the same dead-end conversation with someone in person or via email? Now silence your phone, close your computer, and remove all distractions. Close your eyes – for just 5 minutes! You can do that. Attempt to clear your mind by focusing on your breathing.
8. Take a look at your routines
Bedtime, morning, lunch, late afternoon, etc. What are your habits? Are they productive? Destructive? Time wasters? How can you make them better?
9. Stop Procrastination
What drives you to procrastinate on important projects, and why?
Leaving a dreaded task undone is a sure road to constant stress, and in turn low energy and low productivity. Make a list of those tasks which you have been putting off and just do them. You may have to start with the “easier” tasks, but once you start ticking them off your list, you will be energized simply by the act of completing an overdue task on that to-do list. You will be amazed at the boost of energy you experience by
10. Seek consistency and show gratitude
Being healthy, of both mind and body, requires being intentional about your environment, your schedule, your relationships, and most importantly your priorities. Put your mental and physical health first from the very start of your day and see how your energy changes for the better.
Complete your day by recording just one thing or person you are grateful for (I’m sure you can list many more). Go to bed with energy in reserve, rather than completely empty and exhausted of both mind and body.
If you move towards deliberate living with intention on “why” you do things, and follow the solutions above, I guarantee you will feel energy return.
P.S. If your energy is still sagging, your body may be overwhelmed by your environment, specifically chemicals in food and household products, or other toxins. A simple blood test can evaluate what may be sapping your energy, and robbing your quality of life.