I’m feeling another heat wave here as Summer starts coming to a close. This means the season for study and spaces is approaching. The best way to prepare is to give yourself a dedicated mental and physical space to get things done! So I have a several bits of advice to give you a jumpstart on all those tasks to be tackled and lessons to be learned.
Your mental space is the most sacred of all spaces. It’s your palace, your place of meditation. It’s the best place to start in the morning, so give yourself 15 minutes after waking up to clear your mind. In order to de-clutter your thoughts, you need to prompt yourself with questions. Is progress what you want or what you need? Do you like the feeling of finishing and accomplishing things? Don’t simply think thoughts. You should write down these important concepts and sprawl it all out on paper. Make diagrams and outlines to find your biggest goal, and break it all down to smaller bite-sized steps you need to take to get to your major destination.
2. Organize Your Notes
Now that you’ve written down your goals and cleared out that mental clutter, it’s time to store that onto your notes. Write your daily checklists and monthly goals, and all those other mundane items. This agenda or schedule will keep you on task. Whether you wander off onto your phone and devices or get distracted by other issues, the list is always there making sure you take care of what needs to be done for you to get closer to your goals. Having it on hand, on person, or–better yet–in eyesight, helps keep me on track for the day so I make sure my days are productive and my tasks get done. Also, my monthly goals are kept separate from my daily checklists and notes. Those are my bigger goals and they are laid out across my wall so I can see my progress and to aid in finding what incremental steps are needed to get to that next big goal.
3. Stay Focused
However, all the notes and lists in the world will do you no good if you don’t focus. Crystal clarity comes with a touch of discipline, and your notes will assist on that, but allowing yourself to be daunted by future projects will only fill your head with unnecessary thoughts. Be sure not to fill up on things still in the future, and hold onto relevant details in the now.
Your daily tasks will keep you in the now and will anchor you safely as you work on the present, while your monthly or future lists and goals will be there for you to stay focused and on task. Remember, if you don’t take care of the small things today, the bigger goals you’ve worked up to will always remain out of reach.
4. Take Action
Speaking of right now, seek out and suffer through the worst parts of your day by prioritizing the work that you love least. Taking things on early leaves you more wiggle room to love and care about your later projects. No one really wants to do things like working out or groceries, but no one else will do it for you either.
You should probably not sit on cleaning either. Might as well take care of it while it’s still manageable. An easy way to start is to sort everything by category, so as you clean, you have an idea where everything can go or fit. This isn’t anything in depth like scrubbing and washing, but it certainly initiates the momentum to clean up. Find a place for papers, your place to sit, anything to control the chaos.
Next, you will find categorizing and compartmentalizing is a common theme in “un-messing” your life. All the little pens and stationery you have needs a home. Shelter them into your general paper drawers or pen cups. Mark your desk down with tape if you have to, but the point is that you know everything on your desk has a place. If it doesn’t it needs to go back from where it came or you can make it a new part of your space by assigning it to a miscellany area.
7. Multi-purpose items
Some things have multiple purposes to them. The easiest ones are those little organizer cubes you can use as a drawer or bin for your knick knacks, or maybe just a standing file system to sort work out. Things with many purposes will streamline and minimize your clutter, as well as create a simpler work process. Having something like a shelf or box gives you an additional surface for you to place decor and plants on as well. Even if the drawers aren’t practical, the shelves they leave open can still be utilized, so having a multipurpose piece of organization will carry you a long way.
8. Miscellaneous Storage
Make sure to keep in mind the random things that could end up in your life. Have a box or container for things from outside your space or don’t belong there. People can come in and leave things on your desk or you may have brought something into your space without thinking like clips or jewelry you took off. Having this and in plain view can help remind you to clear it out everyday so there’s no extra clutter accumulating. A good spot would be somewhere near your door, and remember that you don’t necessarily need certain things in your space at the moment anyway, so it’s nice to have that miscellany box.
9. Cleaning Supplies
Remember, this is a practical and minimal space you are maintaining. Do you really need it or just want it? Maybe there is a better place elsewhere. As much as I love finding the next cute piece of decor, if it doesn’t add or if it takes away much from my work, it has no place there. Something practical to add is some cleaning supplies. I have a spray bottle and some towels I use to wipe down surfaces. Having something on hand to keep your surfaces clear and smelling nice will help with the overall atmosphere of your space.
10. The Recycle + Donate
Remember to have a Recycle, Donation, and Trash bin. Sorting your rubbish out will keep your space smelling nice as you take note of the trash, and donations help you part with unnecessary yet still useful items. The recycling will be there for your contributions to the world and community, but sometimes we toss files we might need to go back to.
11. Adding a Personal Touch
Finally, don’t be afraid to decorate. It’s your space, and you’re working there all day, so enjoy being there. Minimizing clutter doesn’t mean removing your personalities and joys in life either, and the smallest things can carry your work far! Small personal effects you like a favorite plant or picture frame will bring a nice personal touch to your work space. It’s all about bringing productivity as well as joy into your life after all.