It’s amazing, and a little appalling, that some days I find myself uttering inarticulate growls of frustration. It happens regularly when I stand in my family room. I growl at my wonderful and amazing family members (and myself).
The pile of discarded shoes I trip over in the middle of the floor ..9 inches from the shoe rack.
The blanket folded (yes), but left… On top of the trunk where it actually belongs.
Coats heaped on the shelf… Right beneath the coat rack. (Sigh).
Today’s discarded clothes leaning against the laundry hamper. On the outside.
My recent favorite? The wet and snowy shoes NEXT TO the doormat.
Let me admit – some days I am part of the problem. Last week, we all came home from an outing and instead of waiting for everyone to get out of my way so that I could hang my coat on the hook, I dropped it on a chair to hang up later.
Luckily for my family, I understand why these close-but-not-quite efforts happen, and I also try to not yell too loudly because I may have to yell at myself, too.
But we don’t have to live with clutter, or grumble at ourselves or others, if we can keep these following tips in mind:
It is amazing what 10 seconds can do. Seems small, right? But it takes just 10 seconds to
- hang up our coat, put our keys on the hook where we’ll find them when we need them, and tuck our shoes out the of way;
- put the tools away in the tool box instead of leaving them out where they may get lost or forgotten;
- put my cell phone on the charger instead of just on my desk;
- put today’s mail in my in-box instead of in another heap on some different surface where it will get ignored and gather dust.
Create a habit of setting things right once or twice a day, and this goes for both our professional and personal lives. Check your work space at the beginning and end of your work day, and put stuff AWAY to clear that mental clutter or to prepare of the next day. At home, try to take a sweep around the house before bed, or maybe in the morning AND in the evening, to put rogue items where they belong. And this is not a solo affair – get others to put their stuff away, too – the afore mentioned coats and shoes and stuff all get hung up.
Be on the look out for regular system breakdowns. If you or co-workers or family members always struggle with a regular task, take a closer look. Sometimes we just don’t like or want to complete a task, but it also may be too complicated / hard / confusing for us or others. We may need to change or re-assign the task to get it done. I was recently in an office where filing tasks were never getting completed because the file cabinet was physically blocked by a dead printer graveyard. The filing tasks would NEVER be completed until we removed and recycled those printers.
Few spaces are ever completely stuff-free, and that’s ok. Know what Done, or at least Done-Enough looks like, and once you’re there, move on to something else.
Remember, every moment can be an opportunity to do better. We can growl or grumble. We can judge others and ourselves harshly for not completing tasks or leaving a mess or getting distracted, or… We can take a deep breath and do better. Even just a little better. We can put things away, clear the mental and actual clutter, and move on to something else.
Have a great week.