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Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life by Maura Nevel Thomas

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Chapter 8

Clearing Your Space

In this chapter

  • Clutter-busting
  • Taming the paper
  • Useful supplies
  • Perfect files

Is there an area of your life that’s a mess? Your desk, your bedroom, your car? Probably your email inbox? You are not alone. Most people are surrounded by physical or electronic clutter in some part of their lives. What many of us don’t recognize is that cluttered environments cause tension and negative emotion. When a cluttered lifestyle becomes habitual, we fail to notice these stressful effects.

However, when I ask people with a cluttered office space how they feel about their work life, they respond with words like these:

  • Stressed
  • Overwhelmed
  • Out of control
  • Confused
  • Drained
  • Pressured
  • Chaotic

Let’s face it: People surrounded by clutter, whether physical or electronic, can’t really make a convincing argument that they are on top of all those details. Some people with a cluttered desk tell me, “But I know where everything is.” However, knowing (or thinking you know) where things are located isn’t really the point. The “file by pile” method forces you to rely on your brain as a storage and organizational system, which is more mentally taxing than necessary. A clean and uncluttered environment is a much more peaceful and serene place to spend time; and a well-ordered file system is much more reliable than hoping you can remember which pile holds the item you’re looking for.

Eliminating the Three Causes of Clutter

In this chapter I describe the three reasons for clutter, ...

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