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A muddled place shows a muddled mind. How often have we heard this adage which still holds true. Many do not realize the value of removing the clutter to become more effective in whatever they do- at work or at home. The clutter manifests itself in disorganized ways of doing things.

Here are 7 Reasons to Clean Up. Too much clutter results in:

  1. Losing valuable time in searching for something…keys, passwords, papers, phone numbers, documents whatever. You might think a few minutes don’t matter. Actually in isolation they don’t. But searching for many things in the course of the day – 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there- adds to the time wasted and believe me, that does add to quite a lot of time.
  2. Getting more tense in the bargain. The longer you search the more frustrating it is. We put more pressure on ourselves and on hapless others. Getting annoyed while you search for something invariably leads to blaming others, justifiably or otherwise.
  3. Not knowing what is where: We sometimes look for things in many places- only to find that we no longer have it with us or as is quite common- we have kept it in so safe a place that we ourselves don’t remember where.
  4. Duplication or worse: We buy something we don’t really want when we can’t find it in a hurry.  It’s far easier and more expedient to walk across and buy something we have not found in the clutter. As a result you have multiple numbers of things you don’t really need.
  5. Hoarding : We often hoard for a rainy day- which seldom comes. Shifting home or the office is the moment of truth when you see all that you have accumulated since the last move. There are boxes and cartons containing things you have carefully preserved…but never looked at since the day they were set aside.
  6. A Big Mess: The sight of an untidy office or house speaks poorly of the owner. Quite apart from the sheer inconvenience of working in a cluttered environment, it projects a negative picture of you to others. If you were to drop into a restaurant and find loads of vessels and vegetables lying around, would you be inclined to eat there?
  7. A Comfort Zone: We get so used to the clutter that status quo is welcomed. We get so used to the “comfort” of the discomfort, that we can’t see anything beyond our way of working. This blocks our creativity and urge to look at different and better ways of doing things.

Cleaning up is not a major overhaul if you do it as a matter of routine. Over time, just as you now have the habit of cluttering, you will develop the habit of uncluttering. This will free time for you to do more things, more effectively and in a better state of mind.

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This is the 154 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success