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  • Writer's pictureDr. Nicola Finley (Internist)

Unclutter with Small Steps

We sometimes think that having more is better, but more can lead to clutter. Clutter can lead to a chaotic environment. Often when we think of clutter, we think of clutter that we visualize. For example, clutter on our bathroom counter can be distracting, which may make it difficult to be consistent with our skin care routine. However, clutter can also exist outside of our physical space. Clutter can take on the form of noise clutter that we hear, thoughts cluttering our mind, appointments cluttering our schedule or social media/email clutter. Research shows that clutter can be associated with stress, anxiety, decreased effectiveness, indecision, procrastination and a lower sense of wellbeing. A way to address this is by uncluttering.

Managing clutter means changing our behavior and setting a new intention. As with any change, it takes time for a transformation to happen. An important part of any behavior change is to take small steps and to concentrate on one task at a time. One strategy is to devote a small amount of time regularly to address the clutter. You can decide the quantity of time and the frequency that will work best for you. It may be only 5 minutes once a week, or it may be 20 minutes daily. By developing a regular routine of uncluttering, you will eventually establish this a habit. Also, a small step can increase the likelihood of being successful, since it allows you to create a goal that is attainable. Hopefully, this sense of accomplishment will fuel your motivation to continue uncluttering.

We probably all can relate to having clutter in at least one area of our lives. Perhaps many of us have multiple of areas in our lives that are cluttered. Through the process of uncluttering, we can foster the feeling of having more control over specific areas of our lives, which can allow us to feel more connected to what’s important to us.

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