Declutter Your Life

Have you considered that it’s time to declutter your life?

Many people spend time decluttering a cupboard,  a room, office or entire house. We can all build up a collection of stuff that we accumulate that really is not needed. All of this stuff takes up space and time in storing it and looking after it. In this post though, I want to take that a step further.

Decluttering ourselves of unwanted and unnecessary material possessions is a good start but is there more we can do to declutter?

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To really gain from decluttering we need to take a look at our lives. Set aside some time and write down how you spend your time. You will need to look at how much time you spend on all activities, work, commuting, shopping, leisure, and personal commitments. All of these activities is like the clutter you get with possessions, so now decide where you are using time unwisely. How can you reduce that time?

There are a number of areas that you can think about that will often make a difference. Consider for example. Do you do several food shops a week? With careful planning, you can do a large monthly shop with just a quick visit to the shops for essential fresh items. Can you also plan these visits with others that are en route? If you visit a relative or friend then if possible plan a visit to a shop on the way home, saving time and fuel if you’re driving.

Batching tasks is a great way to free up time so always look to see where you can do this. Something simple as posting a letter takes time if you do this on its own but as in the shopping illustration above you can save time by incorporating it into another task. You might like to exercise so you could walk or cycle to work or at least park a little further away if you drive rather than doing this at other times.

Declutter your email

Are you inundated with email? Reading email takes time so use a system to manage it, starting with unsubscribing from emails you do not want to receive. If the email is spam then make sure you use a spam filter such as Gmail provides. Incidentally, you can add non-Gmail addresses to a Gmail account and take advantage of that filter. Do not unsubscribe from spam email as this confirms to the spammer your account is active and you will get even more mail. You can also use one email address when you shop so all the sales emails can go into one folder and be kept separate from personal or business email that you need to read.

Don’t check your email too often. Some people manage their work email by checking it at the beginning of the day, the middle and towards the end. You can set up an auto-responder to tell people when you check your mail so that they will not expect almost instant replies. Also, avoid getting into email conversations so try and make one email do the work and do remember that a phone call can be better and reduce emails going backward and forward.

Save Time on Social Media

Social media has many benefits but can consume huge amounts of time and clutter your life. Here are some steps to control it.

  • Decide which platforms are good for you and use only those that are really helpful.
  • Don’t follow people that you are not interested in or at least mute accounts that you would like to follow and have the ability to connect with when you need to.
  • Limit the time you spend each day on social media and if necessary remove apps from your phone and switch off notifications on those remaining. Seeing messages pop onto the screen or the app showing the number of messages you have waiting does draw people into spending more time than planned.

Use a Diary

Planning your day can really help you to focus and prevent other things from becoming clutter. Many people, including myself, prefer to use an online calendar which is synced across all the devices I use, phone, computer, and tablet. I can set reminders so that those important appointments or other matters don’t get forgotten and you can set these months or even years in advance.

Managing your diary will enable you to reduce stress and do set aside time to relax in your day. You might be one of those people that say “yes” too often so do learn to say “no” if it’s going to clutter up your life. Learning to think and plan ahead is a skill and needs to become a way of life and after a while of practicing good time management by force as it were will become second nature.

What is important?

The things that are really important in your life should be allowed to flourish. Time with your family is one that can often get pushed to one side with the clutter. Have you noticed how many people have allowed smartphones to clutter their family life? People in the same room or eating in a restaurant can be seen looking at screens rather than using their time with those present. This is quite sad and this electronic clutter is weakening real relationships as people think that their “online friends” are worth more attention.

Those that manage to declutter their lives are certainly happier, more fulfilled, have less stress and satisfied with their lot in life. How about you?