It is often said that if you want to really know a person, go to their home and open their drawers or closet.
Many people are outwardly clean and organized, but the true measure of someone’s life is their drawers—are they stuffed full of knick-knacks or are they tidy?
The answer is telling.
You’re probably rolling your eyes right now, because like most people, you shove things in drawers without a second thought. I implore you to stop. Keeping your surroundings clear can help unclutter your mind, and help you focus on your purpose.
When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you see? Do you roll over to see piles of laundry, a layer of dust, and a stack of magazines by your bedside? Are you haunted by the fact that there are dishes from last night still in the sink and there are bicycles on the front lawn?
Before you end your day, tidy up. It’s simple—take ten minutes before you leave your office to straighten and put away any last files or books, and take ten minutes before bed time to put the throw pillows on the couch in the upright position.
The funny thing is that once you adopt this policy for yourself, it will spill over into other parts of your life—you’ll begin actually deleting emails and voicemails rather than letting them pile up, you’ll slowly begin meeting deadlines and using your tech tools more effectively.
Additionally, keeping your surroundings clear helps avoid overwhelming your brain activity, as our brains are designed to constantly take in the billions of data points around us, and keeping calm in your visible environment can go a long way toward being productive and promotes better mental health overall.
I'm not saying you should somehow try to become obsessive-compulsive and scrub your phone every day. I'm just saying that even though your dirty desk is okay with you, your brain is actually digesting the data and barricading function. (Not to mention the fact that clients often look at it as a sign that you don’t tend to the details.)
Ten minutes a day can make all of your other new habits infinitely easier to accomplish because you’re focused. It doesn’t have to be complicated.