Sometimes, it’s just all too much. Your house is a mess. Your head is overflowing. You have emails and messages awaiting replies. You have a to do list that goes for days. You haven’t even managed to write a to do list, but you know it will go for days.
Sometimes, when you feel like this, it’s tempting to do nothing. Or rather, do nothing that actually helps. You go watch tv or read or explore the internet, but that anxious feeling persists. You get stuck in the stress and don’t know where to start.
Here’s a few very quick things you can do to help you feel 100% more in control and to get your head feeling clear and uncluttered. Even though it might look like further procrastination, if I do these things first, when I do sit down to get to work my capacity to focus is increased immensely.
1. Make your bed
Seriously, do it. It will change how you feel instantly. Everything will look tidier and brighter. The world will feel like a friendlier place.
2. Write a to do list
Just seeing all the tasks ahead in a list can make you feel like you have a handle on things.
3. Anything on your to do list you can do in under 15 minutes, do it now
Then you get to cross things off your list! There’s less to do and you feel like you have accomplished something with your day – because you have!
4. Write down everything in your head
This is different to a to do list – this is just a mind clearing exercise. Write everything down, get it out of your head. Naming your worries can instantly make them less overwhelming and scary. Categorizing the things taking up space in your head can help you start dealing with the clutter.
5. Delete unused apps
Do you have a vague sense of too much stuff, too much clutter? Delete unused apps from your phone. If you’re not sure if you’ll use it again, delete it – you can always reinstall it later. Now you have more space on your phone and less visual clutter on your screen.
6. Clear surfaces
Tidy up all the surfaces – tables, benches, desks – in your house or work space. It doesn’t really matter what you do with the things you clear, though if they end up where they should be or somewhere productive, that’s even better. The goal is to not have visual clutter in your eye line.
7. Go through your photos
Try and get rid of photos taking up storage space on your phone or laptop (or upload them to the internet or a hard-drive if you can’t bear losing them forever). This always relaxes me, mainly because most of camera roll is puppies I have encountered.
8. Sort your inbox
Turn any emails you can’t delete immediately into a to do list item. Delete the rest (or save them to a backup inbox or other safe space).
9. Make some quick decisions
Plan your day quickly – you don’t have to cover all the details, just make some quick decisions so they’re not hanging over you later on. What will you wear? What food are you going to eat? What errands have to be done today and what are you going to leave for later?
10. Spend (at least) 5 minutes outside in the fresh air
Nothing helps me focus more. This may not be as easy for you as it is for me if your climate isn’t the kind of just-step-outside-weather I live in, but it can still be incredibly helpful.
What do you do to clear your mind when everything seems overwhelming? I’d love to hear your recommendations and tips!