It’s hard to tell what’s messier: the rooms in our home or the depths of our mind. On one hand, our rooms can be unorganized with piles of junk tethering on top of one another. On the other hand, our minds are a complete mystery to the outside world and a cluster of dreams, ambitions, and doubts swarmed together like bees to a hive.
Let’s face it, our minds can be just as messy as the rooms we live in. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between our living space and our mental state. A licensed therapist at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling by the name of Billy Roberts had this to say about the correlation: “Living space can directly impact mood and anxiety. With increased clutter or disorganization in a person’s personal living space, it can feel like there is no safe place to recover from life.”
Ask yourself this: ever been in a good mood until entering your bedroom? Maybe your clothes were haphazardly tossed around to the point you didn't know what was clean and what had been dirty for weeks. Seeing a dirty room can remind you of all the looming tasks that, much like the clothes around the room, have been piling up for days (maybe even weeks).
Now imagine you buckled down, put on your favorite playlist, and slowly folded your clothes and put them in their rightful spot. By the end your room would be spotless. Along with it, a weight lifted from your shoulders and the dark fog clouding your mind slowly beginning to dissipate. Being in a clean environment can do wonders. It just starts with 5 easy steps.
Step 1 - Put on music, a podcast, or audiobook
When you’re overwhelmed, tackling even the simplest tasks can feel impossible to do. By putting on your favorite music, an intriguing podcast, or an action packed audiobook - you are able to take your mind off your daunting task and instead focus on something that is fun and entertaining. It’ll help move along the time much quicker too. Once you’re focused on this other thing, you should go into auto-pilot and one by one finish your tasks. Just because this is something you’ve been avoiding for a long time doesn’t mean you have to feel miserable while doing it. Have fun!
Step 2 - Set a timer
Time limits allow you to give this task a set amount of time and then you can take a break before returning to it (if necessary). Time limits help you focus on getting one thing completed versus hopping around to each task you feel needs to get done that day. Pick one and stick to it until the time is up.
Step 3 - Break it up
Accept it. There’s no way you can get everything done all at once. The best chance you have at success is breaking up each task into bite size pieces and then taking on each piece one at a time. Need to clean the entire house? Break it up into which rooms need to get done first and from there what needs to be done in that specific room. Trust me, it’s going to feel much better having a room completely finished versus a few things in this room and a few things in another put in place yet the overall house is still a mess. Take your time and keep your attention on the bite size pieces. They will add up by the end.
Step 4 - Reward yourself
Hard work should never go without a reward. Always remember to treat yourself. Use rewards to motivate yourself to get otherwise mundane tasks out of the way. Sure it kind of feels like you’re back in kindergarten, getting a gold star and in a way that might feel a little ‘childish’ but there’s a reason that worked back then. It still does! I was a nonbeliever once too but after a while, I started questioning why I was doing these tasks if there was nothing in it for me. Once I rewarded myself, it made me feel like there was a purpose. It made me excited to tackle the next thing.
Step 5 - Be kind to yourself
Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself. Sometimes we think we can get more things done when in reality we don’t have enough time. Or you might be having a bad day and can’t get the tasks done. Whatever the reason, you’re human and it’s okay if you didn’t get it done. There’s always tomorrow. Feeling guilty or beating yourself up for it will only make things worse. You’ll spiral and continue to procrastinate and dislike completing these tasks. It doesn’t solve anything.
Our mind and living space influences one another. It can be a blessing and a curse. But it’s only a curse if we let it be. There’s a way to put yourself in a better mindset just by keeping your living space clean, clear, and organized. Hopefully these steps will help you make that possible. Remember - clear space, clear mind.