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Unraveling The Knots Of Clutter – A Guide To Clearing Your Mind And Space

Written by: Leslie Gaudet, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Leslie Gaudet

In a world where we’re constantly physically, emotionally, and mentally stimulated, managing the chaos that is both mental and physical clutter has become a crucial aspect of maintaining our well-being.

Brown rope break

From our overcrowded email inboxes to our closets bursting at the seams, and the unceasing whirl of thoughts just before turning in for the night — all these clutter elements significantly impact our daily lives. Understanding the distinct characteristics of mental and physical clutter, and the strategies to combat them, can pave the way for a more organized, peaceful existence.

Mental clutter: The invisible chaos

Mental clutter refers to the barrage of thoughts, worries, and unresolved tasks that occupy our minds. This form of clutter is not tangible, but its effects are palpable. It manifests as racing thoughts, overwhelming task lists, and a constant state of worry. This ‘mental’ tangled web can lead to anxiety, fatigue, and a diminished capacity for productivity and decision-making. The key to combatting mental clutter lies in mindfulness and organization: 1. Mindfulness practices: The practice of mindfulness meditation, along with journaling can help you recognize where your thoughts go. Once you become aware of your thought patterns, the next step is thought shifting. This means shifting your thought patterns from what you don’t want to what you do want by focusing on the solution, not the obstacle. For example, if you typically think that you can’t do something because you don’t know something, you’re always going to think thoughts that will reinforce that way of thinking. Instead, get curious about why you think you can’t so that you can tap into what the actual fear is. Turn your focus onto the solution by becoming resourceful and looking for the answers, even leaning on those you know you may point you in the right direction. One of my fears was post-pandemic related. I was extremely uncomfortable putting myself out there and talking to people about what I do in social situations like in-person events, including those that were virtual. This led me to feel extremely uncomfortable getting onto sales calls, discovery calls or coffee connection calls because that meant I would have to talk about what I do and be open, vulnerable, and open myself up to rejection.

This byproduct of the pandemic was frustrating. I know that I am not alone when I say that not going out and meeting people the way I used to was at first a real struggle to put myself out there again. I think this is one of the reasons that I had lost confidence in getting onto calls because virtual felt less real than in-person and that made me feel a bit disconnected. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in what I do and how I help others. I’m super passionate about self-care and the benefits of taking care of oneself the best one can. No, what I was afraid of was rejection. I was afraid that “they” would say no to what I was selling even if all I was selling was just talking to them about self-care. I was already in my mind projecting their answer as being No without ever allowing them to have their own opinion. I felt less confident. I was able to get over this by treating each virtual call like I was meeting them in person and approaching each call from a service-based mindset (get to know them; what’s in it for them; how can I help them; what do they need) and that took the pressure off of me selling, putting me at ease so that I could do what I do best – serve them by listening and holding space so that they would feel seen, heard and understood. That’s my superpower.

2. Digital organization: I was thinking about this earlier this week as I looked at the overwhelming number of emails that come into my email inbox every single day. I’ve realized that by saying yes and opting in to get an e-book or worksheet or to watch a webinar, I was signing myself up to someone’s email list that I may not really want to be on. It made me stop and think about what I’m saying yes to when something pops into my feed because now I fully comprehend that saying yes to a product is saying yes to more emails. Self-awareness has taught me to ask myself first how something I’m considering is going to serve me (good or bad). By pausing to first reflect on something I’m considering saying yes to, it helps me make sure I fully understand what I am saying yes to so that I am filling my digital space with information meant to help me learn and grow. 3. Regular 'Life admin' tasks: Time is our most precious commodity and more and more I realize that it’s not money that buys us time freedom, it’s how we use our time that gives us more flexibility of our time. I have learned to be more mindful of how I spend my time and on what, making sure that I’m using my time efficiently and effectively and that I’m also protecting my energy. Whether it’s a power task or a simple administrative task, blocking my time for my power tasks for the first part of my day and the simple tasks for later allows me to get a lot more done in less time. When I allocate specific times to power through to-do lists, it prevents tasks from accumulating, and it shows me where I’m putting my focus. 4. Focused breathing and gratitude: I’m all about Gratitude and when you factor in being focused, consistent, and disciplined, it helps keep you accountable. When you factor in deep breathing exercises to calm the mind, and to regulate your nervous system, this helps you to get recentered and focused and promotes a sense of peace and confidence.

Physical clutter: The tangible tangle

Let’s talk about the physical side of clutter. Physical clutter involves the actual items in our environment that are disorganized or excessive. It's the stuff that fills our living spaces to the brim, creating a sense of chaos and discomfort. The impact of physical clutter extends beyond mere aesthetics; it can trigger anxiety and social embarrassment, as well as make finding necessary items a stressful ordeal. Tackling physical clutter requires a systematic and mindful approach. Here’s what I suggest: 1. Regular purge sessions: Intentionally scheduling regular decluttering sessions, where items are sorted into discard, donate, and keep piles, can keep clutter at bay. However, if this seems overwhelming to you, schedule your sessions in small doses. Set your timer for 15-minute increments to tackle a decluttering task and then take a break and do it again until you have finished what you wanted to get done. Depending on what you need to get decluttered, it may take you a short amount of time or scheduled sessions over a few days. The point is to do it in increments of time that don’t overwhelm you. 2. Designated spaces: Assigning a specific place for each item and using organizational tools can streamline the tidying-up process. For example, having a bin for your recyclables, a bin for your items that go to Goodwill, and a bin for the things you are keeping is a good place to start. However, for the things that you are keeping, the goal is to not just put them in another spot to have to go through another purge session. The goal is to be mindful of what you are keeping and the why behind it. 3. Mindful acquisition: Being mindful about what items are brought into and kept in your space, focusing on necessity and joy, is important. This way you are not just buying things for the sake of buying things.

I used to accumulate a lot of things through emotional shopping. I found instant gratification in doing this, but it only provided brief moments of joy.

Being aware of this, I learned that if what I was considering buying wasn’t something that I truly wanted and that brought me joy and gratitude, then I could say no to the purchase.

Another way that also helps when you are in the purchasing frame of mind is to allow yourself 24 to 48 hours to “think about it” before making the purchase. This is another way to keep you from impulse buying, especially if it’s not in your budget.

A shared path to clarity

The journey to decluttering, whether it’s your mind or your space, is not a one-size-fits-all model. It requires self-awareness to recognize the specific types of clutter affecting you. Implementing small, consistent efforts in managing clutter can yield significant results over time.

Another great way to support yourself is by having an accountability partner who can keep you motivated and on track as you go through your decluttering process.

The entanglement of mental and physical clutter in our lives calls for a mindful and proactive approach and when you understand their distinct impacts and employ targeted strategies, that can lead to a more organized and peaceful environment.

The process of decluttering is not just about creating physical space or quieting the mind; it's about fostering a mindset shift towards a more intentional and balanced way of living.

Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to clear space but to create room for creativity, efficiency, joy, and relaxation — the true hallmarks of a clutter-free life.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Leslie!

Leslie Gaudet Brainz Magazine

Leslie Gaudet, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Leslie Gaudet is a Self-Care Coach who helps female entrepreneurs make self-care a priority so they and their teams can thrive. With nearly 4 decades of corporate experience, Leslie understands the toll that burnout can take on ambitious women and their companies.

Now Leslie guides female business owners to transform their lives by incorporating self-care practices into their lives and workplaces. When entrepreneurs prioritize self-care, they become better leaders who can motivate their teams, foster supportive work cultures, and drive business growth.

Leslie provides women entrepreneurs with tools to practice self-care daily so they have the energy, focus, and confidence to sustain motivation, avoid burnout, and fully engage in their priorities. Her approach helps female founders care for themselves from the inside out so they can avoid draining their emotional and physical reserves.

Leslie is passionate about empowering women to live life on their own terms through self-care. She believes self-care is the lifeblood of success in business and beyond.

With Leslie's support, female entrepreneurs learn to model self-care for their teams. The outcome is a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. By taking care of themselves first, women business owners can spread the benefits of self-care throughout their companies and experience more work-life balance, stronger relationships, and business success.



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