This is the first of a series of quick articles discussing how to improve your life, environment, mood, atmosphere, etc. Consistently making small improvements in habits and lifestyles is vitally important and is something we should all be striving towards. With that in mind, here is “Level Up” tip number one:
Organize Your Space & Schedule
If you are someone who is perpetually neat, punctual, organized, and tidy, you can read the rest of this section with smugness, knowing that, yes, you do indeed have something worthwhile about your existence… congratulations.
…For the rest of us who actually are human, I am here to be the bearer of bad news. Those clean freak, walking calendar types of people actually are on to something. “But Nathan!-” I hear you saying, “-There is beauty within the chaos of my life. I mean, take my room for example. I can’t see the floor, but I almost always know where everything I need is.” Yeah, I totally can relate and I definitely embrace the messiness that comes with our genius just like you do. In fact, let it be known that research has shown that working in messy environments can stimulate more creativity than working in a tidy one. So take that, mom!
Chaos Induces Claustrophobia
Consider the other side of the equation. There are times when you feel suffocated by life and mentally claustrophobic to the point of screaming. And when that happens all that mess around you can become almost a representation of the chaos inside you. I mean, it intuitively makes sense that we as humans affect our environments to reflect what we feel inside. However, it is also true that our environments can affect us.
If you are trying to clear your mind, or break out of a mental rut, use this fact to your advantage! Spending ten minutes to buckle down and organize your physical surroundings can be both an internal relief and a creative outlet. If you are needing some structure and direction in your life, taking the time to organize your environment can be an excellent decision. Besides, research shows that clutter decreases the quality of your sleep and can cause higher levels of stress; neither of those are needed if you are trying to improve your life and mindset. In fact, to increase your focus and positively impact your health, try replacing some of that clutter with houseplants.
As far as time management goes, I know that procrastination is a sweet, beautiful haven to run to when you want to hide from life…but sadly sooner or later we all have to come out of our wonderful blanket caves and face the world. And when you decide to actually do something with your life you might as well do it in the best way possible.
In fact, the importance of taking time to organize your day cannot be understated. Taking time to make a clear plan or goal for your day can make doing tasks far more efficient, help you to brainstorm about everything you probably forgot you needed to do, give the structure needed to help break you out of mental ruts, or even force you to just think about where your time and priorities lie.
Proper time management also improves your reputation among others. If you know you are someone who struggles to stay on track, give yourself an incentive to check things off the list. Giving yourself rewards for each completed task can help you build the momentum needed to fight off the demon of procrastination when he returns with a vengeance.
Also, if possible, organize your list so the biggest things get scheduled first. You’ll enjoy the rest of your day much more if you have the big things out of the way quickly. If you are a smartphone user, apps like Any.do, Todoist, or Wunderlist can help tremendously with organizing your schedule. (Here’s a quick comparison.) I have found Any.do to be very helpful and simple to use, personally.
About the Author
On the surface Nathan Marlette is just a harmless, business and psychology student trying vainly to figure out his life (like most seniors). Beneath the surface, however, he is a thinker (or so he fancies himself in his small, little brain). He is prone to aimless pondering and bouts of thoroughly pointless over-analyzation. He would prefer the term “free spirit,” but many of us would just call it “awkward” if we’re being honest. He probably just has too much time on his hands now that he aged out of being able to Bible quiz.