Productivity 101: How to Declutter Your Mind for Focus and Clarity

Modern, fast-paced life can overwhelm and stress us as tasks and responsibilities pile up with seemingly no time to relax. Learn how to declutter your mind for focus and clarity.


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1. Slow Down

Sometimes we just try to do too much. You must learn to say no. If you simply don’t have the time necessary to dedicate to a project to do it well, it is better not to take it on. Avoiding multitasking can help to reduce stress and make you more productive. Concentrating exclusively on one task until completion is much more effective than dividing yourself between several tasks simultaneously.
Don’t forget to include frequent breaks in your daily routine. Stopping for just a few minutes and doing some stretching exercises, a bit of yoga, or just walking about, can help to clear your mind and refresh your body. When you return to work, you will have better clarity and focus on getting on with your work.


2. Make Lists

Hand-written lists are particularly effective. The mechanism of actually writing by hand causes you to think about each item in greater detail and to remember them. Make your list when you are relaxed and can think calmly about what you need to do. This allows you to prioritise and plan clearly your work schedule. Organise yourself to make the best possible use of your time. Some people like to plan what outfit they are going to wear every day. Others make their lunch the night before and keep it in the fridge. Both are good ways to start your morning stress-free and to have time for a calm, and nutritionally very important breakfast, to set you up for a productive morning.


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3.  Sleep Well

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for efficient functioning. Aim to get at least seven hours of quality rest in a well ventilated completely dark room. It can be tempting to work late to get a project completed but sleeping on it and starting again early in the morning is, in fact, more productive. Often you awake with clearer thoughts and with good energy to finish the task. Try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night and make time to relax before retiring. That means stopping work and shutting off the phone. Taking a hot bath, reading a book, or taking a short walk can all help you to relax so that you can get off to sleep easily.


4.  Exercise and diet

Establishing a regular exercise routine not only helps to maintain good physical health, but it can also improve brain functioning and increase your productivity, so you get things done more quickly and efficiently. There are many ways to get exercise, so get inventive.  Eating a good varied diet also helps mental acuity. When we are stressed and rushed, it is tempting to skip meals or to eat prefabricated fast foods. However, keeping to regular meal times and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables ensures that you have everything you need to work at a higher level.


5.  Relax

Make time to enjoy a hobby that you really enjoy. Doing something that brings you satisfaction gives you the opportunity to lose yourself in something other than work and gives your mind a chance to relax without pressure.


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6.  Connect with Nature

Whenever you get a chance, head to the woods, a park, or the beach for a relaxing walk. Connecting with nature is one of the best ways to de-stress and clear your mind. Switch off your phone and just listen to the sounds of nature. If the climate permits, take off your shoes and walk barefoot. The contact with the earth or sand can multiply the benefits of your excursion – increasing your immunity and strengthening the muscles in your feet.


7.  The Science of Staying Organized

It turns out that an organized and decluttered living space is not just about being able to open your door to unexpected visitors.  According to science, working and living in an organized environment has countless benefits for your physical and mental health.  Psychologists and biologists state that a clean house has the ability to lower stress levels and increase happiness.  If this seems like a daunting task, there are articles on strategies you can use to keep a decluttered living space.


Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who loves taking short, sweet weekend getaways to escape from the chaos of city living. She especially enjoys hiking and overnight camping with friends. You can find more of Johanna’s work on Tumblr.