Look around. What does your living space look like? If you’ve been struggling to get words out lately, your environment could be to blame. Clutter hurts your writing productivity. Even when you don’t consciously realize it, a chaotic environment makes it hard to focus.
Start by making one small change in one big area of your life—your living space—and watch your word count go up!
This is the first in a 5-part series and we’re starting with the area you call home.
Why living space clutter hurts writing productivity
When you’re struggling with productivity or Writer’s Block, the first area of chaos you should start tackling is your living environment. Why?
Because it’s usually….
- the easiest to make quick improvements in
- where we notice improvements the most
These 2 factors mean changing your living environment can give your writing a quick boost
Use the 80/20 Rule: You’ll feel 80% better by taking care of the main 20% of your clutter. Start with the big things that are often in your way.
- Trip over
- Have to circumnavigate to get by
- Have to move a lot to get something behind them
- Get annoyed by when you look at them
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It often includes things like shoes on the floor, mail on the table by the door, unfolded laundry, unmade beds, and dishes in the sink. Take care of the ‘forest’ now and worry about the ‘trees’ when you have more time.
Challenge yourself to make living in your living space something that calms you down + focuses your mind or writing.
Not something that you get stressed-out just looking at.
Get a quick win with getting the clutter out of your living space so you can write better TONIGHT!
Empty out your kitchen junk drawer of everything you don’t need.
Junk drawers are evil and, unfortunately, also useless.
Be honest: How often is the Scotch tape actually in there when you need it? The junk drawer gets so messy that we can’t find what we need in it, but we still spend 20 minutes sifting through because maybe the wine key is just buried under last month’s internet bill.
“The junk drawer gets so messy that we can’t find what we need in it, but we still spend 20 minutes sifting through because maybe the wine key is just buried under last month’s internet bill.”
Stop calling it a junk drawer. That invites more junk. What do you really need in the kitchen? The Unnamed Drawer should contain things you need to hand in the kitchen and/or for small, utility tasks.
Perhaps your drawer needs things like:
- A book of matches or lighter
- Bag clips
- Wine key/bottle opener
- Rubber bands for cracker bags, etc.
Get some focus. Create your opus.
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Now what do you NOT need in Your Drawer?
Here are some of the biggest offenders:
- Small change
- Broken things you might fix
- Pens (put them in the office/your work space)
- Cat treats
- Things you can’t find another place for
- Take-out plasticware
- Condiment packets
- Lose paperclips, staples
- Decks of cards
But WHY are the items in the second list bad for your drawer? Because they’re all things that encourage ‘tossing and going’.
Toss-and-go: Tossing small items in one spot because you don’t want to take the time and mental energy to decide where they should really go. It contributes to a habit of accepting clutter—and if you accept it there, you’ll accept it everywhere, else, too.
Which means you’re going to stay overwhelmed by clutter. And clutter hurts writing productivity.
All of the items in the second list are items that would fit better in another spot.
Small change can go in a piggy bank or change jar. Cat treats should go with the cat food. Medicine should go in the medicine cabinet. Take-out plasticware should’ve stayed at the restaurant, but now you have it, either use it or lose it. And don’t let them put it in your bag next time.
Put these things with other like items and you won’t spend an hour running all over the house looking for all your Monopoly pieces next time your writer’s group comes over for Friday night wine and games.