Updated: Sep 8
Are there a lot of distractions at work? At home too? Distractions come in many forms, but one getting a lot of airtime lately are digital distractions like social media. How it is taking away from other meaningful or useful activities?
Distractions, whatever form, can take up time or space or both so how do we deal with too many? I suggest we declutter our distractions like we would declutter unwanted physical items. Before I get into some decluttering suggestions, I would like to explore some distractions that can be decluttered.
To me, clutter and distractions go hand and hand. For instance, there is the well- known physical clutter, digital clutter, social clutter, emotional clutter, and mental clutter. I find they are all energy drains and distractions. Physical clutter is self-explanatory but some people do not realize the negative emotional and mental effects of it. Digital clutter can vary from too many unread emails in your inbox to office group chats. Social clutter can be overcommitting and overbooking, or continually putting other people’s needs before your own and never getting around to alone time or your projects. I see emotional clutter to be unhelpful beliefs or painful memories one holds on to, and mental clutter as the tasks, plans, and ideas that accumulate and build up to the point of paralysis and overwhelm. It’s all the things we want to do, believe we can do but don’t do. I have experienced mental clutter when I signed up for back-to-back or simultaneous programs in the past, thinking I can navigate all. All of these negatively impact your energy and life. It prevents you from being fully present and productive.
So how does one start to declutter these distractions? Here are some ideas you can try, but are not exhaustive:
Physical Clutter: If it is super severe, hire a professional who has experience with hoarding and the psychological needs of one. If it is not, then what can go? What do you not love anymore? What does not add value to your home, office or life? You can trash it, recycle it, sell it or donate it.
Digital Clutter: Go through your inbox and delete anything that you have not read in the past 6 months. Unsubscribe to anything that does not serve you. Shut off your phone or put it on airplane mode while working or sleeping. Similarly, avoid browsing the internet or engaging in group chats when wanting to complete something.
Social Clutter: Ask yourself if you really want to hang out with that person or group of people. If it is a no, then politely decline. Avoid overcommitting and overbooking on things that do not bring you joy. Social decluttering can also involve letting go of some relationships that are toxic or you have outgrown.
Emotional Clutter: Ask yourself what you are holding onto and why? Talk or journal it out, see if there is some wiggle room to let some things go. Forgiveness and compassion, in particular, self-forgiveness and self-compassion, go a long way. If it is too much, also seek a professional to help.
Mental Clutter: Organize and prioritize to-do lists. Delegate. Reassess if something needs to be done and, if not, let it go. Create systems to help you out. Break down a large project or task to its smallest components (where each item does not feel overwhelming) and take one step at a time. Make time to plan and prepare. Follow through on one thing before starting another.
When you declutter you “let go of the old to make room for the new;" you let go of what’s keeping you from being the best possible you. You let go of wasted time and energy to live more fully and vibrantly. It’s like clutter and distractions are the hands that keeps the beach ball under water. Once the hands let go, pop goes the ball.
I wish you to be as buoyant as you can be.
Ps. If you or someone you know needs help with decluttering distractions, you can set up a Get Acquainted Call to see if I can help.