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The Clutter In My Office is Overwhelming - I’ve Got Clutter-Induced Stress!

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After almost a month of travel and very little time at home, my office is a mess. I am overwhelmed by the amount of stuff collected on the top of my desk, floor of my office, and in my e-mail inbox. The idea of dealing with all of it has me nearly paralysed. The stress of inaction is building up, and we all know prolonged stress is bad for your heart. Time to get a grip!

Fighting my first instinct - to close my office door and do laundry for the rest of the day (that has piled up too) - I decided to dig in and find the wood of my desk and the carpet on my floor.

Here are some tips to getting a grip before clutter induced stress gets the better of you:

Just start somewhere. When the pile is large, it is hard to even know where to begin. Pick up something - any thing - and get started.

Set the timer. Decide you will spend a half hour dealing with a specific area, such as the desk. Limiting the time and scope of your project will make it feel less daunting.

Make a running list. I am easily sidetracked. So, rather than trying to deal with each item as I pick them up I create a list with four columns.

* Things to do today.
* Things to do in the next 2 days.
* Things to do next week.
* Low priority items to be tackled later.

Once my de-cluttering is complete, I can go back to my list and start crossing things off. This strategy helps keep me on track and prevents me from doing something now which isn’t a priority.

Don’t re-pile. If my husband is reading this, surly he is laughing - I am a notorious pile-er. However, I try very hard on de-clutter missions to toss, file or catch.

* Toss out what you don’t need or can find again if you need it later.
* File receipts, records and important documents. (Put away supplies and products)
* Catch things related to activities on your running list in a folder or inbox. This “Catch It” file houses what you need until you can cross the item off your list. (Of course you should then toss or file the item… right…)

Create a distraction. I put away all the luggage, supplies and products piled on my floor while having a great conversation with my pal Chip Lutz.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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