Have you ever returned from a trip and found your home to be a disaster? Have you looked at the sink in your kitchen, piled with dirty dishes and told yourself “I really have to clean that” only to walk right past it? Is your office so cluttered with papers, post-its, bills and junk that you can no longer use that space? How about your bathroom? Is it difficult to find a space to put your hairbrush without having to move the hairdryer or facial soap? When you walk across your bedroom floor do you trip over shoes and pair of pants? In your living room, do you need to move over books, toys, magazines and misc stuff just to find a place to set your drink on the coffee table?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of the above questions than you are essentially hand-cuffing your ability to function optimally in your business. You may be thinking, “wait a minute David, my business was booming last quarter and I lived in a tornado zone at home. What do you have to say about that? Booya!!” …. Okay, maybe the “booya” part is a little over the top.
I’m not saying you can’t be successful while you are living in disorder. In fact, I am sure many can be extremely productive with a little clutter. What I am trying to convey is that when you remove the concern and stressful thought of “I need to clean this” you free your mind to focus on other more useful business pursuits. For example, when we see the same mess in the garage week after week or continue to neglect mowing our lawn, for whatever reason, this causes us more stress and occupies a space in our brain that would be better suited for higher payoff activities.
According to author, John Medina we are incapable of dividing our attention. In his book, Brain Rules he says, “… the brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time.” So, unless we have supreme control over our focus we will find ourselves continuing to gravitate to those things that cause us the most stress as in the situations explained above. In other words, by default we will place them higher in our sequential order until we can remove them.
This same principle applies, not only to how clean our home is but, to disorganization in our business, our relationships, school etc… All of these scenarios are competing for space in our brains and the more we can reduce or eliminate these scenarios from our thoughts, the higher our brain function and focus will be. As a result our business cannot help but reap the benefits and improve.
So, what is the solution, you may ask? Here is my 2 step solution to clearing your mind.
(1) Create a Cleaning List – By walking through your house or office and noticing all the things or tasks that need to be accomplished and then writing them down you will now have a point of reference to work from. You will also be getting it out of your mind which will help to open up more space for you to focus your energy on better things.
(2) Delegate or Do It Yourself – Decide what you can either accomplish yourself or that you can pass along to someone else to take care of it. For example, you can hire a cleaning service once a month to clean your home or recruit the services of a neighbor kid to mow your lawn etc… Be creative. Whatever you haven’t delegated be sure to take care of it as soon as possible. Don’t allow your brain to split it’s energy and focus on silly activities that can easily be handled with a little effort.
Have a great time “cleaning your home” and get excited about the benefits you will experience as a result.