Focus on what you can control, forget the rest!

If you didn't quite get to everything you wanted to do in January, don't fret. We have the advantage of being at the start of a new month and every day brings a fresh opportunity to renew your focus and begin something.

You may know of this concept but I think it's amazing and wanted to share it with you in case you've not come across it before. It's an amazing mindset trick that puts you thoroughly in control of your goals.

Have you found you get stressed out by all sorts of things? Maybe some of these:

  • the jobs you didn't get done around the house last year
  • what will happen now that we've left the EU
  • the mounds of paperwork taking over your kitchen counters
  • your environmental impact
  • your partner's messy bedside table
  • the state of the economy
  • how you never have enough clean shirts on a Friday

Don't stress - use your zone of control!

Often we experience stress when we lack control, so the key to reducing your stress lies in focusing on what you can control.

Think of these three elements:

  1. Zone of control (blue) - the things going on here are within your control to change
  2. Zone of influence (white) - you can influence the elements within this area but you cannot personally control what happens here
  3. Zone of concern (green) - you cannot control or influence what happens within this area
Zone of control diagram

You can reduce your stress levels by focusing your energy on the elements within your Zone of Control, those things that you can personally change. For example, you can make sustainable purchases, recycle and reduce your energy consumption to lower your impact on the environment. You might go further and change to renewable energy sources, choose to walk more often rather than use your car and so on.

How can we use this mindset at home?

When it comes to our homes, we are busy, have other things to focus on and often live with other people (or pets) who create mess too.

If you are getting frustrated with the state of your home, you could try taking action on the things that are within your control, such as:

  • decluttering and organising your side of the bedroom (often when we get organised this rubs off on others as they notice the benefits of our efforts)
  • organising your paperwork and start to manage it regularly so that it doesn't pile up
  • adding a weekly 'light load' diary reminder to ensure that you have shirts
  • helping your child practice tidying and giving away toys they no longer use (important skills for the future!)
  • create zones with accessible storage so that things can be tidied away easily when finished with

What other things can you do to organise the things within your control?

So the next time you feel stressed...

Where can you take control?

And remember ... let go of the things that you can't control!

(Yes it takes practice but it's worth it!) ;o)

Can decluttering be good for your mental health?

If you’ve ever found yourself getting frustrated at the possessions lying around your home, been unable to concentrate on a task when surrounded by stuff piled on surfaces, or if you’ve tried to read a book, mediate or have a quiet cup of tea but couldn’t relax until you’d zipped round and tidied up everything first, then you’ve been affected by clutter. I share why I believe that removing clutter from your home is good for your mental health.

I believe that removing clutter from your home is good for your mental health, even if you don’t have that much.

Google says clutter is ‘a collection of things lying about in an untidy state’. Interestingly we’ve used this term increasingly over the last fifty years.

If you’ve ever found yourself getting frustrated at the possessions lying around your home, been unable to concentrate on a task when surrounded by stuff piled on surfaces, or if you’ve tried to read a book, mediate or have a quiet cup of tea but couldn’t relax until you’d zipped round and tidied up everything first, then you’ve been affected by clutter.

Research published in 2011 in the Journal of Neuroscience found that clutter means we have too many stimuli in our environment, which can make it hard to focus.

Humans are innately organised but we all have different styles that determine how we feel about clutter. Clutter can cause stress and lower self-image. It can cause anxiety about how and when we will be able to regain control or how others will perceive us. It can also take us longer to finish simple tasks making us feel incompetent.

According to a Lovespace survey:

a whopping 80% of people in the UK admit their mood is influenced by the state of their house with a less cluttered living space making people much happier!

The good news is, we can maintain a less cluttered home by sorting our things regularly and being more conscious of what we bring into our home.

A good decluttering session can feel quite therapeutic because it:

  1. Creates a sense of confidence as we use our decision-making and problem-solving skills
  2. Creates order and control – we only keep the things we need and have the space to organise them
  3. Gives you feelings of gratitude and abundance – you might find lost things, forgotten treasures, things you can sell or give away. All of which makes you feel that you’ve gained or can benefit others
  4. It can lift the weight of guilt, the feeling that things are left incomplete, makes us feel lighter, freer, calmer and leaves us with a renewed sense of ‘home’

Here are five ideas for maintaining a less cluttered home:

  1. Keep a bag in the boot of your car for charity donations. As you come across something that is no longer needed, pop it in the bag. When it’s full, drop it off at your nearest charity shop
  2. Practice the 1 in 1 out rule – anything new coming into the home has to be exchanged from something that you no longer need or love
  3. Treat pending school holidays, birthdays and Christmas as good opportunities to sort out possessions that can be passed on for others to enjoy
  4. Engage the rest of the household in the benefits of decluttering their own things (they will know where to find what they want and they may even make some money selling old things)
  5. Focus on tackling one room and rotate rooms over the year

So what are waiting for… rally your household, pick a room, put some music on and go for it!


About OrganisedWell

Would you like help getting organised?

Laura Williams, Founder and Professional OrganiserIf you need guidance, ideas and practical support to make more of your home, organise your possessions in a way that supports your best life or to get started with your decluttering project, then give me a call.

We provide tailored advice and practical support to clients looking to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. We specialise in organising rooms, garages, wardrobes, paperwork and much more; see our services or get in touch.

Mental Health – How to stay happy with being at home

Do you spend a lot of time on your own? Whatever the reason, it’s important to look after your mental health. Here are my top tips to staying sane.

There are lots of reasons why you may spend a lot of time at home; you might be a full-time Mum, a home-keeper, self-employed, retired, long-term sick or any other reason. But whatever it is, it’s important to look after your mental health and stop the walls from closing in on you.  After all, your house should be your home and not your prison.

Being based at home has so many benefits, but it can also have its downsides. It can be lonely, you can feel isolated and if you don’t look after your mental health it can start to get you very down.  The more time you spend on you own, the more it can lead you to not wanting to socialise.  But humans are pack animals, we need human company to keep us happy,  So how do you look after your mental health and keep happy with being at home?

I’m not a mental health expert, but I am someone that has been at home a lot.  During my life, I’ve been unemployed, a full-time mum and now I’m self-employed and run my business from my spare room.  I also have a mum, who is retired and lives on her own.  So, although I’m not an expert, I am someone who understands how important it is to look after your mental health when you spend large periods of time in your home alone.  So, I wanted to share my top tips that help me and my mum, to help you stay happy!

My top tips to look after your mental health

  1. Don’t sit in silence – make sure you have background noise of some sort. I tend to have radio 2 quietly babbling away all day, barely loud enough to hear, but the sound of chatter makes me feel like I’m not on my own
  2. Keep in contact – when you feel like you’ve not spoken to anyone all day, you probably haven’t! Pick up the phone and speak to someone.
  3. Get out of the house – First and foremost your house is your home, keep it that way. If it’s starting to feel like a prison you need a change of scenery. Go for a walk, go to a café, visit a friend for coffee – have a change of scenery!
  4. Go for regular walks – It will clear your head and get oxygen into your lungs. It also gives your brain new stimulus by seeing different things to your four walls. And, you never know, you might bump into someone for an impromptu conversation!
  5. Join a group – There are lots of different local groups for different hobbies; singing, keep-fit, golf, art – there is probably something for anything you can think of.  Do some research, try your local library and Facebook is a great tool if you know how to use it!  If you’re retired, you may want to think about joining the U3A (the University of the Third Age, is for retired and semi-retired people who come together for their educational, social and creative interests).
  6. Set yourself goals – what is it you want to achieve today? Don’t overwhelm yourself, but set yourself an achievable goal and do it. Whether that’s just to go to buy the ingredients for dinner, going for a jog, or clearing the spare room.  It doesn’t matter what, but try to achieve something you want to do today.
  7. Don’t despair – feeling isolated comes to us all at times! You just need to find the right way for you to get through it.

I spend my time working with small business and start-ups, many of them are people working on their own and feeling of isolation has affected them all.