Have you ever gone back in an old journal or skimmed written pages in a current one to read something you wrote a few weeks, months, or years ago? Perhaps you saw a video of yourself you posted when you thought you'd start a YouTube channel back in 2012?

Did you have an ah-ha! moment that despite the changes that have gone on around you or even the incremental changes you've experienced because of life and maturity you are still YOU. At your core, you are the same person.

Clutter is often the remnants of the past. Maybe you went through a phase of collecting journals with cute and inspiring sayings? Maybe you were exploring if you'd be good at a new hobby that never panned out (knitting needles I'm looking at you).

During this time of quiet and unrest perhaps instead of REINVENTING yourself, you can spend time in the quiet and restless moments to reconnect with yourself. Instead of picking up a brand new hobby or distracting yourself with new ideas of pivoting to be a different post-pandemic person. Look at old hobbies you drifted away from or things you thought you'd try but never had the patience or time to fully pursue.

Here are some ideas to clear some clutter with the purpose of REDISCOVERING who you are, what you stand for, what you love.

  • Go through old emails

  • Strengthen connections you already have

  • Clear out old papers and notebooks

  • Clear out a craft area

  • Go through old journals

  • Go through old letters and cards

By coming from a place of knowing and awareness and not of fear and panic, during a time of uncertainty you stand more powerful. You may find instead of adding new things and pivoting in a certain direction may just be added "clutter" to your future self.

You may find, you already have the tools and you already are enough to get through each day successfully. If you spend time feeding who you are at your core while you have the time and attention, you'll be a not-so-different post-pandemic person, but just a more powerful version of you.

Andrea Hancock is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Dexterous Organizing, a professional organizing and lifestyle company serving the Washington, DC Metro area. Andrea has been organizing professionally since 2010 and has completed the foundation courses in the Coach Approach for Organizers Training. She believes mostly anyone can create the organizational system that works for their lives through training, awareness, and consistent efforts.

One Sunday morning I was hoping to finish some breakfast, clean the bathroom, and get back in the bed. I was tired from a long week, and Sunday is my normal day to chill a bit.

After breakfast, I was headed back upstairs to the bedroom to play The Sims4 on my computer before I went to worship at my Christian meeting. But my helpful husband was being...well, helpful and stripped the bedding to put in the wash.

Alas, with no refuge on the bed (because no, I didn't feel like making up the bed with fresh sheets),

I decided to relax in my office which actually has a zone for such an activity. The only challenge was my office was a bit disheveled from a hectic week. There were three bags on the floor and some unaccomplished work on my desk. I took about 10-minutes to sort, purge and put things back in their place (reset).

Once my space was open and my desk was clear, I sat at my desk as a freshly tidied office may beckon you to do. The reset space was an inspiration not to relax but to blog. I was so inspired that I wrote 3 blog posts and didn't relax, but boy did I feel randomly accomplished!

Lessons learned:

  • Your space can leave you avoiding it

  • Your space can leave you inspired

Which does your office leave you feeling most of the time? Running away or inspired?

If your office is a bit messy, how long would it take you to "reset"? If it takes you more than 30 minutes perhaps your systems are out of wack or non-existent.

When do you "reset" your space of inspiration whether it be an office, a desk, an art studio, or a craft room?

A tidy space can breed creativity.

It doesn't have to be perfect or sparse, but you should be able to find what you need when you need it and feel un-cramped enough to let the mind spark and flow.

Who knows? Maybe you're not tired, you're just uninspired. Try organizing your office and see which. If you're truly tired you can still take a nap and rest well, knowing your office will be there to inspire you when you wake up.

Need help? Visit our website to learn more about how you can have a more inspired office space!

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Updated: Apr 29, 2020

I'll start this post with a disclaimer. Some of these suggestions have worked for millions, and have been advocated by many successful people who work hard to use their time productively. However, there are many productive and successful people that don't follow these suggestions. Best suggestion: try it and see! If it works for you or it doesn't let it bring awareness to how you operate and use methods that work within your personal framework.

Here's the list quick and dirty:

  1. Dress for success

  2. Wake up before business hours; have a decent bedtime

  3. Work without the TV on

  4. Answering every phone call

  5. Taking a break or a nap.

Now let's delve into them one by one a little bit more, shall we?

Dress for Success

The idea of working in your PJs may seem fun but psychologically it can set an unproductive habit.

Extremely comfortable work clothes set the tone of inactivity, but even if you work at your desk in yoga pants and a tee-shirt (my "uniform" of choice), it could just be the physical change from say a nightgown to your comfy work clothes that can set the tone for work. Try delineating in your mind clothing for sleeping versus clothing for working. Even if you sleep in stretch pants or joggers, the act of changing your clothes or freshening up can help change mental gears.

Before you scoff (while wearing your favorite comfy robe), here's some science to back it up:

Another reason to "dress" (even if it's a nice shirt and jeans), while you're working from home is the fact you'll be more likely to leave for breaks during the day.

Speaking from experience, if I say, had to walk the dog in my nightclothes I might not go very far and go back in as soon as my dog has done his business. But if I was dressed in more "outside" appropriate clothing, I'd be more inclined to walk longer and farther which inevitably can brighten my day, has better health benefits, and gives me a great break from the computer screen. I often find I have some great ideas while I'm walking there's that.

Getting dressed helps me take better walks/breaks (more on that later though).

Wake up before business hours/have a decent bedtime

I'm not a morning person. Although if I go to bed at a decent hour (for me that's about 11:30 pm) I can wake up at 6:30 or 7 am and get my day started (I only need about 6-7 hours to be well-rested).

Between the hours of 6:30 am-8:30 am, it's often quiet, with no emails or phone calls coming through. No lawnmowers or construction noise, no kids playing outside yelling like they are being murdered.

I can read, collect my thoughts, pray, and get my life together before the rest of the world starts to collide with mine.

On days that I don't have the morning me-time, my mindset and energy towards being productive can be shot.

For most night owls, this logic can be flipped and they have their me-time and get their thoughts together in the late night or early morning.

I'm also a night owl by nature but also a self-proclaimed lazy night owl that likes wine, tv, reading, and playing games on my computer between the hours of 7 pm-1 am. I find my brainpower and desire to do work or non-fun things are often nonexistent and my energy levels are on the decline all together. Who cares if I fall asleep while reading a book but not so much when I'm writing a blog post or coming up with great ideas for my business or life.

So I force myself to wind down and have an arsenal to get me to sleep by 11/11:30 and take advantage of the morning instead.

Here's an engaging video about what night owls, like myself, can learn about themselves. Those of us that have a bit more control over their schedules can use this information to set their days and nights up a little better for success:

Working without the television on

I know, I know. Many of you will fight me on this one. But hear me out! Most people who watch tv while working use it as background or white noise.

Personally, it depends on what's on the TV that determines if I can do an excellent job in tuning it out or not. TV shows that follow a format each episode where the dialogue doesn't matter like many shows on HGTV (see house, walkthrough, choose house the end) can be easy to tune out glancing up only to see what house was chosen at the end.

The challenge that most people have with watching television while working is the challenge we all have of two eyeballs, one brain.

While you're focused on something you enjoy you may be able to tune out the television but what about if you're doing something where the focus is harder? Inevitably may start to pay attention to the screen and procrastination could creep in.

If watching TV while you work is important to you, try the Pomodoro method of shorter bursts of work and complete focus while the TV is paused (if you have that feature), then take a 5-10 minute TV break maybe stand up and stretch while you find out if the couple went for the modern townhouse outside of their ideal commute or the cute ranch that needs renovation...

Here's a great article about the benefits of white noise and how one person with ADD uses it effectively.

Not answering every phone call

Hey! The phone's ringing!! This is the quintessential metaphor that business is booming, right? But in reality, it can actually be a downfall to your productivity. If a person uses the time blocking technique for time management, it's hard to use that time wisely if you answer the phone during a "scheduled" task that was time blocked.

Just as it might be considered rude to answer the phone during a meeting, consider the time you have blocked off for a task that needs focus, as a meeting with yourself.

I've found, most times its a salesperson or another nonurgent call that rings my phone unexpectantly.

Here are some suggestions to avoid the phone ringing from making you less productive:

  • Schedule important calls. I use SetMore Appointments for client appointments and currently trying out the free version of Calendly for networking.

  • If you think the ringing phone is a prospect, get a cute and short voicemail message that instructs people to tell them to let you know when you can call them back. Besides a break in your concentration answering the phone without knowing who's on the other end could result in a bad prospect call (speaking from experience).

  • Get an answering service ( or forward your phone to a receptionist service at a local office share like Intelligent Office, I personally know a manager at the Alexandria location, let me know in the comments below if you'd like an introduction or send me an email and I'll be happy to introduce you!

Taking a break or a nap.

I just want to say: We all need rest. *drops mic*

But com'on y'all... for real, schedule a break. Get some lunch. Take a lil' nap if you need it. There are studies upon studies to back up that you're more productive when you're well-rested and relaxed than when you're tired and stressed. As if you need a study to tell you I right?

Here's a whole picture I snagged from a magazine with some sound data to back it up.

I'm off to take a break!

Andrea Hancock is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Dexterous Organizing, a professional organizing and lifestyle company serving the Washington, DC Metro area. Andrea has been organizing professionally since 2010 and has completed the foundation courses in the Coach Approach for Organizers Training. She believes mostly anyone can create the organizational system that works for their lives through training, awareness, and consistent efforts.