Imagine you are sitting at your desk. Your computer is in front of you, wobbling slightly as it sits on top of the papers you were working on earlier. To your left is your planner, balancing on your notebook and behind which is a stack of somewhat disorganized papers. To your right is a notepad, a couple of open books and a stack of books you dip into every so often. Causing more havoc is a number of pens, your phone, a cup of coffee and a few bills you are planning on getting around to.

Your phone rings. It is a call you have been expecting and you try to pull out the relevant information from your pile of paperwork without spilling your coffee on your computer. It is the wrong paper so while you are trying to hold a conversation, take in all the information you need, look for the right paper you find you need to write a note. Holding up the stack of papers you are searching through with one hand, you reach across to grab a pen, move your planner to make the note and oh, there goes your coffee. Happily, not on the computer but on some papers, the floor and down your leg.

If you are feeling stressed even thinking about working in this way, then you are not alone. But every day most of us are allowing our minds to function in this way. Our brain is constantly overwhelmed with competing information simultaneously. And as with the phone call we do not take in all the information we could, we do not present ourselves in the best possible way. We are not performing at our optimum.

This is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s world where often busy is equated with productive. Where we are constantly encouraged to “Do more, Be more”. And the fast pace of corporate life creates anxiety around performance, profits, innovation and staying on top of the game.

My job as an executive coach, as I see it from my background in clinical psychology, is to help people tidy up the workspace in their brain. Regain control of the clutter and allow them to achieve their potential, free from the distractions and chaos that can exist in the mind.

This is accomplished by first understanding how the brain functions and being able to apply this to the everyday situations that a high achieving, successful individual finds themselves in in corporate life. Through this understanding it is possible to create individually tailored solutions and strategies to work with people where they are. Through reorganization of the brain, using their particular strengths and expertise and working on areas of difficulty, focused coaching can enable them to get to where they want to be.

5 Simple Strategies to Begin Decluttering Your Mind Today

  1. Take breaks. The “more mentality” of today’s world makes it hard to step back from being busy. But taking a break, even for a minute can free us up for greater creativity and productivity. It gives our mind a chance to calm and evaluate where we are. It allows us to prioritize and prevents thoughts from competing with each other.
  2. Don’t personalize your thinking. Often we attribute things that others do or external circumstances to be the results of our own actions. We blame ourselves or get caught in wondering what we could have done differently. By noticing when these thoughts occur you can assess the reality of them and adjust accordingly rather than getting trapped in a negative cycle.
  3. Stop engaging in toxic behaviors. Engaging with the office gossip, with the complainers and dissatisfied drags us into a cycle of negative thinking that not only wastes our time but affects the ways we see our own work and environment. It creates undue stress on the body and mind and impacts on the ways we interact with others. Recognizing when we are thinking or talking in these ways allows us to make a more positive choice.
  4. Stop multitasking. Taking pride in the ability to multitask is becoming more common. Contrary to this multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because the brain functions best when focused on one thing at a time. Not only that but multitasking actually lowers your IQ. So dedicate time to each task, setting others aside until their designated time.
  5. Declutter your workspace. As in the example above a cluttered work environment leads to stress. It signals to the brain that there is more to be done, bombarding it with excessive stimuli forcing it to work overtime. By decluttering you remove this source of stress and allow the mind to focus on the task ahead.

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Dr Kate Price is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has 20 years’ experience working with individuals, groups and organizations enabling them to overcome difficulties and develop skills in life and leadership. Contact her at [email protected].

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  • Dr Kate Price

    Psychologist, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr Kate Price is an Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and 20 years of experience in large organizations. She believes that people are what drive careers and companies and that organizations must be invested in the development of culture and individuals to realize their potential, and to stay ahead in the fast changing corporate world. Follow me at: