Clarity: "the quality of being coherent and intelligible; the quality of transparency or purity."
- Oxford Dict.
I continually find myself on an upward slope of shoulders rising, email filling, and brain cluttering.
Then, there's that inevitable moment when I pull my head from my computer screens and I see the coffee cup, the lunch plate, the mail, the crumbled sticky notes, the pens, the papers. The general mess that has become my workspace.
This usually coincides with me becoming so frustrated with a project or not being able to focus on anything and I just need to step away from my computer. My mind feels like a dark grey, tumultuous cloud where my thoughts are drowned out by the thunderstorm of half-formed ideas crashing into each other.
Then one phrase cuts through the storm and as it sparks in my mind, the chaos starts to lift:
If you want clarity, clear the space.
As an entrepreneur, I'm sure you've had many moments where the noise inside your head became too confused, too convoluted, too distracted. There is so much stress around managing all aspects of a business that it can be overwhelming. In those moments, we need to realize that we're more likely to be inadvertently making the situation worse for ourselves and our businesses. If you're not having clear thoughts, maybe don't take that moment to make a decision.
As this phrase resonates through my mind like church bells in the early morning, I'm reminded of my best friend's father whose house was almost always a mess. Anytime there was a stressful moment approaching, his whole house would miraculously be crystal clean. Then I would see him working peacefully at his dining room table, with a soft smile and a glass of orange juice, typing away on his laptop. His space was clean and he was ready to get back to work.
I've heard people refer to this as 'positive procrastination', where people find tasks to accomplish while they put off working on a particularly stressful one.
Sounds familiar? I'm not the only one who thinks it can actually be a healthy experience!
At the same time, there has to be a balance. If my anxiety is rising every time I approach this one task, I think it's also appropriate, for my well-being, to do what I can to alleviate some of my other stressors. I discovered this mantra tucked away one a small sunflower colored note at my friend's father's house, in a a moment where I felt disjointed and it has stuck with me for more than a decade.
As I pile the papers and sort through my mail, my brain is catching up to all the activity I've been up to. An important part of memory is giving ourselves the time to process these things in the background. Why do you think those brilliant ideas in the shower come when they do? It's because we've taken a moment to shut off that active problem-solving part of our brains. Sometimes, we need a break.
I pick up the plate and cups and I bring them to the kitchen. I wash them. I take a moment to do something with my hands, a menial task to let my brain slow down and reconnect with my surroundings. These are the great turn around moments for me.
There's no need to wait for a big stressor to clear your space and freshen your mind. In practicing this daily moment of meditation, a moment for wellness. I check back in with myself and let the stress of work start to slide from my shoulders. I'm the first to tell you that my desk space can get quite unorganized, but at least once a week, I find myself muttering to myself: If you want clarity, clear the space. A clean work space can change your whole day.