Ever thought about what outside influences affect your performance and peace of mind ?I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately – likely brought on by a sneaking suspicion that I may be caught in the Matrix. Work has been crazy lately and stress levels have been off the charts. Recent;ly, when 6AM rolls around and I’m getting ready to start work for the day there is a subtle underlying dread that has been in the background.This is not how I want to vote to spend my day, running from task to task, stressing out about whether or not I’m up to the job at hand.

So how have I let things get to the point where I am constantly stressing? If I’m being honest and really looking at things dispassionately I think a lot of it has to do with a feeling of being just a little disorganized across the board. My desk is starting to look like a bit of a dumping ground (every random piece representing something that I needed to keep at hand at the time) – my office still has unpacked boxes from a move that occurred a month ago. I’ve been putting off a vacation with my family waiting for a time at work that isn’t too busy (it’s been a year with no time off). This is all on me. I have a hard time feeling “together” – especially when I look around at my physical surroundings and am faced with the only reality that can be drawn from the direct evidence – I’m not living the kind of organized, tidy life that increases my peace of mind.

So what to do about it? Get into action. A really cool site that I came across is Un!@#$ Your Habitat – I highly recommend it. The site gives great advice on how to turn your home around from pit to palace. I love the irreverent tone this blog takes and the practical bite-sized advice that makes any task seem manageable.Check out this post that lays out a simple way to get a lot done without getting overwhelmed. The site’s tagline is “You’re better than your mess” – I love that. It’s crazy how much I can be affected by a feeling that I don’t have “it” together. I know there is a lot that can be said about accepting things as they are and not letting that little voice in your head that tells you you’re messing up get the best of you – I get that, but right now I need something quick and actionable. The post I referenced lays out a structure called a 20/10 – 20 minutes of cleaning/organizing/etc, followed by a 10-minute break. I encourage you to try it – it’s remarkable how much you can accomplish with 20 minutes of focused effort. A really interesting side-effect of this method of getting going is that once you start – it’s easy to keep going, and by limiting yourself to 20 minutes it takes away the resistance to beginning. I know it sounds crazy – but it works . In fact – that messy desk I was talking about? Problem solved (in less than 10 minutes)

My vote for the day: increase my peace. I will do this by maintaining the physical environment where I spend most of my time – my home office. I now have a note on my calendar that sets aside 20 minutes once a week to deal with my office.