Have a million things going on? Want to be more creative and also be more efficient? Do yourself a favor: declutter and organize your space. You’ll get more done and you’ll be more creative – while avoiding distractions, procrastination and stress. Here’s an overview of the steps to take to organize your space for maximum creativity and efficiency:

1. Declutter.

Get rid of what you don’t need. Give it away, throw it away, sell it – do what makes sense to get it out of your space. If in doubt, you don’t need it.

2. Organize what remains.

Take any defined area. Focus your efforts to organize that space. For example, concentrate on one drawer or section or a room at a time. Begin by sorting the items within this space into piles of similar items. Now, find a way to keep them together, physically. You can containerize using boxes or baskets or bags or drawers, for example. A key tip for organizing your space is to label things to make them easy to find.

3. Decorate.

Create spaces that are comfortable and visually pleasing to you. If you find a place distracting or ugly or creepy, you’re not going to enjoy spending time in it, let alone working or creating in it.

4. Set things up for enhanced efficiency.

Organize your ideas. Sort materials so that everything you need for a particular project is in one convenient place. If you’re knitting a sweater, for example, it makes more sense to store the wool, pattern, needles and scissors for that project in one basket. Then, when you have time to work on that sweater, you can just grab that basket and go. In her book Refuse to Choose, Barbara Sher offers some great ideas for bundling up projects and storing them with their requisite supplies. For example, you can set up project bundles on closet shelves or rolling carts so they are ready to go whenever you are.

5. Adopt a cleaning and tidying regime that will work for you.

Once you've decluttered and organized your space and made it more efficient, put in place mechanisms to keep it that way.

If you’ve set things up for maximum efficiency, things should already be ‘in their place’ so keeping things tidy should be pretty easy. If not, there’s probably some room for improvement in how things are organized. It should feel relatively easy to put things in their proper place each evening or at least once a week. You hang up your towel after you shower, right? It takes a second and keeps your towel clean, mold-free, dry and pleasant for the next time you need it. Keeping your spaces tidy should feel like this: quick, easy, automatic actions that make it nicer to be there.

One level higher than ‘tidy’ is ‘clean’. This goes beyond putting things in their place to keeping your space hygienic i.e. removing dirt, dust, grime and germs on a regular basis – at least weekly. If you can’t swing it solo, you may need to delegate or bribe family members…or hire outside help.

The reason this is imperative for multi-talented people is because if you don’t employ a regular cleaning schedule, cleaning activities become a prime breeding ground for procrastination. Anyone who’s ever tried writing in a less than sparkling dwelling knows the siren call of cleaning distractions. Instead of sitting down to write a chapter, you find yourself washing dishes or vacuuming or scrubbing the tub. However, if you’re place is clean and tidy, you have no choice but to draft that best-seller.

6. Set up an ongoing system by which you will keep clutter at bay.

There is some kind of supernatural process by which stuff accumulates. You need to set up mechanisms to thwart these evil forces. None of these organizing tips will make much difference unless you make them a part of your ongoing routine. Luckily, this kind of ongoing “maintenance decluttering” is much easier and faster than the initial decluttering process: Maybe you tackle one drawer a week or one room a month. Jettison what you don’t need, organize and containerize what remains. While you’re at it, might as well give the cupboard a wipe. Another option is to schedule an annual spring cleaning/purge for everything.

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These organizing tips can be applied to your specific work space or to your entire living space. However, it’s best if you apply them to one targeted area at a time. (You could get your desk in order, say, or the bathroom. But trying to do both at the same time is counterproductive). After you get one drawer or corner or room in order, move on. Then, if you wish, you can apply these steps to more and more of your space.

One suggestion: schedule an appointment one year from today to review your decluttering and organizing progress thus far. Look around: how organized are you? How much clutter has accumulated? How efficient is your space? If you’re on track and have been chipping away, a little bit at a time, that’s terrific. If not, you're probably ready for another purge so review and repeat these organizing tips.

Activity: Pick one room. Follow the six organizing tips above to get it more organized. Ideally, you’ll want to get your workspace in order but if that is too intimidating to start, pick the easiest possible space in which to test-drive the six steps – a bathroom, a linen closet, a sock drawer. It doesn’t matter. Wherever you choose to start is fine. When you see the benefits of your efforts, you’re apt to apply the six steps to other spaces.

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(c) Liisa Kyle, Ph.D.

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Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The Da Vinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/.

Author's Bio: 

Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. is the go-to coach for smart, creative people who want to overcome challenges, get organized, get things done and get more out of life (www.CoachingForCreativePeople.com).

Liisa Kyle is also an internationally published writer/editor/photographer as well as author of books including "YOU CAN GET IT DONE: Choose What to Do, Plan, Start, Stay on Track, Overcome Obstacles, and Finish" (http://bit.ly/YouCanGetItDone). If you are a creative person with too many ideas and too much to do, check out her other helpful articles here: www.DavinciDilemma.com