Get those bills out of sight!

Unsightly bills!

Unsightly bills!

This is the time of year when everyone gets serious – paying taxes, focusing on financial responsibility, performing the penance of life. Most people dislike doing taxes and paying bills because it is not enjoyable and can be a major source of procrastination and stress.

Here is just a little tip to make one part of this a little easier: keep your desk clear, and your mind will follow. Here’s what I mean:

When you receive a bill in the mail, what do you do with it? Most people leave it lying around as a reminder to pay the darn thing. Pretty soon this leads to a pile of ugly looking envelopes, lying in a stack in the kitchen or by the computer, reminding you in their passive yet nasty way that they are still waiting to be paid.

Clutter affects thinking. Your short-term creative memory needs all the help and space it can get, and when too many items fill its field of view, clear thought is pushed away. You might not think this happens to you but it does. You might not think it means a lot, but it does. Clutter obfuscates clarity, and leads to procrastination and resentment of tasks. Your personal success is dependent on being able to think clearly, plan, negotiate and influence.

My suggestion is simple and clean: whenever you receive a bill in the mail, open it, and note down in your calendar the amount and its due date, allowing three days or so for processing (for online banking), then file the actual bill away. That’s it.

This leaves you with a clean working area without losing track of the bills you have to pay.

Bills will never go away, but it is always worth it to live every minute of your life free of dark feelings and fear. A clean workspace devoid of “threats” is a humble but powerful step on that path.

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