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Fitbit’s Spring Clean Kick-Off: The 7-Day Clutter Cleanse Part 1

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It’s time to hang up your winter coat! Starting today, we’ll be sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Our first post is from bestselling author Jenny Blake, who has a host of in-depth tips for cleansing your clutter.

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Jenny_Blake_Headshot-1316_squareJenny Blake is a bestselling author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. You can find her at JennyBlake.me where she explores systems at the intersection of mind, body and business. For fun, Jenny teaches a Geek Yoga class in New York City for entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” —Leonardo DaVinci

Vortex begone, spring has sprung! But the remnants of winter’s hoarding and hibernation may have accumulated beyond your waistline—in sneaky crevices around your house, closet, computer, and email inbox. As many will surely be jumping on the juicing bandwagon to get beach-ready (kale on kale, anyone?), now is a great time to clear any winter clutter that accumulated over the last few months.

By definition, clutter is, “A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass,” or, “Things lying in heaps or confusion,” originally derived from the word “litter.” And who wants litter clogging up their life?

(Mood) Death by 1,000 Cuts

Just as your Fitbit helps track your physical activity, this week’s challenge is to improve your mental fitness at the same time.

Reducing unnecessary stress from your mind, body, physical environment and schedule will free you up for more fun activities that benefit your overall mood, health and wellness. It will be a heck-of-a-lot easier to hit your daily 10,000 steps milestone if you don’t have to dig out from relentless clutter piles every day!

If you’re anything like me, by no means is your clutter so bad that you can’t see the floor — it’s more like little nagging piles that grow so subtly you hardly notice they’re there. That stack of papers on your desk, the unattended to pile of clothes to be properly put away, and that back corner of your refrigerator with food you’ll probably never touch.

Not everyone is ready for a full-on Spring Clean — instead, warm-up with this 7-day Clutter Cleanse. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: remove or streamline one clutter source each day.

Follow this daily regimen as your guide, or for the bravest among you: rip the band-aid off and dedicate an entire day to overhauling your physical, digital and mental environments.

Monday: Digital Desktop & Documents

Is there an area of your computer that has dozens of unorganized files milling about? Spend 30 minutes deleting and moving files into their proper place. Exhale with glee as you right-click to empty your digital trash can afterward.

  • Tip: Use consistent names for your folders across all platforms: email labels, desktop folders, even paper folders. That way you’ll always know where to find things regardless of their format.

  • Tool: Back-up any files from your hard drive to Dropbox, or better yet, use that as your primary storage home in the first place. Better still? Create as many files as you can in the cloud for added accessibility and collaboration.

  • Reward: Buy a book from the top of your Amazon wishlist for added brain fuel and inspiration

Tuesday: Tackle a Desk Pile

Got a stack of papers to put away, bills to pay, and other items which don’t belong on your desk? Although messy desks have been said to inspire creativity, wouldn’t it be easier to work if you didn’t have to stare at an accumulating pile of papers every time you sat down?

  • Template: Clear Your Clutter — If your desk is not a sore spot, this template will help you identify the area of your house that has most clutter and create a plan for removing it. Clear house, clear mind!

  • Reward: Dedicate the afternoon to working on something that would make you happiest to complete. Perhaps it’s firing off five handwritten notes, creating a Pinterest vision board for something you’re hoping to do in your life (or an area of your home you want to re-configure), chipping away at creative writing, or even creating a photo book from the best pictures in your phone (another great way to clear phone clutter, I might add!).

Wednesday: Streamline Your Email Inbox

Raise your hand if your email inbox does not drive you crazy. No one? Try any one of the following tools to make email management more efficient:

  • Unroll.me works with gmail by showing you a list of all lists you are subscribed to and allows you to mass unsubscribe; it also sends a daily roll-up of all subscriptions that are easily scannable and editable. If stragglers come into your inbox, you can forward to rollup@unroll.me and it will add them in the future (as well as remove messages you want to keep separate).

  • SaneBox is a great tool that summarizes and filters non-important email, such as newsletters for reading quickly at a glance. Try their SaneBlackHole feature which blacklists certain accounts from your inbox.

  • Also check out NutshellMail, a service that sends a daily (or at a frequency you suggest) digest of all social media activity.

  • Reward: Be a little mischievous by taking a two-day email staycation even if you aren’t actually going anywhere. Put up an auto-responder on a Thursday saying you will be slow to respond until Monday. Notice how good it feels to have a little more room to breathe and work on your bigger priorities.

Thursday: Task Transfer

Take a look at your to-do list today and ask: what do I *need* to do myself? What can I drop or delegate? Make a goal to drop or delegate at least three things today. Bonus: make this part of your routine every day for a week.

  • Tool: Consider a trial period of working with a Virtual Assistant. Zirtual offers U.S.-based assistants starting at as little as $200 a month; here’s how I work with mine. You may not find it worth the investment, but making this change improved my life and work so dramatically that I will cut out most other expenses before I have to do without this one.

  • If you’re still not sure what the fuss is about, check out this The New York Times article on how “normal” people (i.e. not just Tim Ferris types) are Outsourcing [Their] Way to Success

  • Reward: Spend one of your new free hours outside — better yet, combine your exercise with a social outing. I love doing “walk and talk” meet-ups with friends where we walk along the Hudson River while catching up. Easier on the wallet and waistline than going out to dinner!

Stay tuned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday in part two of the 7-Day Clutter Cleanse coming this Friday!

27 Responses leave one →
  1. March 25, 2014

    Thanks for the dose of inspiration! I’m excited to get started with a few items that have been nagging me for a while :)

  2. March 25, 2014

    Great feature; would like to continue receiving these blogs

  3. March 25, 2014

    I really like the idea of the 7 day clutter cleanse. I’ve attempted the band-aid method with minimal success… but I think if I plan one or a few tasks per day I can accomplish what has been piling up for too long. Just like accomplishing my daily fitbit goals I love checking things off a list. Now I just need to schedule my 7 day cleanse list.

  4. Nancy permalink
    March 25, 2014

    Any Fitbit Users that have had a total knee replacement ?

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 25, 2014

      I have had both knees replaced. Right in 2007 and left in 2011. Had very good luck with both surgeries and am completely happy with both knees.

    • Shirley permalink
      March 25, 2014

      I have had both knee’s replaced back in 2007. having the fitbit really lets me know when I am not moving very much,which also tells me why I am so stiff.

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 25, 2014

      I have had two knee replacements ten years ago. My gait is not good & I have difficulty with stairs but I am able to walk distances.

    • Jill permalink
      March 25, 2014

      My husband did this summer.

    • Terri permalink
      March 26, 2014

      Yes, best thing I ever did! I can get my 10,000+ steps in and do anything I want.

    • Susan permalink
      March 26, 2014

      Yes, I have (last May).

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 26, 2014

      Hey Nancy,
      I had a total knee repalcement in Nov. of ’10 and it has been wonderful!!!!Previously I cccould barely hike a mile without resting the knee and uphill/downhill was lll but impossible.
      By summer of ’11 I was back to full tilt in my daily cardio activity and able to hike small uphills without any problem.
      Now 3 and 1/2 years later I am very happy. I’ve been able to do anything I desire in terms of hiking, climbing hills etc. I enter 4-6 5K’s each year and this year I’ve entered 2 1/4 marathons juat as a challenge to myself.
      The knee is happy and so am I. I can hike 6-8 miles at a time over varied terrain including at altitude without any problem—- SO get that knee done!!!!
      Oh, and by hte way I am not a young and gifted athlete. I am a 72 year old nurse, mom and grand mom

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 30, 2014

        You are quite an inspiration. You go girl!!

      • Kate permalink
        May 6, 2014

        Nancy, you made my day! I needed a little inspiration, and there you were. I’m 74, and struggling to keep up with those 10,000 daily steps. Bad knee, bad shoulder, and terrible
        neglect sum up my life. I so want to get healthy again, thanks for posting.

    • Nita permalink
      March 26, 2014

      @ Nancy

      I have had a total and revision w/extended femoral and tibial rods on 1 side and total on other. Are you having trouble with hitting your targets w/FitBit?

    • Margie permalink
      March 27, 2014

      Had both replaced in ’09. I’m 69, and have zero problems with either knee. Having this done totally changed my life. I can’t say enough about it. I went to a doc that only does knees and hips, and I think that makes a difference, as I have heard stories about less desirable results. After 5 years, I still think of my doc every time I climb stairs.

    • Abbie permalink
      March 28, 2014

      Two knees and a hip :)

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 1, 2014

      Hi yes nine knee surgeries. And a Stryker knee. Gets a bit of pressure if I walk more than 90 minutes. I then move to the pool
      Brook, a Michigan man

    • Susan permalink
      April 24, 2014

      One knee replaced in 2009. Easy recovery – still going strong.

  5. Kathie permalink
    March 25, 2014

    Love it!! You are my kind of person.

  6. March 26, 2014

    OK – so a couple of weeks ago, I had accumulated so much stuff in my studio/office/bedroom that I could not find anything – how many hours have I wasted looking for something !! So, I cancelled a weekend trip and spent the entire two days very slowly going through the bedroom and wow doe it feel so much better. I even rearranged the room by moving the bed, desk and sofa to change the entire “feel” of the room. I like it a lot – probably because the result was a clean and streamlined space. I bought the shoe-sized plastic containers at the Dollar Store and placed items into marked bins including the mail and business papers “in process.” At the end of the day I now put everything away and, if I want to organize a bin while watching TV, I can focus on just that task.
    This can work and it is easily continued. For me the key is baskets and plastic covered bins so that I can separate what I need to focus on in the now.
    I also have a kitchen timer and set it for 30 or 60 minute intervals to work on personal versus business activities. The multi-tasking I used to do resulted in less productivity.

  7. Darla permalink
    March 26, 2014

    Very nice. I’ll definitely want to keep on eye on this site…Right off the bat, I did the “unroll” and that was a big WOW…and bigger YAY.

  8. Linda Warshaw permalink
    March 26, 2014

    Thanks for the inspiration. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to do certain things, but with this little “push”, it will be a little bit easier.

  9. March 26, 2014

    I welcome this time of the year and throughout the year to stay at peace and enjoy my surroundings! Thanks!

  10. Nita permalink
    March 26, 2014

    I really found this article inspirational. Looking to get up and do something with this loooonnnngggg Ohio winter. Thanks!

    @ Nancy

    I have had a total and revision w/extended femoral and tibial rods on 1 side and total on other. Are you having trouble with hitting your targets w/FitBit?

  11. Janet permalink
    March 26, 2014

    Love Wednesday’s streamline your inbox ideas!! Think I will switch to gmail :)

  12. March 26, 2014

    Jenny – The tips are great and I love the rewards that you suggested. I am going to check out nutshell mail right now.

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