July 29, 2020


Minute read

Blame It On My ADD, Baby

What does your work space look like? 

With the launch of The Focus Factor, I’m spending a lot more time at my desk. And I’ve come to a realization regarding my work space. 

If you know me, you may agree that I’m a little bit…creative. 

With that creativity sometimes comes a bit of messiness. Weekly, or so … I clear the clutter from my desk, but found myself creating a pile in the right hand corner. A stack of books and resources I’m using for research, along with papers to sort through, remains a constant.

Alongside my resources, I’ve a microphone and headset for recording, my list of to-do’s, 5 pens (I have 5 fingers, right?), my debit card (because you never know), at least 2 cups, a pack of guitar strings. 

And this was where the realization hit. Not only was I sitting at a weird angle, with my computer in the left hand corner of my desk because of the stuff on the desk — I was getting distracted. 

The debit card made me think about paying bills. The guitar strings made me feel guilty that I hadn’t restrung it (for the 4th week in a row). 

I would glance sporadically at my to-do list and feel a pang of anxiety that I had not yet accomplished some of my must-do tasks. 

So, I set out to create a more sustainable protocol. 

I cleared everything off of my desk aside from my laptop, a glass of water, and my single index card that holds my five most pressing tasks to complete. 

Seriously. I took all of the books, all of the paraphernalia, and placed it NEXT to my desk. 

My new work space INSTANTLY helped me focus on the project that I was working on — and I finished it in half the time I was expecting! 

I realized that keeping my space clean and clear allows me to fully invest in whatever I’m doing, without the risk of being a “busy tourist” and getting distracted. 

Now in case you were worried, Number 5 on my list IS to “go through desk pile”. This task being at the end of my list is great because it doesn’t take a lot of executive decision-making “gas.”

I invite you this week to try clearing your slate — whatever that may look like for you.

Maybe your desk is clean, but your kitchen, nightstand, or bookshelf gets overcrowded with gadgets. As you clear whichever area needs some attention, see if you can use it as a mindfulness activity. 

For example, instead of allowing anxiety and frustration to manifest as tension in your body (cleaning does that to me), can you breathe intentionally as you sort? Can you contemplate how this new space feels to you and what it does for your mind?

The clean slate and newly open canvas you’ve created may surprise you in the productivity and focus it creates!

About the Author: Laura Araujo

Passionate about accessible education and evidence-based wellness, Laura founded The MAPS Institute, an educational wellness editorial and platform. Aside from her passion for research and educating, Laura is a classically trained vocalist, sound therapist, and a practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga. She is the creator of the MAPS (Mindfulness, Activation, Purpose, and Surrender) philosophy and is in continual pursuit of helping her students and herself find balance amid the chaos around and within them. When not sifting through Nature Magazine, complaining about their paywalls, she enjoys trying new wine varietals, experimenting in the kitchen, riding her bicycle (sometimes cross-country), and spending time with her husband Charlie, cockapoo Miles, and expected baby girl, Ella.  Click here to follow the MAPS Institute on social media.



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