Clutter doesn’t have to represent tangible “junk” that you can physically see. More oft than not in life, it’s the clutter from the people and companies we interact and do business with that bring the most clutter (ie., “drama”) into our lives.

In particular, the people we work and socialize with most have the biggest impact on our mental energy – our ability to push through obstacles and create new lucrative paths toward our ultimate happiness.

Worse, this clutter creates mounting stress, the kind that leads to panic attacks and encourages an all-consuming, constant and paralyzing analysis of everything around you that leaves no time left for yourself or the pursuit of your goals.

You can only live in this state of perpetual clutter for so long before the bridge gives out from beneath your feet and you go plunging into a dark blue abyss of confused unfulfilment, perhaps never to fully return to the surface ever again.

Declutter your life

5 ways to declutter your life

Here’s some help for those of you fighting the mental clutter that surrounds you:

1. Put up your negativity shield

People love to argue and bring others down. It’s sad, but it is reality too. It’s so easy to get swept up in whatever negative drama is going on around you, but you have to erase this bane from your life if you truly want a de-cluttered mind that’s fresh and ready to tackle the day, every day. Stay away from people and places that don’t serve to keep you happy, motivated and focused.

There’s a really cool saying I heard once that sums up the effect of negativity on the mind: “Don’t let people rent space in your head.” Essentially, renters don’t have the same stake in keeping your property in tip-top shape. They’ll set fire to the walls and leave you to pay for the repairs when they leave.

2. Clamp down on your online social habits

Social updates can wreak havoc on your work and personal life. Seriously. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ are all a time-sink and one of the worst kinds of clutter most of us allow into our lives circa 2015 (perhaps for the rest of eternity now). Same goes for persistently checking your email accounts. How often do you check your physical mailbox every day (you know, the one lettermail comes in?) At some point, you have to turn off the updates, stop checking emails and free up that reserved space in your head for something more productive.

Social media is the new “Social Anxiety Disorder”. The only difference is that sufferers now live with the fear of “What did I miss?” or “What am I missing right now?” instead of “OMG: How am I going to survive being in this crowd of people?” Set specific times through the day, just like most all other successful people, to check your social status and email correspondence. All other times are off-limits. Delete all those social apps and email reminder apps from your phone and go old-school.

3. Early to bed, early to rise

Failure to get enough sleep has far-reaching consequences to your eventual success in life, like heart disease and cancer for instance. It also comes with a slew of negative immediate consequences such as poor cognitive function, lack of drive, misunderstandings, tempers flaring, missed deadlines, and more. In fact, poor sleep patterns literally make you into a 180-degree version of who you really could be. Hit the sack no later than 12am and get your butt out and ready to tackle the day by 6 the next morning. Easier said than done? That’s what people thought about running a four-minute-mile before Roger Bannister came along.

Getting up early affords the success-driven so many benefits. You get to take in the early morning energy of the sun and keep your biological clock in order. Many of the types of people you don’t want to surround yourself with are still lazily curled up in their beds, waiting for the lunch bell to ring so they can get up and do nothing with the rest of the day.

Businesswoman eating healthy

4. Start eating right (de-clutter your body)

Most of us live our life a quarter mile at a time like Dom from Fast and Furious. This might be great from a fun perspective, but if you keep redlining your engine day after day without putting the proper gas and oil in, soon the pistons and valve train will burn out. And rebuilding a body is a lot harder than a car engine.

Start with healthy eating, either at home or at work. A diet high in fiber with moderate protein and very (read: very) low carbohydrates will keep you regular, maintain healthy insulin levels low and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

5. Say no instead of yes

While much of the world could stand to do the opposite, those in search of a de-cluttered and productive life do, in fact, need to learn to say “no” more often in order to find more success for themselves.

Spending all your time doing things for others is indeed noble, but if you’re the type who says yes before people are even done asking you for something, it’s relatively safe to say you don’t spend enough time doing things just for you; a sure-fire precursor to anxiety and lack of self-fulfilment down the road.

Now over to you…

Go ahead and share your own tips in the comments. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s ideas on how to effectively de-clutter your mind to help better your chances at success in life.