Baggage Handling – Physical and Mental

Helping my family recently move made me realize how easy it is to accumulate items. When I was in the process of unpacking many them, I kept thinking do they really need this item, and will they miss it if it never makes it onto the shelf or into some new junk drawer? What if the item simply disappeared? Would they miss it, and is it more of a sentimental token with no real intrinsic monetary value? These same questions can be applied to mental baggage, but I think it is harder to actually get rid of this type of clutter.

Have you ever experienced the feeling I get when I go into a home that has been staged for sale, or perhaps into a freshly designed office or hotel room? I’m referring to the feeling of not being encumbered by sheer clutter and an overwhelming amount of physical stuff. Yes, the stuff has a physical weight to it, and there is also a mental weight you can experience when there is too much of it. The same is true with mental clutter. It too has a weight value, but it is harder to quantify. However, if you had to quantify the weight value, there are definitely mental topics which are heavier than others, and you know what they are.

I realize thinking about mental clutter can seem ethereal, and we do not often talk to one another about this, but it can be really toxic if we are not careful with monitoring the levels of it. Sometimes our mental clutter feels more overwhelming than other times, and typically there are topics or situations which will enhance this negative feeling. In a business environment, the mental heaviness can come from a number of places, but it is generally coming from the top of the organization and trickling down through the management team. When this happens, it’s as if the managers who should be acting as “filters” or “drains” are not doing their job. When this happens, the toxic mental baggage they are dealing with is not being properly filtered or drained, and their teams are getting a straight dose of their mental baggage which they are paid to deal with.

So, if you are in a role which serves as a filter or drain, do you know how to make sure you are doing your job well enough to keep the mental baggage and clutter from not clogging? Whether you do or don’t, here are some ways you can help to ensure both the physical and mental baggage you get paid to keep control of stays in control.

  • Just like actual drainage systems, you too need an outlet to ensure that your filter and drainage systems are not in need of human Draino. You can accomplish this by making sure you monitor the human pulse measurements on your team are at the right gauge level (e.g., take the proverbial temperature of the person or team you are managing to see that it is at a healthy level, in other words, talk to people and ask them how they are doing).
  • By keeping your communications open and transparent, you will also prevent mental blockage.
  • Offices are plagued with stuff. Whether it is office equipment, personal items strewn about a person’s work space or actual physical piling up of discarded office items (e.g., paper, chairs, broken or unused equipment). By taking the approach that each week is ‘spring cleaning’ time, you will help to keep the levels of actual clutter from getting to the point of causing the space to feel heavy. When an environment feels heavy, people are less productive and less motivated to work in that space.
  • When you give physical things away, you will literally feel lighter and happier. Having too much stuff bogs us down, but giving it away, especially when we are not using it anymore, is highly effective in terms of lightening our emotional baggage attached to physical items.

Commanding more control over both your mental and physical baggage is a goal I strive to reach on a daily basis. Some people are far better at this than I am, but when I do feel like I have a sense of control on baggage of either type, I am much more satisfied professionally and personally. See if you feel the same way by taking on the challenge of reducing your physical and mental baggage.


Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at

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