If you're buried? Dig out. Then get rid of the pile.

A common thread I see among frustrated job seekers is that they're beyond overwhelmed.

They're lost in a swirl of emotion and confusion, and their minds and spaces are so cluttered up with crap that they struggle to come up with a plan of action.

The crap can be 100% paralyzing.

How can you be expected to find a new job when you've got...

...100s of emails to clear out of your inbox?

...a home office stacked to the gills with boxes, broken toys, last season's clothes, and junk mail?

...25 unread magazines on your coffee table that you just HAVE to get to?

...a pyramid of never-not-ever used stuff piled up in the garage, to the point you can't park there?

... 4 soccer practices, a swim meet, 2 piano lessons, a PTA meeting, and a baby shower to attend, in one week?


Pretty much, you can't.

Not so much because it's logistically impossible. Because, really? If you set your mind to living in that type of environment and to that schedule? You probably CAN physically pull it off. At least for a while.

But ... and this is important....

You can't because, when you have clutter and chaos in your surroundings? You have clutter and chaos on the brain. And you need that brain to be in top condition when you are transitioning to a new job, or an entirely new career.

You want to give your job search, your new business, your dream your best shot?

You need your brain to be uncluttered.

Start with your surroundings, and see the miraculous effect it has on your mind.

If you're buried? Dig out. Dig out now. And then get rid of the pile.

Wondering where to start? A few of the very best resources for de-cluttering and minimizing your life:

Man Vs. Debt - Adam Baker is a young father whose family has made it a mission to get out of debt and live a more simple, content life. The family's motto? "Sell your crap... Pay off your debt...Do what you love."

RowdyKittens -A fellow Portlander that I recently discovered. Tammy Strobel advocates minimalist, thoughtful living as an alternate to living in giant spaces with piles of clutter and multiple vehicles. She lives and breathes it. Right down to her two modes of transportation - bike and sneakers.

Zen Habits - Leo Babauta is probably the biggest name in the "declutter your life" blogsphere. He helps people clear out the clutter of their lives, find simplicity and live more happy and amazing lives. Really cannot go wrong with Leo.

Landing a great job today is so challenging. Give yourself every strategic advantage you possibly can.

And the best part about this one? The benefits will far outlast the time you spend in the job search.