Do you consider yourself an honest person? Are you a stickler for the truth? What about when it comes to being honest with yourself? A blog in honor of National Honesty Day!
You say you want to rid your life of clutter and yet clutter still crowds you. Whether that’s clutter in your mind in the form of worrying or a spinning gerbil wheel of to-dos, or clutter in your home or office in the form of too much physical stuff – whatever it is that still has you disorganized, now is the time to ask yourself, what are you going to do about it?
Identifying Why You Want to Simplify and Live Mindfully
It’s easy to proclaim you’re going to simplify your life, but why? And even more importantly, why now? Has something happened recently that is prompting a renewed interest in decluttering? Have you been telling yourself one of your 200 lies and are finally seeing that lie for what it is?
The answer to “why now?” is one of the keys to your success. Think about what’s different today when answering the question.
Truthfully answering these questions is the first step in getting honest with yourself. It’s uncomfortable, sure. And absolutely necessary. Being honest about how you’ve gotten to where you are with stuff means taking some responsibility for your situation. It’s not fun and it can be painful, but luckily you’re the one person who can also do something about fixing it.
ACTIVITY: Write down the reasons you want to simplify your life now.
Get Specific and Get Going
You’ve written down the reasons you want to simplify your life, now you have to get specific.
Simple living has a lot of appeal, especially if your life is over complicated with stuff. So take a moment and honestly identify what stuff is crowding your judgment and what stuff is taking up more space in your life than necessary. Are you frustrated with the habitual ins-and-outs of your day or with a certain aspect of disorganization somewhere in your life? Is it your schedule, home, office, mindset, relationship or health? You may be thinking, “all of it!”
Here’s your chance to make the list of everything you’d like to change and to be specific. What about your daily routine is frustrating you? Which part of your office is taking time away from your productivity and costing you money?
ACTIVITY: Set a timer for 2 minutes and write down the answers to the above questions. Don’t judge, don’t edit, just write. You’ll do yourself no good if you sugar coat your reasoning or let yourself off the hook.
Once you’ve specified why, why now and what, there’s nothing holding you back from taking action.
You could start anywhere but you have to start somewhere. That’s one of the things that often trips people up – they don’t know where to start…so they don’t. Maybe it’s in the office or maybe it’s in your home. It could even be in your car or your bag. Identify the place you want to start, get any supplies you’ll need together, and get started. Not that easy? Sure it is. You’re the only one who can get the ball rolling. You are the hero of this story.
Acknowledge Your Success and Move On to the Next Item
Talking doesn’t fix anything, even though it may feel good.
By all means, tell your friends and anyone who will listen when you’ve finished the first task, but remember that, ultimately, you’re speaking to yourself. You’re acknowledging your own success. If that feels foreign or weird to you, read this on self-esteem.
Be bold and acknowledge that you’ve done something worthwhile to make YOUR life better in a way that makes YOU feel happier, more productive, better focused for all of the above. Then keep moving. Don’t lose your momentum and don’t stop affirming yourself that you’re doing something great by working towards your best life. Then continue to cross the clutter out of your life.
Once you’ve done the work and celebrated your success, don’t let talking with others slow you down. Turn your attention to the next item on your list.
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One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.