Tag Archives: clean up

Compassionate Workplace #2: Declutter- It’s not just for Oprah!

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Often it’s the “getting started” that’s the hardest barrier to cross in organizing. I love hearing how different people ease there way into the process…

the yoga rebel

It appears that Oprah has made decluttering her mission in every Spring. And why not? It’s a great thing.

photo-5I have discovered (rather too late) that my productivity is directly related to how clean my desk is. (Surprise!)

I think what’s important is not not my realization but why. My productivity equals to my creativity. When I am not being productive, I am not creating anything. I’m not producing anything new, fun, useful or loving. What’s also important is that when I’m not feeling creative, it’s because I often feel anxious. Not all the time. But certainly a lot of the times. I think about unpaid bills, Emails I have not replied, issues I have not dealt with, taxes I have not sorted out etc etc. Cluttering is a way of avoiding and numbing. There are certain things I don’t want to deal with so I pile them up…

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Musings on Possessions -3

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“The more we simplify our material needs the more we are free to think of other things.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt
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Musings on Possessions – 2

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Sometimes, a few sparse items of great sentiment can out-value a house full of items purchased on a whim.

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“My most cherished possessions are my grandma’s letters and my vintage Martha Washington cookbook.”
-Sandra Lee

“We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.
Anna C. Brackett

Five Daily Organizing Habits

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1. Have three areas in your home you’re committed to keeping clutter-free. I make my bed daily, clear all dishes from the sink, and fold and stack all used clothing. These three commitments boost my esteem, give me landing places for my eyes that feel peaceful and calm, and anchor me when I’m experiencing overwhelm or chaos.

Whatever you eyes land on when you first enter your home can set you up for feeling peaceful or chaotic. See if you can commit to keeping the area you look at when you first enter clutter-free. Fresh flowers, or a delightful splash of color can uplift, too.

2. Take 30 minutes a day to detach from activity and find calm. This could be taking a walk outside on a lunch break. Nature soothes and allows us to let go of whatever is pulling at us (worry, indecision, external or internal pressure). It could mean a hot bath, meditation, reading an inspiring book. It’s often when we’re feeling we “don’t have time to take a break” that taking a break will do us the most good. We wouldn’t go to the gym and expect to weight-lift for hours without a break. We know our bodies aren’t built for that. Our brains need the same kind of break from thinking, problem-solving and activity. A mind refreshed is much more capable than a mind distressed.

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3. Take 15 minutes in the morning to plan your day, and 15 minutes at night to re-set. Clients often say, :Doesn’t this take up a lot of time?” It SAVES a lot of time. We wouldn’t jump in the car and start driving across country without consulting a map (or setting the GPS), even if we’re leaving from NYC and know LA is “west”. We often try to jump into the day with a vague idea of where we’re going, but no clear map on getting there. By reviewing what we want to get done, it often become clear how we can do it most efficiently, and what steps we need to take in what order to get there. At night, we can see spot check what we completed and didn’t. Often, if I see clearly what I didn’t make happen, going to sleep with that awareness, allows me to wake up with clarity on what next actions I need to take. We do a lot of problem-solving in our sleep. Having a a gentle question when we go to bed, is like putting a repair order in. In the morning, we often awake to a new solution.

4. a)Write all tasks down.  Our brains are not designed hold a large number of tasks for ready access. By writing everything down, we allow the brain to function as it’s designed, and allow our smart-phones, calendars, and lists to contain everything for us. We consult our lists to pull out items as they’re needed. Studies have shown that the act of writing things down has us 90% more likely to complete what we intend. Even if we don’t consult our lists, the act of writing is a powerful tool in clarifying and solidifying our intentions. b)Every task has a “when”. While this can be flexible, it’s a helpful habit to write down “by when” you intend to accomplish each tasks. It can help you see your priorities, and if it’s reasonable to accomplish everything you intend in the time–frame you anticipate. You are better equipped to now “schedule” the tasks you’ve intended in your daily planning sessions.

yum5. Drink lots of water, sleep well, eat nutritiously, and exercise. You executive functioning brain is where we organize from. Organization is about making decisions, assessing time, and focusing. Our brains need to be functioning optimally to stay organized. Water, sleep, and nutrition will keep us well-tuned and able to walk through chaos with calm and clarity!

 

 

 

 

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I see beyond my clutter. I see the orderliness that lies within.

—Affirmations for Clutterers from Clutterless.org

Beyond

Find Your Routine

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Being organized requires some level of maintenance –regardless of your brain type or style. Dread of decluttering or organizing can lead to procrastination or paralysis for some.

Twyla Tharp wrote a beautiful book on creativity: The Creative Habit, Learn It and Use It for Life. To me, it speaks so keenly to the trouble we often have waiting OUTSIDE a process — she names the creative process. I see it easily translates into the decluttering/organizing process. For each, we must find our own flow, our own rhythm, our own dialogue through the decision-making process inherent in each.

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Here is a quote from her book. I will list it twice, once verbatim, and a second time, substituting words to describe the decluttering/organizing process.

“In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it. To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.

All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common, they impel you to get started. Whether it’s the act of carrying a hot coffee mug to an outdoor porch, or the rock ‘n’ roll that gets a painter revved up to splash color on a canvas…moving inside each of these routines gives you no choice but to do something. It’s Pavlovian: follow the routine, get a creative payoff.”  The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, p. 17-18

And now with substitutions:

“In the end, there is no one ideal condition for [decluttering or organizing]. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your [clutter/mail/schedule] doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it. To get the [organizing] habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.

All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common, they impel you to get started. Whether it’s the act of carrying a hot coffee mug to an outdoor porch, or the rock ‘n’ roll that gets a painter revved up to splash color on a canvas…moving inside each of these routines gives you no choice but to do something. It’s Pavlovian: follow the routine, get a [clarity] payoff.”  The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, p. 17-18

Innovating Style

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The fourth and last organizing style I’ll look at from Lanna Nakone’s Organizing for Your Brain Type is called the innovating style. This style correlates with the right frontal lobes which helps us envision the future and make changes.

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The  Innovating Style can usually be found in creative, artistic types. Innovators enjoy finding new and better ways of doing things. They are visual and like to have everything out where it can be seen. Filing can be tedious. Innovators tend to drop things wherever there is space, like to pile things around. Innovators can tolerate a lot more spontaneity and chaos in their environment. They will often have several projects going at once.

There was a lawyer in the corporate law office I worked who was an innovator. He was given many cases he’d work on concurrently. Stacks of files and material could be found on his desk and lining the floor of his office. When you opened his file cabinet, more stacks were plopped in, along with his jacket, and sometimes his lunch. While it looked like utter chaos to the passer by, he was extremely effective, and his boss knew he worked best when given a large load.

If you’re an innovator, it may have been easy to feel you weren’t organizing correctly. People you live with might have a lot harder time tolerating the piles and items left out and about. But as an innovator myself, it took some shame away to recognize some of the prolific trail I leave behind me is generated by my lively involvement with creative projects.