If you ever feel overwhelmed, pause for a moment and look around you. More than likely, there’s clutter in your physical (outer) space, which means there’s clutter in your inner space.
A funny thing happens when you get rid of clutter in your physical space: you see your life. You lighten up in more ways than one.
Years back, I worked at a job with a hectic pace and loads of paperwork. We moved our office to a new location, and I was given zero time to organize. In fact, I had to hire two temps to unpack everything. Two years later, the director hired a clutter coach, which pleased me to no end. I insisted a temp be hired to do what I was expected to do so I could help organize. It took two weeks. When all was said and done, I sat at my neat desk and realized I needed to leave that job and make a career change. You never know what you’ll find hiding beneath the clutter in your life.
Recently, I’ve entered de-clutter mode, even though I pride myself on being organized. However, stuff can accumulate while you’re focused elsewhere. I’m a reader and I like to keep certain books for different reasons; but I was surprised when I brought eight bags of books to the basement for our in-house book exchange. My VCR stopped working over a year ago and all those videos were taking up space. They’ve gone to new homes where VCRs work. I’m taking a room at a time and asking myself good questions every time I touch anything. This is one of those times when less feels really good. Going light shifts the energy.
What other forms of clutter do we allow into our lives?
What about activities that are busywork instead of actions that produce our desired outcomes? Many people confuse activity with productivity.
What about bouncing back and forth between what you’re working on and checking emails or IMs? This is an interruption you have some control over. Do you know that every time you’re interrupted when you’re focused, it can take up to twenty minutes to get back into full focus? You can lose hours of quality productive time every day just by checking emails while you work. If you dedicate an hour or two of uninterrupted focus on a project, you’ll quickly see the difference it makes. Unless you’re waiting for a specific email, decide to check emails at a certain time each hour or whatever works for you. What other activities clutter your productive time? Remember, though, you need quality break-times when you work so you can recharge. Not taking these or skipping lunch is a good way to clutter your mind and energy.
How does lack of proper rest and recreation clutter your life? What about poor food choices? What about not delegating when you can?
Then, there’s holding grudges. Anything from the past we carry with us is like a boulder or a bag of rocks we drag behind us through life. This is probably not the first time you read this, but forgiveness isn’t saying what happened is okay; it’s setting yourself free from replaying old tapes or films that just make you feel lousy and clutter moments and energy you could use more productively. It’s like saying, “FOR goodness sake, GIVE your self something else, something better, to focus on.”
And here’s another twist about forgiveness: Charles Fillmore said the first step to becoming debt-free is to release everyone from debts to us, especially the emotional debts known as resentments.
I’m not going to tell you letting go of resentments is easy. It can be, but it usually isn’t because we feel so right (self-righteous) about holding onto them. When I revisited this the other day, I took the spiritual, metaphysical approach and reminded myself that as I eventually look for the gift in even moments I perceive as unpleasant or painful, holding a grudge towards someone who gave me a “gift” doesn’t serve me. It impedes me. There’s a lot I choose to do with my life. If my energy is directed on resentments from the past, I’m cluttering my energy. No one can shift this but me.
One thing I’ve noticed after working this way for years is that even if you start to de-clutter at the inner level, it does make a difference if you simultaneously de-clutter your physical space. It’s practically impossible to clear your physical space and not experience inner clearing at the same time.
What are you hanging onto long past its usefulness to you? Clutter of any kind depletes your energy. Spring is a time of renewal. There’s a reason spring cleaning has been popular for generations.
What about your life are you ready to renew? What are you ready to let go of so something even better can come to you once you create the space?
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