Clutter, it’s not just all the crap lying around your house.
Mind, soul and life clutter is just as damaging.
In the last 48 hours, I’ve had a total mental breakdown. I felt my whole mind crumble and become non-functional. I got through the day on fumes, so to speak. I still had to be here for my son, so I powered through and breathed an absolute sigh of relief when he was in bed. Knowing that he would be going back to school today and I could now take some time to regroup.
It’s 11am and I have spent most of the morning avoiding everything in my life. I stayed in bed for ages, I’ve had like 5 cups of coffee already and I haven’t bothered to eat. I have attempted to work, write and get back into the swing of things a few times, only to be met with anxiety, shortness of breath and tears. I’m honestly too terrified to tackle anything.
I know my depression plays a big role in my current state of mind, but I’m annoyed for a different reason. I’m annoyed because it’s mostly self-inflicted. I have spent a lot of time “pretending”. Pretending that I’m okay. Pretending to be taking care of myself. Pretending that things are going well and improving. The fake it till you make attitude has had the reverse effect on me. Faking it for too long, has unraveled me.
Why is this happening?
I took on WAY too much in 2017. I networked, attended functions, made connections, joined up with two projects and started two different businesses with two many sub-projects underneath them. I felt invincible doing all of it, and I did enjoy it, but if I’m reflecting honestly, it didn’t work for me.
The networking, appearances and connections were brilliant. I’ve met incredible people and boosted my personal brand. Awesome.
The projects and businesses, not so much. You see, when you take on too much, so that you remain “out there”, in an effort for people not to forget about you, and hoping this will eventually result in success, doesn’t always work. What does potentially happen, is that you don’t actually do anything properly. You do the minimum, not because you don’t want to, or you’re too lazy, but because you cannot physically and realistically commit 100% to too many projects.
CLUTTER. It’s resulted in clutter.
Half finished projects, half read books, emails that you still need to get to for that “other project”. You end up sitting in a pile of unfinished business, overwhelmed and unsure of where to start or what to focus on because “it’s all important”. HUGE MISTAKE!
Things, stuff, people, projects, plans. It’s all too much when you’re not handling it properly.
So, how do clear the clutter and start fresh, not just at the beginning of a new year, but whenever it’s needed?
Re-evaluate which projects are really necessary for you to be part of.
It’s great to have your name attached to loads of things, but if it’s draining you, you’re not enjoying it or it’s taking the time of other, more important projects and tasks, bow out. This is why I resigned as chairwoman of the SACBW. While I did enjoy it, I found the additional stress of volunteering for a project, while I had so much pressure with building a new business, was not worth it. The timing was simply not ideal.
Set up a daily tidying system in your home.
This sounds strange, because aren’t we always tidying? If you work from home, the constant housework surrounding you can be quite draining. If you’re not attending to it, you feel guilty. If you’re not working because you’re doing laundry, you feel guilty. I once saw a really simply tip in an interview with Jessica Alba. Each day, just handle one or two thing. Monday, mop the floor. Tuesday, get the laundry in. Wednesday, clean the bathrooms.. and it goes on depending on what needs to be done. Dishes and daily items can be done quickly before you start your work day, or better yet, before you get to bed. And remember, particularly if you don’t live alone, that it’s not up to you to do everything. Partners and children can, and should, tidy up after themselves. It’s 2017! There is no need for women to have to handle all the housework.
Throw out or sell what goes unused and takes up space.
It will come as no surprise that we usually have more “stuff” than we need. There is a difference between pretty items that make your house a home, and pointless nonsense taking up space in cupboards, bedrooms and garages. Donate clothes to charity, sell or give away that old fridge, donate toys that are no longer played with. Throw away the papers in the drawers, and better yet, get as much of your mail via email as possible. Be ruthless, and get rid of things responsibly. That feeling when you’ve done an annual spring clean, or moved into a new place after having thrown out years of accumulated space wasters? That’s the feeling you want!
Selfish people that drain your energy. BYE!
I know how harsh that sounds, but we all know people like this. I have had friends that would always want to “get together”, but it was always up to me to travel to them. When you need to talk, the conversation always becomes about them. Any relationship is a two way street. Give and take. If you continue to give all the time, and all they do is take, it will drain you and make you miserable. If the only time you hear from someone is when they want something from you, stop responding. Chances are, they’ll stop contacting you anyway because you can no longer do anything for them.
Plans and events.. tough one, but you don’t have to be everywhere, all the time!
Be ruthless with your time. You cannot pack your schedule so tightly that you never have an hour to yourself. Being alone is vital to your stability. You don’t have to take that coffee meeting for someone to pick your brain. You don’t have to attend a networking meeting if you’re not feeling the subject matter. Some events require your presence, like a parent-teacher meeting. The key here is balance. Commit your time to what is important and don’t allow people to waste it. It was one of my biggest irritations in the corporate world that EVERYTHING required a face to face meeting. How many times have you been to a meeting and left feeling like they could have just sent an email?
In today’s world, time is precious. It’s the one thing people always want more of.
Clear your head!
Mind clutter is my biggest issue. Firstly, I overthink everything. It’s frustrating and tiring when I can’t make sense of my thoughts and emotions. This is why alone time is important. Use it doing whatever recharges you, but some good ways to organise your thoughts are writing in a journal, meditating and walking. Journaling is great for just jotting down whatever comes to mind, word vomit if you will. What is bugging you? What do you need to get done? Do you have an idea that you need clarity on? Write it down! It is so helpful to make sense of things. Meditating is wonderful to center yourself. If you’ve never done it before, the basics are just to sit quietly, and focus on your breathing. If thoughts crop up, gently push them aside and keep breathing. Do this for as long as you can, or want. When stressful moments pop up, use 1 minute to meditate and center yourself. Report back when you’ve tried this! Arianna Huffington is known to walk everywhere. She even takes business meetings and does business deals during hikes! If Arianna is doing it, it’s definitely something to consider!
Declutter. Be well.