Monday, April 2, 2012

Mind Clutter Monday

One of the many newsletters I enjoy is "Just a Minute" with Laura Vanderkam, which you can visit by clicking HERE.  Laura Vanderkam is a nationally recognized writer, journalist and author who questions the status quo and helps her readers rediscover their true passions and beliefs in pursuit of more meaningful lives. Today her newsletter was on cleaning out your life, but she spoke on an interesting topic of "Psychic Clutter".  No, we aren't talking about a morass of mediums on your front lawn, a sea of soothsayers washing over your porch, or a tangle of tellers trampling at your back door -- but the mental mind mess we all juggle.  I can tell you, when my mind is going a million miles a minute and I've just about had it, my outside world reflects it -- piles of papers here, more junk on the desk -- I can't breathe just thinking about it.

So today, I invite you to read her article below, then surf over to her website to sign up for her newsletter, and exercise your banish-it biceps to toss away some mind clutter!  Always feel free to comment - would love to hear your thoughts!



Clean out your life
It’s amazing how clutter accumulates. We have lived in our house for less than a year, and already there are small piles in hot spots. No one knows how they started -- what led someone to put a copy of Time magazine on top of a plumbing bill on top of a half-finished art project -- but now they seem to grow of their own accord.

I spent some time last weekend attacking the pile on the kitchen counter but, life with small children being what it is, the counter looked worse on Sunday than it did on Friday. The impulse for spring cleaning is soon thwarted. But maybe that’s OK, because I think a better target for clutter busting is the psychic clutter many of us accumulate in our lives.

You know what I’m talking about. There’s the time clutter: standing meetings that don’t accomplish anything more than confirming that, yep! Everyone is still doing her job. Conference calls that last an hour merely because that is the unit in which things can be scheduled on everyone’s calendars. There’s commitment clutter: you fight every week to drag your daughter to piano lessons when she doesn’t want to go and you don’t want to take her. You subscribe to newsletters that aren’t nearly as fascinating as this one, and feel a vague sense of life slipping away as you take the time to delete them. You see those emails from
DailyLit with a tiny snippet of Sense and Sensibility showing up in your inbox every morning for 6 months even though you stopped reading after day 3 (that last one might just be me). No wonder a recent poll commissioned by Real Simple found that 52% of women claimed to have less than 11 hours of free time per week. They’re lying -- even the busiest American demographics watch 11 hours of weekly TV on average -- but time feels less free when it’s cluttered by stuff you don’t want to do. Real Simple didn’t survey men, but no doubt many feel the same.
The beginning of spring is a good time to get rid of things. Take a broom to your calendar. Take a sponge to recurring sources of stress in your inbox. Scrub your commitments down to a few where you can whole-heartedly go all in. Saying yes to too many opportunities is really saying no to them all, since you won’t be able to give them the attention they deserve. Kill the standing meeting. Not in charge? Lobby for its demise. Teach your teens to read a bus schedule (or set up a carpool). Automate anything you need in your life frequently. The goal is long stretches of open time that you can then choose to fill with things that bring you joy: focused thinking at work, enjoying your family at home, delving deeply into a hobby you claim you’re too busy to fathom. You want as little weighing on your mind as possible. Knowing you need to go inside for a phone call takes some of the joy out of standing outside your office, staring at the riotously pink display of an in-bloom magnolia. So be sure you need and want to be on that call before you commit to it.

What psychic clutter can you banish from your life this month?

1 comment:

  1. This was an excellent article (loved the graphic, too!). Very doable stuff, all making total sense. Thanks for posting this, so nice to know you've got my back! :)