It may have eluded you that the more stuff you have, the more you need to tend to “stuff”. Stuff pulls on you; it insists on your attention.
Defining what is important to keep can be a challenge. There are things that we keep just in case we need it, but where do we draw the line?
Years pass and we may never need it. But sometimes we do. What a dilemma. How to decide what to keep or not..?
Things we use up can be useful to keep, consumable things that have a limited life or duration – like office supplies, band aids, or cleaning products. The trick then would be how many or much do you have, and how long will it take to consume them? Weeks? Months? Years? No matter how long you keep something, it will need some sort of attention, just in varying degrees.
Then there are things that we keep that were an idea – that “one day I’ll get to it” project. We start it but we don’t finish. We hang on to it because we invested time and energy, and maybe even money. We want to finish it, but the passion is gone. You’ve become attached. What keeps you attached is guilt. (“I spent all that time/money/energy, I should finish it”) And here’s the rub; the cycle of wasted time/money/energy continues as you ruminate about doing it or not. It takes effort, mental space, and time to think about it. “Should I work on it today? No, I’ve no time” or “I should work on that today – but I don’t want to.” All of these flashes of thought take up your time. Multiply that by however many unfinished projects you have and you can easily see how busy your mind can be.
Getting Real About Purging Stuff
Many people say to me, “I can organize other peoples stuff, just not my own”. That’s because you have no attachment to their stuff, but you are attached to yours. Your attachment is time invested, money invested, effort invested, memories invested… If you want to succeed in letting things go, guess what? – You have to let go. You will be ok. It’s time to get real.
Are you ever really going to finish that project? Wait! Before you answer – put yourself in an objective state of mind. Detach from yourself. Detach from your stuff, and now ask the question. Will you ever finish this project?
If the answer is no, well, get rid of it. Put it in a box to donate/sell or just throw it out. Is it going to someone specific; set a deadline and stick to it. The longer you hang onto it, the longer it will continue to drain your energy.
Declare It to Be So!
Once you have made that decision – act on it! Clearing out things creates space, but not just physical space for more stuff – it creates mental space. You have freed up time; thinking time. You have freed up effort; it takes effort to think! Give yourself a gift – the gift of mental freedom.
Now if the answer to the question was yes – yes, I want to keep and complete that project – it’s time to think about what it is going to take to get it done. What are the action steps needed? Are you missing a component, piece of information, part or input? Take a step closer to the end goal by writing down a list of what is missing or needed. Add it onto your calendar as part of your work day. Schedule it in there like anything else. It may get bumped a few times, but just keep putting it on there. After a few bumps you will learn that either you really don’t want to do it, don’t have time to do it, don’t have the passion to do (and then you will get rid of it) or you will have gotten it done just to make the annoyance of it nagging at you, go away. Either way – it’s off your radar and you have freed up more mental space. Ahhh. Now doesn’t that feel good?!