on letting tasks linger

This strategy for fighting procrastination aims particularly at the tasks we just can’t seem to start. Following through to completion is another challenge. But as they say, showing up is half the battle.

to do list copy

What started as tiny as a bullet point on your to do list has grown into a slobbering, snarling monster after two months of neglect. It could be going to the DMV, filling out paper work, returning phone calls, reworking a budget or a cleaning out a closet.

Why do we avoid doing the tasks we once deemed as necessary or beneficial enough to put on a list? There are countless reasons. But in short, something about the task intimidates us. Every time I think about registering a new car, I imagine gathering countless documents that may or may not need notarization and then sitting in a cold, stale room for a whole day. The thought makes me roll my eyes and push the task to a different corner of my mind so I can think other, less overwhelming thoughts. In that case, it’s the amount of effort I’m intimidated by.

If the intimidation of a item to do is a balloon, we must deflate the balloon just enough for us to feel comfortable taking the first step. The intimidation need not be popped completely, but just enough so that we don’t feel it has control of us.

The opportunity for intimidation deflation lies in the very moment we think about the task we’re avoiding. Instead of contemplating on the amount of effort required to complete the task, we should think only about the very first step. We need not even take that first step, only imagine it. The goal of this exercise is not to complete the task or even to start it, but to deflate the intimidation just enough so that we no longer feel controlled by it. If the task at hand is to register a new car, instead of feeling overwhelmed about all that needs happen, I can imagine myself taking just the first step: getting online and determining which documents are needed for registration. I don’t even have to commit to taking action. I’m simply considering what would need to happen first if I was ready to start the task. Something magical happens in this moment: I realize that the first step isn’t so bad. I gain a bit of confidence. I begin to feel like I’m in control, so much so that I just might take action. And once that first step is taken, I’ll gain momentum. I’ll likely feel motivated to push further than step one.

But what if the very first step is just that damn dreadful? What if the first step of registering the car is going to the court and learning that I have to pay $2000 worth of traffic and parking tickets before I can even get my license reinstated? In that case, I would redirect my attention from the very first step and look further into the future. What will accomplishing this task enable me to do down the line? What is the reason I put the item on the to-do list in the first place? Maybe reinstating my license and registering my car means I can sign up to drive for Lyft, start saving at a faster rate and finally be able to invest in my business. The possibility of a greater freedom then, is what will inspire me to get started.

Remember, this is about the getting starting. The goal here is simply to deflate intimidation just enough to feel confident about getting one step closer to where we want to be.

 

paperwork pile up

Here’s the thing about procrastination: The longer we put it off, the more frightening it becomes. But when we finally sit down and get to it, we realize it’s not so bad after all. This is the case with all things declutter. It’s not ideal to let our papers pile up, but the greater the distance between ourselves and our clutter, the easier it is to let it go when the time comes.

The first step is to make a decision. Always. Not just in design; not just in declutter. In all aspects of life, we must first decide we want to make change before it can actually happen. Shift from “I should probably…” to “It’s time that I…” Decide on a day to sit down and organize your paperwork. If you have a sporadic schedule, choose a month instead of day. Plant the intention in your mind and commit to it.

When the opportunity arises, seize it. Start by adjusting your attitude. Instead of dreading the process, imagine how light you’ll feel as you eliminate chaos from your home. Create an uplifting atmosphere. Light candles, play music, listen to an audiobook or a podcast, invite your pet. Allow yourself to get excited about finally letting go.

The goal is to trash what you don’t need (likely the majority of the clutter), organize what’s left and develop habits that prevent pile up from returning. Most of your paperwork will fall into the categories that follow:

Junk mail
Trash. It. All.

Receipts
Most likely all trash. Even the ones you kept just in case you decided to make a return. That was probably months ago and the receipt has probably expired. When given the option, only accept receipts you need. And even then, be real about your behavior. Are you a person that actually makes time for returns? If not, don’t bother with the receipt.

Bank Statements
Hard copies aren’t necessary. The info is neatly organized online and doesn’t take up space in your house. Shred em all and opt for paperless statements.

Bills
Same. The info is online. No duplicates necessary. Go paperless.

Insurance policies, investments and retirement accounts
It might help to have a hard copy of account details for reference. Organize into an expandable folder or a file drawer if you have one. More than likely though, you’ll end up calling customer service with your question anyway.

Manuals
We hold onto manuals as if there’s major danger looming amid our electronics. And while malfunctions are imminent, it’s instinct for me to take my questions to YouTube. Thousands of people experienced the same problem and more importantly have found a fix. Plus, many product manuals are online as well. I prefer to keep manuals for speakers, TVs, game consoles, etc. But that’s just in case I decide to sell. And that’s only to make the purchase feel more official because the buyer too, probably takes their questions to YouTube.

Business cards
This one’s tough. I personally feel guilty for throwing away people’s cards. It feels like I’m trashing their effort. At the same time, people giving out business cards should know there’s a chance they might end up in the trash. Even business cards that get used only get used a couple times. Once you’re in communication with somebody you probably have their number locked in or their email address saved. Then the card is useless. Eventually, I accept that sometimes decluttering is cut throat and I trash what I don’t need.
Cut back on what you bring home by saving the number on site or taking a picture of the card. In some settings this might not be appropriate but do what you can when you can to reduce what comes home with you daily.

Will Read Eventually
Eventually is now. Start reading through the brochures, flyers and miscellany you kept for later reading. In less than three minutes you’ll know if it’s a document you need.

For keep’s sake Let it go

knowing when to let go of gifts and other sentimental objects

keep's sake

Countless times in cleaning, I come across dust-coated objects that are utterly useless to me but still decide to keep them, only because they were gifts. Is it ever appropriate to throw out a gift someone gave you?

If your goal is to enrich and evolve yourself, you’ll naturally shed what’s no longer useful. If you’ve lost the connections you once had with gifts from loved ones or objects that were sentimental, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s a sign of growth and that should be celebrated.

For me, the realization that it’s time to let go often comes like an epiphany, usually accompanied by tears. I cry because I’m mourning the girl that I am no longer and at the same time I’m making space for who I’m becoming.

For you, letting go might look different. Maybe the realization builds itself up little by little over months or years. Maybe you know you’re not strong enough to let go and enlist help from a friend who’s not attached. Maybe you won’t feel right until you run it by the gift giver: “Hey, remember that book you got me for my birthday in 05? Man I read that book a thousand times. It fed me for years. I’ve been thinking lately though, maybe someone else could benefit from it. How would you feel if I donated it or gave it to a friend?”

keep or discard?

If you’re not ready to let go, don’t.

If you aren’t sure, ask yourself:

  • Is the item useful to you?
  • If not, can it be of use to someone else?
  • Is the item’s sole purpose to represent a memory? If so, consider taking photos of it or writing down what you love and what you learned from the memory. Then, let it go. Give the item to someone who can use it or throw it away if it’s useless.
  • Is the object emotionally charged? Do you look at it and travel back in time, reactivating emotions you felt? Is this productive or destructive for you? Are you holding on to hurt by keeping this item around? If so, let it go. Let go of hurt. Make space for love.

the replacement post

Today we stop watering the seeds of discomfort and explore ways to caress our bodies and spirits.

Take inventory of the things in life that make you uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a drawer full of dingy panties, an overcrowded under used file drawer or a person you’re tired of dealing with.

Write out a list or put mental sticky notes on each item. Set your intention to gradually replace these things with what feels right for you at this stage in your life.

Some of my recent replacements

old phone case

Old iPhone Case

new phone case

Replacement

old macbook case

Old Macbook Case

new macbook case

Replacement

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have healthy love for your memories

7D3C78DD-B70F-4828-AFCF-220295C34EFE
For lighter life, we must let go of extra weight we hold in both the physical and mental spaces. I’ve been guilty of keeping things just to be reminded of a window of time. I’ve kept things that weren’t in use, things I rarely looked at. Letting go is a challenge. It can feel like walking away from memories for the last time. But in truth, with or without the items that represent them, memories persist. From memories, wisdom is born and that is what I choose to carry.

Ask yourself: Are the items around me in use? Are they active or do they sit for months? Are they taking up space where other, more useful items can find a home? Or maybe where there could be open space and free energy flow?

If you have inactive objects you can’t seem to let go of, pick them up and set them aside with other inactive objects. Allow the spaces they occupied to reintroduce themselves. Meet the space again and observe how it makes you feel.

piles

Here are some of last week’s piles. Of course I have piles that are more dense and some that are even permanent. But I photographed these because they can be cut through fairly quickly.

Throughout the week I’m in and out of the house, changing clothes, dealing with paperwork, receipts, books, notebooks. When I’m not attentive to putting things back where they belong, I make piles. Temporary piles. The pile becomes a canvas for what’s happening in my life. It becomes a safe space, a place for things that haven’t yet made it back home.

In theory, the pile is a healthy way to keep track of the to do list. But it seems that once an object joins the pile, it becomes less visible. The pile grows, representing the tasks we haven’t finished and the objects in it start to look heavier.

So what to do? Strive for piles that don’t feel like clutter. Comb through your piles at least once a week. Restack the pile neatly or return things to their home. You’ll find in your piles forgotten ideas, unfinished tasks, overdue items and side notes. Learn from your piles.

pile part one

Transform your piles.

pile part two

 

 

before you buy

bringing new things home is a privilege

Because we’re always accumulating, we should always be reassessing the usefulness of what we own. There should be a healthy rotation between what we bring in and what we push out. The importance of this rotation is heightened when we go through drastic changes. Things we once couldn’t live without might start to look and feel outdated, reminiscent of our younger, less wise selves. We might suddenly want to replace everything with what better reflects who we’re becoming.
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before you fill the room

you must feel the room.

Get to know the room. Get to know its textures and respond with what it makes you feel.

feel to fill

Place the chair where it feels right. Leave it there for as long as it feels right. If the placement does not sit well with you, don’t be silent about it. Start dialogue. Move the chair. Move it until both you and the chair agree.

This is how to grow a relationship with the room and objects you keep in it. You love the chair for its function, look, comfort and company. The relationship is one of patience and understanding. If the relationship begins to change, if ever you and the chair can reach no more agreements, you won’t be afraid to let go. you and the chair have agreed to part.

on having house mates

if you live with someone who differs from you in their urge to keep up the house, i’m sorry.
i know how that feels
i got through it once, twice, three times and again.
i found that the key is acceptance.

first
accepting people as they are. not everyone cares to have a crumb free floor. and its just that simple. i found that trying to change people was more tiring than doing whatever tasks i couldn’t get them to do.

and second
accepting that maybe i’m just someone who’s meant to live alone.
but in the times i had to live with others, i worked to remain conscious of the actual issue at hand. the core of the issue was that i wanted an empty sink, a crumb free floor and a sparkling shower. the fact that roommate or boyfriend, or friend, or family member) felt different was just an extension of my issue. not the actual issue. sure i did many dishes i did not use. but i had of peace of mind.

pick your battles.

The reset

New Moon Cleanse

Though the size and shape of the moon remain constant, it looks different every time we see it. Sometimes it’s buttery crescent. Sometimes a perfect half circle. Other times it’s bold and bright and white. And still other times we can’t see the moon at all. The new moon, or dark moon, is the start of a new cycle. The dark circle grows to be a silver beaming ball, a full moon that will soon shrink back to black.

new moon

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