I’ve been wrapped up in clutter for so many years that (apart from work) I’ve had little time left to focus on any other projects. As most of you know, I spent 366 days last year clearing stuff and writing about my decluttering journey in an attempt to document my thoughts and identify new methods of clearing (and hopefully inspire a few of you along the way). I achieved a lot.
Earlier this year, I wrote that I was going to slow down on the clearing side and work through Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s book A Year to Clear. It’s going well and I’m up to day 114. I’ve been working on the remaining problem areas around the house and getting better at making decisions about what to do with items we don’t need. When I find it hard, I don’t stress about it, instead I just postpone the decision by moving the stuff out of sight (usually a labelled Really Useful Box in the garage). This might not work for everyone but it works for me.
Slowing down this year didn’t stop my insane excitement about clearing. One of my readers quite rightly thought that ‘getting excited about clearing’ might be stopping me moving forward (I thought that too) and another reader suggested that I look at clearing as ‘reclaiming space’ which I loved the sound of. It did make me think though that I needed to change my focus and not make clearing the first thing I think about when I get up. I decided that it just wasn’t the way to go anymore.
Small bouts of clearing
It was around this time (day 96 of this year to be exact) that one of the exercises in A Year to Clear talked about the ‘sixty second round up’. This caught my attention particularly when Stephanie Bennett Vogt said that doing it daily would help to ‘calm the fight-or-flight response and build new neural pathways in the brain that makes clearing doable and effortless’. It also apparently frees up energy in you and the space.
I’ve been using these miniature slots (just a minute or two) to straighten up rooms at the end of the day or just to take a few things out of the dishwasher when I’m passing. I liked the concept so much that I decided to do smaller bouts of clearing as well; setting the timer and focusing on that area only. It’s more effective and it means that things get addressed without it taking up my whole afternoon or evening. Now that I’ve reduced the bulk of clutter over the last 15-16 months, I can afford to do a lesser amount because rooms are mostly tidy now.
Freeing up time for other projects
With less focus on decluttering, I decided to go through all the other projects that I wanted to do. A few weeks ago, I listed down everything that was in my head and split them into two categories:
- Current projects (8)
- Waiting list of projects (loads)
It took me a while to pick the 8 current projects, as originally I had 14 on my list but realised that having so many wouldn’t allow me to give them enough of my attention.
I created my vision board in the study (just a simple magnetic whiteboard that I recycled from my daughter’s room) and wrote down each project in its own bubble along with what the next 3 or 4 steps were (my project management skills helped in this area). It’s made a huge difference to my focus.
At the start of each day, I plan which ones I am going to work on and for how long, being realistic about the fact that I have a full-time job, a house to keep clean and a family. Obviously I have some decluttering projects on there as well but they are not the only focus now. Breaking down each project into steps means that it’s very easy to pick up the next thing to do, particularly when I’ve only allocated a short amount of time.
Moving projects forward and closing them off
I have closed off one project this week which is a surprise for my mum and dad (shhh… can’t mention it here as they read my blogs 🙂). I’ve also moved another two exciting projects forward quite a bit this week:
- Mentoring course: Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but I’m very keen to move more into coaching and mentoring and I’ve recently had an opportunity to do a mentoring course (finished) and be matched with a mentee (have one lined up).
- Mental health course: I applied to do a government funded course called Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health. It’s a topic that I’m really interested in and it’s going well do far. It’s through a college but I don’t have to attend. I have an assigned tutor and have six weeks to complete the assignments online.
Work has been extremely busy as well as I have a large project going live mid-May, so that’s taking up a lot of my time. This hasn’t stopped me chipping away with my personal projects which adds a lot of variety to my day. I even spent a couple of hours in the garage today (one of my decluttering projects). I always set a timer on my phone so that I don’t spend too much time on one project over the other, and always check that I’m working on the correct next step (see earlier point about listed down the order steps).
I’ve tried to be good with relaxation over the last few weeks as well. I have five things that I make sure that I do to relax. They are in my planner and I tick them off each day.
So, what exciting things have you been up to? Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.
Until next time…