A new year or a new season can inspire us to start something new. And it’s so much easier to do our best work when we get rid of clutter.
De-cluttering isn’t just for your home; now is a great time to clear out the other kinds of clutter taking up valuable space in your head and heart.
To mark the start of this new season, here are 10 questions to help you get started with your most purposeful de-cluttering.
Physical clutter: How do you decide what to get rid of? It’s not easy, because we assign meaning to most everything around us. Try using this definition from my friend Tommy Newberry: “Clutter is anything that adds to the complexity of your life without increasing your peace of mind or bottom line. Often it is a byproduct of past mistakes, unwise decisions, or disorganization. Sometimes, though, it is the result of being productive, like the mess left behind after successfully cooking a gourmet meal.”
1. What is one thing you can remove from your life today?
2. How will its absence increase your peace of mind or bottom line?
Bonus resource: Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a game changer. Read the book or watch the Netflix series. One of her de-cluttering tips? Ask yourself of the item: “Does it spark joy?”
Mental clutter. This haphazard, unmindful thinking is even more detrimental than extra stuff or boxes in your office or home. The clutter you cannot see can be much harder to get rid of. Mental clutter can be procrastination, complexity, disorganization, unfinished business, over-commitment, busy work, spam, and resistance.
3. What is one recurring situation for you in which the urgent overrules the important?
4. How will you change that today and benefit by doing what is most important instead?
Spiritual/soul clutter: Distractions are everywhere for all of us, and it’s so important to clear the way to do the best we can with the time and opportunity that we have. Try setting a small ritual to quiet the noise. For me, that means a meditation and 30-minute workout before I hit the stage for a keynote. Some of my other small clutter-clearing rituals include yoga, walking the dog, and attending Mass. These activities help me cut through the clutter.
5. What can you start practicing today to cue your focus and help you relax for peak performance?
6. What will you need to adjust/implement/give up to make that happen?
Relationship clutter: Like the piles of stuff around us, it’s easy to let our relationships get mired in unhealthy communication. The best way to pierce this kind of buildup is with honest vulnerability and curiosity.
7. What relationship and/or issue will you get clear on today through honest questioning and listening?
8, What’s standing in your way?
Schedule clutter: This is where a personal mission statement can create more time and meaning for you. It is a lens that you use to look closely and critically at your calendar, and become relentless in protecting your time as a nonrenewable resource. This type of de-cluttering led me to the small but powerful step of no longer automatically accepting meeting requests.
9. Where do you need to spend more of your time today?
10. What do you need to say no to? (Because when we say “no” to one thing we are saying “yes” to something else).
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Clutter in our lives is a signal to let go. It is the evidence of what you do not have room for. It’s what you don’t need to do, have or be. To achieve your best self as a business person, leader, partner, spouse, parent, and other important roles, de-cluttering allows you to focus on what is essential. We can’t do it all, and getting rid of clutter helps remind us that less is more. What will you let go of today so you can put energy toward what is most important to you?
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.