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Creating Quality Time in a Cluttered Life
Cluttered: "Filled or scattered with a disorderly accumulation of objects or rubbish" -WordNet
Simplify: "Make simpler or easier or reduce in complexity or extent" - WordNet
I know, the term "creating balance" has become a cliché in our culture. There are articles, books, web sites and classes devoted to the subject. The amount of information and suggestions can seem overwhelming and ironically, can add to the pressure we all feel to be doing more and doing it better. Therefore, I'd like to suggest you begin to view the whole subject through a different lens- one that is labeled "simplify."
Sounds too easy, right? Believe it or not, sometimes the obvious answer is the one that is most elusive and somehow hidden from us. Perhaps we have all been taught to doubt any solution that does not require all that extra work and effort that tells us we must be doing something right, if it takes so much from us.
Would you be surprised to know that sometimes just doing less can bring about dramatic positive change? Would you recoil at the thought of casting off possessions, long held beliefs and everyday tasks that you feel are as necessary to your existence as eating and sleeping? Now that I have your attention, the following are my tips for having more by doing and having less.
Create more satisfying leisure time.
Look at how you spend your "off" time now. Do you watch TV? How often and how much? Do you spend time on the couch or in bed, avoiding getting up, or dealing with some task you would rather avoid? Do you put a lot of energy into talking about changes you would like to make in your social/leisure/dating life and relationships- but never completely follow through on them? Does all of this, combined with your overly busy work life leave you with no time to pursue that new interest or long held goal of getting into shape, getting back to playing sports, learning to cook, writing your first book, exploring your love or arts and culture- or any other passion that may have been shelved long ago due to "having no time and energy."
If any of these resonates with you- hit the STOP button, get off the couch, turn off the TV, get out of bed and get dressed. Give up those minutes and hours of procrastination and ruminating over how dissatisfied you are with your present circumstances. Then pick one small objective that would start you towards one goal and write it down, come up with at least one action step for today and follow through on it. It could be a phone call to get information on a class, time on the computer to look up the information you need on museums or galleries in your area or any task that will take you one step towards that interest you never have time for. It's amazing how those reclaimed minutes can add up to valuable time spent enriching and enjoying your life.
Unclutter your surroundings
If you were to write down every thing you actually use in your home for one month- do you think the list would be huge, and include much of what you have? Or, would you be shocked at the amount of stuff you have that sits there, taking up precious space and time sorting through in order to get to what is useful.
Consider keeping an inventory of your functional possessions. Note how often you use all those things in your kitchen, what clothes you wear, and the last time you even looked into those boxes or closet shelves for something. Once you have done this, try weeding out one thing at a time, putting it in a separate area. After a few weeks have passed and you have a large accumulation, look at the items again and consider their true usefulness, or lack of, for you. Then, decide how and when you will recycle or discard the excess. You'll be amazed by the sense of spaciousness and positive energy this will bring to your environment. If this is an area where you'd like to focus some energy, consider some independent study or taking a class in Feng Shui.
Work to keep a positive attitude
Negative feelings, reactions, and emotions are exhausting. They take up a great deal of time and energy and block our ability to be truly open to other people, new experiences and the good things that life has to offer. Strive each day to let them go. When you wake up tomorrow, decide that no matter what happens throughout the day, you will find at least a few things to be grateful for. Take a few moments daily to reflect on the good things in your life and resist every temptation to make a negative comment or to cast a situation in a negative way. Your positive energy will not only renew you, it will have a significant impact on those around you- and your relationships with them.
Always ask yourself, "Is this what I want to do or feel compelled to do?"
Too often we don't make conscious choices in our lives. Instead, we do things out of a sense of obligation or because we believe that is what is expected of us. Think about all the extra weight of meaningless tasks, insincere interactions, and busy work that we carry around. What if you stopped and challenged yourself the next time you were about to do begin a task that you know is a waste of time, or volunteer for something that you have no time for or interest in? What is the worst that could happen if you said no or set a limit on the busy and unproductive work you often end up doing? Perhaps you would feel lighter, freer and in possession of some needed time for play, relaxation and meaningful relating.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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