Clutter = stress. Period, end of story. Why?
Clutter represents decisions not made. That chair you’ve been meaning to re-upholster but you can’t figure out what fabric you want. Those stack of papers on your desk that you need to process but you don’t know where to start. Those clothes you want to donate to a charity but you aren’t sure which charity to donate it to. Un-answered questions created by clutter cause frustration, feelings of failure, fear and most of all STRESS!
When we don’t decide, it causes, as David Allen author of Getting Things Done would describe, “open loops.” These open loops cause information to run amuck in our brains and causes overwhelm to the frontal lobe. Decision making is an executive function handled in the frontal lobe. When overwhelm occurs in the frontal lobe is impacts our ability to make choices based on logic. Instead we switch to the reptilian brain which is activated by the fight or flight response. Operating from this part of our brain causes us to run around like chickens with our heads cut off, not knowing which way to turn, where to start or even what questions to be asking to figure it all out.
When our internal world is cluttered, it will manifest as clutter in our external worlds and can show up as physical clutter, cluttered situations and cluttered relationships. Surety of thought creates a very powerful state of mind which creates a sense of peace, confidence and ease in our lives.
Decision making isn’t always simple or easy. However, it doesn’t have to be as “big” as most of us have been conditioned to make it. We have been conditioned in our society to think, “go big or go home or do it all at once or don’t do any of it at all.” Many of us tend to be opposite end of the spectrum thinkers too. We think either or. But I’m here to tell you there is a middle ground and sometimes it’s possible to have both.
I read a life altering statement in the book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T.Harv Eker. In it he said, “Poor people think either or, rich people think both.” I realized in that moment that I was definitely an either or thinker. Now, when I catch myself doing that, I allow my mind to entertain both ends of the spectrum but I always look for ways to integrate both if possible. Little did I know how powerful this technique would be to re-train my brain to become a more efficient decision maker. Now, I train my clients to look for the both when dealing with their clutter.
For example, two opposite ends of the spectrum are holding on tightly and letting go. Everyone always preaches about how noble it is to let go, which is true, but in order to let go wouldn’t you agree you have to let loose first? Applying this philosophy, I am able to show clients how they can find a middle step to let go of the things they are having trouble letting go of easily and gently. For example, maybe they aren’t ready to get rid of that lady in red dress they bought in the 80′s, but maybe they are willing to at least take it off the hanger and remove it from the valuable real estate area in the closet and store it up high on a shelf in a storage container. This small step starts to break down the emotional attachment to their possessions and guide them towards the direction of finally letting go.
The key to decision making is to make the decision smaller. I call this, “D.N.A.” which stands for defining the next action. Maybe in order to get your brakes fixed you first have to start with creating a Yelp account so you can find the reviews for the mechanic you want to take your car to. Doesn’t that feel a little easier and more doable to deal with than the idea of just showing up at some random repair shop?
I encourage you today to pick one project in your life that you’ve been wanting to move forward and figure out one tiny little action step you can take. First small steps could be making a phone call, doing research, visiting a location or just brainstorming. Say to yourself, “If I want to do this then I need to do that” to figure out what your next action steps are. If you can’t even think at that level then apply what I call the “5 w’s strategy”. Ask yourself a question starting with a W word. Who, what, when, why and where. Starting a question with any of these words will certainly lead to other questions and next thing you know you will have come up with a lot of answers you were not able to previously come up with in order to more effectively make a decision.
You will discover, the more efficient you become at making decisions, the less stress you will have to deal with and the easier and more peaceful your life will feel.
To learn how Miss Organized can help you move projects forward faster and with less stress click here.