Monday, April 14, 2008

Free from Clutter

I am addressing the issue of clutter again. The subject is still on my mind, even though I am not a pack rat. While all the my international and local moves have forced me to throw out a lot, tons in fact, I still see much to be done.

When I worked with the Stephen Covey group in Caracas many years ago, one of the main concepts I taught was the difference between urgent activities and important activities. I didn't think of it at the time, but now it's blatantly obvious that dealing with the clothes that need ironing, the stacks of stuff, the overstuffed drawers, are all important, but not urgent, and so it's easy to put off dealing with it. However, accumulating too much clutter can develop into a crisis but even worse, it keeps you distracted from more interesting projects, and may even depress you.

Seeing things, or noticing anew what needs to be taken care of puts makes you feel bad. It doesn't have to be clutter, but it can be. It can also be the squeak in a door, the ugly pitcher from Aunt Helga on the table, the burned out light bulb you keep meaning to replace. Not being able to easily close a drawer is another "drain".

Probably the reason this is so much on my mind is that as part of an e-seminar I'm taking with Christine Kane, we had to write down all the pending things, broken items, stuff to do that we keep putting off. Let me tell you, it is sad to really take in all that you're leaving undone, and it's natural to feel something like despair.

I think though, not facing these things is a dangerous form of denial. It's painful to see what you can overlook most of the time, but taking time to face the enemy is necessary to bring this monster down to a more manageable size. I've always had goal lists, now I have a "drains" list -- those things which drain my precious energy.

Being a perfectionist is the answer. It's not waiting for the glorious day to get every single thing in order. It's making a list, checking it twice, and working on it bit by bit.

Life is a journey, an adventure, not a destination. Work towards the good life, away from the clutter.