When life gets chaotic, with competing demands for your time, energy and attention, being clear on what matters most to you is a north star guiding you through the chaos.
So, if your life needs a spring cleaning, what better time to tap into the energy of this fresh season to cull the chaos and focus on what matters most? It’s time to simplify your life, decrease stress and increase joy—in your life and at home.
Build a life on what matters most.
Reflect on your values.
How do you want to live your life? What’s truly meaningful? What qualities do you want to cultivate? Answers to these questions will help you live a life with meaning, and guide your decisions and actions. Values can include things like knowledge and wisdom, compassion, humour, honesty, creativity, spirituality, health, peace and responsibility.
Think about your goals.
Your goals show what matters. Think about how they align with your values. Write them down and put a timeline to each one.
Set your priorities.
Where do you want to spend your time and energy? How does that align with your values and goals?
Consider your relationships.
Who do you want to spend time with? How do they reflect your values, goals and priorities?
If you need some help with this worthwhile and rewarding process, talk to a trusted friend or therapist.
Your Body & Mind
Stay joyful by being at your best.
Take care. Prioritize yourself, mentally and physically, by getting enough sleep and exercise, eating a healthy diet and finding time to relax and unwind.
Learn to relax. Offset the stresses of life by making a habit of deep breathing, meditation, yoga or massage, and spending time in nature.
Practice gratitude. Be mindful and thankful for what you have and what you can do, rather than what you don’t have and can’t do.
Deepen connections. Spend time and energy to build and maintain quality relationships with friends and family. Investments in the giving of love, support and joy are reciprocal.
Turn off your phone. Give yourself some time away from the distractions of calls, messages and social media. Start with half an hour and build from there.
Getting rid of what you no longer want or need can be liberating—physically, emotionally and financially.
In fact, studies have shown a direct correlation between clearing clutter and healthier food choices, less frustration, more harmony in the home and increased productivity. You also get:
• More space: Enjoy more space in drawers, cupboards, work surfaces, lockers and garages.
• More peace: Without visual and physical distractions, your mind is clearer and calmer.
• More organization: With less to manage and maintain, you’ll likely create efficient ways of organizing your belongings.
• More productivity and efficiency: Spend less time looking for things and focus more on the task at hand.
• More time and energy: Your home is much easier to manage when there’s less to manage.
Five Steps to Clear the Clutter
The process of letting things go can be overwhelming before it feels freeing. Here’s how to get started:
- Stay motivated. Know why you want to declutter.
- Pick a spot. To start, choose something easy like a single drawer.
- Pick a room. Which room or area, when organized, will make the biggest difference in your life? Maybe a disorganized entry, pantry or your bedroom closet.
- Do a little, often. Work with the time you have—10 or 20 minutes can make a huge difference.
- Do it in waves. Cull obvious, bigger items then go back to tackle smaller items. Sometimes it takes several sweeps over days or weeks.
Create new habits to keep the chaos at bay.
- Give everything a place. Keys, batteries, craft supplies…everything needs a home. If not, toss it.
- Identify hotspots. Where are the dumping grounds? Design a system to deal with them.
- Develop tidy habits. Make your bed every morning, do the dishes after dinner, put your clothes away when you undress. If you put your hand on something, deal with it immediately.
- Take five. Before bed, scan your home. Just five minutes to put things back in place means you start every morning with a clean slate.
- Follow the “one in, one out” rule. If you buy a new shirt or mug, out goes an old one. This habit helps you to shop mindfully and keeps clutter at bay. Owning less is a good thing!
- Just do it. When we put things off—paperwork, making that call—they morph into unmanageable messes and eat away at our peace of mind. Allocate 10 minutes a day to clear the pile.
- Enlist help. These practical habits are worthwhile life skills for all ages. Everyone who lives in a home has equal responsibility to participate in its care.
Learn to love a list
Lists help you to focus on what is meaningful, to prioritize and to stay on track.
- Declare your goal at the top of each list. What is the list designed to do? Why is it important?
- Write down all your tasks, large and small. Be specific.
- Prioritize by importance. Use an at-a-glance system: ABCs or colour.
- Break down larger tasks into smaller, more achievable tasks.
- Set deadlines. Put them in a planner to stay on track.
- Review and update regularly.
This article was published in The Good Life.