Last week I was awakened with the idea that you needed a retreat from busyness. Lent starts today and so people are giving up things like pop and chocolate. This is also a great time to practice being less busy.
I made a Friday evening to Sunday evening retreat you can do at home to stop the busy cycle. From the retreat you will have ideas to make the next 40 days less busy.
If you can’t figure out how to get that much time in a row, do one thing each day. Answer just one of the journal questions. Do one of the activities for a bit.
You can get the retreat here for $2.99. Just make sure you go to the page PayPal will send you afterwards so you get to the download page.
“There is no social stigma attached to the frenzy, no peer motivation to slow us down. Rather it is the opposite; busy is popular currency, traded among members of modern society like a precious commodity. Busy is the silkiest cloth at the emporium, the most well-travelled spice. Living with a full schedule speedily typed into a pinging, vibrating device is a highly valued state of being. And, as with any addiction, it becomes self-perpetuating. We feel a rush from being in a rush; we take pride in the breakneck pace at which we travel through our days.”
― Gillian Deacon, Naked Imperfection: A Memoir
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. ” ~John Dryden
What are some bad habits you have? What good habits can you replace them with?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Get up ½ hour earlier and be in bed ½ hour earlier
2. Take a walk every day at lunch
3. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day
4. Start a daily journal habit
5. Make a debt reduction planner – Quicken.com has an online planner
6. Create an energizing morning routine which includes some quiet time, exercise, grooming and household chores
7. Leave 10 minutes earlier for all appointments
8. Plan meals every day
9. Declutter 5 minutes a day
10. Read a book every two weeks
If you are having trouble sticking with new habits, join with us in our habit class
The difference between a home that is usually picked up and one that is usually messy is often just the habits of the owners. Create better habits and you could have a cleaner home. Some good habits to implement:
- Leave a room neater than when you got there. Before you leave a room, do a quick scan. Grab the plate and cup you brought in. Then pick up the other cup on the table.
- Put things away even when you are in a hurry. I used to run out the door and leave everything out on the bathroom sink. Now I always put everything away before I leave. I start getting ready a few minutes earlier.
- Do a 10 minute tidy with your family in the evening. Have all the family members pick up their stuff from throughout the house.
- Do things right away. Fold laundry right away so it is less wrinkled. Do dishes right after dinner so they aren’t crusty. Sew on the button before it gets lost.
- Do errands on one day instead of every time you run out of something. Think how much less you will be stuck in the car. Keep a running list of things to buy.
- Keep up with laundry and dishes.
- Sort through papers and email daily.
- Put jewelry back into the jewelry box every night. I am working on this one right now. I have a little stash of jewelry next to the jewelry box that has become annoying.
- Pick it up as you go. Put away projects when you are done. Clear off the desk when you are done with work. Put away food when you are cooking.
Which of these habits would make the biggest difference in your home? You can start practicing your habit right away!
If you want support in creating new habits, join us for the next Habit Class.
After dinner on Monday, I ran errands with my daughter. Then we took a 1 1/2 hour winter hike.
We had some frozen yogurt with my 2 day only coupon. When I got home I did my Declutter Group chat and sent out the transcripts. By this time I was exhausted physically and mentally, so I watched Scorpion with the family. I went to bed early and woke up to a pile of dishes.
Instead of calling myself lazy and losing energy immediately this morning, like I might have done at one time, I acknowledged the time choices I made yesterday. I looked at my schedule to see when I could do dishes. I’ll do them at lunch unless my daughter can do them before work.
We all have time choices to make every day. I chose to spend the evening with my daughter. I am happy with that choice.
Yet I know that is not always the case. Too much of our day is spent lamenting the time choices we already made. Since we all have many things we could be doing it may always feel like you didn’t get the right things done. We don’t have a time travel machine so we don’t know if that is true or not. We act as if are thoughts are true about our time choices.
If something didn’t get done yesterday, look to see when you can do it today and how to make it easier. Leave the mental “I should have done…. I think I should have done….” in yesterday where it belongs.
Photos by Brea Dargis
I stared at the email I was never meant to receive feeling nauseous. What I thought I knew was not what was really happening. Questions: how, why didn’t they say anything, and self-critical thoughts rammed in my head.
I couldn’t do anymore work. There was no more room in my brain for actual thinking. I sat on the couch under my cream blanket in front of the space heater. I turned on Cupcake Wars which wasn’t nearly distracting enough.
At the first commercial I thought instead of running away from this, I might want to deal with it.
So I went to my bedroom and journaled the confusion, anger and anxiety.
Once all those were on the paper I went on to ask myself, “What if the worst did happen?” Turns out I could handle it fine. My contingency plan was solid. I also asked myself, “How likely would it be for that scenario to happen?” “Not very,” was the answer.
I pushed out some imaginary boundaries around myself creating a safe, little bubble around me. Feeling more capable and powerful I went to work instead of watching more Cupcake Wars.
I have been finding it’s actually faster to feel the feelings and dialogue with what’s going on when I am feeling resistance. As opposed to procrastinating on Facebook, cleaning,or getting sucked into the internet or TV. I could end up procrastinating for hours or days not dealing with why I don’t want to do something.
What are you resisting? What are you feeling about it?
Photo by Alex
My son used to make up elaborate schemes to get out of work. He got out of homework when he was about 9 by telling the teacher how overworked he was at home. He told him we make him set up computers and do about 3 hours of chores a night. The teacher felt so sorry for him he let him get away with not turning in homework.
Until the parent-teacher conference and we told him it was more like 30 minutes of chores not 3 hours. Let’s say he was doing a lot more chores than usual during the Christmas break.
Getting out of work is like that. More often than not, we end up doing more work.
Your taxes need to get done and trying to get out of them only leads to more work through an audit.
Deciding to do dishes some other time because you don’t feel like doing the work after dinner only makes the dishes harder.
You wishfully think if you shuffle around that project, it will get done on its own.
We have it in our head that work is bad. It’s not fun, it’s tiring, it’s *grumble, grumble, grumble*. We dig our heels in about how unfair it is that we have to do it. The world is punishing us by making us do it.
Is it really?
Your work is to give people what they need. Work allows you to be useful and provide value to someone else.
We need to look at work differently to release the procrastination habit. We need to believe that work is as good a way to spend our time as relaxing.
When you look on your life, what makes you feel good? For many of us, it’s when we overcame a challenge or made a difference. When we helped someone.
How do you feel after procrastinating or trying to get out of work? Guilty? Low energy?
You can use that brain power you are using to get out of work, to make the work more fulfilling or more fun. Think about the bigger picture of the the organized home that you can invite people to before you clean. Notice how you are helping yourself and others. Work is a privilege and a service to others. Work is how we achieve our goals whether it’s a decluttered house or running a 5K.
Most of us want the results – the clean house, the good income, the excellent blood pressure. Yet, we run away from the work thinking it will be too hard. Will it? Are you up for the challenge of changing how you see work?
Photo by Janet Ramsden
I had someone ask, "What can I do when my spouse can’t stand any mess or clutter. How can we change their perspective?"
Some of us don’t get as distraught over mess. My husband is a quality tech at a car plant. He has an eye for every single thing that gets out of place. Good for his job. Hard on me.
Before we try to get them to change their perspective, we need to see where they are coming from. Certain people get anxious or frustrated over disorder. They aren’t trying to be annoying. They really are bugged.
It helps to ask questions.
- What does clutter or disorder mean to you?
- In what ways does it make you anxious?
- What are you willing to let go of being picky about for now?
- What’s most important for you to have clean or organized in a home?
This gives you negotiating room. If dirty dishes are really high on your spouse’s annoyance list, make sure those get priority. Things like the toilet paper being on the roll the wrong way he might be willing to let go. Or fix himself.
Take care of the big hot spots that drive him nuts. Then have him tell you what he can let go of or what he is willing to do. If I don’t get to dishes or laundry within my husband’s time standards, he’ll often do them himself.
Keeping a perfect house is not on my agenda. If it’s not on yours, then it’s time for a compromise talk.
Photo cropped from AHD Photography
I’ve been reading the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. Since the Declutter Group starts today, I thought I’d read to get some fresh inspiration. But her way of decluttering is definitely not my way of decluttering.
She suggests decluttering in one swoop, get everything organized to perfection and then you will automatically keep it tidy forever. She says it has worked with her clients.
I’ve been running declutter groups for about 7 years now and none of my clients have enough time to declutter all at once. Decluttering 5 minutes a day can be considered progress.
Since life is not stagnant I don’t think you can organize and declutter everything at once and be done with it. There are life transitions – marriage, a baby, a loved one’s death, a new job, a new hobby, letting go of projects and ideas of yourself.
Caring for your home is an on-going, ever changing thing.
Caring for your home requires maintenance. Some weeks there will not be enough time for it and you may have to catch up on the weekend. I’d love for people not to feel badly about that.
I want decluttering to feel lighter and more fun. We laugh a lot in the declutter group.
All that said I am still looking forward to continuing reading. It’s important to read things that view things a different way and maybe I’ll pick up some great ideas to share with the Declutter Group.
I am not so intense on simplifying because I want to sit around and do nothing (well, not all the time.)
I think simplifying is so important, because it gives us the time and energy to do important things for you and your community. Like mentor a child. I wrote about the profound need for kindness and one way to prevent violence and school drop-outs is to mentor kids.
So many children fall through the cracks. They feel they have no one that will truly listen to them without spouting advice. They may feel alone or scared. Mentoring has shown to be one of the top ways impact children. They are more likely to finish school, stay away from gangs and drugs, be respectful and are better at coping with adversity.
A mentor provides guidance, support and encouragement to help youth academically, socially and/or personally. You don’t need special skills. You are building a positive relationship through consistency, listening, asking questions, being a sounding board, acknowledging their accomplishments and providing ways of seeing things from a different point of you. You can show a child they are valued.
I’ve been involved in the Kid’s Hope program that connects churches with schools. There is one mentor per child and we meet weekly for an hour – talking, working with school work and having fun. This is for elementary age, but you can ask local youth centers about volunteering. We have a wonderful one called the Bridge in our community.
You can search for a mentoring opportunity in your area here.
But, you don’t need a program to mentor a kid. Perhaps one of your kid’s friends look like they need to talk to someone. It’s often easier to talk to an adult that is not related to you. Or you can develop a relationship with a particular youth at church where you check in with them weekly to see how they are. Maybe in your kid’s class there is a shy girl that keeps to herself. When you are helping out in the classroom you can make sure to speak with her and seek her out.
We can change our communities one child at a time.
As I was writing this, I found out January is National Mentoring Month! They say, “Spending one hour each week– whether it’s helping with homework, playing games or just hanging out – helps a young person know he matters. Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters.”
What can you simplify in your life so you have an hour a week to do something with a great impact? For you it may not be being a mentor. But, find that hour to make a difference in your world.