30st May 2020
What would your life be like if you could concentrate on the things in life that move you towards your goals?
Imagine you could literally declutter your mind. And while doing so, you reduce stress, you will be more creative and productive.
In my last two articles we already spoke about how decluttering your home and office space, and how to eliminate sources of irritation in your home and office in order to do so.
Today, I will guide you through a really simple but powerful exercise that will help you to create even more space for your needle movers, the things that will expedite you towards your best life ever.
Unfortunately, only reading my article will not get you there. Are you ready for an experiment? Are you ready to take action from today on? It will take approximately 20-30 minutes and I will guide you every step of the way.
Alright, whenever you are ready, let's get started:
I am so busy
A few days ago, I spoke to a friend of mine on the phone. She told me how busy her next week is going to be with all the things she needed to do at the end of the month. There was the rent to pay, her electricity bill and some of her insurance policies were due as well. When I asked her why she would not automate all those regular payments, she said it would take her too much time to set it up. So, I asked her whether one or two hours for setting it all up once, were not worth the time she could gain in the future to spend it on the important things in her life. She said she had never thought about it that way. “However,” she continued, “this is not all there is, my windows are in a desperate need of cleaning, my car is ready for the car wash, my terrace needs the high-pressure cleaner …”, and on and on she went.
So, I asked her, if she has ever made a list of all her chores and how much time it takes her to do it all by herself? Had she ever thought about whether everything on that list was really necessary or important? Had she given it some thought what could be automated or delegated, even when she had to pay for it?
Let’s take her windows for example, and she has so many big ones, I asked her how much time she needs to clean all of them. Had she ever asked for an estimate of costs from a professional window cleaner? How much does she earn an hour? Wouldn’t it be better to pay someone to clean her windows? In doing so, she would give someone a chance to earn some money, and she could use the time for the tasks that are important to her.
Reduce your commitments – eliminate, automate and delegate
We all have so many different areas in our life demanding our attention nonstop, filling our life, and whether it is work, school, university, taking care of the garden and our home, shopping, cooking, family and friends, bills to pay, social activities, hobbies … and more. There is usually too much going on in our life. This can feel overwhelming without us even consciously being aware of it.
We better carefully choose whom or what we pay attention to in our life. We can always only pay attention consciously to one task or individual in our life at a time. Multitasking does not work. When we try to do more than one activity consciously at a time, we will accomplish them as if we were drunk. Have you ever tried to talk to someone on the phone and write an e-mail at the same time? And, how did that go? It will take us longer, we make more mistakes, the result will not be satisfying, etc. When we decide at any given moment in our life what to focus on, we can come into the flow.
To be able to say ‘Yes’ to the things in our life that really serve us and get us where we want to be, we need to say ‘No’ to the things in our life that don’t serve us, even so we might think they are important to do. Very often we do things because we have learned to do them as a child, never questioned them, and have done them ever since.
Why don’t you just do the following exercise with me? It takes ca. 20 minutes, but it gives you more time in the future for the important things in life. If you have no time to do it right now, decide when you want to do it and not the time in your calender, timer. Do it. It is a really simple but effective exercise, and I will guide you through:
1. List your commitments
Write down all your commitments you can think of in every area of your life. Don’t think too much, you can always come back to it and adjust it. Just write everything down in bullet points and note an estimated time for doing it behind each bullet point. This alone can be an eye-opening experience.
Stop reading and do it now.
You are sticking around…
… have you done it?
Only reading this article will not help you much, you need to do the exercises.
So, take a few minutes and do it now. It does not need to be complete; you can always add to your list and adjust it. Set your timer to 10 or even only 5 minutes and just write down everything that comes to your mind.
Alright, have you done it?
Okay, now go through your tasks, one by one, and decide …
2. How important is it really; and do you personally have to take care of it?
Say “No” to the things you do not want to keep in your life and eliminate them.
Remember, only saying ‘Yes’ to one thing in your life that does not serve you in any way, very often means saying “No” to maybe the one thing in your life which might be important, which would bring you joy, happiness, success, value and purpose.
Naturally there are some things that just need to be done, but do you have to take care of them yourself? What could you automate; and what could you delegate – even to family members?
Like my friend with all her bills, her windows, her car wash and her terrace. By the way, she really hired a professional window cleaner already. She and her husband set up automated payment of their regular bills. Her son is going to the car wash next week, and her husband will take care of the terrace next weekend.
These are your options with all your chores you want to say “No” to from now on:
E = eliminate everything that is not important, e.g. social media, internet surfing
A = automate everything you possible can, e.g. regular payments
D = delegate everything that needs to be done in person, but not by you, e.g. cleaning, shopping
Following are a few questions which can help you to decide:
Do I really need doing this? Or am I only doing it because I learned it that way, others are doing it as well, because it is what good friends or neighbours do, because it is what I/others think I should do etc.?
Do I really like/love doing this?
Does it serve my purpose/vision?
Is it helpful or useful in any way?
Does it bring joy and fun into my life?
Am I in any way attached to it? If yes, why is that so? Can I let it go?
Now, once again, stop reading and go through your list and decide what you can eliminate, what is to automate, and what do you want to delegate and to whom.
Do it …
Right, have you done it?
This is helpful to simplify your life.
And now, go through your tasks one last time. I know you might roll your eyes and ask if this will ever end. I promise, this is the last time you have to go through your list today. Please stop reading one last time and do it. And while doing so …
3. … become aware of your behavioural patterns and question them:
Get started ...
Last but not least …
4. Print it – do it
Brilliant, print your list and start to implement it into your everyday life. Always keepin in mind that nothing is chiselled in stone, you can always change everything.
Decide on one task from your list that you can do today and do it, even if it is only one call.
Alright you have done great. I am proud of you; you are already on your way towards your better life. Using your list from now on, adjusting and questioning it regularly, it will simplify your life. You will reduce stress, will be able to concentrate better, you will be more productive. And you can bring more play, fun and joy into your life.
Following are two more tips how you can clear your mind.
Eliminating energy vampires
I once had a really close friend. We had known each other since childhood. We met regularly, spoke on the phone, and even spent long weekends together now and then. We would share our plans for the future, helped each other building castles in the air, we were visionary and supported each other with our dreams and plans. We had so much fun together and sometimes laughed so much, it made us cry.
Somehow, over the years, she became more and more cynical, negative and self-absorbed. Nearly everything was about her and her problems. She thought, that all the bad in the world was happening to her. She was carrying the world on the shoulders while everyone else was an idiot. There is no blame, no judgement, everyone has their way to go and find their path. Of course, I also had changed over the years.
For a long time, I did not realise how much our meetings were draining me. Until one day, when I left after visiting her, I had a headache, I was feeling down and melancholic. There I was sitting in the car and crying because I knew I had to distance myself from her. We just were not compatible anymore. It did hurt, nevertheless. We had been very close friends for over 30 years.
Although, this is an only one example, we all have certain family members, friends, acquaintances, neighbours, colleagues, etc. we keep meeting and talking to just because we have known them for a long time. Mostly they talk about illnesses, problems, and speak in a negative way in general. They tell you why you are nuts, crazy, a dreamer, and why you can't, why something is not possible, and when you suggest something, there is always a ‘but’ coming from their side. They pull you down, they give you a headache or/and a knot in your stomach, they literally take your breath away. They set you back for hours, maybe even days. They drain all your energy. I call them energy vampires.
You might want to think about eliminating the time you spend with them. If possible, you might even want to consider not meeting them anymore at all.
Start spending your time with people you feel at ease being around, who elevate you, inspire you, motivate you, support you, understand you. They increase your energy and you feel great after meeting and talking to them.
Again, this is saying ‘No’ to people that suck you dry, to say ‘Yes’ to individuals that you have a chemistry with and feel empowered or at least understood after spending your time with them.
Avoid information overload
Our modern technology with its 24/7 accessibility allows millions of information bits to creep into our everyday lives. It creates an information overload for our mind, and we can find it more and more difficult to concentrate on the really important things in our lives, it can disturb our sleep, it can cause anxiety and depression, it can make us sick.
Stop paying attention to each and every available information. Get rid of old magazines, newspapers and books; and cancel unnecessary newsletters that only clutter your e-mail account, rob you off your time and are not interesting, important and/or necessary for you, or bring you joy and fun. The same is applicable to any information you are going to focus on in the future.
Set limitations to how much time you spend on social media platforms and information channels, watching the news, etc. Also, be fussy of what you read and what you watch on TV and in cinema, etc.
Please bear in mind that not all news – neither on TV, nor in the newspapers and especially not in the world wide web – reflect the truth.
These are only three possibilities to declutter and free your mind, and of course, there is always more we can do. I think it is important to take the first step, and to make sure that you give your full attention only to what is important to you.
To declutter our life and our mind is a liberating process that takes its time. Allow yourself the necessary time and don’t push it. Approach the process in a loving and compassionate way, it should be effortlessly; just relax, it will happen eventually.
Every little step helps you to feel calmer and more peaceful and alive at the same time. It helps you to balance your life.
Explore your mind and enjoy decluttering it.
Keep making space for the important things in your life and be well.
inner works for you
sibylle chaudhuri | coaching & training
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Everything provided in this newsletter is for informational, motivational and/or educational purposes only. Whether you change/do something in your life is your decision and yours only. You carry responsibility for your life.
The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical, psychological and/or legal advice, diagnosis, treatment or consulting. Please consult your physician, therapist, lawyer regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your concerns, symptoms and/or medical condition.
© sibylle chaudhuri | coaching & training