Grace, you ask me so many questions about clutter. I almost feel like my mind is cluttered by all the questions. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, which reminds me of how I come to have so much clutter. I feel overwhelmed with the paper, newsletters, newspapers, memos, magazines, reports and so many more documents on my desk. I don’t take the time to work through them and do what I need to do with them. Instead, I just complete one campaign that’s on deadline and go on to the next one. I don’t have time between campaigns or projects.
My work pattern reminds me of the question you ask: Can you stay focused long enough to plow through your desk and electronic files? I would have to take vacation from my work just to sit down at my desk long enough to plow through my paper stacks and electronic files. Yes, plural, paper stacks! Then, I would have to take another vacation to restore my energy from expending so much of it on deciding what to purge and what to keep.
How did I end up here, Grace? Pause. Long pause. I’m really trying to answer that question. What comes to mind is that I’m an overachiever. And I don’t find it important to file anything. I feel like my time and talent is wasted on filing papers. I can produce quickly and efficiently. Filing just doesn’t give me the same feeling of achievement as generating and distributing a press release for a client.
So what habits need to change? I need to change my perspective on how I see my value at work. Although I value myself highly in the talent I have, I also have to value the way in which I do things and where I work. Grace, you ask me, If the clutter could speak, what would it tell you? What lessons would it want you to learn? My clutter would say, “Hello? Excuse me, Eve. I need a place. Just like you have a place for your bottom to work, I need a place where I can serve. I want to be reused or recycled. And as much as it pains me to say, reduced, reduced it is, if it serves to recreate something new with me.”
You see, Grace, I don’t think my clutter really wants to be with me. Just like I don’t want it anymore. So I’m going to take time to let you guide me with the information you gave on decluttering to get back on track to opening myself for new opportunities.
And just maybe when I finish, I can reward myself with a cupcake. I like the sound of that.
Guiding Lesson: Eve, if a cupcake will motivate you to declutter your surroundings, then by all means the cupcake is on me. I’ll even include a glass of Merlot. Are you in?
I know how much talent and energy you have. I understand how you want to make the best use of your time and rightfully so. I’m glad you took the time to reflect on the questions because now you know why you need to work on this and what the potential outcome will be.
As you declutter, I would like to suggest that you continue to shift not only how you do your work, but how you view your paperwork to sustain your efforts. Start developing new systems, new work habits as well as a new perspective on paperwork. Make sure your filing system is so easy and effortless that filing your paperwork adds to your ability to do what you love.
Eve, be prepared to want to quit and give up. Doing something you don’t enjoy or does not bring fulfillment is not easy to do, especially if you are an overachiever. As you begin to plow through your desk and set up processes, be ready to feel a tug from the past. Your old work habits will begin trying to call you back. Your thoughts will begin to tell you that you are wasting your time and you are not being creative or productive.
Your thoughts may also tell you that you won’t be able to maintain this work style so why try. Be strong Eve. Don’t believe your thoughts. Remember understanding the value you place on it and really being hungry for a new way of working, will determine how successful you will be in maintaining this new habit. Speaking of being hungry, there will be a delicious gourmet cupcake along with a glass of Merlot that is rich in flavor and goes down smoothly waiting for you. I promise.