Part of being organized is being intentional about your Stuff. I love to guide people in exiting the land of senselessly stacking and entering the land of purposeful placement.
One of my favorite organizational axioms is that piles are deferred decisions. We set something down because we are not ready in that moment to make a decision about what to do with it or where it goes. We delegate it to our future selves, thinking it’ll be easier to make a decision later, or perhaps hoping that later will never come. Then before you know it, it has morphed into a pile.
I just spent 4 days in Atlanta at a business building conference for entrepreneurs. The host of the conference, the incredible Monica Shah, emphasized the importance ofmaking a decision and taking action. This seems so simple, yet our days can get bogged down (and our desks piled high) with unmade decisions. I believe thatconfusion is a form of mental clutter, and when we make decisions, we invite clarity into our lives. (Tweet this)
Some people find themselves paralyzed by life’s larger decisions, and others of us are overwhelmed by the barrage of smaller decisions thrown at us throughout the day.
With this in mind, I invite you to:
1) Identify what your “piles” are. Where are you deferring decisions? Do you feel like you absent-mindedly and habitually delay making decisions on smaller, everyday things because of the mental energy required? Are your piles:
-invitations to social engagements
-making larger, life-altering decisions
2) Reflect on what is preventing you from making those decisions in the moment.
-Is it simply a matter of designating a home for the item to land, or is there something deeper at work?
-For example, one reason some people struggle to organize their business cards is because they feel guilty aboutnot following up with these contacts. In this case, filing them alphabetically, while organizationally wise, is not really fixing the problem. Acknowledge what needs to be done, and commit to a time to get started. Don’t make it a big deal–start with 10 minutes to ease into it. Getting started is the hardest part, and once you get the ball rolling, you’ll feel all that resistance melt away.
-Another possibility is that you know what you need to do, but it feels too overwhelming or time-consuming. Simple fix here: Create a plan by breaking the task down into steps and set aside a time to follow through. Sometimes an outside person can be helpful, be it an organized friend or a professional.
Imagine: What could our surfaces look like if instead of dumping things on them out of habit and mental inattention, everything had an appointed home and easily found its way there? Let’s liberate our surfaces and shoulders by making decisions and taking clear action.
My challenge for you this week is to tackle a “pile”. You can take this as literally or figuratively as you like. This can be a pile of papers, clothing, miscellaneous clutter, or even an intangible decision that you’ve piled up mentally. Make a decision and take action. Give homes to those piled up items or toss them. You’ll be so glad you did.
On another note, yesterday marks one year since I began my journey as an entrepreneur. I’d like to take a minute to say thank you to you all. I am so grateful to you all for your support, love, encouragement, and presence.