Do you have a “To-do” list as long as the Great Wall of China? Are there ideas you’ve been brooding for waaaay too long? Do you have so many undone intentions floating around in your mind, that to say you are rather distracted would be a radical understatement?
There is an invisible force at work here, preventing you from being the most effective and energetic person you can be….and you would not be alone in this challenge. Procrastination with a big ‘P’ is one of the most common limiting factors that impose on our lives.
The silly part is that we often waste more of our time for putting a task off, such as clearing away a cluttered work space, as it’s presence actually limits our productive area. In the same way, our mental clutter- such as problems we are conscious of but have not yet solved, or negative ‘baggage’ we are still holding onto from our past- can hold us back from taking positive action into our future. Somehow the excuse is- they are not the priority when there are 101 more pressing chores and jobs to complete.
This diluted rating of importance is not a good thing for your peace of mind or your productivity levels. It is surprising how much psychological unrest and stress exists because we are actively trying to ignore these tasks and feelings.
We don’t have to be ‘big decision’ procrastinators either. By simply putting off all the little things that we consider unimportant in the big picture, (mostly excused by having a lack of time), will result in our ultimate undoing, eventually stripping us of our ability to focus on the bigger, life changing actions. Clutter in one’s mind, creates a cluttered life, period! It steals from your grasp, the opportunity to be the best that you can be, at anything!
We cleanse our bodies on a regular basis (well….we should!), so why not our mind and our external surroundings?
Clutter has been proven to reduce our productivity, creativity and positivity, not only due to the restraint it puts on our own energy flow and movement physically, but also due to the space it takes up in our own minds, allowing less room to engage with more stimulating thoughts and ideas…so infact clutter ensures that we remain distracted, stagnate and stop moving forward in our lives.
Let’s call this planned day to ditch Procrastination our ‘I Can See Clearly Day’ (ICSCDay). It is an opportunity for you to devote time and energy to discharging your clutter and the distractions you have in your mind and life that are holding you back. You may not be conscious of all of them initially…that’s normal… but once you begin to get the ball rolling with a few ideas your list will grow and grow and grow- you will wonder HOW you maintained any level of productivity in your life at all!!
You will find this practice of enacting a regular ICSCDay will give you the permission your brain has needed for far too long, to face once and for all, those niggly, annoying, distracting ideas, chores and intentions that have been plaguing the back blocks of your mind and take action to ensure they never get the go ahead to build up to plague proportions ever again!
I’m not only talking here about household chores that have built up, or spring cleaning/sorting that has been swept under the carpet, more than that, it is about factoring in the time to create better strategies, better routines, more efficient storage and organised space AND allocating yourself time you deserve to reflect on creative ideas and inspirations. Equally important for mental cleansing, is to devote energy into facing emotional turbulence and discord in your life- often times we soldier on in the face of upset, confusion, frustration or sadness, only to grow increasingly numb to the cause of our original pain or anguish, as that is the only way we can maintain any productivity… by trying to forget the underlying issues.
Pushing aside any of the elements above, does not serve us long term. Short term, yes, it appears to help free up more time in our day to day lives- but we feel unsettled all the time. Think of yourself as a glass being filled with water each day (new information and energy)….if you start each new day empty, you can eagerly await being filled with fresh, clean energising water. But if we start the day already three quarters full with old, tainted water from yesterday or perhaps even three months ago that has now become stagnant, any fresh water taken in will not stay pure and vital for long. Instead, it will become polluted by the old water in our glass and soon overflow out of our glass altogether.
How much fresh, re-vitalising water are you missing every single day?
OK….so lets get into the nitty gritty.
Firstly you will need to make a list. This list is going to be the catalyst to kickin’ some Procrastination butt! I would suggest to buy a special notebook to write and keep record of your lists in and when you create one, date it. On the cover of the book write in BIG LETTERS the Title- ‘I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW’. This consciously confirms your statement of purpose! This book is your reference to write in new tasks you identify as time goes on and to tick off tasks that you successfully complete.
It is useful to break your life down into different categories such as – 1/Home; 2/Work; 3/Self; and 4/Family. (You may think of another category relevant to you to add). Then you can create subheadings under each one such as the following:
a/ Spring Cleaning tasks. (Isolate which tasks belong with which life areas- there will most likely be some chores you will do collectively for the house or family and other family members can get involved- then you may have specific tasks relevant only to you under ‘work’ or ‘Self’).
b/ Fix-it issues. (Long overdue mend it; replace it; paint it; repair it).
c/ Sort/ Ditch/ Op shop It/or Store.(Make more space available for the things that really matter).
d/ Beautify and organise.(New storage ideas)
e/ Technology cleanse. (i.e. Update, consolidate or improve plan relevancy where possible to save you money and to accomodate additional devices in house/between family members. Sort and delete irrelevant Phone contacts; Emails- or create numerous folders to save important emails straight to so they don’t clutter your Inbox; sort photos and create back-ups. Purge that draw or basket that’s full of computer leads/connectors/boxes
f/ Address emotional issues, concerns or problems. (Journalling is a great way initially to explore and reflect what’s on your mind).
g/ Social engagement or Quality Family time. (Perhaps you are not currently taking enough time to catch up with old friends or getting to know new ones; maybe you need to plan more special family outings/quality time together).
h/ Creative ideas/ Reflections/Innovations/New Projects. (This is a special section which grants you the time to get creative, positive and forward thinking with your thoughts or reflective to learn from mistakes AND write them down!!).
I have found that it is also beneficial to prioritise each task you write down beneath each sub-heading.
So to quickly summarise- Allocate one page in your notebook to each of the four Life categories. Then space out the listing of sub-headings down the page with enough room beneath each to begin listing tasks that apply. Once you have listed your tasks, then place a number next to each of them according to their level of priority to you, to get done first. 1/ for first priority- 2/ for second priority and so on. It is recommended to only focus on one Life category per ‘I Can See Clearly Day’. It is also important to set your sights on achieving completion of a certain number of tasks during a ICSCDay, but certainly don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get them all done! The important thing is to approach the day with energy and excitement and to remain committed to the date you write down in your diary, just as you would ensure you attended any appointment you had scheduled.
The beauty of undertaking especially devoted “I Can See Clearly Days”, is that they can become a powerful tool to take with us through life. It is a life strategy rather than simply a bandaid quick fix. But for them to work, we must take action! So you need to plan for and allocate a specific day and time to devote to your tasks. Of course you do not have to get through all of them in one day, but you start at the beginning and progressively tick off those tasks you complete. Those tasks you don’t get around to can simply be tacked onto the next ‘I Can See Clearly Day’ you schedule! The intention should be to write them into your diary at regular intervals, making them become a ritual that’s habitual.
I am beginning to see more clearly now, how about YOU??