As we wrap up this year, we want to be present in the moments — family, friends, celebrations. But we can also be looking ahead to the coming year. This week we’re talking about things we can do now to prepare for a productive new year.
Thinking ahead–and preparing now–can make space for a productive new year
There’s nothing magical about the 1st of January–life continues from one day to the next, and we’re not going to wake up on Jan 1 as a new and different person. BUT we can take advantage of the psychological weight of turning the calendar from one year to the next as a signal to give some thought to what we’re doing and why.
As time passes we often have the tendency to accumulate things–possessions, expectations, assumptions, maybe regrets. These last weeks of the year might be a good time to take a look at some of that accumulation, clear out some physical and mental clutter, and open up space in our homes, lives, and minds for good things to come.
1. Your space
Lots of studies provide evidence that decluttering our space has more benefits than just a tidy space. Generally, living in uncluttered space contributes to lowered stress, high self-esteem, greater productivity, and a better quality of life. It can also set the stage for “breaking” bad habits, by removing from your environment items or conditions that trigger those habits. (Check out the links in the resources list below for some articles that talk more about these benefits.)
Examples of things to consider purging now to make space:
- Since we know holiday gifts are coming in, it’s a great time to clear out space for them and, even more, create a cleaner slate for the new year, with respect to:
- Children’s toys
- Household items (decor, small appliances, linens & towels, even furniture)
- Games, puzzles,
- This is also a good time to go through cosmetics and medications (expired, unloved, unused).
2. Your habits and routines
Whether intentional or not, we have habits and routines that get us through our days. Take a fresh look at them–what do you do regularly, without consciously thinking about it? Do those habits and routines serve you? Do they make your life better? What do you want to add, subtract, tweak?
- Morning routine–what time do you wake up? What time do you get out of bed? What do you do first thing when you wake up?
- What other daily habits of action and/or thoughts do you have? (For myself with working at home, I often find myself wanting a mid-afternoon snack because I’m tired, droopy, or distracted. This has become a habit for me but I could replace it with a 10-minute walk outside.)
- Work start-up routines?
- Work shut-down routines?
- Evening routines?
- Bedtime routines?
- Weekly routines?
- Habits of communication with your spouse, kids, boss, coworkers?
3. Your schedule
Track your time for a week and evaluate how you’re spending it. This was something that was suggested in Laura Vanderkam’s book, I Know How She Does It, which I am currently listening to. Look ahead to the regular and one-off commitments on your calendar, think about how you feel about them. Were they intentionally added? What’s missing? Self-care time? Relationship nurturing time? Anything you want to subtract? Clear out the “clutter” of activities and events that were added for reasons you don’t like. Make sure there’s enough white space in your schedule to allow you to take advantage of opportunities that you can’t even imagine right now.
4. Your assumptions
Our assumptions are the underlying beliefs we have about the world around us that we may not recognize are even there. It takes real work and effort to inventory and evaluate your assumptions about yourself, other people, your circumstances, and what’s possible for your life. Pay attention to your thoughts–especially when you have a thought about something you’d like to do–what are your first thoughts? Are they positive or is your first thought something like “I’m too young, too old, too busy” “I don’t know how” “I don’t have the skills or talent” “I have too many kids” “I don’t have enough money”?
Can you “declutter” those assumptions–set them aside for a while . . .Purge the negative thoughts you may have. make space for positive thoughts, and see what you can actually accomplish.
What do you think?
Are there areas of your life you’d like to rethink, purge and reorder, to prepare for new and wonderful things in the coming year? Share your suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me!
Resources and Links:
- How decluttering improves your life (and tips to get started) | HCF
- 6 Reasons Why Decluttering Improves Your Life – Pickup Please
- The Most Surprising Way Decluttering Improves Your Life
- Why Decluttering is Important for Self-Care: Choosing less to improve your well-being – Simple Lionheart Life
- 9 Ways Your Life Will Improve When You Declutter
- How Decluttering Can Reduce Stress and Improve Focus
- I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam
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