I am so pleased to present a guest post by my friend and colleague Tricia Molloy, corporate speaker and author of Working With Wisdom . Tricia is one of the calmest, even tempered people I know and has helped thousands get to a clear place where they can set their goals AND achieve them. Her post highlights some wonderful tips for introverts and all of us to put into action.
By Tricia Molloy
Clutter distracts and confuses us. It drains our energy, keeps us from doing what’s most important and gets in the way of our goals and our dreams. While extroverts seem to thrive on juggling lots of balls, introverts who are more sensitive to the world around them may find that clutter is truly an obstacle to their ability to function.
As your life becomes more crowded and complicated, it’s important to realize how clutter has robbed you of what matters. When you clean out the clutter, you have more energy and clarity to achieve your goals faster and easier. According to the ancient philosopher Aristotle, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” When you consciously create that space, it’s often filled with what serves your highest good—whether that’s a better job or healthier relationships.
Ready to clean out the clutter? It’s best to start small and build from there. Otherwise, you may become overwhelmed with the task as you start to see clutter everywhere. Let’s look at the three areas that clutter lurks.
- First, there’s physical clutter, like a messy workspace with files overflowing with outdated or unnecessary paperwork, junk mail, and tools on your desk that are better off in closed drawers. At home, the clutter might be in your bedroom closet where half the clothes no longer fit your size, lifestyle or your era. It’s time to bag up the clothes to give away and throw out the worn-out or damaged items. Fill a box with nostalgic pieces that have an emotional charge for you, like that concert t-shirt you’ll never wear again, and store it out of the way in your attic or basement.
- Next is technical clutter. Information overload. Spending too much time on the Internet and on social media sites. Your over-reliance on your cell phone. Watching all the gloom and doom of the evening news on TV. You know where you waste your time and where you allow technology to control you, instead of assist you. It might help to restrict your time on the computer or create a “No Technology Zone” a few hours in the evening to really connect with family and friends. Revving down your devices will give you that introvert quiet time that is vital.
- Finally, there’s emotional clutter. This is the clutter that keeps you up at night. That’s the regrets, resentments and what you haven’t forgiven about someone else or perhaps yourself. When it comes to the clutter of unfinished business, take an objective look at your to-do list, delegate when you can, and drop anything that doesn’t need to be on there. You’ll find this one practice liberating. For unnecessary obligations, make a list of all your ongoing commitments in a typical week, month or year. Those include committees not essential to your work responsibilities and regular gatherings of social groups. Rank each on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Consider dropping out of anything less than a seven. Taking this introvert time to reflect will benefit you so much when it comes to making these hard choices.
Now let’s talk candidly about the clutter of those exacerbating, toxic people in your life. We all have them. I found they tend to fall into one of two categories. They’re either family or people you work with or for, or they are friends or neighbors. You can choose to no longer associate with those in the second group. It’s the first group that can be the real challenge. My advice is to set up healthy boundaries so you can give them what they need but respect your own needs by spending less time with them.
As an introvert, where will you choose to start to clean out the clutter? You’ll find that once you begin, you’ll enjoy more energy, have time to tap into your quiet time and embrace a simpler life that will allow you to reach your goals.
Tricia Molloy is a corporate leadership speaker on work-life balance, a mentor and the author of “Working with Wisdom.” Clean Out the Clutter is the first step in her most popular employee development program, “CRAVE Your Goals!” www.triciamolloy.com