I feel like I’m jumping on others’ bandwagons with this post… although I’m far from the best person to counsel anyone on their life, or even aspects of it.
I often read articles recommending bloggers provide their readers with useful advice, so I pause to think of what important information or life lessons I have to impart. Hours later I give up and decide no one really wants to know what they should watch US TV show Revolution or lust after Richard Armitage, so instead I write about whatever’s plaguing my thoughts, in an attempt to get it out of my head.
However… today is different as I share with you some advice about de-crapping.
I’ve read a lot about decluttering our lives. Indeed, I HATE clutter. On the weekend I was at my mother’s and was trying to encourage her to GET RID OF STUFF. Sure I’m a tad nostalgic, but fortunately I’m also pragmatic. If it serves no purpose (and is something I can live without) then… Sayonara!
Sometimes however, our lives are cluttered with stuff we can’t see. They may be family or work-related commitments, or they may be things we’ve taken on and are reticent to toss away.
Anyone who used to follow my Diet Schmiet blog would know I’m a bit of a Henry David Thoreau fan. (Incidentally I somehow lost all of my images when I transferred that blog here, so don’t go rushing back to my old posts to find evidence of my aforementioned Thoreau love!)
I’m all for the simple.
“Why overcomplicate something?” I ask.
However… because I’m a control freak, perfectionist and never-contented I keep getting bogged down in stuff to the point that I feel overwhelmed and at risk of collapsing into a big heap.
I get pleasantly manic when busy*, but when too busy or stressed or plagued by self-doubt and indecision I get overcome by apathy. And then struggle with guilt… as my #ToDoLists go unachieved – which has me wallowing further.
Although I need to find more paying work, I’m keen to refocus my writing a little and hope to restart work on a young adult novel I shelved years ago. My motivation for finishing the manuscript is more about ‘completing something’ than doing something with it.
When people ask what I write at the moment, it’s really only blog posts and online stuff, but I’m keen to reinvigorate my interest in writing in general.
Getting rid of my Diet Schmiet blog was the first very big step I recently took in my de-crapping journey. I couldn’t manage two blogs (well, three with my local one**) and their accompanying facebook pages and twitter accounts. And somehow earn money on the side.
I don’t have a family and live alone, so I’m sure most of you think this should be doable but I felt I was drowning. Or at least paddling to stay afloat – but getting nowhere.
Diet Schmiet was far bigger than Debbish. By merging it into here meant I lost A LOT of readers and all of my website visitor history.
However… it was one of the best friggin’ things I have done.
Similarly I was ridiculously anal about a local Facebook page I managed. My Debbish and Diet Schmiet pages went ignored as my FraserCoasting page was diligently updated and ANY information about local events shared. In fact I felt a duty to ensure I provided as much information as possible via that page.
However, again I realised that something HAD to go.
So, my FraserCoasting page is
gone but not forgotten, hidden but not deleted.
When it comes to de-crapping your life, there are a few steps you might like to work through:
- Work out what’s important to you. For me it was having more time / the headspace to write other stuff; but it may be about finding more time to focus on promoting your blog, starting dance lessons, running a marathon etc.
- List all of your commitments and stuff that takes up your time (and energy). Note that some things may not be time-consuming but they zap your energy or leave you devoid of any creative juices.
- Identify the stuff that’s compulsory (feeding your kids, doing the laundry, earning an income etc).
- From the remainder of the list identify what DOESN’T work towards achieving the goals you set in (1). From this non-essentials list, work out what needs to go. This is the hard step – akin to ‘killing your darlings’ in writing. Diet Schmiet was part of my identity BUT, deep down Debbish was more me.
- Refocus on your renewed priorities.
Although I love my lists I didn’t actually work through these steps formally and many of us won’t. Most of us know (whether we make decisions with our head, heart or gut) what we need to do. DOING IT is usually the problem.
Sometimes however we need to make the hard choices: dump things that don’t give us pleasure; from which we derive little benefit; or don’t assist us in achieving our goals.
If you’re a Nervous Nellie like yours truly, take small steps. I didn’t delete my Diet Schmiet blog until my hosting ran out – I just left it ‘forwarded’ for a few months. Next on my agenda is the need to do something with my multiple Twitter accounts, but… I’m slowly getting there.
Have you ever de-crapped? Do you need to?
* Incidentally, I also get apathetic when insufficiently busy!
** I actually have (had) four. I didn’t publicise it, but started ANOTHER blog recently (I wanted to allow my inner snark to have some fun!). Though I’ve also put it on hold without ridding myself of it entirely.
March 24, 2014
Good advice! Am a big fan of de-cluttering and lists (and Richard Armitage) and now Henry Thoreau, who makes good sense with his succinct quotes. 🙂
March 24, 2014
Oh yes I love so many Thoreau quotes…. I suspect my mostly unused Pinterest account houses a few!
March 25, 2014
Emotional clutter is a biggie with me- as is commitment clutter. Having just gone back to work full-time (for a few months) the writing I like to do is slipping as I fulfil commitments I’d previously made. I’ve bookmarked this to look hard at it all once the seas even out a tad.
March 25, 2014
I’m only working part-time and struggle with everything, so I can’t imagine what it’s like going back to FT work!
March 25, 2014
It’s all about priorities isn’t it? I’ve had to cut my life down to the bare bones at the moment because of work and that means I don’t have time for the things that I usually do and feel are important. But when I let those things go I feel like my life’s a lot more manageable.
March 25, 2014
I like your wording of ‘letting go’ cos that’s kind of what it is – deciding what stays and what goes.
March 30, 2014
Lusting after Richard Armitage, this is wonderful advice—except a little tardy for me. 🙂
About being busy – a friend’s mother once said…’Time expands to fill the work available.’ It’s true!
March 31, 2014
Oh yes…. I agree (with your friend’s mother!).