Category: home organizing  /  Created: 01/14/2018 01:02:11  /  Modified: 01/14/2018 01:05:46

Do you struggle with keeping your momentum going when decluttering?  Do you find it easy to start a project but find that your energy lags towards the middle or the end of the project?  The tips below will guide you in maintaining the momentum to reach your goals!

Tell me if these sound familiar:
  • You find yourself with a big bag of plastic recycling that you meant to drop off at your local grocery store three weeks ago?
  • You have bags of donations that you intend to take to the thrift store or schedule a pick up for but have lost sight of? Or that got shoved up in a closet when guests came to visit?
  • You have a pile of items that need repair that is collecting dust?

If so, welcome to the human race. We lead such full and busy lives that many non-urgent tasks slip through the cracks. You are not alone!

Does it matter when it doesn't quite happen?

Some people feel that if a task is not urgent and it doesn't get done, well, who cares!? There is wisdom in this perspective. It's true that sometimes we get bogged down by tiny tasks without stopping to ask ourselves, is this important to me? 
A classic example of this might be the quest for "inbox zero." Some people put pressure on themselves to attend to all of the emails in their inbox (solicited or not!). The trouble is, emails keep on coming! Getting to inbox zero is a task that takes up time but doesn't stay "done" for very long. If you strive for inbox zero, it may be worth asking yourself, is this search for email perfection the best use of my time? Is it bringing me ease and joy? If not, be gentle with yourself if your emails pile up.
On the other hand, when donation boxes, piles of unprocessed paper or unfinished projects pile up in your space, it can have a heavy impact on your energy. The piles signal to your brain that you have tasks to finish. The brain has a tendency to get distracted by these unfinished tasks and to devote energy to remembering them, instead of allowing you to attentively focus on the priorities in front of you. Despite your intention of tuning out the clutter, the brain will jump back to the piles, causing you to feel scattered. Unless you have the time to finish the tasks right then and there, the piles will continue to unconsciously trigger activity in your brain, causing stress and anxiety.

How do unfinished projects make you feel?

A big reason why people love decluttering and organizing is because letting go of the old creates space for the new, both physically and energetically. Many of our clients have experienced welcome changes in their personal and professional lives after decluttering! Releasing the items that no longer serve you frees up your energy. It's a buoyant and joyful feeling, but it doesn't come until the items are completely out of your home (and car!). That is why we help clients schedule donation pickups and connect them with local recycling resources. We know from experience that the energy is only released once the clutter is truly gone.
Some people are more sensitive than others to these energetic effects. Some are not bothered by the unfinished piles, and welcome the visual reminders to take the next action step. Others prefer to put the piles out of sight until it's time to handle them. What matters is how they make you feel.

3 steps to manage unfinished projects and piles

If you struggle to finish tasks and projects, try these three gentle steps to make progress:

  1. Notice: the first step is to be mindful. How do the unfinished projects and piles impact your mind and energy? Do they pop into your mind at random times, such as 4:00 in the morning? Do they make you feel distracted when you enter a room?
  2. The 2-minute rule: ask yourself this question: will the next step toward completing this project or pile take 2 minutes or less? If the answer is yes, JUST DO IT! It's funny how the mind wants to avoid tasks that in reality take a small amount of time and energy. When you follow the 2-minute rule, you'll be amazed by the feeling of accomplishment, the relief, and the progress you make!
  3. Identify next action steps: part of the reason projects and piles remain unfinished is because they seem overwhelming. It can make all the difference to break them down into manageable steps. Once you have a list of steps, it's much easier to complete each step, one by one, at whatever pace suits you.

Give yourself permission

Although unfinished tasks can be distracting or feel heavy, it's also important to remember that sometimes it's okay to leave tasks undone! As your priorities shift or unforeseen circumstances arise, you may find that the best way to take care of yourself is to whittle down your to-do list, let go of some of the projects, or ignore the piles for a little while. That's completely okay! The bottom line is to do what's best for you. 

On the other hand, if you find that unfinished tasks are creating more stress than they are worth, it can make all the difference to get some support. As simple as it sounds, "we all need somebody to lean on." Whether it's in the form of a family member, friend, or professional, getting support can help you make progress where you are stuck on your own.

How do you tackle unfinished tasks? Share your tips in the comments!">" alt="Many people start decluttering but lose momentum - so they don't truly let go of the clutter! Here are three steps you can take to finish decluttering." width="600" height="900" />