A couple weeks ago I took a Friday off from work; I try to take a day every month or so, a gift that I don’t take for granted. I do it to indulge in time to myself and it helps keep stresses at work in perspective.

I went in to our home office that Friday to use the laptop and the clutter was so overwhelming I could focus on nothing else. The stuff Michael and I don’t know what to do with ends up in our office. There is a desk and space to work, and a book case with books and Rosetta Stone CD’s. A cedar chest houses my sweaters, but they had grown to such a number that the cover no longer closed. Past issues of magazines we subscribe to were sorted in magazine bins just in case we wanted to look back on them.

Rather than just turning around and walking out of the room as I had been doing the past few weeks, this turned into a four hour unplanned office clean-o-rama. The magazines went to recycling. Sweaters too pilly or out of style went into bags to donate. Papers were stacked for shredding. Dust bunnies were eliminated. It felt great!

I realized long ago that clutter overwhelms me. Lots of stuff taking up space, clothes that don’t fit packing the closet, things sitting around that we don’t use, all feels antagonistic to me. Clearing away physical clutter helps me feel better able to breathe and experience the space.

During this day I thought about clutter in my mind. Steven Covey talks about focusing on the big rocks in our lives rather than focusing on pebbles; basically suggesting we should put effort into the important issues, events and relationships rather than putting effort into little things. We can fit a bunch of pebbles with little meaning and purpose into our lives, but they don’t do us much good. They are a distraction from what really matters.

For me, Facebook and a few other apps on my phone are pebbles. They lure me in because I don’t want to miss anything or I think I’ll play just one game, but I can drop an hour dinging around on my phone, feeling no better afterward. I don’t mean to imply that relaxing, playing Words With Friends, or perusing Facebook are always wasteful. But they can take away precious time and attention from meaningful interaction with our family members and friends, from work projects or doing that one big thing we keep putting off.

Who knows what we may find by clearing away the clutter?

Clearing away clutter is like wiping dust off a table. Thoughts and emotions in the mind become clear like a smooth, clean table. I hope your mind is clutter free as you start this week focusing on your big rocks. Make it a good week!


2 thoughts on “Clutter

  1. Oh yes – social media – the big time suck! I have a love/hate relationship with it. When I tell myself I’m taking a break from it and even email, I get so much more accomplished! Great reminder to do it both in our physical environment and in our mind!

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