As we approach this long weekend, many people are looking forward to spending time with family and friends. This, along with reflecting on the service and sacrifice so many have given to this country, makes me think about what really matters. If you haven’t recently done so, I highly recommend taking time to actually write down what matters most in your life. Who are the people and what are the activities on this list? I’m guessing that your Blackberry, sitting in traffic, and watching a marathon of The Hills are not on your list, but I’m not judging if they are. Rather, the lists are more likely to include things like spending more quality time with family and friends, walking your dog, doing something you enjoy for a living, cooking healthy meals at home, or helping others.
Often, when people are looking to get organized, it is because one or more aspect of their lives feels out of control and prevents them focusing on what matters most. If this is the case for you, the first step is really to make that list. I wrote my list in a journal and refer to it regularly to keep myself on track. This exercise can be a key component in being able to clear the junk from your house and your schedule and keep it from creeping back in because it allows you to ask the question “Does this (item/activity) support what matters most to me?” Every item in your home and on your schedule is something that you have to manage. If you don’t have time and space to waste, make sure what’s taking up your real estate is worth it. Do you have piles of old magazines? Think about why they are (still) there and whether they are really contributing to the life you want to lead. Or are they instead taking up space and adding to your to-do list (“Read 50 magazines cover to cover and absorb all useful info”)? Are you constantly on-line and/or checking your email from the time you get up to the time you go to bed? Ask yourself the same question and see if you can tweak (or drastically change) your routine to free some time for a quality phone call with an old friend or an afternoon at the park with your kids (no Blackberry allowed).