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10 Ways To Clean Your Life Before The Refreshing Spring Season

10 Ways To Clean Your Life Before The Refreshing Spring Season

“Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!” – Robert Orben

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” – Robin Williams

Spring is a time for pruning, cleaning and getting rid of the dreariness of winter. Time to clean your life before the refreshing spring season gets into full swing. Follow these 10 ways to really get the benefits of new hope, love and adventure.

1. Declutter your space.

Imagine spending a whole year of your life looking for things. According to Harper’s Index, this is the time that Americans waste because they have not learned the art of decluttering at regular intervals. It becomes even more difficult when your partner is a hoarder.

Here are my top five tips for managing clutter, so you are not overwhelmed when you have to face a major decluttering:

  1. Use the ‘One in, two out’ rule. For every new thing you acquire, make sure that you trash or donate two objects you are no longer using. No problem here as regards clothes, as Americans are using a mere 20% of what is in their closets.
  2. Show no mercy with anything that is damaged or broken. It will never come in handy and it never did!
  3. Donate all the presents you never really liked, or even used, to the charity shop.
  4. Keep everything that you love and that you use very often. Anything else will have to go.
  5. Tidy bills and mail into labeled box files and keep them in the room where you actually deal with them.

Once you have that under control, you will save time, energy, and feel much less burdened.

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“Clutter is stuck energy. The word clutter derives from the Middle English word ‘clotter,’ which means to coagulate – and that’s about as stuck as you can get.” – Karen Kingston

2. Get up early.

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

Being an early riser is a great way to get your spring renewal process off the ground. There are several advantages to it:

  • You are much more energetic in the morning.
  • You will be in a better mood.
  • You are making more time for the best part of the day.
  • You will be able to think more clearly.
  • You can enjoy a more relaxed schedule.

3. Close toxic relationships.

If you feel that your partner is domineering and not allowing you space to grow as a person, this could be a sign that you are in a toxic relationship. It may be time to close, especially if you are miserable or uncomfortable. As the lack of support becomes more and more evident, it means that you are being deprived of energy, love and growth.

4. Find a passion.

Ask yourself this question: “How many of my friends tell me that I am great fun to be with and that they always feel better when they are with me?” Now if you answer that this never or rarely happens, it most likely means that you have not got a passion.

When you have a passion, the enthusiasm for it is infectious. You talk about it, and you tell your friends about your latest successes. This could be as banal as breaking your previous record in the marathon or getting your poem accepted for publication.

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Spring is the ideal time to start looking for a passion that will get you out of a rut, which represents dullness, boredom and a lack of inspiration.

5. Time to forgive yourself.

Why do you hate yourself so much? Why do you criticize yourself for all those screwups you made?  Anger, hurt and resentment are the results of this relentless self-criticism, which goes on night and day. The secret is to learn how to let the resentment go. It is when you no longer feel anger and pain that you have learned to forgive yourself. Lots of studies on forgiveness have revealed its healing effects and health benefits.

6. Get rid of grudges.

Think of the grudge you have against your boss, your partner or a friend who let you down. What are the feelings that are swilling round in your head? Here are a few:

  • Spite
  • Hurt
  • Anger
  • Malice
  • Envy
  • Frustration
  • Unworthiness
  • Loathing.

That list makes the acronym SHAMEFUL. Now that is a toxic cocktail! You may even be talking about it, too, and spreading the pollution via friends and close acquaintances.

Now here’s the thing. This negative cesspit is destroying you and not the person who hurt you. Even the malicious rumors you want to spread about that person are water off a duck’s back. In the meantime, you are the one who is drained, poisoned and exhausted. Time for closure. Let it go.

7. Time for new opportunities.

“Closed mouths don’t get fed.” – Kenneth Zakee

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Tried that new recipe yet? Have you thought about taking up a new sport? Is your holiday destination always the same country or continent? How about changing your home environment? Get out of the rut before it collapses on top of you.

A great idea is to brainstorm with a friend and also to let them know what you are going to try. This also means that you have to report back to them, so it makes you accountable.

What is the bottom line? You want to rediscover new growth, joy, curiosity, and a sense of wonder. That is what spring is all about, isn’t it?

8. Create your own challenge.

Setting up a challenge is a great way to get rid of toxic things in your life and to replace them with something that is going to do you a lot of good. You can set the number of days to 15, 30, or whatever you like. You will be healthier, wiser, better humoured, and much more relaxed. Here are some ideas:

  • Decide social media time; once a day for a set period of time.
  • Cut out swearing – use neutral words if you can.
  • Turn off your cellphone after dinner.
  • Start walking every day if you are a couch potato.
  • Limit your exposure to bad news – stick to one news bulletin a day.
  • Phone a good friend every day.
  • Do one act of kindness every day for someone less fortunate than yourself.

Set yourself some goals. Think: “By the beginning of summer I will have lost X lbs and will be much fitter.” “By the end of June, I will have my social media addiction totally under control.”

9. Manage your time better.

Spring is all about things growing quickly and energetically in a short space of time. Can you match that? If not, look for better ways to manage your time:

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  • Change your lunch break so that you can work better when there are fewer coworkers making noise.
  • Consider changing your timetable, if you can. Discover what works best for you. Maybe an earlier start?
  • Discover your peak time when you work best. Reserve that for the most challenging tasks.
  • Prepare your morning stuff the night before. It makes the early morning exit a breeze.
  • Make a list of doable, daily tasks and review them at the end of the day.

10. Motivate yourself daily.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last, well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

The secret of maintaining motivation is to be able to generate positive and upbeat thoughts about what you have achieved, every hour and every day. If you can do that, you will be able to shoot down the negative thoughts before they take over. Have a great spring!

“Yesterday ended last night. Today is a brand-new day. And it’s yours.” – Zig Ziglar

Featured photo credit: Springtime flowers/Bea via Flickr

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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