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7 Effective Ways To De-Junk Your Life

7 Effective Ways To De-Junk Your Life

    If you purge your life of random belongings, bad habits, and unsatisfying relationships you’ll be left with something scary: time and space. What you do with all the extra time and space in your life after putting these tips into action is something we can discuss in the comments.

    Better yet, I’ll grab a bunch of readers and we’ll swing by your house to help you clean out this evening. Fun idea, right? Too soon? Okay. Pick one of the following and see where it takes you. It’s time to de-junk your life!

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    1. Say something honest every day

    Lies are rubbish. You don’t need them in your life. You might find some justification to lie to others but that justification only comes after a lie to yourself about the importance of truth. What to do? Take something you were planning on talking about already and be honest in your conversation. Being honest is a lot like lying in that it gets easier with practice.

    2. Make a list of 7 things you can’t replace

    You can start the next meme on Facebook with this if you like. No matter what it takes to get you started, the important thing is that you take the time to figure out what stuff really matters to you. Writing down the things you’d escape a house fire with will help you look at the things you’ve surrounded yourself with in a different way. Do you really need that inflatable killer whale? Do you actually play that piano? What you do once you’ve prioritized your stuff is up to you. My experience says that you’ll probably get rid of some junk as a result.

    3. Make a list of 5 people you can’t live without

    This isn’t a list you should publicize unless you want to deal with hurt feelings from your greater social group. Keep it private but make your resulting actions tangible and as public as needed for them to count. If you like, continue your list with a relationship maintenance schedule. Stop kidding yourself about the value of spontaneity and make sure you’re actually keeping in touch with the people who matter to you. You already use Facebook to keep track of birthdays. No excuses.

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    4. Move into a smaller home

    This is simple. If your couch won’t fit in the new place, you can’t take it with you. Smaller spaces have a way of reminding us that open areas actually are important and should be preserved. The moving process itself should help get rid of some of your junk. If it doesn’t, you’ll be faced with all your extra things on a daily basis until you take care of them.

    5. Become a vegan for 3 months

    Jump off the fast food train for a few months and try the world of vegan cuisine. I don’t suggest this because I think the world should be vegan but because I’ve seen what a dramatic change in diet can do to your perspective on life. When you avoid animal products you turn your back on a lot of the processed junk we accept as food. Give yourself a chance to discover new foods, different recipes, and find new ways to respond to feeling hungry. After 3 months? You might return to eating animal products but you’ll never be able to go back all the way. I’m glad I didn’t.

    6. Quit your job

    You don’t have to actually quit your job for this to work. Just pretend you’ve quit and map out your next few steps. Will you change careers, go back to school, move to a difference city, or something else? For most of us, our job is the biggest deciding factor in what we do with our lives. It’s how we make our money and what we spend most of our time doing. So what would you do if you no longer had your job? Start planning. You might be surprisingly thrilled at what you discover.

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    7. Train for an endurance race

    I’m a chubby dude so the reality of running a 50-mile race is still quite far in the future. That doesn’t mean I don’t get a huge amount of value from the process though. With every mile I’m reminded of all the junk I once ate and am inspired to get leaner and faster. For now, it’s not about speed. It’s about picking a distance and completing it without stopping. Those successes carry over into every other part of my life as I face new challenges and make daily choices about what I’ll allow to take up my time. If you have a friend who trains regularly, ask them to tell you about the stress relief that endurance training provides. It continues to amaze me how much mental junk disappears during a workout. Try it!

    What do you do to de-junk your life? Do you have a tried and true process that allows you to keep your house clear of clutter and your mind free to create? The process of de-junking can be arduous and downright scary at times. I’m still in the thick of it as I write this but I’ve got a long string of successes to look back on and remind myself that I can get through today’s challenges just as I have those in the past. Can you say the same for yourself? If not, grab one of the tips I shared or one from a commenter and see if you can create a success story for yourself. We’ll be here to celebrate your win!

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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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