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12 Months of Clearing to Create a Great 2011

12 Months of Clearing to Create a Great 2011
    Make room for guests by clearing the guest room!

    What you do at the end of the year sets the tone and direction of the new year. This year set your intention to take the 12 Months of Clearing Challenge. Commit to clearing your entire home of those things you no longer love or use.

    Sound like a tall order? It is! But, it can be done following the 12 Months of Clearing Plan. Each month you focus on clearing one specific area.

    January-Your bedroom closet

    Why your bedroom closet? Your clothes are an extension of you. Ideally they should reflect who you are today. If you want to be clear about who you are and what you want, the best thing you can do is clear your closet. Also, once your closet has been tackled the rest of the bedroom will be much easier to clear. A clear bedroom can have a profound positive effect on your health because your body is exposed to its energy for at least 6 to 8 hours every night.

    February-Home office

    Eeeew!!!! Yuck!!! Why do the home office so early in the year? Normally I would recommend that you deal with anything that has to do with paper further along in the process of clearing because paper can shut you down faster than any other kind of organizing. But, the home office is usually the heart of organizing finances. It’s a good idea to be grounded regarding finances as soon as possible in a new year. If you have volumes of paper in your home office that you just can’t make yourself clear because of fear or overwhelm, consider getting help to do it from a friend or professional. Or, you could clump all paper to be gone through in boxes that you set aside until later in the year when you are feeling less overwhelmed and more confident about your ability to do it. Once the distracting paper is clumped, focus on clearing out other items (old software, manual, office supplies, etc.) and setting up the home office for ease of functioning.

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    March-Kitchen

    The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a high activity area. Working there will clear out old food stuffs that are past their expiration date and create a space where positive interactions are possible.

    April-Garage

    The garage is a clearing project many people like to avoid, probably because it’s a big, complex area and because it’s usually a dirty job. But, clearing the garage before the season when yard tools and recreational equipment will be used makes the process of accessing those items more appealing. And, why have that stuff if you can’t access it? Because the garage is a big job, break it down by section. For example, work on tools one weekend, recreational equipment the next and so on. Or, you could look for items from the entire garage to clear the first weekend. Then, the next weekend reorganize the items that are left. If the job is still too daunting, get help at least to get started. Once you’ve broken through the overwhelm you may be able to finish on your own.

    May-Linen closet

    Whew! May is an easy month because it’s the Mother’s Day month. Since women often take the lead with clutter clearing, I wanted to be sure that they get a bit of a break this month. Linen closets are usually not as challenging as other closets, unless you also keep toiletries in them. Clear out those nasty, ragged towels, unless you use them for bathing dogs. And, get real about the sheets! If they are looking paper thin, it’s time to invest in some new sheets.

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    June-Utility room

    The utility room is another challenging place to clear. Like the garage it’s usually a multi-function work and storage space. That creates complexity. And, I’ve found that many people are seduced by cleaning products. They often have multiples of products that do the same thing. Decide which products you actually use and get rid of the rest! Also, make sure that all products are visible. If you can’t see an item, you won’t use it.

    July-Bathroom closets/cabinets

    Bathroom closets and cabinets are another haven of products that looked like just the thing for your hair or nails or teeth, but that in actuality were used just once or twice and never used again. I’m not sure why they don’t get thrown away immediately. Perhaps because they cost money or because you hope they’ll miraculously work better the next time. Clear out those stagnant items!

    August-Children’s rooms

    Unless your child is incapable of getting rid of things or is too young to make decisions, I recommend that clearing children’s rooms involve the children at some point in the process. Involving them is an excellent way to teach them not only how to do it, but that it must be done from time to time. They will learn that some of their belongings are temporary residents in their room. Once they have outgrown them, they should be released. Clearing a child’s room with them is also an excellent opportunity to teach them the idea of community service. They are blessed to have all they have. When they are done with their toys, books and clothes they then have the opportunity to pass them on to others who are less fortunate. August is a good time to clear children’s rooms because it sets a positive stage for the new school year.

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    September-Hall closets

    Hall closets can become dumps for miscellaneous items. Check those spaces for what is actually used at some point during the year. Clear out faded flags, and hats, coats and gloves that never get worn. What about the boots that litter the floor? If you have games in your hall closet, are they still pulled out and played? How many vacuum cleaners do you have in there? Which one works best?

    October-Attic

    Like the garage, the attic is a huge daunting project. Feng shui teaches that the attic is the area of your hopes and aspirations. If you clear here, you get clear about what you want and you make space to get more of what you really want. Is it worth facing the nightmare up there? You bet! In many climates fall is the best time to clear an attic because it is neither too hot or too cold. If your attic is packed tight I recommend that you first look for big “Duh!”items. Those are the things that are no brainers for pitching–for example, the two Christmas trees you haven’t used in a decade. Clearing out those items will loosen up the space, making it possible to think more clearly. Once a few sizable items have left the space you’ll be encouraged by your progress and feel enthusiasm to release more. Put all small items and paper aside to deal with last. Don’t get bogged down with the minutia!

    November-Guest rooms

    Guest rooms either become dumping grounds, multi-purpose rooms or stagnant spaces for things that don’t matter much. The energy of every part of the house affects the energy of the whole and what happens in your life. Clear the dump. Clear and reorganize the multi-purpose room. Release those things you no longer love or use that made their way to your guest room. Clearing the guest room will make it possible to have loved ones stay with you during the holiday season.

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    December-Holiday decorations

    December is too busy a time to do any big organizing projects. But, you will be pulling out your seasonal decorations. When you do, notice which items you use and what stays in the boxes. Pitch those decorations that haven’t emerged from their boxes in two years. Clearing your decorations down to just those that actually get used will make the prospect of decorating next year much more appealing.

    Some of you may be wondering what you do during the month assigned to the garage if you don’t have a garage. Or, if you don’t have children, what do you do in August. What about the basement? I don’t have a basement (yeah!), so I didn’t include it. But, if you do have a basement, you can substitute it for clearing out children’s rooms if you have no children or the garage if you have no garage. You may also choose to tackle the basement instead doing one of the other areas that you know won’t be difficult for you to squeeze in during another month.

    My intention in setting specific goals each month is to help you focus your organizing efforts. It’s very easy to be distracted by the noise of clutter all over the house. If you choose to take the 12 month challenge, commit to tackling and completing the one area each month. If the area is too big to do all by yourself, get friends, family or professional help to make it happen. And, remember that it’s ESSENTIAL that you maintain your day to day organizing processes and systems in addition to your monthly clearing project. If you don’t, you’ll be creating a new nightmare while you’re clearing another.

    Having a monthly clearing goal will also help you pace yourself. Once you feel some of the benefits of clearing you may be tempted to do massive clearing all at once. Clearing too much too fast will shift energies too quickly. This can result in chaos in your life or physical illness.

    What is most important is that you do some clearing each month. My suggestions are just that — suggestions. Feel free to tailor this plan to work with the realities of your climate, your energy and your family situation.

    If you take this challenge, I would love to hear from you about your progress, challenges and how your life changes as a result of your commitment to clearing. Clearing your whole house will transform your life. It takes courage to take on this challenge. Be open and ready for big changes!

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

    More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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