You might have heard the old saying “a cluttered life is the sign of a cluttered mind.” And for the most part this is true. There are many reasons for a cluttered mind. Sometimes the mind is cluttered due to chemical imbalances, which must be managed with medications. Sometimes the mind is cluttered due to immaturity as young people haven’t yet learned how to control their impulses and energy. And sometimes the mind is cluttered because we have never taken the time to learn how to manage our thoughts. In the instance of the latter, I have a few suggestions to assist you in becoming a little more organized.
When I was teaching golf, one element of the game we worked on was controlling the mind through routine. We worked on doing the same actions in repetition to keep the mind focused on step 1, step 2, step 3, etc. versus allowing the mind to run rampant with negative thoughts. In golf it is easy to allow the mind to focus on the negative outcomes, water hazards, sand bunkers, trees and out of bounds.
All of these present a challenge, but the biggest challenge is training the mind to overcome these difficulties and focus on the steps needed to achieve success. In this instance, getting the golf ball in the hole in the fewest possible stokes over the course of 18 holes.
And as in life we must also learn to control our minds in order to overcome difficulties while striving for a particular goal. So often our minds lack focus and organization and run rampant with negative thoughts. It reminds me of the child allowed to run loose in the restaurant, throwing food and generally being disruptive to other patrons. We all have encountered the disruptive child that we just want to reach out and correct!.
Well sometimes our minds are that child. And it is necessary to reach out, grab the mind and correct! The way you correct the mind is by focusing on the process and disallowing the mind to focus on the possible negative outcomes.
As with the mountain climber there is the possibility of falling to his/her death and if he/she allows the mind to continually focus on the fear of falling, chances are he/she will fall. But the successful climber keeps the mind focused on the current moment and the route needed to reach the mountain top. He or she understands that if I get to point A, then point B, then point C I will most assuredly reach the pinnacle.
And so it is with life. You must have point A, point B, point C in mind and all the sub-goals needed to move from point to point or the mind will run crazy with thoughts of fear, destruction, devastation and failure.
For those with cluttered minds, success becomes much more difficult as more energy is required to overcome the disorganization. I know very few cluttered, successful individuals. The two that I personally know have surrounded themselves with incredibly talented and ultra-organized and goal oriented people. They were wise enough to recognize the need for organization and hired someone to fill the gap.
But for those that do not have the luxury of hiring people, it is necessary to make changes.
I have 3 recommendations to help get a little more organized:
- Pick one area of your house to keep neat and tidy. I have shared my belief that making the bed each and every morning is a great way to work toward being more organized. Take something disorganized and it tidy. For some maybe it is their desk or work space. Whatever the area, work to maintain order. Have a place for each item and make sure to return the items to their proper place.
- Institute the use of a 5-item To Do list. I use a To Do list, but am very careful to keep it short. I do not allow the list to become jammed full of every single thing I plan to do. I pick 3-5 important items and that is all.
- Have goals. Most people I know that are scattered mentally have no ultimate goal or purpose. They go from one thing to the next leaving a trail of litter behind them. Pick one thing in life that is your sole focus and work toward that goal. Be sure to remain focused even when life wants to distract. If you get off course a little, correct your mind and refocus on the life-goal.
It is not an easy process, but trust me you will gain much respect from those around you. Disorganization is not your friend and your mind, like the unruly child, needs to be corrected. I have encountered many disorganized people in my life and have avoided using them in business, home buying and most other parts of life.
Why you might ask? I must know that the person I refer a client or friend to is going to return phone calls at the time agreed upon, arrive to meetings early or on time and/or follow through on promises and commitments. And as I discussed with a disorganized friend recently, I assure you your disorganization has cost you more than you realize: personally and professionally!
In the end, it is healthier to be a little more organized, you will have more success and people will take you more seriously. Take a moment and think about your cluttered life and mind and review the 3 suggestions listed earlier.
Maybe it’s time for a little spring cleaning?!