In order to bring change into your life you need to make space for that change. If your life is already ‘cluttered’, be that with work, family activities or your home environment then you are not giving yourself space for clarity, to see what it is you really want. Or maybe you are hiding behind this clutter as an excuse for not recognising what is staring you in the face, or for not facing up to and dealing with your unhappiness.
So below I am going to outline an exercise designed to make more space in your life. You might want to tackle one or more of the following areas.
Here we focus on your home or living environment . Walk around your home, visiting each room and asking yourself which space needs the most attention. Which room is the most cluttered, untidy, unattractive or disliked room? Choose a room (or part of a room if the thought of tacking a whole room is too daunting) to work on.
You are going to thoroughly clean up this room. This may involve just a good clean and tidy up or it may involve complete re-decoration and new furniture; that will be your choice. But essentially go through these steps:Decide on what the real purpose of this room is? For example is it a room for relaxing, a room for working, a family room? What things are in the room which shouldn’t be? For example if this is a room for relaxing there should not be any items relating to work, or computers, or a basket of ironing for example. If it is your office there shouldn’t be any kid’s toys and so on, you get the idea. If it is the spare room is it full of old clothes which no longer fit you? Get rid of anything which no longer serves you.
What are the most powerful things you can you do to improve this space? For example clearing the dining table of accumulated papers and making it a space just for mealtimes will bring a whole new dynamic to the process of eating.
Set aside a specific time to do this work and don’t be distracted by other tasks or your family. Whilst you are doing this reflect on how you are feeling, what memories and feelings are coming up. How does it feel when you are finished?
Here we focus on your family. Just take a few minutes to focus on your family activities. Is all your time bound up doing things for your family? Do you put off spending time and resources on yourself because you have a sense of duty to your family? Make a list of the activities you undertake on their behalf, such as running the children to their various clubs and activities, acting as a taxi service.Maybe you have elderly relatives to look after. Are you an unpaid secretary/ PA for your partner? See how this makes you feel. Are these activities all strictly necessary or could someone else do them. Are you shielding behind them and using them as an excuse not to focus on yourself. Try and identify where you could find yourself some space by giving up certain activities, changing the way you operate or enlisting some help.
Here we focus on your work. Just take a few minutes to focus on your working life. Do you busy yourself with work, taking on extra responsibilities or overtime? If this is you, ask yourself why you are really doing it? We can all find reasons for why we do things, and tell ourselves certain stories, such as; I need the extra money, I will get overlooked for promotion if I don’t show willing to undertake extra duties. Do you use this as an excuse for not focusing on yourself? Try and identify where you could find yourself some space by giving up certain activities or changing the way you operate. You need to work smarter not harder, and ultimately decide what is really important to you. When you come to the end of your time will you look back and say ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office’?
Here we focus on information overload. These days we are all bombarded with information from TV, the Internet, E-mail, Social Media, newspapers, magazines and the like. How much of your day is taken up with keeping up with your friends on social media, browsing the internet, dealing with e-mails, keeping up with magazines and newspapers.
Try keeping a record of how long you are spending each day. You might be quite shocked. Try having an internet / mobile phone free day and seeing how that feels. Could you make more effective use of your time. Maybe you have magazines, journals , or on-line newsletters that you subscribe to and never seem to have the time to read. Consider getting rid of some of these.
Does this strike a chord with you? Can you identify the clutter in your life? Have a go with some of these exercises and see how it makes you feel.