The next Sick of Being Stuck (SOBS) classes are about to begin and I’ve been formally challenged to “Bring the party!” this month. Since I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, I’ve accepted and now I am scrambling to up my game in the month ahead. Here are a few of the things that I already know improve our clutter clearing, organizing, and cleaning experiences.
1. Music – I don’t know the science behind it but everything is better to a beat. At my house, what’s good enough for a party is good enough for putting away laundry. And the more resistance I’m feeling to the task, the louder the music has to be to get me moving.
2. Flowers – Perhaps it’s a little like giving myself a reward for something I haven’t done yet, but bringing flowers into the space I need to work in certainly lifts my mood. Also, tending my inside plants will usually get me moving again. If I’m stuck and dusting isn’t sexy enough to get me off the couch, then watering the plants usually inspires enough to at least get me vertical.
3. Company – When I was a kid, I figured out that cleaning up with a friend was usually more fun than doing it alone. The same is true for me today. While it is certainly nice to have had help cleaning up after a sleepover when I was young or a play date when I had them for my children, or after a dinner party like I might have today, I find that it is actually the company that makes it much better for me.
This might mean that your friend comes to help you clean one day and the next time you go help your friend, or it might just mean that you call up a friend to chat while you’re doing some of the mindless activities. As long as you remember to be productive, a helper can make the time pass more quickly, help keep you focused, and assist you with the decision making process (especially around what can be released).
4. Game plan – I work with all of my new students to craft a strategy that’s customized to their space, a game plan to help them. It’s so easy to wander off when you’re doing something that’s hard, so write a list of what you intend to do and keep checking back in with it to make sure you stay on track.
5. Reality Check – Whether you’re taking on the nightmare beneath and behind the washing machine and dryer, as I did this week, or tackling the piles of paper between you and your dining room table, take pictures before you begin. Picture-taking serves many purposes, not the least of which is drawing a metaphorical line in the sand. This is you saying, “Hey, it’s about to be over between me and you. Any final words?”
It also allows you to truly see what’s happening there. Sometimes that is seeing stuff that you’ve overlooked for a long time, and other times, you’ll see that the situation is not as bad as it feels. Either way, it always helps. And when you are finished, you can look back at the pictures and celebrate how strong and smart and accomplished you are!
6. Accountability – This is one of the strongest benefits of the SOBS program, but even if you’re not in one of my classes, you will absolutely benefit from creating it for yourself. Tell someone your intention for the day, then report back with your progress as the day passes. Post your intention on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you are connected to other human beings (even below in the comments). If you journal, write it there, or wherever else you will see it to remind you about the commitment you made to yourself.
7. Celebration – You already know about this one, right? If you feel resistance to an activity, then put a carrot on the end of a stick and taunt yourself into taking action. After I clear off the kitchen counter, I’m going to go to the park for a nice hike. Once this bathroom is clean, I’m taking a hot bath! I always ask my intro students to decide how they will celebrate when they reach their program goals. It feels good to party; go ahead and plan yours!
Certainly, I’ll have more party strategy to share as the month progresses but this will get us off to a strong start. I would absolutely love for you to join the Sick of Being Stuck party that I’m hosting this month, but if not, don’t forget that you can “bring the party” to set yourself up for success, too! And finally, whether you are looking at one huge project or a million little ones, it’s important to remember… you can do this.
Yes, I’m sure.