Clearing the Clutter – Part I: What Keeps Me Up At Night

I generally sleep like a baby. Occasionally, though, right before bed, my head will swirl with my “to do” list or ideas for blog posts and coaching programs.   I keep a note pad next to my bed so right before I go to sleep I can brain vomit all my thoughts onto the paper and fall asleep peacefully, the contents of my noggin nestled snuggly in the drawer on my night stand.

"One Sheep, Two Sheep, Yellow Sheep, Seafoam Green Sheep..."

And then there are the other nights. The nights when I look around the bedroom at my clashing yellow walls and seafoam green trim and begin to feel the cold finger of anxiety creeping into my grey matter. And thus begins the downward spiral of cataloging every single thing wrong with my house and the numerous projects required to fix them. It drives my poor, put-upon husband insane. (Author’s note: he edits this blog.)

For context, this underwhelming yellow/green color combination was not a deliberate choice on my part. The previous homeowner of 20 Hump (our affectionate nickname for our house) had interesting ideas about acceptable paint and coordinating trim colors. Before we moved in, I had just enough time to paint the walls of our bedroom a pretty, warm yellow color, but alas, not enough time to paint the trim. I convinced myself that I would most certainly get to it immediately after moving the entire contents of our house into our new digs.

You can guess what happened next.

If you guessed “nothing”, then you win.

This nighttime onslaught of mental self-flagellation is tedious at best. Even my little notepad can’t help me, because here’s the key: I don’t actually do much of anything to make progress towards these projects.

Yes, that’s the key, folks: you actually have to do something if you want things to change in your life. True accomplishment does not come about from fear, worry, critical self-talk, untouched “to do” lists kept in a drawer, or a Cat o’ Nine Tails to beat yourself into compliant submission. Accomplishment comes from thoughtful intention, proper motivation, and deliberate action (and a pinch of magic, but we’ll get to that later).

So in true life coaching “live it to give it” fashion (meaning that I will actually practice what I preach), I’m going to begin tackling my home projects using my mad life coaching skillz and….BONUS!…. as a former project manager, I’ve got a few x-tra skillz there that will also come in handy.

So why now? Because the clutter in my mind is keeping me from accomplishing my projects. And all these unfinished projects that keep me up at night are ultimately contributing to the clutter in my home: The cans of unopened paint, the blue painters tape on my wall, the chair that needs to be re-covered in my living room.  It’s a vicious circle. And it might well be happening to you, too. Maybe not on a house project, but on a life project.

So this week, I am pulling out my bag of tricks and sitting down to begin thoughtfully and deliberately identifying, prioritizing, and alphabetizing (not really) my numerous house projects.  And I’m going to share my process with you: not all the insanely boring details, but the key highlights with some witty repartee and cunning insight on top.

If you’ve got a personal or professional project that you’ve been avoiding, procrastinating on, or are even just getting started with, then you’re just in time.  So get ready because Mama J. is (finally) in the house.