We all have messes in our lives. If you have stacks of paper around your desk, you have a mess. When you procrastinate on an incomplete project, it is a mess. Each time you drag out making an important decision, you have another mess.
Messes are situations of disorder, conflict and incompletion. Consciously and subconsciously, your mind keeps coming back to these messes. They cause you to be distracted, lose energy, break concentration and reduce your confidence. These loose ends can include finances, relationships, your work space, physical well-being, agreements and legal contracts.
We don’t create a mess on purpose. It just happens. We get busy and put off making that important change in our office. We dread taking that unpleasant action and delay it again and again. We allow an off-hand comment to go without a response because we don¹t want to deal with a confrontation.
On each of these occasions, we leave behind a situation that is unresolved. Throughout the day, day after day, week after week, our minds wander back to the mess. Because your mind keeps processing this complication, you do not fully concentrate on the truly important work at hand. Often, self-doubt sets in, causing us to question ourselves. All this eats up your energy and can make you feel weary. When you hear people say they are mentally exhausted, you can bet they have messes.
When you clean up an unresolved predicament, then it stops stealing brain cycles. When you resolve the situation, you can move on to new opportunities. Each time you clean up a mess, you increase concentration, confidence and energy.
So how do you go about this cleanup? Here are a few tips:
The first requirement is to recognize the messes. So often, we keep plugging away at our lives without realizing that we’re devoting lots of time and energy just coping with all these unresolved issues. In my business-coaching practice, I’ll frequently see clients lugging around twenty or thirty messes that are complicating their lives. When we begin articulating these loose ends, we often discover that some can be cleaned up in a matter of hours or even minutes.
Here’s a good exercise to start making you consciously aware of your cleanup opportunities:
Here’s another exercise that will help eliminate the messes.
Clearly, cleaning up messes and eliminating the things you tolerate are major steps toward simplifying your life at work and at home. The world is a complicated, messy place in which to live. Don¹t make it any harder by piling on more obstacles.
Take stock of your opportunities for cleanup. Take action to simplify your life. Clean up those loose ends. Target a mess a month and feel your energy and attitude soar.
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