At the beginning of the month, Kel posted about the October Creating Clarity Challenge, which is tackling our tech clutter. I thought I’d give you a glimpse at how I’m working through it, and what I’ve realized because of it.
That is an actual screenshot of my desktop, taken in mid-September. Nice and tidy, isn’t it?
Now that you’re done laughing, I’d like to draw your attention to the upper right hand corner…here’s a close up shot:
Yes, that’s what happens when you have more files on your desktop than room to show them. I think it’s the computer equivalent of the overstuffed closet that unleashes its contents on your head when you open the door.
My issue wasn’t that I was running out of space, or that I couldn’t find anything. I’m pretty good at running searches. But my files weren’t stored the way I think. In fact, seeing everything all jumbled together is a free ticket for the express train to Overwhelm.
So I started by gathering like things together. So far this month I’ve been sorting through my files, my email, and my bookmarks. I’m deleting obvious trash, like duplicates or the note about what to fix on a car I no longer own, but corralling things together has been my focus.
Recipes: the mess that diagnosed a problem
Once I gathered things together, I realized I have recipes in all of these places:
- a physical folder in my file cabinets
- a folder on my computer
- a folder in my bookmarks
- a folder in my Box.net cloud storage
- a board on Pinterest
- a program on my computer/iPhone (MacGourmet–it lets me sync recipes I’ve entered between the devices)
- cookbooks in my bookroom
No wonder I hate deciding what’s for dinner. As if dealing with everyone’s preferences and food allergies wasn’t enough of a challenge, ideas are in SEVEN different places. (Eight if you count my head.) And that’s after I cleaned it up.
How am I supposed to make a plan if I’m not even clear about what I have?
I realized that every place I’m struggling is where the big picture is scattered all over. And everywhere I had put things in an order that makes sense to me, I’m finding it easier to create or do what I want.
It works in the real world too, not just on my computer
I’m also working through my closet. It’s been organized for a while, which let me realize that there were things I never wore. I’ve also gotten really clear about what I want from my wardrobe: only comfortable clothes that make me feel at least really good and preferably fabulous.
And I decided that feeling has to be there even when they’re on the hanger. You know what I mean. You’re looking at your clothes deciding what to wear, and there’s that thing that makes you feel fat or dumpy or sad because the last time you wore it was when someone broke your heart or because you only bought it for a funeral. Your eyes skim over it, but either you’re feeling that emotion or spending energy on NOT feeling it.
I decided I’m done with that. I would rather have three things I wear over and over than a closet full of lousy emotions I have to wade through in order to find the few things I will actually wear.
So I have my plan and my new standards for my clothes, and they were already organized. Which is great, because making it happen isn’t always easy. I’m short and overweight, so “comfortable and fabulous” clothes can be a challenge. Those nasty shaming voices are easy to set free. For me, having my closet already broken into bite sized chunks makes a huge difference in making my “comfortable and fabulous” vision happen. It’s too much to face the entire closet at once, but I can face one little section at a time. It’s so much easier to face just my jeans or just skirts or just t-shirts, see if they match the big picture I want or not, and then declare myself successfully done.
As far as I can tell, there’s three things here that can be applied to any part of your life (virtual or real!).
1. You’re the CEO of your life.
You’re in charge. You get to decide what you want and what works for you.
Sound a little scary? It’s taken me two years of working really hard to finally be able to say AND mean that. If you’re not feeling it yet, it’s ok. Until you do, I’ll keep reminding you.
2. You need some clarity.
Get clear about what’s really happening, what’s really in front of you, and how you really feel about it.
- The mess on my computer makes me feel overwhelmed. I’m not ok with this.
- Some of the clothes in my closet make me feel badly about myself. I am not going to accept this any longer.
3. Make an action plan.
You knew this was coming, right? This is Women Making Changes, after all. Take the time to figure out what’s going to make this better for you, and then take whatever tiny step you can to get moving that way.
Cleaning up my computer or my closet may seem like a simple thing. In the face of all the big enormous problems in the world it seems tiny, maybe even pointless.
It’s not. Taking care of my own business…taking care of myself…making my own world a better place…these are the places I can actually take powerful action. These are small things I can do to build my belief in my own integrity, places where I can bring more authenticity and consciousness to my own life.
And to think, at the beginning I thought I was just cleaning up my computer.