Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by all that we have to do, or at least think that we have to do. Many of our activities are not truly essential but we do them because we’ve always done them, or because we feel obligated to do them. No one needs all that self-imposed stress in their lives.
There’s nothing more cathartic than getting rid of something you don’t need or want anymore. I think this is why the whole minimalist, de-cluttering craze is happening. I know I feel better when I get the clutter out of the garage and give it to Goodwill in hopes someone will find use from it.
We can de-clutter our lives by answering three questions honestly. Let’s go.
As you know we’re all about self-improvement, so we think the first question to ask should be, “is it making me better?” Running, weight-lifting, yoga, meditating and reading would all fall into that category for me. So, I make time for those activities. Luckily, they make me happy.
Which leads to our next question, “does it make me happy?” This, I believe, is the question that causes the most problems. For instance, let’s say you have a fractious relative who you feel obligated to visit, but you’re in turmoil every time you go. It affects your happiness. You can either stop visiting altogether, which will probably make you feel guilty. Or, you can find a way to change the dynamic of the relationship. This places the onus on you to make the change. Not easy but it can be done.
Finally, let’s ask, “does it make me money?” Going to work everyday makes you money, even if it doesn’t always make you happy or make you better. There are some things you can do at work to change the equation. Make sure you know about all the perks your job offers and take advantage of them. I know of several businesses that have stewardship programs through which employees can get time off to pursue community-related activities. And the best businesses want to have the best employees, so they are willing to provide training to improve their skills or teach them new ones.
So, let’s give your life the garage cleaning treatment. Ask and answer these three questions and get some of your life back.