Hi friends. Boy do I feel great! I can attribute it to many things – but I’d like to stress the importance of cleaning up, throwing junk out, putting things away and all-around organizing.
I hired an organizer / assistant for a few hours here and there and just a few of her suggestions were very valuable:
1) Things, files, objects etc get divided into “present tense” & “past or future” (my interpretation). Objects you really use get to stay out. That’s valuable real estate – “your mind”. Stuff you need to see and that’s easy to get to has to be numero uno important.
2) Establish “homes” for things. I had AA batteries on the window – sill. I had stacks of magazines and yellow pads stuffed together inside living room type furniture. No good. You have to establish and declare homes for stuff.
2.5) Old stuff that you want to keep but never use – that gets put in a hard to reach, back of the closet type place. .
3) Throw out and donate. Example – Empty boxes for electronic equipment – Bye – in the garbage.
Clothes – old sweaters that you never actually wear, but remember wearing in a past life – just drop them at the Salvation Army. Example – my old guitars will get parked at my music school for student use.
Again – those are all “past tense” objects, seeking “future use” that never comes. Christmas bows? Throw ’em out and buy new ones next year. For the low price of $5, you have less crap lying around for a year.
4) Allow for clear space. It’s GOOD for a corner to have nothing in it. It’s good for a desk or wall to have nothing on it. A great artist / designer once told me “not every part of the space has to be filled up”.
The same goes for your computer desktop.
5) THE BIG ONE – don’t de-clutter and organize and clean at the same time. Those are 3 different steps. I learned this basic idea from a book entitled “Getting things Done” by David Allen. (I can’t find my copy,will probably buy again)
I didn’t do his whole system but here’s what I do: collect all crap and throw it in a box first. Decide on where it goes and what to do later. That gets your space clean and clear FAST – and you can think clearly and effectively. Then at a later time, put away & process the stuff. I use big plastic bins from staples and raid my apartment for :
Throw them in the box – DO NOT PUT THEM AWAY AND LOOK FOR PLACES TO JUST GET THEM OUT OF SITE, BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER GET THE PLACE CLEAN. Just put them in your crap box for now.
Get the place looking clean and clear of junk. Then, clean up (sweep, dust), and then lastly, usually another day – go through the box.
The same applies for you computer. How much crap is on your desktop? Do this and you’ll see what I mean:
a) Create a new folder on the desktop called “junk_1-30-2008” or whatever the date is. Note the use of underscores and hyphens.
b) highlight everything EXCEPT the hard drive of your computer.
c) drop it in the folder
d) enjoy the clarity of thought looking at a blank desktop.
e) In your documents folder create a NEW folder simply called “clean_up”. You can drop the “junk_1-30-2008” folder in there and sort things out later. This way if you accumulate a junk folder every few weeks or week, you’ll have a clean up method and can organize at a later time. Each folder will be sorted by date.
6) When you go through the physical bin or “junk_1-30-2008” type folder – determine what needs immediate action and establish a place for immediate action. It’s really only for RIGHT NOW items.
I recently created and IMMEDIATE ACTION folder in my email program. Scanning past social emails to search for gig offers, customers and radio contacts was too exhausting and time consuming.
This works for me better than various folders like “Gigs”, “Recording”, “Bills” etc because I’d have to still go looking for what is on a “front burner”. At a glance I can deal with the most necessary, urgent stuff.
You’ll experience an uncanny spiritual rush when things are clean – as if a weight is lifted off of you. Your attention will not be pulled in several directions at once, and you’ll be able to hit the bullseye with more of your actions and feel good.
There is a natural energy in keeping things tidy and organized – why do you think Zen monks clean the monastery every single day?
Try the computer desktop suggestion NOW. Then buy a bin at Staples or Office max and de-clutter. You’ll see – it’s awesome!