The declutter rule: When in doubt, simplify

When in doubt, simplify.
I like to remind myself of this phrase, because it seems so easy to let things just get too complicated.
This kind of like sighing in exasperation, “Ah, it’s so complicated.
Life is so complicated.
There’s just so much going on.
I’m overwhelmed.”
This feeling of overwhelm.
I mean, we’ve all had it, and it’s absolutely understandable to have this feeling of being overwhelmed by just too many things going on.
But I don’t think it’s OK or necessary to let ourselves stay in that state and just accept the inevitability of it.
Overwhelm, chaos, this feeling of too many things going on, juggling too many balls in the air: it doesn’t have to be that way.
Of course, there’s always going to be complications.
We can never expect an entirely smooth ride.
So we always have to be ready to deal with more things than we might choose.
But I don’t believe we have to just accept that there’s going to be crazy complication and this overwhelming storm of chaos at all times.
We have some ability to control and filter what we think about, what we deal with, every day.
We can limit how much we allow to enter our plate enter the menu of things that we’re concerned about.
Not perfect control, because there’s always those surprises.
And yet, for so many things, we are the gatekeepers.
And that’s one of the big things, it seems, with simplicity and minimalism, is to be a gatekeeper, the gatekeeper of your life, to say no to so many things, and to just not have them be an issue.
And we’re just surrounded by all these voices telling us “You must care about this”, “You must care about that.”
Whether it’s advertising, saying we should care about something that their product can solve, it’s politics, we should care about a particular social or political issue, or it’s our friends and family, people we know, they have concerns that we need to deal with.
Maybe even strangers throwing their problems at us that we need to deal with.
And of course, some of these may be important, but that’s our choice.
It’s our choice to decide which of these we’re going to be concerned about.
We don’t need to automatically let them all in and by default just accept all these concerns, just saying “This is your agenda now.
Hey you.
I’m telling you what your agenda is now.
I’m adding this item to your agenda.”
That’s how it feels like when I get like an advertisement or something.
It’s like “Hey you, add this to your agenda.
You are missing this thing.
You have this problem.
And now I’m giving you a solution, so go get it.
This has been added to your agenda automatically.”
And if I don’t have that gatekeeper function, and I don’t block it out and choose what I’m going to care about and pay attention to, then it just gets added to the list.
So we have these long, long lists of things that are somehow hanging over our heads, that sort of they’re on our internal menu.
So when I get to that point of feeling some kind of overwhelm, or a point of indecision where I’m not sure what the next step is, because there’s all these different projects, there’s different concerns, I don’t have a clear idea of what the highest priority next move is, then what I like to do is simplify.
Remove one item.
When I don’t know what to do, when I’m stuck, a go-to can be I’m going to remove one item of clutter from my life, one thing that I don’t need to care about.
Whether it’s just wrapping up some small thing that’s been nagging at me, taking care of some smaller project, to cross it off the list, or just reevaluating what I need, what I want with my life, and what I what I really need for that, and then possibly simply eliminating things from the list.
So what is it that you have that you can remove from your list? What is your list? Do you know what your agenda is of the things that you care about and have to deal with? And are there some items on there that just ended up on there without even really a clear decision for them to be there? And what can you do about it?

#simplify #mentalclutter #declutter

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