Clearing Out the Chaos

This spring, my life has been chaotic.  I’m not talking about Fly Lady’s CHAOS (Can’t Have Anybody Over Syndrome), although that definitely has been a part of it. 

But I’m talking about complete, chaotic randomness.  The kind of randomness, where I’m scrambling to stay on top of everything.  Where we’re running to the grocery store everyday, to throw together meals.  The kind where I’m searching for clothing every morning.

The kind where I’m never caught up.

Sound familiar?  I’ve found that this kind of chaos tends to lead me toward procrastination, because I feel like I can never keep up.  I’m physically and mentally exhausted, and constantly craving a break. 

So, you guessed it.  I find myself sneaking in relaxation whenever I can, going online when I should be working, taking snack breaks, and finding other ways to try and rest my tired mind. 

In the past, my solution would have been to berate myself for lacking willpower, and try to plow forward.  Maybe if I cut out all leisure time, I would be more motivated. 

But, the problem isn’t motivation, it’s exhaustion. 

The problem is too much mental clutter.  I’m making too many decisions.  My days have too little predictability.

We all have some chaos that we need to remove from our lives. 

Here are some tips (that I am most definitely applying in my own life!):

1.  First, take a day (or days) to get everything in order.  Get caught up.  This will be drudgery and will take some willpower, but remember that, once you have some routines established, this won’t happen again.

2.  Plan ahead, if you can.  Look for things that can be grab-and-go.  I do this with the lessons in my classroom, and our meals.  I shop once a week (or every other week) and try to get everything so that it can be easily prepared, without having to think about it.  Lunches are pre-packed.

3.   Do the laundry on Saturday or Sunday.  Have it ready, so that the week’s worth of outfits are hanging up and ready to go.  By doing steps 2 and 3, you have eliminated a great deal of decisions from your day already.

4.  Plan your leisure/relaxation activities.  That’s right–schedule them first!  Wondering when you’ll finally get to relax, can cause a lot of anxiety, which is mental clutter.  Figure out what you need to do, in order to feel your best, and set up times to do it.

5.  Now, set up your rhythms for the remaining, recurring tasks.  If you do these things the same time every day, or every week, you will go on autopilot, and eliminate a few more decisions from your day.

Taking these steps, should free up your brain, so that you can stay calm and have the mental resources for making real decisions.  Living a chaotic life is nothing to brag about–with a little time spent on decluttering your day, you will be able to accomplish so much more!

2 thoughts on “Clearing Out the Chaos

  1. The mental decluttering is the first and most important step. Often when we feel the most pressure to push on and that everything is urgent – that is the time to slow down. Re- evaluate and prioritize. You will see that there is nothing that MUST be done. The minor things will fall to the wayside.

    Dan @ Zen Presence – Ideas for Meaningful Living

    • I’ve found that it’s been interesting which things have not come out being priorities for us. I’ve only recently realized there is no moral or ethical reason to have a perfectly manicured lawn, if that’s not what we want, for example.

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