Doing less to ultimately do more

First, I found out that there was an error when I signed up for an e-course and my payment wasn’t processed.  So I took a step back and realized that I felt relief at the potential of having that off my radar right now.  Then, the weather changed and I was finally able to open windows and sit outside with a cup of coffee in the mornings and just breathe and watch hummingbirds flutter about.  And I realized… I am not taking any classes at the moment! This hasn’t happened for so long and it’s a welcome pause.  I will begin Life Book 2013 in January, but until then, I have time to CREATE and to catch up on photo editing and scrapbooking.

Finally, I read these words by Aby Garvey of Simplify 101:

When you focus on fewer changes or projects at once,
you’ll be able to invest more of your time, attention and energy
into the project you’re working on. This means you’ll increase
your rate of success. In turn, your success will fuel more
success, giving you the confidence and energy to move on to the
next project, issue or change. As counterintuitive as it may
seem, the fewer things you focus on at once, the faster you’ll
improve all areas of your life.

I have a multi-tiered to-do list and I know some of you do too.  There’s the “today” action items, the “this week” list, and several long-term lists.  List items frequently move around and get re-prioritized.  I strive to do as productivity guru David Allen suggests and process items as they come up if possible, but looking around the house in preparation for having 33 people over for Turkey Day next week (yes, you read that right… gulp), I saw lots of clutter.

Leo Babauta defines clutter as anything that is not in its right place.  Yesterday I decided to conquer it all.  I filled three huge bags with recycling while my daughter was at preschool (she refuses to throw away anything… even trash) and now every item in her room and playroom has a place it belongs.  I also recycled the stacks of back-dated magazines on and under our coffee table.  I started at one end of the house and moved anything I came across back to its rightful place.

My daughter’s artwork is either on display, tucked away in a keepsake box, or photographed and recycled.  Craft supplies are in the craft closet.  The bills are in their “to be paid” file; invitations are in their “upcoming events” folder and on my calendar; things that have been laying around for months are gone.  After a large dropoff at a recycle bin, after transferring out-of-season items to the garage, after donating and giving away some toys (sssh!), books, and clothes, and after finally hanging up a few pictures (we’ve lived here a year already… it’s time!), the house is ready for anything.

Empty surfaces help me to exhale and bring me inner calm.  Now I can focus on the next project… turkey day decorations!

What’s happening with all of you?

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17 Responses to Doing less to ultimately do more

  1. Sarah Huizenga says:

    I am definitely learning to focus on one project at a time, I feel less stressed that way, and can give what I am doing my best effort.

  2. RnR says:

    I will be sure to comment on your amazing home with NO clutter :) Very jealous!

  3. What a great post! I needed some motivation to put my house in order, thanks!

  4. You are always such an inspiration, Naomi!

  5. Good for you – I am going through the same thing myself. I thought retirement would solve all my time issues – turns out it just complicated them! I’m working on refocusing and you are an inspiration! ;-)

  6. Wow great discipline I ‘m like your daughter I find it so hard to throw anything away..

  7. Cathy H. says:

    I start tomorrow getting my house ready for my family who are coming this weekend and staying through Thanksgiving. Today, after buying mounds of groceries, I’m just sitting with my feet up and listening to the birds and my whind chime!!

    • Naomi says:

      Sounds like heaven! Enjoy your guests. I’m sure you’ll be happy to see them and then happy to have the quiet again. :)

  8. Naomi I LOVE this!
    It massages my heart into fresh breaths and
    trusting the wisdom my soul is trying to speak t
    to me. I find I live so much bigger and realer
    the less I “do” in that way.
    So much wonderful stuff to choose from
    and learn
    eventually feels like clutter inside my head.
    I’m simplifying and it’s liberating.
    It felt SO good to hear this from you.
    thanks for sharing so sweet,
    Jennifer

  9. Eydie says:

    I took in a much needed deep, peaceful breath after reading your post. Thank you.
    The truth is …. I wish I was writing on my blog, the words I just read on yours. I am getting to where you are (well, sort of).

    I am still chasing the dust around the house after all the painting that went on last week. Phase 2 of the new carpet goes in on Monday. Then, I can clear out the spare bedroom for our guests who will arrive on Tuesday. I have filled several bags and donated to some of our favorite charities. In between the all the cleaning and organizing, I find time to work on my art for a show I am participating in on December first. Josh and I are planning, comfirming decisions, and making making the centerpieces for Sage’s Bat Mitzvah which seems to be “just around the corner”.

    So thank you for that beautiful moment of taking one really peaceful, deep breath.
    XOXO

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